Meet the Teachers


Meet the amazing people who are caring, educating, impacting, and influencing the lives of our future!

Alicia Yahaya
Owner & Executive Director
I have worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 14 years and received my Bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. I have been Director Certified in the State of Kansas since 2011. I have a true passion for all children and that they take part in a quality early childhood education. I have worked with each early education age group and have served as a Preschool Teacher Mentor for other Centers. I am married to my supportive husband and we have three daughters: Avery, Aubree, and Aliyah. I love creating a home-like environment where our Open Minds students can become immersed in learning and explore at every turn!
"A mind when stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions." -Anonymous
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Shonda Wallace
Program Director
I've been working with children ranging from newborns to 18 years old for the last 12 years in many different environments. Preschool and the high schoolers are my favorite age groups. I have a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Services with a concentration in Early Childhood and a Minor in American Ethnic Studies from Kansas State University. My teaching style is to facilitate by observing the individual child's unique way of learning, and combine that with the general lessons and individual lesson plans as well. I am a very proud mother of 3 wonderful children. I enjoyed writing poetry and speaking it! I believe life is a poem and it is shared through many art forms! Music (which is one of my favorite things to listen to) is one of the best art forms and poetry there is! One day I do plan on developing a facility targeting youth in the Inner City, that will provide an environment in a neighborhood that's less endowed and fill it full of artistic activities; such as music, cooking, painting dancing, crafting, photography, and so forth.
Education is not the learning of facts but training the mind to think! -Albert Einstein
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Ann Turner
Infants Coordinator
I have worked in the field of early childhood education for over 11 years at local and regional child development centers. My teaching style is definitely hands on!!! I love getting messing and doing fun hands on learning activities. We sing, laugh, and of course have fun!!! My husband and I have been married for 16 years and together we have 6 children ranging from ages 15-28 years old. I am a Cheer Mom and Band Mom in my spare time. I love watching my kids do what they love!!!!
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ‭‭-Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Andrea Ashley
Lead Teacher/Infants
My name is Andrea Ashley and I am excited to be a part of Open Minds Staff. I was born and raised in Kansas City,MO. I live in Overland Park, KS with my husband Michael Sr. and our 8yr old son Michael Jr. I have experience working with children in a child care setting and also in a medical setting. I am a registered medical assistant. I graduated from Concorde Career College. I am currently working on completing my CDA. I have 120 clock hours in child development. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, going to church and shopping. Working with children is my passion! I am looking forward to getting to know the babies in my care and watching them grow!
What we instill in our children will be the foundation upon which they build their future. -Steve Maraboli
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Lauren Ingram
Lead Teacher/Toddlers
I have 3 years of work experience in early childhood education. I received my Bachelor's degree from Emporia State University in Teaching and I am currently working on my Masters degree. My teaching style is a student-based approach. Being the role model in the classroom is a must as well as watching the kids make discoveries on their own. Along with my teaching style I enjoy practicing cooperative learning, where the children learn from working with one another; they become responsible for their own learning. I just recently got married and I have an 8 month old son. Family is a big part of my life. I enjoy reading, photography, and most of all, DIY crafts.
"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." - Mark VanDoren
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Samantha Ashcraft
Lead Teacher/Toddlers
I have worked with children for quite some time and I love it. I have learned most of my teaching skills from the children. You must put your feet in their shoes. If they are not having fun or even interested, you must make it interesting and fun for them. Teaching the children their ABCs and 123s bring joy to my life. Knowing that I am helping them learn and move forward to going to school lets me know that I have done my job right. I have degree from Concorde Career College and my teaching style is to be fun and exciting but serious at the same time. I have an amazing fiancé Anthony and 4 beautiful children. Matthew, Callie, Jeremiah, Raelynn. I am a very Family oriented person. If it wasn't for my mother I wouldn't have known how to be a great mother. My hobbies are taking pictures, drawing, watching movies, fishing is my all-time favorite, spending time with my family.
“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.” – Unknown
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Elizabeth Lindsey
Lead Teacher/Toddlers
I am a recent graduate from McPherson College. I have a degree in Music Education and have been working in child care for the past year. I have been involved in various forms of childcare for 10 years. Babysitting, Vacation Bible School, nanny, and volunteering throughout my college career. I currently live in Wyandotte County. My hobbies include singing ALL kinds of music, reading, working out, spending time with my friends and family, and eating good food. I love getting to work with these children every day!
"Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care." --Horace Mann
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Kymille Hill
Lead Teacher/Twos
I have worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 7 years with accredited training from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). I am currently working on completing my Bachelor's degree in early childhood education. I enjoy working with the youngest of our early childhood students because the learning is endless and the experiences are new each day. I am a wife and mother of two young daughters and I love to plan events and spend time with family!
"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." -Margaret Mead
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Amber Corliss
Teacher/Twos
I have worked with children for over 7 years with most of my experience by working as a nanny for various families. I received my G.E.D. in 2003 an plan on working towards an associate’s degree in early childhood education. I'm married to my best friend, and we have 3 children together. I enjoy working at Open Minds and getting to be here every day with the kiddos! We get to help teach these toddlers how to start and become independent individuals. I enjoy teaching and watching them while they are learning. I am so excited that I get to teach these kiddos, my teaching style is more of music and movement, I feel like these kids our very active at this age and they pick up quick on things you put in music, and at the same time your letting them get their wiggles out.
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. ~ Mark van Doren
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Alisa Monroe
Lead Teacher/Twos
Hi my name is Alisa Monroe and I am really excited about being part of the staff at Open Minds Child Development Center. I have been working in early childhood for 12 years and also have experience in nannying. I worked with preschool when I first started working in early childhood and for the past 9 years I have worked with infants and toddlers. In 2016 I attended a weeklong conference called zero to three in New Orleans where I learned so much about infants and toddlers. In 2015 I graduated from UMKC with my bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a minor in family studies, during that time I took a variety of early childhood classes as well. I am married to my husband Eric and we have three kids together. Gia just turned 6, Amelia will turn 5 at the end of January and Aeson who just turned 3. We love to travel, watch basketball and spend time as a family together playing games and watching movies. Summer is our favorite season as we love to go to the pool and play outside. Some of my hobbies are reading, going to target, and volunteering at my church. I am really excited for this new adventure and look forward to spending my days with your children.
A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. -Brad Henry
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Tiffaney Grimes
Lead Teacher/Preschool
I have worked with children in one way or another my entire adult, life, but most recently worked with emotionally disturbed ( a horrible label in my opinion for kids with behavioral issues) school aged kids in Olathe Public School’s special education department. I have a degree in psychology with a minor in art, and currently working on my master’s degree in Art Therapy. My teaching style is anything creative, crafty, or using my imagination. I have been married to my husband Jim for 10 years and have lived in Olathe for about 15 years now. We both grew up in Missouri and met while attending Southwest Missouri State University. We have two beautiful daughters, Olivia Grace (4 yrs) and River Jayne (1 yr), as well one 12 year old puppy name Dori. I am an avid reader, and love all things geeky. Seriously, from superheroes to Hogwarts, and Star Wars, puzzles or board games.
Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible. No one can do more. -Loris Malaguzzi
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Krista Mills
Lead Teacher/Pre-K
I have been teaching for about 8 years, and have taught infants through pre-k, and am excited to teach pre-k at Open Minds! I have my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University. I am a mother of two wonderful kids, Kevin and Kaelyn Belle. They are nerdy, funny and sweet kids that are in 2nd and 5th grade. I got married about a year ago to a great guy named David. We have two dogs named Zelda and Leia that are a lot of fun. I love Disney, comics and coffee!I love to read fantasy/fairy tale stories with a nice cup of coffee. I also love being creative by drawing and painting. I just bought a new home so I’ve had a lot of fun taking old furniture and making it new. Favorite Things: (Fairytale) Beauty and the Beast (Comic Hero) SpiderGwen (Drink) Caramel Soy Chai (Color) Yellow (Hobby)Painting/Coloring (Food) Queso and Chips
The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see. -Alexandra Trenfor
Quote that guides my teaching style
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Lou Atagi
Lifetime Sports Instructor
Sports and large motor skills are an integral part of a child’s development, teaching teamwork, large motor coordination, and hand-eye coordination. Each month I help students learn the rules, scoring, and technique of a different sport and movements. Sports include but not limited to yoga, soccer, golf, and tennis. I have an Associates of Science in Biology from Allen County Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Education – Sport Science, with an emphasis in Pre-physical therapy from KU and a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from University of Kansas Medical Center.
There are two great days in a person's life. The day we are born and the day we discover why. -William Barclay
Quote that guides my teaching style
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