Ashley Stokes (she/her/hers)

Executive Director

Ashley is thrilled to join the wonderful people at Chicago Children's House. She started teaching 0-5 year olds in 2011, as a Gymboree Play & Music teacher; teaching Music, Play & Learn, and School Skills classes. After Gymboree, she was a nanny, and then fell in love with Early Childhood Education.

 

She has a B.A. in Theater from the University of Notre Dame with a Minor in Anthropology. While in college, she worked with an ND Outreach program that brought workshops to local schools. She completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Classical Acting from the University of Houston in 2015, where she taught as a professor, while helping build curriculum for a local Children's Museum.

 

Ashley will obtain a Masters in Child Development with a concentration in Infancy and Administration from the Erikson Institute in Spring of 2022. She believes that children learn through play. Before a child learns what to learn, they learn how to learn. Children are intrinsically curious about the world they have been born into. Caregivers are protectors of this pivotal time in a child's life where the child learns to understand, connect, and discover themselves and their systems of being.

Chelsea Weidner (she/her/hers)

Center Director

Hello! Chelsea is excited to be joining Chicago Children’s House.  She has been working with children for most of her life, in a variety of settings.  Chelsea has been an Infant Daycare teacher, Sunday School and VBS teacher, Summer Camp Senior Counselor for families and children aged a few weeks to 18 years old, and Lead Afterschool teacher for a preschool/pre-k center and a grade school. Chelsea spent the summer of 2016 in Chicago with an internship at a pediatric therapy clinic.  It was during this time that she became fond of the city and working with families here.

 Originally from South Dakota, Chelsea moved to Chicago in 2017 to attend Erikson Institute. She recently graduated receiving her Master of Science in Child Development with a concentration in Administration.   Chelsea has a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Chelsea believes that every moment is a chance for children to develop communication, social, emotional, cognitive, and motor skills. As part of the administration team at CCH, she strives to create a space that is an extension of the home and provides every child with the support and care they need. She is thrilled to get to know everyone in the CCH community!

Erica Medina

Curriculum Manager

Bio to come!

Maddie Acre (she/her/hers)

Toddler Teacher since 2020

I love to sing, watch movies and watch people smile. Since I was a little girl being a teacher is something that I have always desired to be. I am currently enrolled in online courses where my end goal is to receive my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. My passion has always been to give children the best that I have everyday. I know that this is what they need to grow. If you tell them that they can reach the stars and beyond, then they will! The unlocked potential that I see when I look at children is the reason I want to be apart of their growth in every aspect: cognitive, socially, emotionally, and physically. I know that here, I will be able to give these children my very best so that they can flourish into their most beautiful form. 

Vanessa Acre (she/her/hers)

Toddler Teacher since 2020

Hello! I love spending time with my family, watching movies, and going on adventures. I’ve  worked with children all of my life, from taking care of my siblings when we were younger,  to babysitting, to teaching children Sunday school classes. I’ve always had a heart for kids but my passion really began when I became a nanny 6 years ago! Watching this child grow and learn new things everyday was so fascinating to me. Since then I’ve wanted to be in environment where I aided in the growth children in all aspects and so I am currently enrolled in ECE classes to do just that! I’m so excited to join the CCH team and begin this journey.

Ash Carnesecchi (she/her/hers)

PreK Assistant Teacher since 2021

My name is Ash! I use she/they pronouns. I am 19, a junior at DePaul studying computer science, and I love to play video games! My favorite food is lasagna, and I love to eat fruit. I was a swimmer in high school, and it is still my favorite activity. I'm so excited to get to know the CCH community more!

Tijuana Finney (she/her/hers)

Pre-K Teacher since 2020

Bio coming soon!

Vanessa Garcia
(she/her/hers)

Toddler Teacher since 2022

Hello, my pronouns are she/ her. I am exited to get to know you and work with you to provide a fun and safe environment for your little ones.

Marsheka Jones
(she/her/hers)

PreK Teacher since 2021

Hi, my name is Marsheka Jones and I am so excited to work with you. I've been working in the childcare field for 7 years now. I love all the learning activities, fun games, and new experiences I get to have with the children. I attended one of Chicago City Colleges with a focus in Child Development and I have a degree in Business Fundamentals. In addition to teaching, I am a mother, an entrepreneur, and am currently working on a children's book. I love my son, cooking competition shows, seafood, suspense movies and reading self-improvement books.

Reilly McNamara
(they/them)

Toddler Assistant Teacher since 2021

I am a positive, friendly person, with a passion for history, pop culture, helping people, and sharing knowledge and understanding. Learning about other people’s interests and getting to appreciate them is one of their favorite things to do. I also enjoy reading, writing, making art, listening to music, and playing video games!
Nowadays, I’m very much looking forward to working at CCH!

Norma Perez (she/her/hers)

Infant Assistant Teacher since 2019

Hi Everyone! I was born and raised in Chicago. I am a mother of four wonderful children; 9,14,15, and 16. I have 3 years experience working in a daycare setting. I began my love for children as a mother and have continued as a teacher of infants. Each age group comes with its own milestones and I am so thankful to be at Chicago Children's House where I get to learn from the infants as much as they learn from me. Thanks for the opportunity!

Jehan Sbeih (she/her/hers)

Preschool Teacher since 2022

Joy Sederberg
(she/her/hers)

Preschool Teacher since 2022

Jayla Sheppard
(she/her/hers)

Older Infant Assistant Teacher since 2021

Hello! Working with children is my passion and I am currently completing my CDA. I’m going to be going to back to school in the fall to obtain a degree in English with EC Econcentration. I hope to have my own daycare one day. I am excited to be a new member of CCH!

Laura Taylor (she/her/hers)

Infant Teacher since 2020

Hello my name is Laura Taylor, I am from the west side of Chicago. I went to Roberto Clemente High School. After high school I went to Governor State University but later transferred to Kishwaukee College. I have a degree in Applied Science and I also have my CNA license. I am currently working on my degree in ECE. I have over 5 years of experience with working in children. I also love working with children; I hope one day to become a Director of a center or a Principal.

Mariaelena Terrones-Vallejo (she/her/hers)

Preschool Assistant Teacher since 2021

Hello my name is Laura Taylor, I am from the west side of Chicago. I went to Roberto Clemente High School. After high school I went to Governor State University but later transferred to Kishwaukee College. I have a degree in Applied Science and I also have my CNA license. I am currently working on my degree in ECE. I have over 5 years of experience with working in children. I also love working with children; I hope one day to become a Director of a center or a Principal.

Holden Thomas (he/them)

Toddler Assistant Teacher since 2020

I am Chicago born and raised writer and educator. I have experience with artist lead projects for children of all ages at art institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art and Steppenwolf Theatre. I have a special interest in LGBT+ history curriculum for children and am currently attending school for mortuary sciences, hoping to work in the industry to make it more accessible to everyone.

Yaneliz Velez (she/her/hers)

Older Infant Teacher since 2020

I am Puerto Rican and Mexican. I have been working with children for about 7 years now. I have my Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. I speak Spanish and English. When I am not hanging out with your kiddos, I am at home reading a book, dancing, cooking, or baking I do not have any children of my own but I do have 2brothers (17,11) and a cat. I look forward to spending time with your children and working as a team with everyone.

Chloe Williams (she/her/hers)

Toddler Teacher since 2020

 Hello, my name is Chloe Williams and I am very excited to be a part of this CCH journey. I am 30 years old and have been working with children since I was 16. I have a passion and recently received my Child Development Associates as an infant/ toddler teacher. I am currently still in school to receive my degree in Education. Outside of work, I am  a dance instructor at my church and teach the youth praise dancers.

Kait Zini
(they/them)

Infant Assistant Teacher since 2021

I am a recent graduate of the Genderand Women’s Studies program at UIC. I have a passion for child care, and started taking care of children at the age of eight when my first nephew was born. I have four wonderful nephews and nieces that they are incredibly proud of! In the past, I have nannied, babysat and worked as a labor organizer. In the future, I hope to be certified as a doula to help other trans and LGBTQIA+ people become parents.