Meet Our Staff

  • Director - Samantha Cohen
  • Assistant Director - Letcie Torres

Samantha Cohen
I joined the Kiddieland ECE family in June of 2014 as a Lead Teacher at the Cicero location. Luckily, I was recruited to embark on a new journey at Kiddieland ECE II as the Director. Kiddieland ECE has beautiful facilities and follows the Reggio Emilia Approach in which I have grown to love. Watching the Approach unfold within the classrooms and making the facility a family involved place of learning, is truly phenomenal. I am passionate about teaching children and have been a school teacher for the past 11 years. I graduated from DePaul University and have taught pre-school through 5th grade in both Chicago Public Schools as well as a Charter School. Although teaching students has been my passion, I look forward continuing the relationships I build with new families during this exciting journey as we witness the student's growth.

Letcie Torres
I joined Kiddieland ECE in December 2014 as a teacher in the Little Explorers Classroom at the Cicero Avenue location. I am a proud mother of two children of my own and two stepchildren. I studied Child Development in Puerto Rico where I obtained my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential and continued studying Early Childhood Education at St. Augustine College. I have been an infant/toddler teacher for 5 years. I am honored to be a part of the Kiddieland team and excited to be the Assistant Director at the new facility.

  • Lead Teacher - Allison Lewis
  • Teacher - Marija Jevtic
  • Co-Teacher - Ruby Valdez
  • Co-Teacher - Cathy Perez

Allison Lewis
I joined the Kiddieland ECE family in July and was so excited to start in the Junior Scholars classroom. I have moved now to lead our Learning Bambini classroom. I have a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Welch College. I have worked with children for several years in various environments including a daycare, after school programs, and in my church. I love helping children discover the world around them by using their senses during different experiences. I enjoy nurturing a love of books in little ones by reading wonderful stories out loud to them. Children are naturally curious about everything and I count it as a privilege to have the opportunity to help them find the answers.

Marija Jevtic
I have recently joined the Kiddieland ECE II family in September 2016. I graduated from high school in Serbia, completed my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, and am currently attending Oakton Community College to receive my Associate's Degree in Nursing. Throughout my life I have dedicated a lot of my time to taking care of children and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. I have 6 years of experience in childcare starting off as a nanny and almost 9 years working with children in general. I am dedicated to the social and emotional development of each child and make it my goal to make sure every child receives the best care and love they all deserve!

Ruby Valdez
I joined Kiddieland ECE II in March 2016. I am very happy to be a part of Kiddieland as I have worked with children for the past 14 years of my life. I am also a proud parent of my daughter who is now a teenager. I have worked in the CPS school system, a home daycare, and as a private nanny. I look forward to pursuing my education in Early Childhood and working with all of the families at Kiddieland!

Cathy Perez
I am excited to begin my new adventure at Kiddieland ECE II in the Learning Bambini classroom with the infants. I look forward to building new relationships with the infants, parents, and staff! I have a beautiful 7 year old daughter and love working with kids! In the past, I have worked with children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old where I was able to build great relationships with the children and parents! I also care for children at my church’s nursery and have done so since 2013.

  • Lead Teacher - Jennifer Espinoza
  • Teacher - Jasmine Llenas
  • Co-Teacher - Evelyn Garcia

Jennifer Espinoza
I joined Kiddieland ECE in November 2015. I am so excited to be a part of the Kiddieland family, and even more thrilled to be the Lead Teacher in the Little Explorers Classroom. I grew up on the North Side of Chicago and I have always been a volunteer at the Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club. I quickly realized my passion for caring, helping, and teaching younger children. I pursued my Degree in Early Childhood from Triton University. I have been working in the early childhood education field for 4 years now and I am ecstatic to continue doing so here! I am a big kid at heart and I believe that is an important trait that helps me be a great teacher!

Jasmine Llenas
I began at Kiddieland ECE II in March 2017. My passion for dance led me to this desire to inspire and teach children the importance of movement and music. As a dance teacher, I believe in the Arts as an essential part of anyone’s development and I am excited to share my philosophy at Kiddieland ECE II. My background is composed of being a performing artist with the Ballet Manila Company in the Philippines, where I also taught children’s Ballet and Creative Movement classes. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology, completed my Child Development Associate (CDA) in August 2017, and I am currently seeking a degree in Dance Education. While my love for the Arts continues to grow, I also find ways to keep in touch with nature as it is my source of inspiration to move and dance. I look forward to inspire and motivate your child in reaching their potential here at Kiddieland ECE II.

Evelyn Garcia
I joined the Kiddieland ECE II team in May 2017 and am so happy to be here! I knew I had a true passion for working with children when I volunteered at my church as a Sunday School teacher. I am currently enrolled at Harold Washington College, working towards an Early Childhood Education Degree. I am excited to teach and care for the children all while building close relationships with the parents, this will be a great adventure!

  • Lead Teacher - Diana Sandoval
  • Co-Teacher - Anissa Alvarado

Diana Sandoval
I joined the Kiddieland ECE family in February 2017. I am so thrilled to have started in the Kinder Foundation classroom. I have always loved children and discovered my passion to teach when I started to volunteer at Casa Central. I always say, if you want to teach young children, you need to really have the love and passion to be around them and reach their needs. I am currently attending Truman College to obtain my Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in May 2017. Then, I plan to move on to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree at National Louis University. I am so excited to have this opportunity to be part of the Kiddieland team and I look forward to working with your children!

Anissa Alvarado
I started at Kiddieland ECE II in August of 2017. I previously worked as a teacher's assistant at a Montessori preschool before joining Kiddieland. I really enjoyed working in a Montessori environment because I was able to watch my students grow as individuals and help them grow as well. I am excited to learn and observe the Reggio Emilia approach in helping students grow as individuals. My goal is to eventually open my own child care center and use my experience from the development of a child through both of these styles of education.

  • Lead Teacher - Katarzyna Tracz
  • Co-Teacher - Krystal Curet

Katarzyna Tracz
I have been a part of the Kiddieland ECE II family since October of 2015 and am thrilled to be a part of this amazing team! I have studied at Purdue University and graduated from Dominican University majoring in English Literature, minoring in Social Justice & Civic Engagement. I just completed my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential in June 2017. I will be continuing my education and working towards a Master’s in Education Development. I look forward to leading the Kinder Foundation Classroom and being a part of your child’s growing experience here at Kiddieland.

Krystal Curet
I joined the Kiddieland ECE family in August 2015. I have two children of my own, whom I love more than anything. Working with children has always been a passion of mine, in fact one of my previous jobs was at the Chicago Park District caring for 2-3 year olds. I was also a nanny for children with special needs. I graduated from Wilbur Wright College with my Associate’s in Child Development. I plan on returning to pursue my Bachelor's. I cannot wait to work with your children and put my knowledge and dedication to work.

  • Lead Teacher - TBA
  • Food Preparation - Margarita Tapia
  • Cleaning Manager - Elsa Rodriguez

Margarita Tapia
I joined the Kiddieland ECE family at the Cicero location before beginning my new adventure here at the Belmont location this past summer. I am passionate about cooking and love being around children so this is a wonderful place for me! I am a proud mother and grandmother. I have two loving sons and a beautiful granddaughter who makes my life complete!

Elsa Rodriguez
I have been working with the Kiddieland ECE family since 2012 and have very much enjoyed being a part of their daily routines. It gives me great joy to prepare and cook meals along with maintain the beauty of Kiddieland ECE for the children. I have a child of my own, who is now older and out of the house and this is why I love having the opportunity to be around children on a daily basis.