Mary Gray- Owner
I began my career in 1995 working as a preschool teacher. There I realized that this was the path for me; it is not only rewarding, but where I truly felt fulfilled. I have an expansive education and research background in Childcare Business, Positive Guidance, and a multitude of child development classes. Having adopted the High Reach Curriculum, I have also studied Reggio Amelio, Montessori, Waldorf, and High Scope philosophies. My devotion to children and background in Childhood Development translated into opening Exploring, Learning, and Fun in 2006. I am happily married with three daughters, and enjoy good food, going to the beach and spending time with family.
Sandra Fuentes- Lead Teacher
My name is Sandra and I am the lead infant teacher. I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children ages 16, 14, and 10 so I know the importance of seeing children grow and develop. Over the past 11 years, I have been working with children ranging in ages from infant through Pre-K. Not only have I enjoyed working with each age group, but this is truly my path and passion. I have been with E.L.F since October of 2016 and I have had such a great time watching these children explore new things, use their imagination, and exceed their educational milestones. I am excited to see what the future holds for all of the beautiful children here at E.L.F.
On my own time, I enjoy spending time with family, going to soccer games, and shopping!
Lauren Janish- Lead Teacher
Hi! My name is Lauren Janish and I am excited to be part of the E.L.F family! This is my fourth year in the early childhood field. I love teaching young children and seeing the learning and exploring we get to have! Prior to teaching, I was in the rental property management field for 10 years and found my passion working with children.
I have an Associate’s in General Studies from Northern Virginia Community College and a Childhood Development Associate Certificate from Rasmussen College. Currently, I am enrolled in Old Dominion University and anticipate graduating in spring of 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Human Services. My teaching philosophy is one that integrates the whole child’s development. I believe it’s important that children are respected as individuals, viewed as capable of their own learning, and that children feel safe and nurtured in the learning environment. It’s important that children feel valued and loved while in my class. Each child is unique and the curriculum is tailored to each individual child’s needs and developmental milestones. I’m excited to be a part of your child’s journey at the E.L.F school.
When I am not around children, I enjoy reading and spending time with my daughter. I am an animal lover and love spending time with our family pets- a bearded dragon named Travis, 2 leopard geckos and 2 guinea pigs named Thoreau and Emerson.
Chit Charvet- Assistant Teacher
Hello, my name is Chit Charvet. I am proud to be a part of E.L.F. since 2010 working with the infants, toddlers, and preschool group. I was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 1999. When motherhood came around in year 2000 I enjoyed every moment of being a stay-at-home mom. I came to realize then that my pride and joy lies in child-rearing in their early developmental years which opened up a door for me to run my own childcare service at home in 2004. Having been around children all the time inspired me to write and illustrate a children's book which got published in 2009. Since then I have committed to cultivate my passion by taking online certifications in early childhood development, volunteering in children's ministry in the summertime, and teaching art to children part-time.
I am happily married and a mother of two wonderful children, and I enjoy spending time with my family, painting, photography, and watching fantasy and science fiction movies.
Emily McCoy- Assistant Teacher
My name is Emily and I am new to ELF this year. I have loved working with children since I was a little girl. I began working with children from the age of 11 within my community and later working professionally in childcare by the age of 15. I worked at a preschool in Annapolis, Maryland for two years as a teachers aide. From my sophomore to senior year of high school, I participated in my schools Early Childhood Education Completer Program. I was in charge of running a preschool class, and lesson planning three days a week. Childcare is what I am passionate about; and my end goal is to become a pediatric nurse. I am so excited to continue working with your children!
Dawn Donnelly- Substitute Teacher
Hi! I am originally from England and have been married to my husband for 20 years. I have two beautiful children ages 17 and 14. I have worked in early education for 10 years now and love every minute of it! My passion is helping children and watching them grow. My favorite subject is "ocean", my favorite book is "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", and my favorite song is "Slippery Fish".
I cant wait to be a part of your child's life!
Maragaret Flis- Lead Teacher
Hi! My name is Margaret Flis. I’ve had a lifelong love of children starting with my nieces and nephews (I have 11 of them!), babysitting as a teenager and though out my adult life, having a child of my own, and now, leading a Daisy Girl Scout troop. I also enjoy volunteering in Fairfax County Schools whenever possible. I look forward to the opportunity to get to know your children and help him explore the world around them!
Susan Kandhiraj- Lead Teacher
Hello my name is Susan and I am the Pre-K teacher at E.L.F. I have been working with children what seems like my whole life!! I come from a large family and so there have always been children around. I have been working in preschools for about nine years from infants onto kindergarten. At every age group I find that the children are able to be taught something that they will take with them throughout their life. I hold a bachelor’s degree in education and a masters in administration.
I have two crazy kids who I love very much, my son is nine and my daughter is twelve. They keep me very busy and always help me to learn new things. It is through them that I’m often able to bring new ideas and perspectives to the classroom. I also have a pet cat named Samoa and a plethora of fish around our home! In my free time I enjoy reading, baking, hiking, running, spending time with my family and finding new places to explore in Virginia.