Center Management

Candice Bailey

Executive Director of Step by Step and CEO of Early Learning Corporation. My journey began in the educational field in 2004. With my passion ignited, I purchased Under the Magic Pine Tree Childcare Center in South Lake Tahoe in 2006 to serve our beautiful community and its families. Still seeing a need in our area, I, along with my husband, founded Early Learning Corporation and opened Step by Step Early Learning and Childcare Center in 2017 and have been developing and improving its high-quality program ever since.

 

Education

 

I have a dual major Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Human Resources Management. I have completed coursework towards a Master's degree in Psychology and am continually enrolled in Early Childhood coursework to stay current in the field. I have a Program Director’s Permit. Some of my accomplishments include successfully owning and managing 2 quality childcare centers, being a board member with the Californians for Quality Early Learning, a childcare advocacy program; a member of the Local Planning Council of El Dorado and the Early Learning Consortium both which focus on planning the future of childcare; and a member of the Emergency Child Care Task Force during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

A quote that encompasses my teaching philosophy is, “Tell me and I may forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand” – Xunzi (Xun Kuang).

My favorite thing about working with children is experiencing their hope, curiosity, excitement, potential, and sense of accomplishment. I believe teaching and learning go hand in hand for all involved. It is an honor to be a part of so many children’s lives.

 

How I Spend My Time

 

My favorite way to spend time outside of work is with my family. We enjoy camping, traveling, and road trips. I also enjoy remodeling homes with my husband, and love to spend quiet time reading and gardening.

Michelle Pettit

As an Administrator for Early Learning Corporation dba Step by Step, I have been working behind the scenes since 2011 ensuring our business complies with Federal and State Agencies ever changing rules and regulations. I attend State held meetings that provide legal and regulatory information to child development centers and examine all the Provider Information Notices published by the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing. Not only do I ensure our business, files, documents and reports are in regulatory compliance; I also administer the Financial Assistance General Child Care and Development subsidy program for qualifying families.

 

Education

 

I have a Child Development Site Supervisor Permit and am a member of the American Society of Administrative Professionals. Over the course of my 30+ years career, I have completed countless Early Childhood Development and Business Administration classes, trainings and workshops to enhance my professional development and further my career. When my daughter was young, I owned and operated a licensed family childcare home out of my residence. When she got older, I closed the business and shifted to working in a center based childcare center for several years. In addition, I have over 15 years experience providing high level administrative support as an established Executive Assistant to highest level management including Presidents and Vice Presidents of large and medium sized corporate companies. 

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

I work in the classrooms and kitchen when there is a need. I enjoy being an advocate for children and no single day when around them is the same. They are energetic, honest and curious. Teaching children to think creatively is important so they can be successful in an ever-changing world. I believe reading aloud to children stimulates their imagination, helps them develop language, sharpens their listening skills, expands their understanding of the world and supports their cognitive development. I believe the more they are read to the better. Furthermore, I am motivated by children to be a better person. I like to live my life and lead by example. I strive to be a positive role model and hope it creates positive habits in children that can last a lifetime.

 

How I Spend My Time

 

I enjoy spending time with family, baking, cooking and doing arts and crafts with my granddaughter is always a treat. I appreciate a good entertaining movie whether it be drama, action, adventure, romantic comedy or a documentary. I wish I could spend more time traveling, going on road trips, exploring museums, taking photographs, soaking in views of awe-inspiring natural landscapes, and watching remarkable wildlife. As of 2020 my current gaming obsession is Animal Crossing New Horizons. Who wouldn’t want to escape to their very own island getaway.

Mireya Torres

Hello, my name is Mireya. You will typically find me at the door eager to greet you and welcome your children. I transition children safely from your care to their class and hopefully in a really good mood ready to start their school day. I also assist with a variety of administrative duties and am happy to help you find answers to questions you may have. I first started my childcare career at Under the Magic Pine Tree in 2013 with Candi and Dainer. I worked mostly with infant aged children during my time there and spent some time in the 1–2-year-olds classroom. I now have 2 kids of my own who have taught me more than I could have ever imagined, and they are the reason I am back in childcare.

 

Education

 

I have completed a few classes in early childhood education and am taking classes working towards my teaching permit. Eventually I hope to reach my long-term goal of obtaining a Child Development Site Supervisor Permit from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

I strongly believe that having a strong connection and good communication with children as well as with parents is key to child’s learning and advancing. It is important to implement and practice good morals and for young children to see adults in their life model that behavior. Children require a safe environment in which they feel comfortable to express themselves and learn. There is always an opportunity for learning in all aspects of life. Children have opportunities to learn daily at home, in the car, and at the grocery store as much as they do at school. It is our duty as parents and teachers to help facilitate that learning process. Allowing children to make mistakes as they learn and explore helps build their confidence and ignites curiosity. Children who are given the freedom to explore are filled with all types of knowledge that can lead to a bright and successful future. The most enjoyment I get out of teaching such young age groups is that they are just beginning to learn, and their possibilities are endless. They always make me smile and I see them do the cutest things as I watch them learn. I get to experience development milestones with the children and families, and I find that so fulfilling.

 

How I Spend My Time

 

I enjoy going on walks, listening to music, and in the summertime, I love being at the lake getting some sun with my kids.

Dainer Bailey

I am the President of Early Learning Corporation dba Step by Step Early Learning and Childcare Center. I handle the corporate, legal and contractual issues with running our childcare center. My only teaching experience was High School kids in a workforce development course over the course of several years for the Semiconductor industry. I have also cared for, taught, mentored and parented 4 kids of my own. I provide a calm reassuring interaction for children. I strive to be a positive male role model for children in our center.

 

Education

 

I have an engineering degree and certifications in Law Enforcement. I am a Cum Laude graduate.

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

There are no bad children! I believe that children’s behavior reflects things they experience in their lives. Sometimes they just need a little bit more love, attention and patience. My favorite thing about working with children and watching them learn is the astonishment and jubilation in their eyes when they finally understand something, and they feel proud and accomplished!

 

How I Spend My Time

 

I enjoy time with my family, wood working, relaxing at the lake, music, and classic cars.

Jenelle Bailey

I am an administrator with Step by Step. I primarily work in the office, but I also work in the kitchen and classrooms when needed. My main responsibility is reconciling our financials. I ensure all invoices, canceled checks and receipts are ready for inspection and audits. I am responsible for maintenance of vendor accounts billing and payments, and manage our Brightwheel app and help parents and teachers utilize the app. I have worked with this company since 2014 and have worked with every age group from infants to elementary students and working my way up from teacher’s aide to administrator.

 

Education

 

I have my Bachelors in Elementary Education and have completed many trainings over the years in Early Childhood Education. I have received a certificate of recognition for helping a child in need from Step by Step. I’ve graduated with my bachelor’s degree 2 years early with Summa Cum Laude honors and I am currently a National Merit Scholar. I have completed 4 months of student teaching in a 3rd grade classroom before graduating in 2020.

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

My teaching philosophy consists of making my students better people. I strongly believe in whole child education. This is accomplished through teaching children about life, providing them with social skills as well as the groundwork they need to succeed academically. The preschool years are the most important when it comes to foundational skills they need in life. Children are our future, and we need to prepare them for theirs. Children teach me more than I teach them. I admire the way they look at our world, and the spark of joy in their eye when they reach their goals even if that goal is being able to put on their shoes by themselves or later when they finally understand the math concept they were struggling with.

 

How I Spend My Time

 

I love to read, sew, and embroider, I also enjoy watching movies and spending time with my Fiancé and my family. Aside from that I enjoy hanging out with my dogs and chickens outside in the summertime.

Niki Jenkins

I discovered my love for teaching in 2007 when I shadowed a kindergarten class in an occupational program in high school. That is where I realized working with children was the career for me. In May of 2017 I started my journey with Step by Step. Over the past few years, I have worked with children ages 1 to 5 years old.  In 2020 I transitioned to the office where I can leverage what I learned as a teacher and implement those concepts administratively. As a member of our administration team, I spend most of my time supporting our staff. I help cover breaks, lunches  and substitute in classrooms as well as prepare food in the kitchen when needed.

 

Education

 

I am currently attending Lake Tahoe Community College and Saddleback community college to obtain my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I have already achieved my Associate Teacher Permit and I am working towards my Site Supervisor Permit. My overall goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.  I am CPR/ First aid certified and have had a CNA License.  

 

Teaching Philosophy

 

As a teacher I feel like children learn best while playing and having social interactions with not only their peers but with the adults closest to them. This type of socialization helps children with their vocabulary, social learning, and problem-solving skills. I think that it is important to start teaching our younger generation the tools they need to not only be independent but ways they can be successful in the future. 

 

How I Spend My Time

 

In my free time I love spending time with my family. I also love spending time outdoors with my daughter. We love taking walks in the forest and discovering new animals on our outings. I also enjoy singing, coloring, cooking, and gardening. The past few years I have learned that life is too precious, and it goes by too fast, so I try to cherish every moment and live them to the fullest.