Our Staff

Solange Silva – Director

Solange has worked at the Ark since 2007 as the Horses teacher for 8 years. In 2017 she was invited to become The Ark’s new director, as Jan, our founder and former director for 25 years goes into retirement.  She has an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Bellevue College.  She also has a Law degree and worked in Brazil as a lawyer and property manager.

In her free time she enjoys shopping, cooking Brazilian food, and photography.  Solange’s first language is Portuguese, however, she also speaks English and understands Spanish.




Janet DePooter- Assistant Director

Janet has loved working with children all her life.  When she lived in Georgia, she was the administrative assistant for a Christian preschool for almost five years.  She enjoyed getting to know the children and their families.  Later on, she worked again for a Christian preschool, this time a full time program.  She started as a teacher, but soon she was the assistant director.  She worked there for over five years.  She and the director worked hard to have a quality program that would make a difference in many lives.  She wants to see children that are actively engaged in learning!  Janet and her husband have two daughters.  In her spare time, Janet enjoys tennis, church activities and walking her dog, Lady.





 Christina George Joseph – Roos

My name is Christina, and I was born and raised in a beautiful union territory in India. I moved to Bellevue around the end of 2015 after my marriage, and I live here with my husband and my sweet little princess. I have a bachelor’s degree in science (majors in Chemistry, minored in Math) and a Bachelor of Education degree (majors in Physical Science). I have been a teacher for 5+ years in India teaching elementary and middle school level students. I have always had a great passion for teaching kids, and being an child’s advocate. Helping each one to realize his own potential adds more joy to my life and keeps me lit and motivated to be a teacher.





Jihi Wing – Bear Cubs

My name is Jihi. I moved here 16 years ago from South Korea. I am married to a wonderful husband who is a Montessori Teacher. I have 2 Bachelor  Degrees, one in Physical Education & the other in Education. I taught Kindergarten in South Korea for 5 years. I have over 15 years of experience working with children here. I love working with children because they make me happy inside and put a smile on my face. In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing tennis and hiking.





Emily Jones – Ducks

Emily is the teacher of the Duckling Class. She has been at the Ark since 2016. She finished a Bachelor of Arts, Digital Technology and Culture degree, in 2009 from WSU and aspires to earn a second bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Emily has been in Bellevue for five years. She’s deeply enjoying this opportunity to help God’s children learn and grow at The Ark.






Nancy Petticord – Monkeys

Nancy Uribe Petticord is the teacher of the Monkey Class.  The Monkey Class is the older toddler class with children between the ages of 2 ½ to 3 ½ years of age.  Nancy has Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials and has worked as a child care teacher for more than 20 years.  She loves teaching young children and most of her experience is with toddlers.

Nancy is married and has 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren.  She loves to camp and travel. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, gardening and doing Zumba.




Faye Jones – Horses

Faye Jones has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Trenton State College in  New Jersey. She has taught preschool for more than 30 years and has experience working with infants through kindergarten.

She is a parent of two children, Brent and Cassidy. Faye also has four grandchildren. She enjoys many arts and crafts, camping, reading, and swimming. In her spare time she babysits, paints murals and does face painting for parties.




Mariya Kugler – Assistant

Mariya Kugler has been a Teacher’s Assistant at the Ark since 2015

She has over 16 years’ professional experience training both adults and children as coach for swimming and diving. She has University Physical Culture, Diploma. Mariya loves the staff and children at The Ark. She was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and now she is a citizen of USA. She has been married long time. She has one daughter and 3 grandchildren. Mariya likes cooking, reading books and swimming.





Beth Meyers – Assistant

My name is Beth Meyers and I am an assistant teacher here. I have always loved working with kids of all ages, but I especially enjoy my time with the young ones like the ones at The Ark. I studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Hawaii but moved back to Washington to be close to friends and family. In my free time I enjoy beach volleyball, swimming and baking. I am very excited to be a part of the community here and cannot wait for the fun days ahead with the kids and the staff!