Our Staff

Solange Picture


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 D


Janet DePooter- Assistant Director

Janet has loved working with children all her life.  It wasn’t until she was living in Hawaii that she got a chance to work in a preschool setting.  When she moved to Georgia, she was the administrative assistant for a Christian preschool for almost five years.  She enjoyed getting to know the children and their families.  It was a pleasure for her to go to work – there was always something new going on.  When she moved back to Georgia 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!  She looks forward to getting to know the families at the Ark better.

Janet and her husband have two daughters.  In her spare time, Janet enjoys tennis, church activities and walking her dog, Lady.


Mariya Kugler.jpg 

Mariya Kugler – Assistant

Mariya Kugler is 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.




Christina picture


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_2


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


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


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

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.



Sumi Arumugam


Sumi Arumugan – Lions

Sumi Arumugan is our Lions teacher. She was born and raised in a small town in India. She has been married for 9 years and lives with her husband and son in Redmond. Sumi has a Masters Degree in Sociology and a Diploma in Personality Development. Sumi worked as a Preschool Teacher in India and enjoyed every minute of it. She has always had a passion for working with children. Her goal is to make sure that each child receives the best care and love that they all deserve. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, painting, reading books, baking, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.




Selina's picture



Selina Sultana – Assistant

My name is Selina Sultana. I was born and brought up in Bangladesh. I have a Bachelor degree in Education and Bachelor & Masters Degree in Zoology from Bangladesh. I was a school teacher before I moved here 18 years ago. I love to spend my time with kids and always feel happy to see their smiley faces. I started working as a Teacher Assistant at the Ark to follow my passion. I live with my husband and son, and enjoy spending time with family and cooking Bangladeshi food.