Solange Silva – Director

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.

Martha Cardenas – Baby Roos

My name is Martha Cardenas, and I am the infant teacher here, at The Ark Early Learning Center, and I have been here since June 2021. I have worked in childcare for almost four years and am currently working towards my certification through Merit/Successful Solutions.

I have two amazing children, ages 14 and 6 -years old of age.  Aside from spending time with my family, we enjoy camping and being outdoors.

Christina Ribeiro – Ducklings

Christina is an Assistant  Teacher (acting as a Duckling Teacher).  Christina received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education  from Escola Superior Aberta do Brasil. She is  passionate about education for as long as she can remember. She is creative and enjoys  creating unique and inventive solutions to solve daily challenges that comes up in classroom.                                                                                         

Christina has over 10 years of experience working in education in Brazil,  and one year in the USA working with infants and toddlers. Christina’s first language is Portuguese, however, she also speaks English and understands Spanish.

Goma Dhakal – Bear Cubs

My name is Goma Dhakal and I have been here at The Ark Early Learning Center since March 2021, teaching young children. Prior to that, I have previously worked as a teacher in secondary school for 8 years in Nepal.

I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and a master’s degree in educational planning management. I plan on continuing my path in the preschool field.

I have been happily married for 22 wonderful years and have 2 sons (ages 21 and 16). I enjoy hiking, cooking and gardening, as well exploring the beauty of the nature outdoors.

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.

Shilpa Uppara – Lions

Shilpa  in the teacher of the Lions class. Shilpa received her Bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Dharwad (India) and worked for three years with young children in India teaching science and regional language; she also volunteered in Bellevue-WA as an Assistant Teacher in nonprofit organizations. She have personal experience caring for her two children (8 and 11 years old) and extended family. On her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing, traveling and exploring.

Shilpa is really passionate about working with younger children and get enjoyment from watching the children learn and grow. Being part of their education and growth is exciting!

Emily Jones – Horses

Emily is the teacher of the Horses’ Class. The Horses Class is the older preschool classroom with children preparing to enter Kindergarten in 2023. Emily has worked in several industries but finds early childhood education deeply compelling – and fun! She started this career path with the wonderful staff and families of The Ark in 2016.

Emily has a 2009 bachelor’s in digital technology and culture from Washington State. She completed Washington’s Initial Early Childhood Education State Certificate and aspires to pursue an online master’s program with Portland State University in the coming years.

Emily has been in Bellevue for nine years. She’s deeply enjoying this opportunity to help God’s children learn and grow at The Ark.

Neetha Ramamurthy – Assistant Teacher

My name is Neetha and I am an assistant teacher at the Ark Early Learning Center. I started as a substitute teacher in February 2020 and have transitioned to the assistant role from September 2021. 

I moved to the US after marriage and have made the wonderful Pacific Northwest my home from almost a decade. I have two adorable kids that are my stress busters and my stress too (lol). We enjoy hiking, camping and exploring together on road trips.

I have a Bachelors degree in Telecommunication Engineering and have volunteered as a teaching assistant in various non profit organizations in India and the US. I enjoy working with kids and it gives me immense pleasure to learn more and grow with them.

Solange Silva – Director