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The Kelly Early Education Center

Every child deserves access to high-quality early education to meet their full potential. Casa de los Niños is committed to making this resource affordable and accessible to all families.

About the Kelly Early Education Center

The Kelly Early Education Center serves up to 100 infants and children between 6 weeks and 5 years old! We are located on the campus of Casa de los Niños at 328 East Helen Street between 4th and 5th

Interested in Learning More or Have Questions?

Give Us A Call: 520-344-6678

The Kelly Early Education Center accepts DES subsidy!

A Day at the EEC!

April lessons were all about springtime, where our students gardened, planted seeds, learned about the lifecycle of a plan, and even hatched real-live butterflies from caterpillars! Our students learned a lot about insects and the natural world, which were all part of our Earth Day activities!

In May we will continue our studies of caterpillars and butterflies, and some of our classes will be taken out into space as we begin to explore other planets in our social system.

Meet our Teachers

Meghan Briceland

Center Director

I am so happy to be here at the Kelly Early Education Center! Although I started out as a fifth grade teacher for TUSD, I have been working with and teaching children in some capacity for the last eleven years. After five years of working with Elementary students I decided I needed a change in pace and switched to working with infants and one year olds, and I haven’t looked back! I have my undergraduate degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Spanish, and my Masters Degree in Elementary Education. In my free time I enjoy being out in nature, reading, going to the movies, playing video games, and trying new recipes! We have had the opportunity to do some amazing things here at the center, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for our amazingly dedicated staff and wonderful families.

Emily Gallardo

Assistant Director

Hello! My name is Emily Gallardo and I am Assistant Director for Kelly Early Education Center! I hold a degree in Early Childhood Education and am currently continuing my education at University of Arizona. Prior to coming to Casa de Los Niños, I worked as a preschool teacher and Director for another local non-profit out of Amphi School District. I am passionate about creating meaningful and magical connections, environments and experiences for our students that grow and foster their love of learning. In my spare time I enjoy reading, running and yoga, and traveling and exploring with my daughter Eliza. I am so proud to be part of the Casa team!

Luz Inzunza

Food Service Coordinator

I have been working in childcare for 22 years as an infant and toddler teacher! I love seeing the children grow and learn new things. Recently I was offered a position as a Food Service Coordinator for Casa at Kelly! I have always loved cooking for my family and friends, and now I get to do it for our students! My dream is to go to culinary school in the future!

Tania Rueda

Ones/Twos Teacher - Jungle Room

I am 39 years old and the proud mom of three beautiful children. I have been in the early education field for almost seven years, working in Mexico as well as here in Tucson. I work with the one-year-old students in our Jungle Room here at Kelly! I love being a part of Casa de los Ninos and being able to contribute a small part to all the good Casa does for our children and the community. Working in early childcare is such a fun, heart-warming and rewarding adventure, every day.

Phyllis Zapor

Ones Teacher - Penguin Room

I’m the youngest of four and am a native Tucsonan. I have been teaching in early education for 38 years and have been at the Kelly Early Education Center since the month before we opened in May 2019! I love what I do because the rewards are priceless. I’m currently teaching the one year olds, for now their favorite things to do are reading every book we can find, all types of art, dancing, swaddling, and rocking babies and anything that involves water and/or bubbles.

Among my favorite things to do away from work is spending time with Penny, my great niece who is two. I also enjoy cooking, BBQing, swimming laps, gardening (in pots), reading, going to church, spending time with family, yeah for vaccines, and traveling with my sister. I love penguins, giraffes, and yellow butterflies.

My favorite place to visit is Canada where my mom was born. I’m working on getting an official dual-citizenship with Canada, which I can have because my mom was born there.

I love working for Casa de los Niños, the people are wonderful. I experienced their kindness first-hand when we were so short staffed the first fall/winter and so many volunteered their time to help with breaks. Men and women came to read books, help with nap time, and shared their love for what we do to enrich our families’ lives. That is why I love being part of Casa de los Niños.

Natayjah Murrieta

Ones Teacher - Penguin Room

I am so proud to have finally found a work environment that I can call home! I have been working with children for about 10 years and it is my true passion to teach and learn from their young minds. I enjoy cooking every night for my family. My favorite place to visit is the mountains and I love camping and anything outdoors. I am also a diehard Green Bay Packer  fan! I went to Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas on a softball scholarship. I look forward to excelling my career at Casa de los Niños and to help children grow each day.

Mariza Lopez

Infants Teacher - Baby Bunny Room

My name is Mariza Willem Lopez. I graduated from University at Escuela Normal del Estado de Sonora as a Preschool Teacher in 1985. I have always loved working with children. I like providing a safe and secure environment which allows them to thrive and be themselves. I love my babies! I love everything about working with infants and I learn from them every day.  At home I have lots of pets! I have chickens, pheasants, turtles and a dog! I like to go bike riding and hiking, and I love the beach.

Chonice Sauls

All Age Groups

I work in all of the classrooms with all age groups! I am so excited to work for Casa de los Ninos. I have worked with children ages 0-12 years of age for over 20 years! Working with children has reminded me how amazing and exciting the world can be. Children encourage me to use my imagination and find new creative ways to do things. It’s such a privilege to play a role in children’s lives during their vital first five years.

I am a mother to a 16 year old son named Darius. In my spare time I love to shop and read suspense novels!

Joselin Tamayo

Five/Pre-K Teacher - Bumblebee Room

I teach our Pre-K students in the Bumblebee Room! I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in community education. Go Wildcats! I have a 2-year-old son who keeps me on my feet and makes my days extra fun and adventurous! I really enjoy spending time with my family and my loved ones having a great time.

Zelia Mata

Administrative Assistant

My Name is Zelia I am a born and raised Tucson Native. I’ve been with Casa de los Niños  for a little over 2 years, as the administrative assistant, and I love working with my children and their families. In my free time I love spending time with children and making memories.

Celene Galaviz

Ones/Twos Teacher - Jungle Room

My name is Celene Galaviz. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been working with children for almost 20 years, between Mexico and Tucson. Being part of Casa de los Niños is a wonderful experience. I love teaching my kiddos in the Jungle Room and supporting everything that Kelly does for our children and our community.

Bertha Taylor

Threes Teacher - Caterpillar Room

My name is Bertha Taylor. I have been at the Kelly Early Education Center for 4 years. I am a three year old teacher. I graduated from Central Arizona College, where I also plan on continuing my education. My biggest goal is to continue teaching, and making a difference in children’s lives. I enjoy watching the children learn, grow, and participate throughout the day’s activities.

Lily Ochoa

Threes Teacher - Caterpillar Room

My name is Reyna L. Ochoa, but I go by the nickname Lily. I was born in Sonora Mexico. Ever since I was a kid I loved to teach, so when I grew up I became a teacher. I have a Bachelor’s in Preschool Education and a Masters Degree in Education. I have a husband and a beautiful daughter. I have many hobbies, but the ones I love most are: being around nature, walking, yoga, hiking, and reading books. I love to learn, laugh, spend time with my family, dancing, exploring, trying new things, and enjoying this beautiful life.

Paula Lopez

Fours Teacher - Butterfly Room

Hi there, my name is Paula Lopez. I have been living in Arizona for 30 years. When I was finished with high school, I knew I wanted to work with kids. I volunteered for Robert’s Elementary School. I started working with preschoolers first with my nieces and nephews at home. My professional work started at Sandbox in 2015. I really enjoy the outdoors with a good coffee! I would love to finish my early childhood classes and to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I’ve been going to school for 15 years!

Geovana Lopez

Infants Teacher - Baby Bunny Room

My name is Geovana Lopez, I have been working as an early education provider for the past 16 years. I started at Kelly Early Education center in 2019. I love working with the little ones, teaching them, and caring for them as best as I can.  In my spare time I spend time with my family, my husband and my three beautiful children. I look forward to spending and contributing more of my time with the lovely community of Tucson.

Anna Valenzuela

Infants Room/ Substitute Teacher

My name is Ana Valenzuela, I have been working in the early education field for the past 10 years. I really enjoy spending time with my students, teaching them and growing with them as each day goes by. On my spare time I keep busy by spending time with my beautiful family. I am looking forward to learning and growing as an educator to keep serving these students for many years to come.

Perla Garay

Infants Room/ Floater/ Substitute Teacher

My name is Perla Garay, I have been working in early education for the past 11 years. I have been at Casa de los Niños for almost a year and I have enjoyed every minute of it. In my spare time I like to enjoy my beautiful family, my husband, my son and daughter. I practice my singing and everything else that I love.

Kristin Taylor

Twos Teacher - Science Lab

My name is Kristin Taylor. I am 50 years old and a proud mom of 2 teenage boys. I have been in the early education field for fourteen years. Prior to working in early education, my experiences include working at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind and the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf.  I have experience working with deaf, blind and developmentally delayed children and adults. I am fluent in American Sign Language and enjoy sharing that knowledge with my students. I currently teach two-year-old students in the Science Lab at Kelly Early Education Center. I truly enjoy working with the team here at Casa and being able to contribute to all of the wonderful things Casa is doing for Tucson’s children and communities.

Marisol Gastelum

Twos Teacher - Science Lab

My name is Marisol Gastelum I am a proud mommy to my beautiful daughter. I have been in the early education field for 6 years and have worked with many age groups – specifically birth-three. I currently teach 2-year-old students in the Science Lab room at Kelly EEC. I love being part of Casa de Los Niños and being able to contribute a small part to all the good Casa does for our children and community. Working in early childcare has been such an amazing and heartwarming experience .

Kacy Hylton

Five/Pre-K Teacher - Bumblebee Room

Tour the EEC

Thank you Stone Canyon Community Foundation and Tucson Electric Power for supporting the Kelly Early Education Center