Our teachers are the best

Our staff members are carefully selected based on educational qualifications and experience in the field of early childhood education. Equally as important is a loving and genuine interest in young children. Continual staff development is mandatory and accomplished through university/college coursework, workshops, conferences, and in-service training.

All teachers must complete 18 hours of annual training in accident/emergency procedures, recognition of illness, nutrition, child abuse detection, reporting, and prevention, safety, program administration, infant and child growth and development, observation and assessment, developmentally appropriate practice, child guidance and discipline to meet Arizona Department of Health Services Childcare Licensing Requirements.

All staff members must have current CPR and First Aid cards.  All staff members are fingerprinted, and background checks are conducted through the Arizona Department of Public Safety. 

God’s Garden is the Christian Preschool serving families in Ahwatukee and the Foothills and is licensed and regulated by the State of Arizona.


Our incredible staff of teachers

Ms. Maxine

Teaches: 4’s M-F 

Position: Co-Lead Teacher

Background:  Ms. Maxine has over 10 years of experience working with young children.

Interests/Hobbies: Maxine loves spending time with her family.  They like to hike, travel, and go bowling. Maxine once got to escort the Queen of England when she worked for the Channel Tunnel in England!

Years at God’s Garden: 3

Ms. Julia

Teaches: 4’s M-F

Position: Co-Lead Teacher

Background: Ms. Julia has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling. 

Interests/Hobbies: She enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and loves helping others.  

Years at God’s Garden: 5

Ms. Deb

Teaches: 4’s MWF and Stay and Play

Position: Teacher’s Assistant

Background: Ms. Deb has has been an educator for over 20 years. She has worked with children of a variety of ages including preschool through 3rd grade but working with Pre-K students is truly her passion. 

Interests/Hobbies:  Ms. Deb has been happily married to her high school sweetheart, Pat, for 35 years! She has two beautiful daughters and 3 grandchildren.  She enjoys spending time with them. 

Years at God’s Garden:  3

Ms. Claudie

Teaches: 3’s MWF 

Position: Lead Teacher

Background: Ms. Claudie has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Social Sciences.  Working on completing her Child Development Associate Credential.  

Interests/Hobbies: Ms. Claudie enjoys reading, traveling, and going to the movies.  

Years at God’s Garden:  15

Ms. Christine

Teaches: 3’s MWF

Position: Teacher’s Assistant

Background: Ms. Christine has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education

Interests/Hobbies: She enjoys running, working out, cooking/baking, walking my dog and spending time with my family and friends. 

Years at God’s Garden: 10

Ms. Abby

Teaches: 2’s MWF and T/TH

Position: Lead Teacher

Background: Ms. Abby has several years of experience working with young children, including children with special needs.  

Interests/Hobbies: Ms. Abby enjoys reading, swimming, and singing. 

Years at God’s Garden:  3

Ms. Kim

Teaches: 4’s MWF

Position: Lead Teacher

Background:  Ms. Kim has many years of experience teaching, including several years in the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s Preschool classrooms here at GG and many years of experience teaching Kindergarten, as well. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (with a teaching certificate) and a Master’s degree in Human Relations.


Years at God’s Garden:  7

Ms. Leah

Teaches: 2’s MWF

Position: Teaching Assistant

Background:  Ms. Leah has over 10 years of experience working with young children.  She has worked with children of all ages.  She is new to God’s Garden this year and is excited to work with 2- and 3-year-olds this year! 

Interests/Hobbies: Ms. Leah grew up on a farm in Minnesota.  She has lived in Arizona for 24 years.  She’s a soccer mom.  She is married with two teenage sons, whom she adores.  She is flexible and structured and likes to have fun with her students.  

Years at God’s Garden: 2

Ms. Denise

Position: Assistant Director (MWF)

Background: Ms. Denise has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She has taught a variety of ages including pre-k, Kindergarten, and beyond and she worked as a Vice Principal for over 17 years.  

Interests/Hobbies: She enjoys shopping, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Years at God’s Garden: 6

Meet the Director – Michelle Rhodes


This is Michelle’s 7th year at God’s Garden.  She has a passion for creating high quality early childhood programs for young children. Above all, she is an advocate for children and families. She strives to improve and make a difference in the lives of young children and their families by preparing professionals to create high quality learning experiences in the classroom. Her goal is to help support all children and families and to provide them with the tools to be successful in life!

Michelle has a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and over 15 years of experience working in early childhood education. She has many years of experience teaching, training, and mentoring early childhood professionals. She also has many years of experience teaching and working with diverse young children and their families. She has not only worked directly with children in licensed preschool centers, but she has also worked with children and their families in various community settings, as well, including Leaps and Bounds, a family-interactive kindergarten readiness program for families with preschool aged children.

Michelle’s teaching style is grounded in Piaget’s theory of Constructivism; she believes that both children and adults “learn by doing” and thus hands-on experiences are crucial to student learning and growth. Michelle believes in providing an emergent, play-based, child-centered curriculum for children to be successful in school and life.

Michelle lives with her two daughters, Josephine and Lola, and enjoys the outdoors. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, hiking, roller blading, swimming, and camping.

Michelle enjoys connecting and networking with members of the community.

Feel free to reach out to her by email with questions or to connect at


Get to know our group


God’s Garden Preschool is governed by Horizon Church Board of Directors. The Board of Directors oversees the continuing operation of God’s Garden Preschool and Child Development Center and consists of Church Members, the Preschool Director, and Pastor. The Board plans, develops and establishes policy, and assess the performance of the school. The Board is also responsible for promoting Christian education in the community. The Board encourages personal faith in Christ and the building of Christian character.