Staff

Our dedicated staff provides a caring, safe, and positive place for children to grow.

Tina Smiley

Preschool Director

Tina has worked for BAAY Preschool since 2012. She is currently the curriculum director and lead preschool teacher for Bellingham Preschool of the Arts. She enjoys the creativity of planning an arts rich curriculum for preschool children and is constantly delighted by the creativity she observes in the preschool children on a day-to day basis. It is also wonderful for preschool children to have the use of the theater space for music, dance, simple acting experiences and gross motor activities. She is very interested in the creative development of children and the power of children’s play.

Tina holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College, and is a K-3 certified teacher in Washington State with endorsements in Early Childhood, Biology, and K-12 Reading. She danced from age 5 until her college years in a variety of modern dance and ballet programs and has taught preschool- 2nd grade for over 20 years, incorporating the arts into her curriculum. She also dabbled in painting and drawing during her high school years and participated in a rich visual arts curriculum as an elementary school student. She has extensive experience integrating music and other art forms into an engaging and well-rounded curriculum that honors the whole child.

Her hobbies include cooking, reading and watching her son's sports and choral activities. When she was a child she wanted to be a ballerina or a nurse when she grew up.

Melissa Virta-Stoner

Preschool Administrator and Teacher/Assistant

Melissa has been one of our school’s assistant teachers as well as currently handling the administrative side of BAAY Preschool. She loves being in the world of early education and feels privileged to experience learning, and exploration with preschool-aged children.

Melissa has a Bachelor's degree in Human Services from Western Washington University. She worked in the Bellingham School District as an intern in college, and found a passion for early education. Melissa worked as a preschool teacher and nanny in Seattle and Bellingham before finding BAAY Preschool.

Melissa and her husband are parents to their young sons Benjamin and Henry! In her spare time she enjoys being active outdoors and working on her house and garden!

Julie Rogge

Preschool Assistant

Julie earned a bachelors degree at the University of Idaho, majoring in elementary education and minoring in both child development and general science. She brings a variety of experiences to our preschool, having worked as an elementary classroom teacher (including kindergarten), a picture framer, and a stay-home mom to her twin sons. Julie was a member of the Everett Symphony for five years. Her hobbies include reading, sailboat racing, and cooking.

Erika Chambliss

Preschool Assistant

Erika is currently an instructor for BAAY EduArts and an assistant teacher at BAAY Preschool. She has been teaching and working with children for over 25 years. Erika's first experience teaching in a classroom setting was in Taipei, Taiwan, where she and her husband moved to teach English and travel. Erika has also been involved in the performing arts her whole life. She has an extensive background in theatre and dance, and is a certified Prenatal Yoga instructor. Erika studied creative movement and The Braindance for children at The Creative Dance Center in Seattle, and then went on to teach her classes to toddlers and preschoolers at the Seattle Holistic Center, private playgroups and parties. She has studied acting at Freehold Theatre, Unexpected Productions, Taproot Theatre Company and Seattle Central Community College, as well as acting in independent film projects in the 1990s. She has taught improvisational acting classes at elementary schools and had the pleasure of directing The Wizard of Oz for an elementary school in Seattle. Erika loves being in the presence of children and genuinely loves working with them. They are constantly reminding her to stay in the present moment and delight at the smallest details of life. Erika is thrilled to be part of EduArts, and feels to lucky to get to help each child blossom into the unique and creative being that they are!