Preschool

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 BAAY Preschool. 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 assistant teachers as well as handling the administrative side of BAAY Preschool since 2012. 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!

Tara Reiter

Preschool Assistant

A native rain-loving, coffee-fueled Washingtonian, Tara started at BAAY Preschool in 2018, and with EduArts in 2014. She graduated from Western Washington University with a major in dance, and her curricular studies included creative movement for educators, dance arts in education, modern, choreography, ballet, functional alignment, and ethical theory. With a passion and enthusiasm for creative movement and integrated arts in education, she aims to help foster a desire to move and dance in her students. Tara's pedagogic belief is that dance is for everyone and movement is an important and necessary aspect of life. We're so happy to have Tara as a teacher here at BAAY!

Chrissy Ellsworth

Preschool Assistant

Chrissy was a BAAY Preschool parent before joining as BAAY Preschool staff in 2016! She has her Associate of Applied Science degree in Graphic Design, and has worked as a Graphic Designer since 2003. She has a broad range of experience working with children as well, including in a wilderness rehabilitation program, and in childcare for DSHS. Chrissy loves to see the uniqueness, creativity, and untrained natural artistic talent that comes from young children! It is inspiring! We're so happy to have Chrissy as a teacher here at BAAY!

Erika Chambliss

Preschool Assistant

Erika has been an assistant teacher at BAAY Preschool since 2014, and is an instructor for BAAY EduArts as well! 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. We're so happy to have Erika as a teacher here at BAAY!