Meet the Teachers

Lataree Spann, AS Lataree Spann
Early Childhood Education
Lead Teacher
lspann@lsu.edu 

I received my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development from Post University and have worked in the early childhood field for nineteen years. I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have one son who is eleven years old and in my free time I enjoy spending time with my family. There is nothing more gratifying than witnessing a young child learn something new and knowing you have been a part of that growth.

Ursula Pursley, AA
Child Growth & DevelopmentUrsula Pursley
Teaching Assistant
upursley@lsu.edu 

I received my Early Childhood diploma from Baton Rouge Community College and continually take courses in child development. I have been working in the early childhood field since 1990. I am single and have no children of my own but feel as if the children I take care of are like my own. I have lived all my life here in Baton Rouge. In my free time I enjoy working in my flowerbeds at home and spending time with friends and family. I also help to maintain ECELP’s Vegetable and Flower Gardens that are located within the playgrounds. During the years I have had the pleasure of watching children grow and discover the world around them. I like knowing that I played a small part in that and that this is only the beginning of a wonderful journey.

Demika Gilmore, BSDemika Gilmore
Family & Consumer Sciences
Lead Teacher
dgilmo3@lsu.edu

I am a graduate of Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Child Development. I have been working with young children since 2010. I am from Baton Rouge, LA. I have a 10-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have always loved working with young children and I believe as a teacher it is my job to provide your children with a warm, positive, safe and loving environment that offers a wide variety of activities and hands-on experiences that promote learning.

Miranda Plaisance, BSMiranda Plaisance
Birth to Five/Early Intervention
Lead Teacher
mplaisance@lsu.edu

I received my Bachelor's degree in Birth to Five/Early Intervention Education and my Associate's degree in Child Development and Preschool Management from Nicholls State University in 2018. After completing these degrees, I received my Louisiana Teaching Certificate where I became certified to teach early intervention and grades Pre-K though 5th. I first worked in the Terrebonne Parish Public Library System in the preschool outreach program delivering reading materials and facilitating storytelling sessions in early childhood centers. I later went on to work in the Terrebonne Parish School District as first a fifth-grade teacher and then a Kindergarten teacher. I am from Chauvin, Louisiana where I grew up enjoying the culture, food, and community on the bayou. I am so overjoyed to now be in Baton Rouge as a part of the ECELP team! In my free time I love to spend time with family and friends, watch movies and TV shows, and take trips to the Audubon Zoo and other favorite LA destinations. My favorite thing about working with infants is watching them grow and soak up all of the things that you teach them and the love that you give them. I love that each of my days is now filled with baby smiles and giggles. I am passionate about providing each child with a caring and safe environment where they can explore, play, learn, and grow.

Devlin Dukes-Bynum, CDA
Devlin Dukes-BynamChild Development Associate
Teaching Assistant
dbynum1@lsu.edu

I have a Child Development Associate (CDA) degree and have worked in the early childhood field since 2016. I’m originally from St. Francisville but now live in Brusly. I have two girls (14 & 17) and a son (18). In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also love working with children. As an Early Childhood Educator my goal is to provide your child with a positive, safe, loving environment through play.

Priya Ranganathan, BBAPriya Ranganathan
Business Administration

Lead Teacher
jranga2@lsu.edu

Mrs. Priya Ranganathan has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Management from the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Alaska. In addition, Mrs. Ranganathan received her Louisiana Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate in Teaching and Child Development Associate in 2021. She has been involved with young children’s formal education since 2016.  She lived in Kodiak, Alaska before moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, She loves Louisiana and LSU and has made Baton Rouge her Home Town.  She and her husband are blessed with triplets. Her passion for working with children started when she began to teach her triplets.  She has a high level of patience, a good sense of humor, and is a positive individual. She believes in showing positive energy and providing a joyful environment and that it will positively impact early childhood development, especially in the development of manners and learning skills. She is excited to work with children. In her after-hour time, she enjoys doing yoga, meditation, healing, and spending time with her family.  

Shannon Hardy, BS
Family & Consumer SciencesShannon Hardy
Teaching Assistant

shardy@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree in Family Consumer Sciences/ Child Development from Southern University and have worked in the field since 2005. I was also a Family Service Coordinator working with disabled children for 6 years. I am originally from St. Francisville, LA, but relocated to Baton Rouge in 2010. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and I love working with children

Keighley Kelley, BSKeighley Kelley
Child & Family Studies
Lead Teacher
Kkell72@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies in 2020 from Louisiana State University. After graduation I worked as a Child Life Assistant in Los Angeles, California where I had the opportunity to help normalize the hospital environment for pediatric patients. I loved educating children about the hospital environment and have always had a passion for teaching children. I am happy to be back in Baton Rouge continuing to teach children and aid in their development. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, traveling, baking, and exercising. My favorite thing about working with young children is sharing some of their “first” experiences and helping them learn through play. I am passionate about providing a positive, safe, and loving environment where young children can thrive. 

Meagan Smith, CDAMeagan Smith
Teaching Assistant

Vanessa Baltazar, BS
Vanessa BaltazarFamily & Consumer Sciences
Lead Teacher
vbalta1@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration of Children Development from Southern University A&M College.  I have been working with children for since 2000. I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am married and have two  daughters along with seven grandchildren.  In my free time I enjoy listening to instrumental music and audio books.  My experience working in early childhood has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Working with young children has created a passion to serve, to care, to help, and to love that goes to the core of my being. 

Laura Gemmill, CDALaura Gemmill 
Child Development Associate

Teaching Assistant
lgemmill@lsu.edu

I received my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ from the Council for Professional Recognition in 2017 and have worked in the early childhood field since 2012. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have a daughter who is 4 years old and in my free time I enjoy spending time outside with my family. Working with young children has always been a passion of mine. There are so many things I love about my job, but one thing in particular is being able to provide a warm, comforting, and loving environment where young children can thrive.

Cynthia Jones, AS Cynthia Jones
Early Childhood
Lead Teacher
cjones7@lsu.edu

I have worked in early childhood for 30 years in different components.  It has always been my goal to provide children with an educational journey that is challenging, creative and most of all fun. My husband and I together have seven children, which includes two sets of twins. I love spending time with my family as well as sewing, reading, cooking and listening to music. The heart of my family are my grandchildren, all nineteen. I understand the importance of caring for children in a positive environment that builds their character and promote learning opportunities. “Children are powered by their imagination, not by batteries”- H. Jackson Brown Jones. I have extremely high expectations for all children. I recognize and respect parents as their child’s first teacher. My goal is to foster and enhance the knowledge of each child daily, as well as create a partnership with their families. 

Corinthian Henley, CDACorinthian Henley
Early Childhood Education
Teaching Assistant
chenley1@lsu.edu

I have had the pleasure of teaching, guiding, and nurturing children for more than 35 years in the field of Early Childhood Education. I am married and a mom to 3 wonderfully unique daughters and grandmother to 3 brilliant and precious grandchildren that keep me young at heart. I wake every day inspired to learn something new. I look forward to being a valuable part of your child’s learning experience. I believe children learn best when they feel comfortable and safe in their environment. This allows them to explore and initiate their very own unique learning path and in return, they flourish. In my experience, learning is progressive and every child learns and expresses themselves individually. My hope for each student begins with learning to trust and respect each other and grow from that foundational block.

Lakisha Banks, AATLakisha Banks
Early Childhood Education
Lead Teacher
lbanks@lsu.edu

I received my Degree in Early Childhood Education from Louisiana Technical College. I have worked in the early childhood field since 2004. I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have two daughters and one son. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, entertaining, and cooking I have always loved working with children and believe that as a teacher, it is my responsibility to promote the social, emotional, and academic growth of young children.

Raphael Walker, M. EdRaphael Walker
Teaching Assistant
rwalke1@lsu.edu

I received my Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate in 2020 and have been working in the early childhood field since 2016. I am from Grady, Arkansas. I have no children and in my free time I enjoy going out to eat, running, shopping, singing, traveling, and spending times with family and friends. I have a heart and passion for education. I have been working with children for 11 years and I enjoy seeing them learn and try new things. My goal is to prepare them for life outside and inside the classroom.

Alia Ledford, BAAlia Ledford
Theater
Lead Teacher
aledfo5@lsu.edu

I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts from Occidental College in 2011. Throughout my four years in college I worked with theater companies teaching children’s theater workshops in Maine and California. The last decade I worked in outdoor conservation and sustainability through the National Park Service, the CCC, and working with small-medium scale farms nationally and internationally. Baton Rouge is my hometown. I’m happy to be back in Louisiana near my family who mean the world to me. I love hiking, diy projects, cooking with my family, and playing with my pup. What I love most about working with children is that they are natural explorers full of creativity. I love the enthusiasm children bring and their excitement in the everyday things. 

Shannon MartrainShannon Martrain, BS
Communication Disorders
Teaching Assistant
smartr1@lsu.edu

I attended college and graduated from Louisiana State University with a Major in Communication Disorders and a Minor in Psychology. I have worked in childcare since 2008 and earned my CDA (Child Development Associate) in 2010. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends in my spare time. I look forward to working with the children and families to help each child reach his/her developmental milestones.

Martha Pierre, BSMartha Pierre
Family Consumer Sciences
Lead Teacher
trinnym@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree from Southern University A&M College and have worked in the field of education since 2006. I am from and still reside in Zachary, Louisiana. I have a baby boy and enjoy spending time with him as he grows and develops. As a teacher my goal is to help children achieve their highest potential so they can and will become productive citizens. I enjoy watching them grow and explore the world around them. I want to ensure parents that your child will be my priority and I will strive to make this a successful year.

Cole Crousillac, BSCole Crousillac
General Studies
Lead Teacher
ccrousillac@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Development from Southeastern Louisiana University. I also received my Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate in 2021 and have been working with children since 2010. I am a third-generation educator from Prairieville, Louisiana. I am the youngest of two and a sibling of an autistic brother. In my free time, I enjoy reading, shopping, and spending time with my family and friends. I love working with this age group because young children are not afraid to try new things and progress so quickly. I find working with young children highly rewarding.

Jan York, CDAJan York
Child Care Provider Career Diploma
 
Teaching Assistant
jyork8@lsu.edu

My name is Janshelay G. York, Ms. Jan or Ms. Jay for short. I have been working in the early childcare field since 2013 and am currently enrolled in my ancillary certification class at LSU ECELP. I am creative and enjoy reading, writing, songwriting, poetry, drawing and spending time with those I love. As the eldest child of both my mother and father with eight other siblings, I grew up around and helped raise some of them. I teach Young Toddler I & III and love watching them come into their own individual personalities, social interactions with one another, and their progression. It brings me joy to work with such an array of big personalities and to be able to instill valuable things in them while they are in my care. 

Karen Wallace, BSKaren Wallace
Family & Consumer Science
Lead Teacher
karenwallace@lsu.edu

I have worked in the early childhood field for over twenty-five years. I have also worked in the East Baton Rouge School system as a paraprofessional for hearing impaired children where I learned sign language from the children and assisted with ELA testing for the children. I am from Addis, Louisiana. I have four girls and seven grandchildren and enjoy my free time with family and friends. I volunteer some of my free time giving back to the community, assisting with the elderly in nursing homes to help brighten up there day. I have enjoyed working with children and am glad be a part of the village that help shapes their future.

Emily DuBoulay, BSEmily DuBoulay
Early Childhood Education
PK-3 Teacher Certification
Lead Teacher
edubou1@lsu.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree in education in 2020 from Louisiana State University and have been working in the early childhood field since 2016. I am from Port Allen, Louisiana. In my free time, I enjoy reading books and doing new and interesting crafts. What I love best about working with preschool is helping children develop their social-emotional skills, which I believe are some of the most important skills people of all ages need to have. I also love how children in preschool are like sponges and are constantly learning from us at all times.

Amari Bellard, BSAmari Bellard
Psychology
Teaching Assistant
abell64@lsu.edu

I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Children and Adolescents in May 2020 from Louisiana State University and have been working in the early childhood field since 2011. I am from Knoxville, TN. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and shopping. I am very passionate about working with children and love seeing them learn and develop!

 

 

Sydney ReeseSydney Reese
Teaching Assistant
sreese7@lsu.edu

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders in 2020 and I will graduate with my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology in 2022. I have been working in the early childhood field since 2018. I am from Mandeville, Louisiana. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love working with this age group and being part of a team that prepares them for the rest of their school journey. 

Autumn Smith, M. Ed
Early Childhood Education
Autumn SmithPK-3 Teacher Certification
Lead Teacher
asmi435@lsu.edu 

Throughout college, I have spent the summers working at camps. I have worked at Camp Dynamics, a specialized camp for children with learning, communication, and behavioral differences, and Tiger’s Den, a regular summer camp held at the LSU UREC. I have also interned in a pre-k and third grade classroom and was a student teacher in a kindergarten and second grade classroom. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, baking, taking my dog on bike rides, going to LSU football games, and spending time with my friends and family. I believe that the most significant role of the teacher is to provide each student with the tools and techniques needed in order to become critical thinkers and effective agents of change within their society. Every single student is capable of positively influencing the world and with the development of analysis and problem-solving skills, the expansion of their global awareness, and the acquisition of a cooperative, inquiring attitude, students can achieve this goal and thrive beyond the classroom. Society cannot progress without the presence of well-educated, self-motivated individuals equipped with the research skills and the desire to better humanity needed to facilitate change.

 

Contact

LSU Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool
Telephone: 225-578-7882
4001 Gourrier Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

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