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UNF Preschool

Our Team


UNF Preschool Teachers and Staff

Headshot of Dr. Gigi Morales David


Dr. Gigi Morales David

Dr. G is a bilingual Jacksonville native who brings a creative perspective combined with over 30 years of educational experiences including: Preschool & Elementary Teacher, Head of School, Director of Education for HS and EHS, Curriculum Designer, Program Evaluator, Education Consultant and University Professor. She is a published children’s author and has designed a variety of supplemental curriculum and educational resources for teaching children ages 2-12. Her educational background includes a bachelors’ degree in Elementary Education, specialist degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. She has presented at the local, state and national level including multiple times at NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children and NTI (National Training Institute.  Her presentations include School Museum Exhibitions; Promoting Preschool Friendships; ABC Literacy: Art, Books, Community. Her dissertation research received the Mulkeen award for practice centered inquiry. She has co-authored research articles published in Creativity Research Journal, Early Childhood Development and Care, Journal of Research in Childhood Education. Prior to starting her new role as Director of UNF Preschool, she was the Director of Reggio Inspired Learning at Friendship Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC.

Favorite book to read aloud: Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andrae

Headshot of Tasha Felder

Manatees Lead Teacher

Tasha Felder, C.D.A.

Ms. Tasha Felder has been teaching preschool aged children for 17 years. She loves teaching children, especially the little ones. Tasha is a VPK teacher here at the UNF Preschool. She enjoys working with this age group because the children are so eager to have new learning experiences. She likes to watch their excitement about learning how to do something new for the first time or making connections, it makes her day. She loves to dance and do yoga and loves even more that she gets to share her passions with the children. Having the children come up with their own projects has been so much fun for Ms. Tasha.

Ms. Tasha is the only child of two retired Navy parents. She has lived in Jacksonville most of her life but was born in Hawaii and lived in Europe for 6 Years. Tasha is excited to learn and grow with the Manatees! She feels very privileged working with the amazing team of teachers and staff at the UNF Preschool. She has a National C.D.A. and is currently taking classes in Early Childhood Management with a concentration in Elementary Education.

Headshot of Melissa Leone

Manatees Assistant Teacher

Melissa Leone, C.D.A.

Mrs. Melissa began her career in childcare in 2011 by working with children ranging in age from six weeks old to sixth grade. My primary focus has been with preschool age children. Beyond holding a National CDA since 2012, she plans to continue taking certification courses and trainings. She loves to integrate her knowledge of animals and nature into everyday experiences. Mrs. Melissa especially enjoys showing the children safe creatures to interact with such as frogs, lizards and insects.

On the weekends she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two teenage sons.

Favorite Children’s Book: Only a Tree Knows How To Be A Tree by Mary Murphy

Headshot of Jayne De La Rosa

Assistant Director

Jayne De La Rosa

MS. Jayne Is the Assistant Director of our Center. She Graduated with her Master of Special Education with a concentration in Disability Services from UNF. She has a BA in Family studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from University of Rhode Island and an AA in Early Childhood Education from the Community College of Rhode Island. She has her 45 hours from the Department of Children Families training and her VPK Credentials with her Director Credentials. She is trained in the CLASS assessment and CATCH curriculum. She has received formal training in "Conscious Discipline" and has multitude of certificates and trainings in early childhood. She has her certification for Infant and Toddler Development Specialist (ITDS). She promotes development and learning, including designing learning environments and activities to promote development across all domains using a parent coaching model from Early Steps program. She has been working with young children and their families for 23 years. Jayne is bilingual and speaks Spanish fluently.
Jayne has assisted UNF faculty in research related to curriculum, and STEM and has also had the opportunity to volunteer by training on various topics in Early childhood through FCCJ and Parent Academy of Duval. Jayne is trained to teach the DCF classes to be able to work in Childcare centers in Florida.

Favorite Children Book: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont

Headshot of Aleris Roa

Dolphins Lead Teacher

Aleris Mendez Roa

Mrs. Aleris has her A.A. in Elementary Education and her C.D.A. and is currently taking classes towards a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Development. Mrs. Aleris enjoys bringing different cultures to her classroom and having fun experiments with the children to help their learning. She is known for decorating her room to fit the theme that the class is learning about and likes having fun with the children through dance and movement as well as during their very creative story times!

Mrs. Aleris is happily married and just became a puppy mommy; her hobbies include watching movies on Netflix; the ones with the worst ratings are her favorites. She loves to travel and would like to visit her home, Puerto Rico. Her motto in life is, it's not about how small or how big the adventure is, it's about doing something that is yours.

Favorite Children's Book: Skin Like Mine, by Latashia M. Perry

Headshot of Maria Beattie

Cardinals Lead Teacher

Maria Beattie, BS in Elementary Education

Maria graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a concentration in Anthropology. She has her Pre-K/Primary teaching certification from the state of Florida. She is currently getting her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Early Childhood Education Leadership. She creates a classroom environment where learning is interactive and hands-on. She believes in meeting each individual child where they are at and addressing their individual needs, while also challenging them to the next level of learning. 

Ms. Maria believes that social and emotional development at this age is crucial, and works to teach the children how to interact with others, problem solve, and regulate their emotions. She gives children strategies, skills, and support to deal with different social and emotional issues that arise. She supports children in learning to problem solve with their peers. Ms. Maria has created an environment where she can incorporate learning into all of the centers. Learning is always happening through play, so she is always thinking of different ways she can incorporate the learning goals into the play that the children are engaged in.

Favorite Children’s Book: The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems

Headshot of Louis Ashley

Part-Time Teaching Assistant

Louis Ashley, C.D.A.

Mr. Louis has been in the educational field for 11 years. He began as a substitute teacher for Grant County Schools in West Virginia. Since then he has taught Pre-K through 12th grade as well as special education before being recruited by the Head Start program in West Virginia. Mr. Louis has worked for a year as a teaching assistant, then 2 years as a lead teacher. He's now been a part of the UNF Preschool family for the last five years, three of which as assistant teacher in the Dolphin classroom. And now you'll see Mr. Louis in the role of substitute teacher here.

He has an AA Degree, C.D.A., and certificate in autism from Marshall University and currently attends UNF taking post baccalaureate classes in Special Education. Mr. Louis is married and has 2 sons, one of which has special needs. He is involved in the Brooks Rehab Adaptive Sports program, ARC of Jacksonville, and frequently volunteers at his son's school.

Favorite Children's Book: The Giving Tree Book by Shel Silverstein

Program Coordinator

Latoya Luczyszyn

Ms. Latoya has been working at UNF Preschool for 10 years. She loves working with children and their families. She started as a part time teaching assistant and is now the Preschool Coordinator. She has her FCCPC and Director’s credential. Latoya graduated for UNF with her bachelor’s in sociology with a minor is ASL and chemistry.

Latoya was born and raised in Jacksonville and is happily married. Some of her favorite things to do is go to church, hang out with friends, and go to the movies. She enjoys working with children and traveling the world. She is excited to be a part of this team and grow with UNF Preschool.

Favorite Children’s Book: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Advisory Board

The UNF Preschool's Board is advisory in nature. All recommendations shall be made to the director of the center, who will then forward them to the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.


The objective of this organization shall be to advise the President on local policies and perform local oversight and operational guidance for the center. The board usually meets once a semester to address issues relating to fund raising, policies and procedures, operating calendar agenda and fee structure. The board supports the center in following its mission and purpose, makes recommendations for the director of the center and supports the director of the center in accomplishing goals and objectives.