Tender Years has some of the best and most experienced teachers in child care. Part of our success is due to our amazing teacher retention. Many of our teachers have been with us since Tender Years began. All of our head class teachers have been with us for over 5 years and our director and assistant director have been with us from the beginning. Teacher retention and consistency is important for the children. Our teachers are incentivized to obtain continual training and stay current on the most advanced child care techniques. We are confident that the Tender Years staff is the most knowledgeable in curriculum, safety, and licensing standards.
Meet Our Staff
Our owner, Jessica Drage has extensive experience in child care, education, music, and the arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Mathematics from the University of Utah where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She also has her National Administrator Credential (NAC) from the National Child Care Association.
Jessica taught elementary school for five years and has vast experience creating meaningful and motivating lesson plans. In addition, she has been involved with teaching extracurricular activities in singing, dancing, theatre, and math.
She has been the Musical Choreographer at The Children’s Theatre of Salt Lake and Bryant Intermediate School and has been a Dance Choreographer at multiple schools including Olympus High School and Lincoln Elementary.
While in college, Jessica tutored math to all age groups from elementary to college age. Jessica’s experience has taught her that every child is important, teachable, and needs to feel loved.
Our Director, Judy Ramos, has been with Tender Years since 2006. While at Tender Years, Judy has held many positions from Infant room Teacher, Two’s and Three’s Teacher, Kindergarten Teacher, Summer Camp Co-coordinator, and Administrative Assistant.
Over the last 8 years Judy acquired Level One-Eight on the Utah Career Ladder making her eligible to be a child care center director. She worked diligently at acquiring several endorsements such as Special Needs, Relationship Touchpoints, School Readiness, Theories and Best Practice, Infant and Toddler, and Guidance and Emotional Wellness.
Prior to Tender Years Judy was a Direct Care Staff Counselor at the South Coast Children’s Society in Newport Beach, CA where she advised counselors in developing their educational and vocational objectives.
In her past time Judy likes to read, run with her dogs, and spend time with her growing family. Join her on the Tender Years Child Care and Learning Center Facebook page.
Christina Maroney has been a part of the Tender Years family since the center opened in 1997. She was originally hired in 1997 and has worked in all areas of the school from classroom, to kitchen, to office, and currently as our Assistant Director.
Christina has been an intregal part of managing the business side of Tender Years. She has a talent for organization and efficiency that is unmatchable. She has spent many years creating and implementing policies and procedures that keep our school running smoothly and our teachers and children educated and safe.
Christina holds a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). Christina oversees the nutrition in our school and has developed all our meal plans and menus. She has helped our school earn the Top Star Award in nutrition. Thanks to her, Tender Years is the only center in the entire state of Utah to receive all four possible awards for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This means that Tender Years holds the highest standards in nutrition, physical activity, environment, and menus.
All four of Christina’s own children have grown up as part of the Tender Years family and she always stayed with Tender Years because she knew that her children were receiving the highest quality of care and education.
When Christina isn’t working in the business she enjoys running, gardening, golfing, bowling, and spending time with her family.
We Only Hire the Best Employees
Tender Years follows State regulation requirements for staffing. Each staff member is required to have a background check performed upon hiring. The FBI checks fingerprints for employees who have not resided in Utah for the last 5 years. Background checks are renewed yearly to ensure the safety of our children. Health requirements state that all employees will hold a food handlers permit before preparing or serving food. Tender Years requires all employees to have a current First Aid/CPR certification.
State regulation requires all teachers to attend a minimum of 20 hours of training per year. Many of our teachers have received their Child Development Associates or Bachelor’s Degree or are currently on the Career Ladder to complete this training. Teachers regularly attend continuing education courses in which they learn about current effective teaching methods and safety measures.
Before teachers are assigned a classroom, they attend several orientation and training sessions that assist them in understanding the State regulations and Tender Years policies and procedures. Trainings on regulation are renewed yearly to ensure that employees are familiar with health and safety policies.
A head teacher is assigned to each classroom. They are responsible for constructing the daily schedule and curriculum for their classroom to include cognitive, social, and physical development. Teachers must provide a safe and loving environment.