Origins Learning Community

Our Training Team!

Our team is made up of registered trainers from the greater Houston community dedicated to supporting children, families and Early Childhood Educators. They generously volunteer and work for reduced rates as independent contractors for the organization. Without their help, we would not be able to serve children and the adults in their lives.

Regina Puckett

Volunteer Executive Director and Team Trainer

Regina Puckett is an Early Childhood Educator, Registered Trainer, Professional Development Specialist and Child Care Health Consultant in the state of Texas with over 30 years of experience in the field. Her biggest passion lies in helping other Educators and parents support children’s social and emotional development through mentoring. As a toddler and preschool teacher who taught many children diagnosed with a variety of special needs, including behavior disorders, she received guidance from professionals and was able to transform her classrooms into inclusive, peaceful learning communities.  She currently holds two Montessori diplomas, a TEFL-TESOL Elementary Level Certification, a Spirit Play certification, an Associates in Child Care Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Administration. She lives with her husband of 20 years and 12 year-old son in Houston, Texas. Her favorite hobbies are gardening, cooking, and practicing piano.

Amy El-Rai Brown

Team Trainer

Amy El-Rai Brown is an Early Childhood Educator and Registered Trainer in the state of Texas. She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for 13 years. Her own experiences of owning a licensed family child care in her home and her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education make her a strong trainer and inspirational mentor to classroom teachers. She has dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours over the past year guiding and  tutoring Child Development Associates students and preparing trainings and training content for Origins Learning Community.  She has a passion for outdoor, nature-based learning as a tool to support children's development. She has acted as a passionate advocate for children's right to play and the importance of supporting children's social-emotional skills as the foundation of their development. We are so honored to have my as part of our team.

Jodi Woodring

Team Trainer

Jodi Woodring has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 18 years and holds a Child Development Associates Credential. She is a Registered Trainer with the state of Texas known for her educational and fun trainings. She has been a phenomenal classroom teacher who understands how to implement play-based learning to support the children's development. This experience and talent has made her a strong mentor to classroom teachers. She has helped adults create beautiful learning environments, make stronger connections with children and feel pride in what they do. As a Child Development Associate trainer, she has worked and volunteered countless hours to train, mentor, and tutor teachers wanting to earn their CDA. Her own company, Journey with Jodi, inspires young children and their families to be creative and imaginative through dynamic storytelling and dramatic play. Journey with Jodi’s core belief is: “Just remember, children are not broken. They don’t need to be fixed. Our responsibility is to meet them where they are and to support them in learning life skills. It’s a journey for all of us” ~ Jodi. We are so blessed to have Jodi as part of our team.

Barbara Ann Mather

Team Trainer and CDA Program Co-Lead

Barbara Mather has been in the Education field for 20 years. She has worked in many different aspects of the education industry, from private childcare to public schools, to special needs programs. Fluent in American Sign Language, she has worked as a Sign Language Interpreter. As an Infant Teacher, she has been passionate about supporting the developmental needs of infants. In her role as a school district Behavior Support Specialist, she collaborated with and trained others on supporting children's social-emotional development and promoting pro-social behavior in children using functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans. She currently works as a Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Director for Kids R Kids Learning Academy in Stafford, Texas. She is a Registered Trainer with the state of Texas and very passionate about training the teachers who build the future from the ground up! She genuinely loves her work and educating others on the importance behind the education of young children. She lives with her husband and two children in Richmond, Texas. We are so privileged to have Barbara on our team!

Hemalatha Krishnamurti 

Volunteer Research and Development Specialist

Hemalatha is a dedicated, highly accomplished registered trainer. She holds a PhD. in Child Development and a B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has been involved in many programs and projects over the past 20 years. She has experience leading and instructing teacher training programs and college classes in all aspects of program management, designing courses, developing curriculum, and creating training materials for educators working with all age groups. She has extensive experience in fundraising and grant writing. She has received an Endorsement from First 3 Year for Culturally Sensitive Relationship-Focused practices, earning an Infant Mental Health/ Infant Family Associate. She is passionate about consulting and mentoring, advising and guiding culturally and socioeconomically diverse students in various settings. We are extremely fortunate to have Hemalatha helping us with research, development, and grant writing.  

Ceila Garcia-Szyszka

Team Trainer and CDA Program Co-Lead

Ceila Garcia-Szyszka has over 13 years of experience working with infants to school age children, families, teachers, and directors. She taught K-5th grade bilingual children in Chicago and 0-5-year-olds in Texas. She now advocates for quality education and healthy environments from birth on by providing professional development, developmental screenings, and contributing to Early Childhood advancement projects. Her certifications include: Childcare Health/Safety Consultant, TEA Educator EC-6 grade, and a TECPDS Registered Trainer #3532. Her objective is to share the knowledge acquire through experience, professional development, research, and study with fellow educators so that we can build strong families, schools, and communities.

Our Board of Director's

We appreciate everyone on our board who volunteer their time and energy to support the training team and volunteer executive director. We are currently working on getting everyone’s pictures and bio’s up on the website. So, look out for more to come!

Barbara A. Mather

Board Chairperson

Not only is she a talented early childhood educator and trainer, Barbara is also an active member of the early childhood community in the Houston area, advocating for inclusive classrooms and play-based curriculum. She is also a huge proponent of NAEYC's Power to the Profession, advocating for early childhood educators to be recognized as professionals and get paid accordingly. In addition to her other accolades, she holds a director's credential and runs her own training company, Integrated Training Solutions. Thanks Barbara for all of your hard work!

Bonnie Albrecht

Board Co-Chair

Bonnie's bio is coming soon!

Amber Cleveland

Board Secretary

The eldest daughter of master artist Thomas Cleveland, Amber was born into art with both parents in the graphic designer industry. In the late 1990’s, while her father was the lead instructor of the children’s program at the Houston School of Art & Design (H.S.A.D.), Amber spent every summer and weekend at the school working with a variety of artistic mentors that helped mold her creative mind. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Education. She is passionate about mentoring children of all ages. Not only is she the board secretary for Origins Learning Community, she is also an active board member of the Houston Art Society and a Selection Committee Member for Inspiring Hands (a non-profit that provide scholarships to children with special needs to attend equestrian summer camps). When time permits she also enjoys face painting and painting large murals as well.



Check out Amber’s interview article in Memorial Lifestyle Magazine. Her artwork is displayed on the cover as well!

https://issuu.com/lifestylepubs/docs/https___s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com__72aa1d04a1523f?e=200115165415-4a303be039e5cc7c855afa033940e23b

Ken Puckett 

Board Treasurer

Ken Puckett has been in the Information Technology field for 30 years, working in a variety of different environments. He holds an Associate's degree from Bellevue College. His extensive knowledge of technology has been a huge asset for Origins Learning Community. He has helped with our website design, video editing, and solving a myriad of computer-related issues. As our acting board Treasurer, he is kind enough to review financial records when needed. He is married to Regina Puckett. Together, they have one son who is 12 years old. His hobbies include playing video games with his son and biking.

Amy Foster-Palmer

Supportive Board Member

Amy Foster-Palmer started her career in early childhood over 20 years ago and has held a variety of positions, including classroom teacher, trainer, education specialist, administrator, advocate, social services worker, Child Care Health Consultant, coach and mentor. She received a master’s degree in Child Development with a specialization in Administration from Erikson Institute in Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in Human Development and Family Studies. Her passion is working with those who work with children. She believes our field of early childhood is one of profound importance and she is honored to be working with amazing individuals. 

Kelly Dafor

Supportive Board Member

Kelly Dafor is a manager of a team of software IT professionals for a global oil and gas company. She values teamwork, organization and work-life balance, which has led to her achieving a Greenbelt in Lean Six Sigma. Leaning out her work processes and home process where her family will allow it, family is a center in Kelly’s life with her husband, Gary and two children. She has a teen boy heading to high school and a grown daughter practicing law in the Houston area. Two dogs and a cat are also part of the family, giving and receiving love and attention. Kelly is the middle child with a sister on each side. They enjoy an annual sister trip to stay connected and enjoy a little R & R, which is highlight in Kelly’s life.  

Patricia Ghaly

Supportive Board Member

Patty is a midwife that strongly believes women should have the opportunity to birth the way they wish.

She trained as a doula with Childbirth International after her second child was born. Upon completing her training, Patty attended births in Abu Dhabi and Egypt, and soon learned that, while doulas are certainly valuable to have at a birth, hospital rule trumps all. She went on to earn a degree in Midwifery from the Midwives College of Utah. Being a midwife allows her to provide a supportive, caring environment for all women and their children.

She owns Cy-Fair Birth Center where they offer a celebration of pregnancy, birth and postpartum that every mother and baby deserves. They believe every baby should come into the world celebrated and the midwives try to do that from the first visit all the way through the postpartum period by taking care of mom, pampering her, and ensuring she gets off to a good start in her parenting journey and her new identity as a mother. We are excited to partner with Patty on programs for infants and their parents in the near future.

Patty maintains the following certifications:

Certified Professional Midwife

Texas Licensed Midwife

CPR Certified

NRP Certified

Patty is a member of:

Association of Texas Midwives

Greater Houston Midwife Alliance

North American Registry of Midwives

Tatiana Dorogova

Supportive Board Member

Tatiana is a Parenting Trainer and Life Coach. She has traveled and lived all over the world. Experiencing life in different cultures has expanded her communication skills and her ability to appreciate the wide spectrum of people’s differences and the similarity of their needs for happiness and for finding ways to meet it. Her financial and management background includes education in business management . She worked in the finance department of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (C.P.C.) in Moscow and did organization work with finance groups of five new branch offices in City Group in Russia. These experiences gave her priceless experience in systematic thinking and choosing the most effective actions to reach company goals. 

Living in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, gave her the opportunity to find new passions and new ways of applying and expanding her abilities and knowledge. Working with a charitable organization helping young single mothers and street kids led her to her passion for working with both non-profit organizations and children. She consulted on ways to improve the management processes of the organization and contacted potential sponsors as well as overseeing production and sales events. She found great fulfillment in helping others change their life for better.

Moving to Thailand was another groundbreaking point in her life. With a 4-year-old son and another on the way, she realized good parenting doesn’t come naturally to all mothers. It’s knowledge that must be learned because parenting skills affect current parent-child relationships and also future generations.

Her passion for helping parents guide their children's behavior led her to start a practice providing private parenting trainings, consultations, and life coaching. Because of her hunger for improving these skills and the true belief in the importance of her work, she is currently earning her Master’s at the Moscow University of Psychoanalysis. She also holds 3 different certifications in life coaching. Tatiana believes that mindset can be changed at any age and is the key to a successful, fulfilled life.

 Thank You for Your Contribution!

A Heartwarming Thanks to Our Donors from the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. Every penny you donated has been used to support classroom teaches and the children they serve. We are forever grateful.

  • Michael Palmer
  • Al Washburn
  • Hemalatha Krishnamurti 
  • Kelly Dafor
  • Chao-Ching Chen
  • Tatiana Cassenerio 
  • Evan Hiner and Prolaera Online Learning Platform
  • Regina Puckett
  • Jodi Woodring
  • Amy El-Rai Brown
  • Barbara Ann Mather