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Leaders who serve TGPS 


Corina Dekker

Head of School

Corina Dekker hails from The Netherlands and has lived in the United States since 1990. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Hotelschool, in The Hague. She worked in operations management for Hilton, Sheraton and Hyatt hotels before starting a family. Being a full-time parent paved the way for a career in education. Corina has worked in early childhood education since 2000 and holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from NOVA University. Corina is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the United Methodist Association for Preschools (UMAP), where she is also a board member. Watching children grow, develop, and learn from rich and meaningful daily classroom experiences is immensely rewarding. Sharing her knowledge about child development and the importance of the early years in education is something she feels passionate about. Corina joined The Growing Place in 2013, with a strong commitment to offering high quality education and care in a faith-based setting. In addition to leading The Growing Place, Corina holds a dual role as Director of Operations for First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables. In her free time, Corina enjoys and values spending time with family. Traveling, enjoying nature, and reading are her favorite hobbies.


Alexandra Kagan

Assistant Head of School

Alexandra Kagan is a lover of learning who joined the TGPS family in 2022. Originally from New York, Alexandra has taught, lived and traveled around the world to develop broad knowledge of child development over the last 20 years. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chinese Studies, a Master’s of Education in Elementary Education/ESOL, and a certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard Graduate School.

Alexandra believes in the unique talents, capabilities, strengths, and individuality in every child. She is passionate about supporting children, families, and teachers to be the best version of themselves.

A big fan of teamwork, collaboration, and connection, Alexandra enjoys being active in the community. When not focused on education, Alexandra can be found discovering new restaurants, experiencing the arts, and exploring the beauty of Miami with her family. 


Kris Wood

Office + Programs Coordinator

Kris Wood was born in New York City, NY and spent her formative years in Leonia, NJ. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a specialty in therapeutic recreation and a Master of Arts in Drama Therapy. Growing up with an educational psychologist father, her early life was surrounded by the likes of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Myrtle McGraw, and Dr. Lewis Lipsitt, to name a few. It is from Dr. McGraw that she learned “...and a child shall lead.” She feels that this mantra lends itself to the HighScope curriculum and the process of “active participatory learning” as the foundation of its philosophy. She joined The Growing Place as a mom in 1998 when the first of her three sons started school; she then became an employee in 2005 when her youngest was a student. In her “free time” she enjoys being with her family, watching her sons play soccer and water polo, and working out in the gym. On her bucket list is to do a mini-triathlon.

Krysten Perez

Coordinator of Supplemental Programs

Krysten Perez was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is very excited to be part of The Growing Place team! Before working at The Growing Place, she taught third and fourth grade at a private school in Miami. Krysten has a passion for teaching and shaping and molding young minds. As an educator, she enjoys seeing children flourish and reach their fullest potential. She also enjoys supporting others and helping in any way she possibly can. In her educational pursuits, Krysten is focused on Exceptional Student Education. During her free time, she enjoys playing with her dogs, traveling, and spending time with her family. 


Zee Sanchez

Administrative Assistant

Zee's bio is coming soon!

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