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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 Christian Preschools Association (CPA), 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 Executive Director 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 2021. 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

Assistant Preschool Director

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.

David Leitao

Coordinator of Summer Camp and Supplemental Programs (Kids Club)


Zee Sanchez

Administrative Assistant

Zienelle (Zee) Sanchez was born in Miami, Florida into a big, happy, Cuban family. Growing up immersed in Miami’s lush ecosystems, she spent her formative years exploring and getting her feet muddy and hair sandy whenever she could. (Climbing trees is still one of her favorite pastimes!) Caring for gardens, animals, and cleaning beaches has led to her prioritizing eco-friendly practices. She loves to see our students engaged and excited about the importance of respecting the planet and the creatures who inhabit it. 

In her school life, Zee focuses on literature and psychology. Her next step is a degree in developmental psychology as she hopes to become an elementary teacher, and later a school counselor. Growing up with a stepmother who taught Kindergarten, she was exposed early to the importance of child-centered teaching styles, such as High-Scope. She’s seen that play-based and child centered learning is the best way to honor and respect the young minds we care for. She advocates for children in all aspects. Listening and making space for any emotion big or small. She believes getting in touch with our own child-like wonder helps us connect and understand our tiny friends. Zee is passionate about childcare as a whole and works every day to honor each child.

In her free time, Zee loves spending time in nature, traveling, modeling, baking, writing, reading, fashion, pottery, scrap booking and being a doting dog mom to her dog Blue. On her bucket list is to walk for New York fashion week. 

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