Staff and teachers


Shanel Tate

Program director

My name is Shanel Tate and I have been employed at Poppy Patch since November 2011. I have four sisters and six brothers, and am originally from the Bay Area, but moved to Sacramento to attend college at CSU, Sacramento. I am married, and in my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music and spending time near the ocean. I am very interested in children’s brain development and the many ways that they learn. Being able to be a part of that process and education is one of my favorite aspects of Early Childhood Education. I love doing art projects with the children and encouraging them to be creative. Having the opportunity to watch the children learn and grow is one of the best parts of my job.

Monica Labrado 

Office manager

Hello, my name is Monica Labrado and I am the office manager here at poppy patch. I currently reside in Rancho Murieta, born and raised in Sacramento. I am married with two children sixteen and nine and I have two pets. I love to go hiking and do volunteer work for the Alzheimer’s Aid Society in my spare time. I decided to pursue the office management position at Poppy Patch because education is so important to me from and young age along with growth and development. In this position I will be able to watch the children grown and learn as well as do what I love office work.

Dottie Jackson

Preschool site supervisor

I was born in Ruston, Louisiana and moved away as an infant. I have lived in Sacramento for the past 30 years. I was a stay at home mom until my children went to High School. I have 4 sons (Derrick, Donni, Christopher, and Tracy), several grandsons who are the love of my life. In my spare time, I love reading, watching movies, shopping, and going to different parks throughout Sacramento. 

I have been in the child development field since 1998 and at Poppy Patch since 1999. I am close to my degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE). I'm working towards finishing my AA and starting on my BA. I started at Poppy Patch as a teacher, then head teacher, and am the Poppy Patch Preschool Director. I have a great love for all children. "The thing I love about working at Poppy Patch is all the children and the great teachers."

Glinda Thurman


I am the cook for all three Poppy Patch centers. I was born in Merced, but moved to Sacramento when I was 12 years old. I have five children; two daughters and three sons. I ran my own child care center for seven years, and in addition to planning meals and cooking for the children I enjoy watching them grow and learn.  When I am not working, I enjoy sewing and playing games.


Infant/toddler teachers

Lea Cabading

Head teacher

My name is Lea Cabading, married and blessed with 2 beautiful children. I was hired as a Preschool Teacher and started at Phase 2- Preschool classroom. After 3 years of being full time, I went to a part time and an on call Teacher. This year of 2019 I am celebrating my 8th years employment. On Nov 1 of 2018,  I was offered and accepted the new position as a Head Teacher of Phase 3- Infant Department. Being in Poppy Patch, I learned so many things specially with my new position, my tasks and my responsibilities.  On my day to day life at the Patch, there’s so many things to learn and I love it! As I continue my journey here, I wish the best and power to us all!

Adam Lewis


I was originally hired as a Substitute Teacher while I continued my education in Child Development. I have recently become a full- time teacher, working primarily with the oldest infants. I live in Sacramento and have two sisters and one brother. In my spare time, I enjoy smoking meats and cheeses, camping, listening to music and reading.

Esther Gomez


I began working as an Infant Teacher at Poppy Patch February in 2012. I was originally born and raised in Long Beach but have been in Sacramento for over 20 years. I am married and have 3 children and several grandchildren. I have 1 cat named Socks. In my spare time I like to read, crochet and travel. I love seeing the children's individual development grow and blossom into unique personalities. Children are always eager to learn new challenges and I like to grow with them. I have been in the field since 2002.

LaRonda Montgomery


I love working with young children and the bond and relationship that we are able to build together. I grew up in Oakland, but have lived in Sacramento for many years. I have one daughter and we enjoy cooking, watching TV and going to the movies. One of my favorite aspects of Poppy Patch is being able to see the children grow and develop from young infants through pre-K. My favorite activity to do with the children is singing and dancing.

Virlynnia Quesenberry (Grace)


Hello, my name is Grace Quesenberry and I am and infant teacher at phase three poppy patch. I currently live in the Rancho Cordova area, but I was born in San Francisco. I am married with four children, three boys and one daughter plus three cats and three lovely grandchildren with one on the way, due in Sept. 2018. In my spare time I love to garden, craft, sew, and go to estate sales. I love children, I was blessed to be a stay at home mom, but I volunteered at my children’s school, church, and their sports teams. I have worked in the child development field for the last two years. I love watching the children use their creative minds and being a part of watching them grow and learn. I have been an employee with poppy patch for seven months now and I love caring for the children and teaching them all they need to know.

Bianca Gruell

Substitute teacher

Hi my name is Bianca Gruell and I am the sub teacher here at poppy patch. I currently live in the Carmichael/Citrus Heights area, but I was born in Fresno. In my spare time I love painting, photography, crafting, reading, and playing with my son. I have been married for four years with one son, Carter 8months, and one dog, and one cat. I love working with the children and watching them demonstrate the skills we have taught them. I started working with children part time in high school, 2006, and have worked with them off and on every since. I love watching the children do arts and crafts. I am a new employee here at poppy patch and I am excited to meet all the children and their families.

Potty training and early preschool teachers

Jessica Townsend

Head teacher

I have been around the early childhood my whole life and working with children a good part of that in my Grandmother’s in-home childcare. My mother is a teacher and my true inspiration for choosing the early childhood field as my career. I really enjoy working with children and my love for nature and the outdoors allows me to provide children with unique growth and learning opportunities. I enjoy being a part of the Poppy Patch team and working with each child and their family makes my job more fun than work.


Bonnie Lim


I have been working with children just over a decade.  The early childhood field has been a great opportunity for me to observe how children learn and develop into independent people and I enjoy being a part of that.  I enjoy cooking and my hobby allows me to turn my passion for cooking into learning and growth opportunities for the children I work with.  It is a great experience to really feel part of a team here at Poppy Patch.

Misty Steininger 


Hello, my name is Misty Steininger and I am a teacher at the potty-training phase. I currently live in the Sacramento area, but I was born in Yuba City and raised in New Jersey. I have two lovely boys one eleven and the other is twelve, I also have two cats and a gold fish. I have been working at poppy patch since October 2017. I’ve worked with children since I was in high school and love it, I’ve always had a passion for children and seeing their eager faces and watching them grow. Doing are and reading to the children are my favorites and here at poppy patch I love working with all the children and the staff.

Kira Wilbourne

Substitute teacher

I have been with Poppy Patch since July 2013. I enjoy working with the children and am passionate about books. My love for books helps me relate and connect with the children through stories and pictures. My love for movies keeps me current with almost all children's movies and I enjoy discussing each of them with children, the greatest critics of all. I have been in the early childhood education field for over seven years. I love reading and doing activities with the children. I love how much an individual child can change so much overnight.

Preschool teachers

Kelly Pettigrew

Head teacher

I have been at Poppy Patch for 1 ½ years. I live in Elk Grove CA. I come from a large family. I love art drawing, underwater basket weaving. I’ve worked in the child development field for 26 years, I’ve taught preschool up to eighth grade. I choose child development field, because I have wanted to teach, ever since I was eight years old. My favorite activity to do with the children is art/science. I love helping the children to be more creative. Lastly, the best thing about working at Poppy Patch is teaching the children, their ABC’s, numbers and to help shape them, for what they will become in the future. I also enjoy working with all staff, which makes the day fun!

Jennifer Wygand


Hi! I began working at Poppy Patch in 2011. I am married and have extended family. I was born and raised in the Sacramento area. I have two children, Russell and Alexis. I also have one cat and one dog. I enjoy going bike riding, going to the ocean, disk golf and being with my children. I love being around the children and watching them grow. I have worked in child care for over eight years and my favorite activity is circle time.