Nikki Wright, Executive Director
Nikki Wright, Executive Director, will celebrate her 22nd year of employment with OPA in 2020. Nikki started her employment as a teacher in the classroom, wishing to work with children while also being close to her own while they were young. Her love for children and OPA evolved during her career at OPA. Having such an impact on young children and their families is her “why” to what she does each day. She feels providing a nurturing, safe and loving environment and supporting parents gives such a purpose to her each day.
Nikki will be celebrating 30 years of marriage soon with her husband Todd. They have three children, Morgan(24), Michael (22) and McLaren (12). They have all played such an integral roll in her success at OPA with their support as well as OPA providing such a foundation for their success growing up.
One of the things that has come full circle in the past couple of years is when Nikki hired current teachers that attended OPA as young children. She says that has given her such pride and accomplishment to see these young adults who want to have such an impact on these children and their future!
April Few, OPA 1 Assistant Director
April Few is the Director at Oconee Preschool Academy 1. She works alongside Nikki and Mang to ensure all children, teachers, and families are supported and encouraged throughout each instructional day.
April grew up in Snellville, Georgia and is a graduate of South Gwinnett High School. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Georgia College & State University in 2005;then attended the University of Georgia and obtained her teaching certifications in a masters level program. In 2008, she began her career as a educator in Special Education. She has taught in both Gwinnett and Barrow Counties and loved and learned so much from those experiences. In Barrow County, April also served on the Barrow County Schools Special Olympic Committee.
April currently lives in Watkinsville with her husband Chris, and their daughter Lilly Cash. The Few family has a love for animals, and they have a dog (Copper) and two cats (Starbuck and Daffodil). April loves to spend time with her family, and loves Starbucks coffee, shopping, reading, and crafting with her Cricut. She shares her love of books with her daughter, Lilly Cash, and her favorite children’s book is Anne of Green Gables. April is the oldest of five children and has quadruplet brothers and sisters. Growing up in a large family there was always something going on and someone to play with. Her fondest memory of childhood is the time she spent with her siblings- playing in the their grandparents’ pasture, playing flashlight tag, and riding bikes.
OPA is such a blessing to April because her passion is helping others learn and she loves watching each student grow.. She gets to work with the amazing OPA staff, and everyday is filled with wonderful opportunities, along with some laughs. April remembers her favorite elementary school teacher, Mrs. Roberts, and the impact of her knowledge, compassion, and wisdom. She hopes she can impact students in that same way.
Mang Khang, Educational Coordinator
Mang Khang is our Educational Coordinator at Oconee Preschool Academy 1. In 2012, she joined our staff starting as an Assistant Teacher for the Two’s but later became a Lead Teacher the next four years.
Her ethnicity is Hmong. Hmong people, asian descendants, are scattered all over Southeast Asia in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China. Ms. Mang’s family immigrated from Thailand to the States in 1980. She was born in San Diego, California and spent 15years in California before moving to Georgia in 2004. She grew up in a family of 13. She is the 2nd youngest daughter of 11 children and currently has 38 nieces and nephews from her siblings alone, hence the reason why she loves working with kids.
She loves anything and everything that allows her to use her creativity. Besides painting, crafting, sewing, and decorating, she enjoys hosting family gatherings. This allows her to come up with programs to ensure that everyone in the family, regardless of age, will have the most fun learning, discovering, and laughing with one another.As a young child, she loved school – especially the Library. Her absolute favorite childhood book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.” This book metaphorically taught her the values of learning, growing, and transforming. Ms. Mang values the role she plays in teaching, building and shaping the little minds of tomorrow’s future leaders.
Oconee Preschool Academy is a second home to her. Mang takes pleasure in coming to work anticipating new adventures everyday. She loves the environment and the people she gets to spend time with everyday . Most importantly, she loves to invest in people & helping them see their full potential. She is dedicated to partnering up with teachers and parents to provide the most nurturing early educational experience and love to every student who walks through our OPA doors everyday.
Brandi Bennett, Director
Brandi Bennett is the current Director of our Oconee Preschool Academy, II, located on Greensboro Highway. She assumed the role in May of 2019, after previously being the Assistant Director of the location.
When Brandi is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family. She is married to Clint Bennett, and they have three children together; Grady (12), Grayce (9) and Graylin (5). They also have several “fur babies”, Eleanor, Rigby, JoJo, Miss Vicki, and Theodore. Brandi enjoys not only spending time with her babies (school, fur and biological) she enjoys going to concerts and sporting events.
Growing up her favorite book was an old black and white Mother Goose book, and as she got older To Kill A Mockingbird became her favorite. Her fondest memories of youth are when she would go into her backyard where it was wooded and build forts to hang out in. Brandi’s greatest joy in life is her children. Watching them love, grow, learn and develop into their own individual person. That is why she loves being at Oconee Preschool Academy, she gets to multiply that experience! She said there is no greater feeling then hearing “ Mrs. Brandi, watch this” or “Mrs. Brandi, hug!” Seeing the kids excited to learn something new and want to share it with you is something remarkable to watch and be a part of.
Auburn Haines, Educational Coordinator
Auburn Haines is an Oconee County native. She graduated from Oconee County High School in 1999. She currently holds her TCC in Education with a specialty in Infant and Toddler Development. Shortly after graduating high school, Auburn joined the Oconee Preschool Academy family. She has worked in several age groups and in both locations. Auburn is currently the Education Coordinator at the Greensboro Highway location. She works to make sure teachers stay up to date on their trainings and supports the teachers with any needs they may have in their classroom.
Auburn has two children, a son in middle school, and a daughter in elementary school. Her daughter currently attends OPA in the after-school program.
Her favorite books growing up were The Boxcar Series, she has read them all. Her favorite classroom story to read is The Wonky Donkey, as it teaches children about differences in people with humor. Growing up Auburn enjoyed spending time outdoors and camping at Lake Hartwell with family and friends. During her free time, she enjoys watching TV, going on outings and spending time with her children.
Her love for children is what drives her to do her best for the children at Oconee Preschool Academy. Her favorite thing about OPA is being apart of the children as they grow and develop and forming bonds with the parents. As the bond grows, she says, everyone becomes more like family, to her that is the best part of it all!
PRE-K LEAD TEACHERS
Jessica Forrester-King, Pre-K Lead Teacher
Jessica Forrester-King began working at OPA when she was in college. During this time, she fell in love with teaching preschool. Jessica later went on to get her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Care and Learning. After graduation, she began working for Hall County Schools where she served as the Preschool Coordinator for ten years. However, she missed being in the classroom and working with children. Jessica says she feels so blessed to be back home at OPA teaching Pre-K. When not at school, she enjoy spending time with her husband, David, and their son Benson. On the weekends, you can find them cheering on the Dawgs or strolling through antique stores.
Kalie Hunter, Pre-K Lead Teacher
Kalie Hunter is in her third year teaching Pre-K at OPA. She grew up in Watkinsville and attended Oconee County schools her whole life and even went to OPA as a child. Kalie graduated from North Oconee High School in 2012. She attended the University of North Georgia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education in 2016. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and playing with my fur-baby named Georgia!
Rachel Robertson, Pre-K Teacher
Rachel Robertson began her teaching career in 2007. She graduated from Georgia College with an Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree. Rachel taught first grade and kindergarten before spending several years at home with her three sons. Rachel taught preschool and first grade in Gwinnett County before moving to Oconee County last year. She also spent time as a second-grade virtual teacher, however, she missed being in the classroom with her students. When not teaching, she loves hanging out with her husband, Peter, and their three sons, Jack, Sam, and Luke. On the weekends, she can be found enjoying coffee while she explores outside with her family and pups. Rachel is so excited to join the Pre-K team at OPA!
Amy Baxter, Mentor Teacher
Amy Baxter is our Lead Teacher of Nursery B at OPA 1. Amy is a long time resident of Oconee County, graduating from OCHS in 1994. She attended Georgia Southwestern University majoring in Art Education and has worked in Early Childcare Education since 2001. Over the years she has taken numerous hours of course work and certifications to keep current in the knowledge needed for a positive and safe learning environment. Amy says she has had the joy of working at OPA since November 2013.
You will often find Amy talking about her wonderful family. Her and her husband Doug have been together since high school and married in 1996. He is a Lt. Deputy for the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and truly enjoys serving our community. They are parents to two beautiful young ladies. Emma is a student at OCHS and Charity attends Georgia Southern University. They are longtime members of First Christian Church Watkinsville. In her spare time she enjoys reading a good book with a cup of coffee.
Amy is a dedicated OPA staff member. She is focused on each child’s cognitive, physical, emotional and social development. Parents and teachers both come to Amy for advice for their child and their classroom. She is always willing to share her vast knowledge and give encouragement!
Currently, both of our schools are in the process of working to obtain our Quality Rated star rating. We will be submitting in December with an anticipated visit in February / March 2020 and the rating to follow. OPA is committed to providing high quality care not only through the QR process but in our everyday approach to learning and caring for children.