Our Talented Staff

Carnesha Banks, Director

Carnesha Banks, Director

Carnesha Banks has worked in the early education field for almost twenty years. In 2015, she earned her Masters of Early Childhood Education. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology.

During her career she has held the positions of teacher, education coordinator, and assistant director. She has worked for Kindercare Learning centers, Bright Horizons Family Solutions at Johns Hopkins, and Catholic Charities Head Start program. She has supervised teaching staff and assisted with center re-accreditation.

Ms. Banks has worked in the early education field for almost twenty years. In 2015, she earned her Masters of Early Childhood Education. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology.

She has been married for over 12 years to her college sweetheart. They have one daughter and one dog. She grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and she has lived in Miami, Baltimore, and now Carroll County. She enjoys reading novels—some of her favorite authors include Tayari Jones, Liane Moriarty, and Jodi Picoult. She also enjoys traveling. Her favorite places to visit are Thailand, New Orleans, and Seattle. Ms. Banks is excited to be joining the Highlandtown Preschool as our next director, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our community.

Callie Colgan, Teacher

Callie Colgan, Teacher

Callie Colgan was the first member of our teaching staff here at the Highlandtown Preschool and has done so much to shape the adventurous, exploration-based, nature-focused aspect of our school.

She has a wealth of experience serving our community and providing educational opportunities to learners of all ages and abilities. During her 11 years in our community, Callie has served at the Patterson Park Audubon, Friends of Patterson Park and the Irvine Nature Center’s Nature Preschool and we are lucky to have her experience and creativity at our school.

Callie says that it was through her work as a teacher at the Nature Preschool where she found her true passion in working with our youngest learners. Callie holds a degree in Recreation Therapy from Ohio University, and is currently pursuing her Master of Education. She cultivates the notion that everyone should be able to play hard, learn in a way that best fits their learning style and enjoy pursuing anything and everything that they want.

Channel Freeman Johnson, Teacher

Channel Freeman-Johnson, Teacher

Channel (Nellie) Freeman-Johnson has been caring for young children for 17 years. She received her formal training and education from Sojourner Douglass College. there she received her certification in Early Childhood Education.  She also holds a certification in Infant and Toddler Care. Currently she is studying Early Childhood Education Administration at Ashford University.

Her teaching style is inspired by the principles of Dr. Magda Gerber.  Dr. Gerber states, “Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at a pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better.” It is her greatest hope to foster an environment that is rooted in developmentally appropriate practices, where children are free to explore and investigate the beautiful world around them."

nancy pate

Nancy Pate, Aide

Nancy Pate has always enjoyed being around preschoolers, and when her youngest child was 1, she started working part time in his preschool and loved it!

Nancy has continued to work in the Early Childhood Field as both a teacher and an administrator. She believes that non-profit, church based programs give a most positive experience for young children. The classroom experience in the first few years should provide a respectful, gentle, and fun play-based environment.

Nancy moved to Baltimore from Charlotte, NC in December 2014. She has been with the Highlandtown Preschool since January 2019. We are grateful for her wisdom, patience, and love.

vivian gross photo

Vivian Gross, Afternoon Teacher

Vivian Gross is the mother of two children (a son and a daughter) and grandma to two beautiful girls. She grew up in Baltimore City. Her passion for early childhood education started at an early age when she would babysit neighborhood kids and worked at a nursery school at her church on Sundays. Over the last thirty years she has worked with children in all kinds of child care settings (for-profit, nonprofit, hospital and church based preschools). She is glad to be part of the Highlandtown Preschool family to help the children reach their own growth and potential in life.
pastor mark parker

Pastor Mark Parker

Pastor Mark Parkeris a native of Baltimore City. He has served as pastor of Breath of God Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, since 2009. Breath of God has roots in Highlandtown going back to 1900, but is always looking to find new ways to serve our neighbors and share God’s love within our community. Mark and his family live in Highlandtown, and his daughter was one of the first students at the preschool.

Mark has been involved with young people and education in a variety of capacities since 2000. During college and graduate school those efforts included two mentoring programs, a high school leadership program, and running the summer camp at the Downtown Sailing Center. Here in Southeast Baltimore, Mark helped to launch a summer camp and after school program, supports our local public schools, and is involved with youth sports. He particularly appreciates our existing partnerships with our local schools, Soccer Without Borders, Soccer Shots, the Southeast Youth Collaborative,and the Refugee Youth Project.

Mark is dedicated to this mission of nurturing children, preparing them for success in school, supporting working families, and providing equitable and just access to education for children of all backgrounds.

See What We're All About

Bring your child for a visit to our preschool and meet our excellent staff