Transitional Kindergarten Teachers


Goals for our Transitional Kindergarten (TK) include:


                     -SOCIAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT


                     -K & 1st GRADE HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS


                     -MATH & SCIENCE

                     -SOCIAL STUDIES

The term TK means "Transitional Kindergarten." This class is for children who just miss the state's age cut-off or are not quite ready for Kindergarten, even though their birthdays are within the state guidelines to attend.


They may need a little extra time to master these skills: working through anxiety, controlling melt-downs, learning to be a little more assertive, learning to be a little less aggressive or wiggly, and feeling comfortable in a classroom setting that makes several transitions throughout the day.

TK Teachers

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Ellen Smith

Lead Teacher

   Ellen grew up in Winston-Salem, NC and graduated from Salem College with a BA in American Studies.

   For 27 years, Ellen has been a preschool teacher. Most recently and for the past 17 years, she has taught Transitional Kindergarten at the Methodist Children's Center (MCC) at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Cary.

   Ellen and her husband, Mike, live in Holly Springs. They have two grown sons -- Michael (a chef) and Alex (a college professor).

   In their free time, Ellen and Mike spend time at their future retirement home in Oak Island. While there, they enjoy fishing, reading, looking for shells, and enjoying long walks on the beach with their sweet dog, Belle! They are members at Ocean View United Methodist Church in Oak Island, NC.

   Ellen is the lead teacher in the five-day Transitional Kindergarten program.

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Michele Draghici

Assistant Teacher


   Michele grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and found her way south to attend college at Duke University. She has a BA in Sociology, a Minor in Religion and a Certificate in Markets and Management. She also has a NC Early Childhood Credential (NCECC) from Wake Tech.

   Prior to having children, Michele worked in Internet Market Research at Nielsen & DoubleClick (now Google). Since then, Michele has worked and/or volunteered in church nursery and preschool for many years with her latest teaching experience being an Assistant Transitional Kindergarten Teacher at the Methodist Children's Center during the 2019-2020 school year.

   Michele and her husband, Florin, reside in Cary with their four children -- a daughter, 17 and three sons aged 16, 11 and 9.

   In her spare time, Michele enjoys reading, volunteering at school (as a PTA Secretary), and hiking with her children and their Australian Labradoodle, Maggie. I'm not sure Michele enjoys this task, but at home she spends some of her time keeping peace between Maggie and their cat, Tilly.

   Michele is an assistant teacher in the five-day Transitional Kindergarten program.