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Prism Education Center has five early education classrooms serving students 6-weeks to 5-years old.


Shakea Burgess

Ms. Shakea is the lead teacher of the Transitional Kindergarten class. Before working at Prism, she worked at a Montessori School. She is currently getting a degree in Early Childhood Development and is in Prism’s Leadership Training program. In her free time she enjoys photography, spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, and spending time with her daughter who is currently a student in the Purple room.

Ruthie Smith

Mrs. Ruthie is the Lead Teacher in the 4-year-old classroom. She has been at Prism for two years. Ruthie has been an early childhood educator for 10 years, and she is earning a Bachelor of Science in Child Development at the University of Arkansas. Ruthie’s four children attend Prism Education Center. When Ruthie is not at Prism she enjoys Friday Family Movie Night, taking walks, reading, playing games, and spending time with her family.

Jerusha Gittlen

Ms. Jerusha is the Lead Teacher in the Infant Classroom. Prior to this year, she has served two years in Prism’s AmeriCorps ELEVATE program. She has also volunteered as an afterschool tutor and Sunday School teacher. Jerusha graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from Moody Bible Institute in 2002. She joined Prism because she wanted to help build a new model for education and impact the lives of students. Outside of Prism Jerusha enjoys dancing, reading, and hanging out with friends.

Joleen Torgerson

Ms. Joleen is the lead teacher of the toddlers. Prior to this, she spent two years as an AmeriCorps Service Member at Prism. She has been a teacher’s aid for preschool, kindergarten, and third and fourth grades. Currently she is in the process of working on her elementary education degree. She joined Prism as part of the AmeriCorps ELEVATE program because she loves working with children. In her free time, Joleen enjoys reading, music, crafting, and sitting in nature as the sun goes down.

Lisa Maldonado

Ms. Lisa is the lead teacher in the 3-year-old classroom. She has worked with elementary school students, as well as kindergarteners in the past, and she served as a Spanish bilingual tutor in an elementary school for several years. She has an Associate of Arts and Social Studies. Lisa enjoys seeing the growth of the children, and she enjoys being a part of the personal development of each of the children at Prism. When she is not working, Lisa enjoys crafting, listening to music, spending time with loved ones, and painting.

Kourtnie Whitehead

Ms. Kourtnie is an Instructional Assistant at Willow Heights. She has experience as a nanny, as well as working in the nursery and children’s camps with her church. Throughout her schooling at the University of Arkansas, she has also had the opportunity to observe and reflect on various classroom environments. Currently she is working towards a degree in childhood education. Kourtnie entered the field of education because she has a passion for working with children. She enjoys teaching them and learning from them. In her free time, Kourtnie enjoys visiting her family, being around animals, Netflix marathons, and interacting with children.