Meet the Teachers & Staff

Barbara Babb, Director

Barbara was born in Indiana and has lived in Ohio, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Ontario, Canada. She graduated from Mars Hill College in Art Education and taught art in SC for a year before moving to Yancey County. She received her master's degree in secondary math education from the University of SC and taught algebra, geometry and art at Mountain Heritage High School until the birth of her children. She then decided to become a full-time mom. After helping the classroom at Church Street Preschool as a parent volunteer, Barbara realized how much she enjoyed working with preschool children and their parents. In 1995 she was thrilled to be asked to join the staff at Church Street. Barbara enjoys her church life as well as reading, gardening, hiking, camping, canoeing and kayaking. She is married to Tim Babb, retired music teacher from Mountain Heritage HS. They have three daughters, Kristin, Heather, and Alecia.

Becky D'Elia, Teacher

Becky was born in England and graduated from Southampton University, UK with a Masters degree in geology. During this time, she completed an exchange year at Penn state University where she met her husband. Together they moved to Spruce Pine in 2012, where they married and had two children, Louise and Charlie. After the birth of her first child Becky became a stay at home parent and in 2016 Louise attended church street preschool. Becky volunteered in the classroom and began teaching geology to the children annually and found how much she enjoyed teaching preschool children. In 2018 she was excited to join the team as a preschool teacher.

In her free time she enjoys, cooking, gardening, hiking and remodeling their ‘fixer upper’.

Samantha Burnette, Teacher

Samantha and her family are Yancey County natives. She graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-6 Education). She is a licensed teacher in both Tennessee and North Carolina. Since then, she has added a speciality license area in Middle School Science to her North Carolina Teaching License. In 2017, she married Kirk Burnette. Together, they have two boys, Keen and Sage. Samantha taught 3rd grade at South Toe Elementary for five years. Although she loved being a teacher, after the birth of their 2nd child, Kirk and Samantha decided it was best for her to leave public education while their children were small. That same year, Church Street Preschool was hiring. Samantha loved the idea of getting to do what she loved (teach) while also being able to spend more time with her boys. She joined the Church Street Family in October of 2022.

On her days off, Samantha runs their store in Spruce Pine, Keen Outdoors. Any free time she gets is spent outside with her family.

Margarita Robinson, Teacher

Margarita was born in a remote village in the Philippines, called Buena Vida, where her mother, brothers and sisters still reside. She finished her elementary grades in Buena Vida and then moved to Makilala, a small town nearby, for high school since there was no high school in her home town. She enrolled in the University of Mindanao, studying Economics. Margarita then moved to Manila and worked as a shift supervisor at a fast food chain. She obtained a job in Hong Kong and where she lived for almost twelve years. In her last four years of living in Hong Kong, she cared for children.

In 1996, Margarita met Ronnie Robinson and they were married two years later. She returned to the Philippines to apply for a visa. Margarita arrived in the US in the summer of 2000 and a year later her daughter, Hannah, was born. Hannah attended preschool at Church Street and Margarita helped as a volunteer. The teachers recognized her talents and she was hired as a teacher. In January of 2013 Margarita was awarded US citizenship and currently teaches the preschool children Spanish.

Joan Sheets, Substitute Teacher

Joan was born and raised in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She went to Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC majoring in Elementary Education. While there she met her husband L.G. Sheets and after graduating, they married and moved to Buladean, NC. For the next 26 years Joan taught grades K-6 in the Mitchell County public school system. While teaching she earned a Masters Degree in Elementary Education at East Tennessee State University. Joan and L.G. have two children, Theresa and David, and a granddaughter named Jenna, who is a former student at Church Street Preschool. Joan enjoys reading, hiking, and especially spending time with her family and church.

Joan volunteered at Church Street Preschool during the years that Jenna was enrolled and always enjoyed being at the school. She was very excited when the opportunity arose to be a substitute teacher and began as our regular substitute in 2009.

Georgia Bruton, Administrative Assistant

Georgia has two married daughters living in Central Florida and Virginia, and she has three wonderful grandchildren she tries to see as often as possible.

Georgia has had a love of children for as long as she can remember. She has also enjoyed making up stories for that long as well. Those two passions prompted her to put her tales into book form and she has published two juvenile fiction novels (Escape and Captured). She continues to write and hopes to have many more stories to share.

The third of eight children, Georgia grew up in North Dakota and graduated from University of ND with a degree in English/Journalism. Her first job out of college was with the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. She went on to join Campus Crusade for Christ and worked in the publications department for several years before moving to Florida. There, she raised two daughters and also served on church staff as the Children's Ministry Director for ten years and the Local and Global Outreach Director for ten more. Her responsibilities opened up opportunities to travel world-wide and she has visited more than twenty countries. In 2014, she and her husband Steve semi-retired to Burnsville.