About Us

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Kelly Perez

Ms. Kelly Perez holds a BA in applied behavioral science from National-Louis University and holds two American Montessori Society teaching credentials, Infant-Toddler (birth through age three) and Early Childhood (ages two-and-a-half through six). Kelly was nominated for the 2017 Golden Apple Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award. Her professional affiliations include the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health. Since 1987, Kelly has supported all aspects in building and delivering high quality early childhood programs. She has brought her experience as a teacher, teacher educator and consultant, classroom and curriculum developer, parent coach, program administrator and director to Smart Love since 2010.

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Sandie Gonzalez

Ms. Sandie Gonzalez has been an early childhood teacher since 2013. She received her BA in early childhood education from National Louis University and she is also a certified children’s yoga instructor. As an experienced educator, Sandie was drawn to Smart Love’ focus on social and emotional well-being as the foundation of successful early learning. Sandie is so happy to be a part of the Smart Love teaching team.

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Kasey Johnson

Ms. Kasey Johnson received her BA in Theatre Arts and a minor in Educational Psychology from Baylor University.  She has graduate coursework from Harvard Graduate School of Education focusing on early childhood teaching strategies for playful learning. She has been working with young children and families since 2014. Kasey brings her special interest of nature and the garden to our children’s gardening program.

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Glenny Perez

Ms. Glenny Perez received her AA in elementary education from Harold Washington College and had been teaching preschool since 2019.  As an early childhood educator, Glenny is eager to be part of the Smart Love teaching team knowing from her experience how essential it is to foster children’s positive self-concept and feelings about school.

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Madelyn Perez

Ms. Madelyn Perez received her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in early childhood education from Roosevelt University.  Madelyn interned and taught summer camp at Smart Love Preschool in 2017 and has been available as a substitute while pursuing her degree.  Madelyn’s passion for young children and Smart Love felt like a perfect match. She feels it’s a privilege to work with the children and their families and is so happy to be a part of the Smart Love teaching team.  

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Elise Valencia

Ms. Elise Valencia received her BA in Psychology from Saint Xavier University and has worked with young children and their families since 2020.  Elise was especially drawn to the Smart Love approach as her college research focused on the importance of the parent-child relationship.

Our Teachers


Preschool Director

Natalie & Ben Heineman Smart Love Center



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Mike Conway

Mr. Mike Conway earned his BA in political science and history from Illinois State University. He has over 20 years of experience working with a variety of businesses in client service and experience as an assistant teacher in kindergarten. 

Smart Love Preschool is located in the Natalie & Ben Heineman Smart Love Center at 2222 N. Kedzie Blvd. in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. The gracious prairie style home has been completely renovated and features a large outdoor area and a spacious light-filled interior for our highly regarded preschool and kindergarten (3-6 years), and playschool (2-3 years) that includes a year-round Garden and Nature curriculum.