Zion Christian Children's Center

A Ministry of Zion United Methodist Church

~ Administration ~

Tiffany Saarheim

Executive Director

Hello families! I am Tiffany Saarheim, Executive Director at ZCCC. I was born and raised in Texas but have lived all over the world. I am a military wife and Mommy to a wonderful 8 year old girl! The beach is my happy place and I have a serious love for coffee! Early childhood education is my passion and I have 18 years of experience in the field. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Business and I have worked all over the world in different preschool settings. I am excited for the opportunity to serve the school that I have been a part of for the last 2 years and I am anxious to see what God has in store for our wonderful school!

Ms. Cindy

Assistant Director
Dragonflies Lead Teacher

Hello, I am Ms. Cindy! I have 2 grown children and 3 wonderful grand kids. I love all animals, British detective shows, and coffee! I also collect salt and pepper shakers! My passion for early childhood education started in high school when I took early learning education. I have been a teacher for 30+ years and have worked with many different age groups. Most of my career has been in Preschool/Pre-K, but I have also taught 3rd grade, P.E. and worked one on one with a special needs child. I have been at ZCCC for just over 5 years and God willing I plan on many more!

Michelle Cooper

Business Administrator
P.E. and Music Instructor

Hi, I'm Ms. Michelle - aka Miss Mashelf and Mr. Shell. I joined the ZCCC staff in the fall of 2013. Over the years I have held many positions at ZCCC, most recently ProCare Administrator for the preschool. I hold a B.A. in Dance from James Madison University and I am currently on the dance faculty at Piedmont Virginia Community College and Brushwood's School of Dance. My husband and I have 3 crazy kids and often refer to ourselves as the Crazy Coopers. My children are involved in theater, music and dance as well as my husband (that's how we met.) I began teaching dance in 1994 at BSD. Over the past 25 years I have taught in the after-school programs at St. Anne's-Belfield Lower School and The Covenant Lower School, Music and Movement for Orange County Head Start, Pre-K at Little Friends Preschool and ABC Preschool, teen jazz for Elkton Parks and Rec and summer camp for Four County Player and Grymes Memorial School. ZCCC has been my second home for the past 6 years and I love each and every one of our students like they're my own.

 ~ Staff ~

Ms. Anita

Bumblebees Lead Teacher

My name is Anita Messier. My husband Bob and I have been married 33 years and share the joys and blessing of four amazing children. Michelle graduated from Sweet Briar College and lives in Arizona with her husband Aleks and our first grandchild, Zora. We simply adore her! Melissa graduated from Campbell University Undergrad and Campbell’s Physician Assistant Program. She is married to Scooter and works in Cardiology as a PA at WakeMed in North Carolina. Maddie played soccer for two years at VMI but after four knee surgeries, her path has changed. She is excited to purse nursing at PVCC starting this fall. Mitchell is our youngest and keeps us busy with sporting events. He is entering Fluvanna County High School and will be in the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School program just like his sisters were. We could not be more proud of our children! We are a tight knit family and bond over any outdoor activity and just love hanging out with each other! 

I graduated from the University of Illinois with a teaching degree with a specialization in early childhood education. I have taught reading and kindergarten in the public schools. I took a break to focus on raising my own children and found my love of preschool by teaching in my children’s preschools. This will be my 7th year at ZCCC. I love building relationships with each family to help partner in the growth of their child they entrust to me each day!

Ms. Brittani

Tadpoles Lead Teacher

Hi, my name is Brittani! I have been teaching for 2 years now and I absolutely love and enjoy it! Some of my interests are going to church, singing, and spending time with friends and family!

Ms. Diane

Bumblebees Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Diane Chuks and I have been a teacher at ZCCC for 3 years! I have worked with all age groups here at ZCCC and I have truly loved it. I am very outgoing. I love going to the movies, cooking and trying new foods. I also have three beautiful daughters whom I love to spend time with. I cannot wait to begin this new school year and I am truly looking forward to meeting all of you!

Ms. Denna

Fireflies Lead Teacher

Ms. Derrika


Ms. Heather

Caterpillars Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Heather Powell. I am 29 years of age and I live in Louisa county (the home of the lions) where I also graduated in 2009. When I was in school I took early learning education and I volunteered at church with the youth ministry. After graduating I saw that I had a huge heart for kids and that one day I wanted to take on a position helping them. I volunteered at a children’s center and babysat over many years. In 2012 I started at my first daycare, I was a teacher’s assistant but soon after starting I saw the need to move into a teacher role. I loved seeing their little smiling faces learn and grow. In May 2017 I joined the ZCCC family and that was the best choice I ever made. I love working and having fun with the kids at ZCCC. In my spare time I love going to church, traveling to different places, singing in the community choir and shopping. I am very active in church where I sing, teach children Sunday school, and take on other positions. I also take part in the community by participating in the community extravaganza which I have helped with for over 10 years.  

Ms. Jayden


Ms. Kristen



Ms. Kylie



Ms. Maelena

Dragonflies Lead Teacher

I'm Ms. Maelena and I've worked with children in the public and private sector for over 22 years. I have 2 grown children and I have been married to their dad for 31 years. Outside of work I enjoy hiking and hanging out with friends and family. 

Ms. Ryan



Ms. Stephanie

Library & Lead Teacher

Hi, my name is Stephanie. I am a mother of two kids in high school. I love chicken and shrimp, my favorite restaurant is Olive Garden, and my favorite color is green. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii for my dream vacation but I am not getting on a plane! My favorite children’s book is Brown Bear Brown Bear. I have been working with children since 1996. I love working with kids because each kid is different in their own way. Working with kids is my passion and I love each one as if they were my own.

Ms. Tracey

Bumblebees Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Tracey Christmas. I have been with Zion Christian Children’s Center for over 6 years and I am currently working with the three-year olds. I really enjoy teaching! I feel every child is unique, therefore they learn and thrive at their own pace. That’s what makes teaching so exciting! I feel fortunate to be among this group of amazing teachers.