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About Us

First Step Academy's Executive Director, CEO and Founder, Cassie Fenstra

Cassie dreamed of opening First Steps Academy as a young adult, growing up in a home where her mother ran a home child care. Discovering her passion, Cassie attended college early in her high school career, obtaining Child Development credentials while at the same time working at a local child care center. She was able to start her own home child care at the young age of 18. On January 6th 2014 she opened our center with the mission to offer a child care featuring the structure and security of a center with the warm, loving, nurturing aspects of a home child care that she loved so much. Two short years later First Steps expanded to accommodate 176 students. Today, First Steps has 3 programs in Rochester. Cassie enjoys staying involved in all 23 classrooms on a daily basis. Some of the other roles of her position are as Admissions Coordinator, Professional Development specialist and as Preschool C.L.A.S.S observer, rater and coach. Cassie’s passion and commitment to First Step’s mission and Early Childhood Education is impossible to go unnoticed.

First Step Academy's General Manager & Human Resources Coordinator, Amy McAndrew

Amy is a close cousin of Cassie’s, growing up more like a big sister. Amy has been a apart of the First Step’s mission since day one, January 6th 2014. Shortly after completing her Child Development education, Amy was promoted to Lead Teacher of the Pre-K classroom. We all knew Amy had found her happy place, preschool education came naturally to Amy. Clients adored her attention to detail and devotion to their Kindergarten readiness. With First Step’s expansion Amy’s passion was called upon for a promotion, we knew her students would miss her but that she deserved the opportunity to reach even more students then she could in her classroom. Amy manages 176 students and 50 teachers she has proven to be an amazing Director, as well as, outstanding curriculum support for her teachers. First Steps is the best choice for your children because of Amy’s tireless devotion to making it the best choice!

First Step’s Center Director & Head Start Coordinator, Renee Snow (Little Steps)

                                                                                             
Renee joined the First Steps team and has been apart of it’s devotion to excellence since opening day. Over the years, Renee has taught in every age group at First Steps Academy. She went on to be promoted to the Early Head Start Coordinator with the First Step’s expansion in 2015 and was promoted to Assistant Director shortly after. Due to spending her teaching years in various classrooms, Renee has become an expert in every age group. This experience made her a wonderful candidate for Center Director at the expanded Little Steps Campus. Renee loves to be a part and take witness to our student’s accomplishments as much as she can, as the Center Director of our younger students, she loves to watch our precious little ones reach major milestones in the first few years of life. 

 

First Steps Center Director, Kelly Greenameyer (Royal Place location)

Kelly had an early love for quality care and education. She desired to work with student’s with special needs in the school district before she found the First Step’s Program. Kelly began her career as an infant aide before finding her strength in leading a toddler classroom of her own. Kelly has one of the most energetic, positive and loving personalities. Her skills set soon showed she was deserving of a promotion into management. As the program’s Administrative Assistant, Kelly supported student assessment, daily records, attendance, food program paperwork and writing our company newsletters. She loved using her special administrative skills while still being able to spend quality time in the classroom supporting teachers. Soon First Step’s program expanded to open “First Steps on Royal” when Kelly was deservingly promoted the Center Director of this new program. 

First Steps Center Director, Celene Arellano-Garcia (Big Steps Location)

Celene started with First Steps Academy in 2016 as a toddler teaching aide. Her passion for education and love for her students drove her to receive her child development associate degree where she then became the lead toddler teacher of our Precious Piglets classroom at our Big Steps campus. She spent many years being a head trainer to our new hires, leader and mentor to our teaching staff and a great support to our students and clients. Celene has such a strong work ethic and does everything to her best ability while supporting the best early education practices. In 2021 she was promoted to Assistant Director and has learned a vast number of skills in a very short time which led her to her new role of Center Director of our Big Steps as of July 2023. Her devotion to our toddler and preschool aged curriculum and age-appropriate practice will provide the best experience for all staff, students, and clients!