The Village Academy, our original campus, was founded in 1981 as Children’s Village Developmental Learning Center. Over the years,
Today, The Village Academy is a 4-acre campus providing roughly 17,000 square feet of educational and recreation space. The original campus includes dedicated playgrounds for each age group, two swimming pools, a multi-purpose room/theatre arts room, a game room, and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Lab. At The Village Academy, we offer Preschool, Pre-K, optional Enrichment Classes, American Red Cross Certified Swim Lessons, and a remarkable After School and Summer Camp program for school-age children. In 2007, we responded to the need for high-quality early childhood education in the Palencia/North St. Augustine area by opening Village Academy North.
Our family of learning academies now includes Palencia Montessori Academy, located at the front of the Palencia development. Our academies are nationally accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation and are Gold Seal Certified, a standard of excellence that is specified in Florida State statutes.
The shared thread between The Village Academy, Village Academy North, and Palencia Montessori Academy is the importance we put on preparing children for success in kindergarten and fostering a love for learning that will last a lifetime. We are dedicated to educating your children in 4 distinct areas: academically, emotionally, socially, and physically. Each year we receive solid, consistent, positive feedback from teachers in the St Johns County Public Schools about how well prepared our graduates are, and how enthusiastic they are to learn and excel.
We are especially proud of our early childhood development staff, which is the most highly trained and qualified of any child care facility in St. Johns County. Our teachers are dedicated, caring professionals who understand they must earn your trust every day. The majority of our Lead Teachers at Village Academy North have earned Bachelor’s degrees and use evidence-based teaching strategies to build on children’s natural curiosity so that learning is fun for children.
Your child’s safety and security are of supreme importance to us. Our academies feature the newest technology in security and video monitoring systems to ensure the safety of your children. We maintain strict sign-in and sign-out procedures and fingerprint-based access control. Additionally, our staff are mindful and well-trained on the importance of keeping children with food allergies safe and all of our schools are peanut free. Lastly, our learning academies use safer, eco-friendly alternatives to conventional cleaning products. Village Academy North, The Village Academy and Palencia Montessori Academy use Green Seal cleaners and are devoted to providing a bleach free environment.
Pre K Learning Environment
Pre K Science
Pre K Science
Babette Weaver is the Founder and Owner of The Village Academy, Village Academy North, and Palencia Montessori Academy. Babette’s career as an educator started as a teacher for the St. Augustine Deaf & Blind School. Babette taught for eight years, prior to founding The Village Academy, originally Children’s Village, in 1981. Babette’s educational credentials include a B.S. from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Education from UNF. Babette holds teacher certifications in Deaf Education, Elementary Education, and Elementary Education Administration and Supervision. She also has the Advanced Level Florida Child Care and Education Program Director Credential.
Curt Weaver is the co-Owner of Village Academy North and Palencia Montessori Academy. Curt was a pilot in the US Navy for 8 years, before beginning a 14-year business career with AT&T. He subsequently opened Internet Commerce Strategies, a strategy and management consultancy with a global clientele from start-ups to the Fortune 50. Curt closed his consulting business and joined Babette in the early childhood education industry after their marriage in 2006. His educational credentials include a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Albion College, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and he has completed most of the course work for his PhD in Marketing from the University of Phoenix.
Teri L. DeLucca, PhD
Vice President of Operations
Dr. Teri DeLucca is the Vice President of Operations, and is responsible for the success of all three of our learning academies. Dr. DeLucca has a dual PhD in developmental psychology and educational psychology from the University of Florida. Her research and expertise are focused on cognitive and socioemotional development during early childhood with an emphasis on the aspects of development that are important for school readiness and academic achievement. She enjoys translating research into methods and practices that teachers can easily understand and use in their classrooms to best prepare children for kindergarten success and future academic achievement. Teri oversees the daily operations and curricula of our schools, extended day programs, and summer camps and provides leadership, training, and coaching to our teachers and staff so that we may continue to provide the highest quality early learning experiences within St. John’s County.
Director of Compliance
Ms. Rachel Sledge is a “Village kid” from birth and has many fond memories of her childhood growing up at The Village Academy. She attended Florida State University and has her B.S. in Child Growth and Child Development with a minor in Deaf Culture. She started working at The Village Academy in January of 2005 as a 2-year-old teacher and then a Florida VPK teacher. Rachel was part of administration at The Village Academy North in 2007 as the Office Manager and then moved to The Village Academy as the Director from the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2017. Rachel is also a certified Red Cross Lifeguard and WSI – Water Safety Instructor and has been responsible for our swimming program over the years. Ms. Rachel draws from her years of experience in the child care industry and serves as a daily support to our school and program directors. Ms. Rachel is responsible for compliance of each school and program in regards to child care regulations and national accreditation standards. Ms. Rachel develops, coordinates and implements all of our new-hire training, is responsible for the management of facility maintenance, and you can expect to see her from time to time at all of our schools or programs.
Heather Beebe Walker
Director, Village Academy North
Ms. Heather Beebe Walker joined Village Academy North in February 2016 as the office manager, stepping into the role of director in June 2017. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Heather worked in the public school system there while studying Early Childhood Education. She relocated to Florida in 2006 and has over 10 years of experience working with children in a variety of capacities, including 5 years as a preschool teacher. During her work as a preschool teacher, she also began fostering her love of art and incorporated it extensively into her lessons with the children. This led her to obtain her Associates Degree in graphic design and eventually open her own children’s art studio, where she provided fun art activities for kids. Heather enjoys taking a creative approach to work and life in general and strongly believes in encouraging children to be innovative thinkers. Heather is also passionate about community. Something that is important to her in her role at Village Academy North is to encourage parent-involvement and offer school events to engage the community.
Director, The Village Academy
Ms. Tonie Mitchell graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. For eight years prior to joining The Village Academy family, Tonie was a 4th grade teacher focusing on Math and Science. Ms. Tonie is trained and experienced mentoring new teachers, analyzing data, and lesson planning. She truly enjoys working with us at The Village Academy and applying her expertise and experience as an educator at the preschool level.
Director, Palencia Montessori Academy
Ms. Megan Merlini joined our family of learning academies in 2016 as the Director of Palencia Montessori Academy. Ms. Merlini’s experience as a school and program Director along with her strong background in the Montessori philosophy are an asset to our school. Ms. Merlini earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has over seventeen years of teaching experience. Ms. Merlini worked as a Head Teacher responsible for curriculum in Montessori methodologies, lesson plan development, and preparation of Montessori materials. She is North American Montessori Center (NAMC) certiﬁed, and has completed coursework towards her American Montessori Society (AMS) certiﬁcation. In addition, she has been trained in differentiated instruction, classroom management, and behavioral intervention. Ms. Merlini brings a unique set of skills to our school including language immersion in a Montessori environment (Mandarin and Spanish), special needs education, and she has a specialized background in math, language arts, healthy cooking and nutritional counseling.