Our Christian Childcare in San Antonio Leadership Team

The Pillars Christian Learning Center attracts and retains staff members who have a true heart for children. The Pillars preschools are professionally managed and staffed by teachers and administrators who seek to contribute to your child’s growth in loving and meaningful ways – for a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. We strive for all members of our lead teaching staff to be certified in early childhood development or education. Many have advanced degrees.

Melissa Anderson

Melissa Anderson

Founder

Melissa Anderson had a vision to start a combined early childhood and day care center that would deliver an unrivaled, holistic approach to the San Antonio region. Her program addresses the comprehensive needs of the whole child – cognitively, socially, physically and spiritually. She received her Child Care Director’s License from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Melissa holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, San Antonio, Texas, and a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. “I manage my learning centers largely from a parent’s perspective, and make decisions in the best interest of the children in our care,” she said. “I want the children to feel safe, comfortable and loved while learning and progressing through the various developmental stages of growth.” She and her family attend Northrock Church. Melissa has been married to Geren since 1999 and has two teenaged children. Her hobbies include reading, Pilates, camping, and traveling.

Geren Anderson

Geren Anderson

Founder

Geren Anderson is the co-founder of The Pillars Christian Learning Center and oversees the company’s financial, marketing, and strategic-growth activities. Since 2009, his vision and leadership have helped the business to grow from one location to multiple locations across the San Antonio area. His background includes extensive financial management, marketing, advertising, strategic planning and business development. Geren has owned and operated other small businesses and brings extensive corporate executive experience to his position as well. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University. Geren serves on the Board of Trustees at Northrock Church and his hobbies include fishing, hunting, camping, and golf.

Kellie Copeland

Kellie Copeland

Vice President of Finance and Administration

Kellie Copeland is the Director of Finance and Administration of The Pillars Christian Learning Center, where she oversees accounting, finance and administrative responsibilities for each of the centers. Her background is diverse as she has experience ranging from bookkeeping to corporate finance to valuation consulting. She has also spent many years volunteering her time as an officer and treasurer of Wilderness Oak Elementary PTA as well as Bulverde MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Kellie and her family attend Community Bible Church. She and her husband have been married since 1999 and their two sons keep them on the go! She enjoys scuba diving with her family, traveling, camping, games and outdoor activities.

Kellie Copeland

Torrey Laffoon

Director of Marketing

Torrey Laffoon is the Director of Marketing at The Pillars. With over a decade of experience in Marketing and Communication, Torrey is passionate about people and how we reach them. Whether it’s folks in each local community we serve or our Pillars Families, Torrey’s mission is that everyone who comes in contact with The Pillars has a positive and memorable experience as well as a complete understanding of what we do and why we do it. Torrey’s background in student and children’s ministry also gives him a unique perspective that is perfect for The Pillars. Student Ministry has been a part of Torrey’s life since the beginning, as his Mother and Father were Youth For Christ ministers in Central Michigan where he was raised. He spent five years at Youth For Christ as well, as a middle school ministry director and then as the Central Michigan chapter’s Director of Marketing & Communication. That experience combined with his passion for digital marketing trends and connecting people to The Pillars’ story, Torrey serves us in a large variety of ways every day. Torrey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Marketing from Central Michigan University, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication and Marketing from Spring Arbor University. In his free time, Torrey loves to be outdoors with his wife of nearly seven years, hunting, fishing, playing disc golf, hiking, and being on the water.

Dawn Spainhower

Dawn Spainhower

Director of Spiritual Development and Administration

Dawn Spainhower serves as our Director of Spiritual Development and Administration. Prior to this role, she served as the director of our Reed Road location for two and a half years, director at our Bandera Road location for seven and a half years and as Regional Director of Operations for 2 years. The knowledge she gained, coupled with her personal aptitude for relational ministry has led us to create a unique role for her within the industry. We believe caring for the spiritual health of our team members is crucial, and Dawn is perfect for the job.

Dawn has been instrumental in establishing a culture of partnership and community with our Pillars Families at all our locations. She also pioneered our weekly chapel programs in her early days as a director, as she has been working with young children in her church since she herself was just a little girl. Dawn attends the Church of God of Prophecy on Ingram Road. She is actively involved in her church on both a state and local level and volunteers at summer church camps.

Dawn believes that teaching and working with children should be enjoyable for everyone involved – children, teachers, and parents. “We need to have a clear purpose to nurture a child’s awareness of God and understand our fundamental call to minister to this unique mission field. Psalm127:4, Solomon compares children to arrows. Arrows are sharpened, arrow are aimed at a target and then released with purpose. We have a wonderful opportunity to mold and shape our children to be world changers. We have a window of opportunity to minister to families and help children understand how much God loves them. “

Dawn has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Ohio University. She has been married to Donald since 1990 and together they have two adult children. Her hobbies include reading, singing, playing the guitar, and playing the saxophone.

Valerie Lewis

Michelle Munoz

Manager of Finance and Administration

Michelle Munoz is the Executive Assistant for The Pillars Christian Learning Center, where she assists in a variety of areas: Administrative, IT, Facility Maintenance, Fleet management, vendor management, project management, and accounting. She has 10 years of Office and Leadership experience. Michelle recognizes the importance of education and the love for Jesus in our children. Michelle and her family attend CityChurch on Bandera Rd. Michelle is a mother of 3 children Destiny, John, and Gauge. She spends her weekends going on adventures with the kids, hiking, fishing, camping, or anything outdoors.

Valerie Lewis

Valerie Ragsdale

Director of Family Relationships

We recently welcomed Valerie E. Ragsdale to The Pillars family as our Family Relationship Manager. Valerie is a graduate from The University of Texas at San Antonio, with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her most recent position working with all ages of children and their abilities has given her the experience necessary for her current role. Valerie recognizes the importance of family engagement and a center’s communication to be imperative for a growing child. Fostering relationships with families will be key in her role, and she is ready to serve all current and future Pillar’s families to ensure a joy-filled and successful journey in learning and in life. Upon learning more about The Pillars’ mission statement, it aligns perfectly with her own family values: Love God, love learning, and love children. Valerie has been married to her husband, Chad, for 12 years and together they are blessed with three gorgeous children: Cody, Avery and Brooklyn. Like most families their weekends are filled with their children’s activities and family times. She is looking forward to many years, many families and many children!

Valerie Lewis

Valerie Lewis

Director, Reed Road Center

Valerie Lewis is the director of our Bandera Road location. She possesses 15 years of experience in early childhood development. Ms. Valerie spent 10 years teaching in infant and toddler classrooms. She was promoted to an administration position and later became director. “I have been very blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of The Pillars Family. Along with the staff, I work hard to continue the legacy of success established at The Pillars by building strong relationships with parents and the children. We focus on character education initiatives, fostering a nurturing, safe environment and spiritual growth to increase our children’s achievements. As Director, my door is always open and I welcome input from parents and staff.” Valerie has been married to her husband since 1997 and has three children. She attends City Church and enjoys volunteering there. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and baking.

Valerie Lewis

Laura Nelson

Curriculum and Program Training Specialist

Born and raised in the greater San Antonio area, Laura Nelson and her husband Robert married in 2011. In 2015, they settled in New Braunfels with their three very diverse and remarkable children. Laura graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, majoring in Early Childhood Education. Laura celebrated twenty years of working with families in education by answering the call to serve as Director of the fifth Pillars Christian Learning Center, located in the Creekside Community of New Braunfels, which opened in January 2021.

“I love that, as a director, I have the opportunity not only to mentor teachers and serve parents, but to minister to them as well. 1st Peter 5:2 has become the motto of my career and the personal words I live by. I am the shepherd of God’s flock that He has placed under my care; watching over them, not because I must but because I am willing, as God wants me to be. I will not pursue dishonest gain but be eager to serve. I will not lord over those entrusted to me but be an example to the flock.”

Laura and her family are members of River City Community Church in Selma. In their spare time, Laura and her family enjoy going on long road trips, camping, and raising chickens.