The Sproutlings Team

Sproutlings is owned by the Shaheed family, long-time residents of New Providence. Mo Shaheed and his daughter, Mira, and son, Jon, oversee the daily operations. Mo has an educational background and worked with school-age children prior to opening Sproutlings. Mira worked in the area for nearly 20 years as a preschool teacher. Jon was a high school teacher when he served in the Peace Corps in West Africa.

The Sproutlings Story

Mira’s experience serving young children and their families evolved into her vision for Sproutlings. She understands the variety of needs that families with young children have, and she recognizes the growing need for more childcare options in the New Providence area. Mira has completed several teacher education programs for teachers of young children, including a High Scope lead teaching and a CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential for Infants and Toddlers. She frequently attends conferences at Kean University on early childhood education topics.

Our Teachers and Staff

Jon (Small)

Jon Shaheed

VP of Operations

Jonathan was raised in New Providence and graduated from New Providence High School.  He has a BA in Biology from Bucknell University.  His Masters is in Health Administration from Columbia University.  Jonathan taught biology, chemistry and physics when he served in the Peace Corps in West Africa.  Prior to Sproutlings, he worked as a Forecast Analyst for several years before working in Care Transitions at a New York hospital system. Jon enjoys playing soccer in his spare time and recently coached the NPHS Boys Freshman Soccer team to an undefeated season. He lives with his wife Sydney, son Kieran and dog Kodak in town.

Sproutlings Assistant Director Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith


Amanda moved to New Providence from the UK with her husband and 2 children in 2004. She has a BSc. in Diagnostic Radiography from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and obtained her Preschool CDA certification in 2015. Amanda joined Sproutlings in 2020, as a lead teacher in the PreK 3 class and is excited to take on the role of Director. Prior to joining the Sproutlings team, Amanda worked as an assistant teacher and then a lead teacher at St. Andrews Preschool and Kindergarten in New Providence. In her spare time, Amanda loves to knit, read, and spend time with her family.

Maddie (Small)

Maddie Espinal

Head Teacher and Pre-K 4 Lead Teacher

Maddie Espinal is a lead teacher in our Pre-K 4 class. She has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University - Harrisburg as well as a K-5 Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate. Maddie was the Lead Preschool Teacher at a Goddard School in Pennsylvania and was a member of the Youth Services team at a library in Pennsylvania and has worked in the childcare field for the past 8 years. Maddie lives in Bridgewater with her husband Marco, daughter Daisy and their cat Jack.


Laurel Alpern

Head Teacher

Laurel has worked in the field of education for many years as a teacher, special education teaching assistant, and educational researcher. Laurel has her Master of Arts in Teaching with Certifications in Elementary and Special Education from Montclair State University. She also has her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys painting, spending time with family and friends, paddle boarding at the beach, and taking care of her many plants.

Donna Peapod Lead Teacher (Small)

Donna Nobile

Head Teacher

Donna has worked as lead teacher of infants for over 10 years. Prior to that, she worked as an assistant teacher and then lead teacher with both toddlers and preschoolers. Donna’s experience with caring for infants and working with families of our youngest clients prepares her well for this position. Donna enjoys spending time with her three children, Joseph, Courtney and Bridget, and four grandchildren.

Amelia Wilson

Amelia Wilson

PreK 3 Lead Teacher

Amelia has an Associate’s Degree in Education from Raritan Valley Community College.  While obtaining her degree she spent time in the Clinton Public schools and in the Calvary Nursery School in Cranford.  Amelia worked as an assistant teacher in PreK 3 prior to taking on the lead position.  She has completed training in Creative Curriculum through the Grow NJ Kids program.

Bridget Seedlings Head Teacher (Small)

Bridget Nobile

Seedlings Lead Teacher

Bridget has been working with young children for over fifteen years.   She grew up in New Providence, graduated from New Providence High School and obtained her degree in Communications from Farleigh Dickenson University in 2006.  She recently completed Creative Curriculum training and is in the process of finishing her CDA.  Bridget’s enthusiasm and creativity make her a perfect match for the young toddler classroom.

Alex Amory

Alex Amory

Lead Teacher - Beanstalks

Alex was born and raised in Rahway, NJ. In addition to a background in clinical healthcare from Union County Vo-Tech High School, she has experience in childcare. After working as an assistant in several different classrooms at Sproultings, Alex is thrilled to be the lead teacher of the Beanstalks classroom. When she is not at Sproutlings, Alex enjoys baking, sewing and playing with her two cats, Sage and Pepper.

Pamela Boemio

Pamela Boemio

Lead Teacher of Pre K 3
Pamela Boemio has over 13 years of experience in childcare. She received a degree in Marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. While raising her two children, Pam started working for a childcare center in South Jersey. She began working with two year olds and worked her way to the lead teacher in the Pre K 4 class. Pam joined Sproutlings two years ago as an assistant teacher in our Pre K 3 program and is now one of our lead teachers. 
Jennifer Shattle

Jennifer Shattle

Lead Teacher- Pre K 4
Jen has almost 30 years of Preschool experience, of which 16 years were spent running her own childcare business. She has a degree in fine arts from Raritan Valley Community College as well as a preschool CDA. Jen spends her time at home with her two daughters Emily and Molly. She loves dogs, books and the beach.   
Emily Shattle - Lead Teacher Peapods II

Emily Shattle

Lead Teacher – Peapods II

Emily is from Middlesex, NJ and graduated from Middlesex High School in 2015. She attended Raritan Valley Community College and American Academy McAllister Institute. Emily has been around children her entire life, from having a daycare in her childhood home, to babysitting, working summer camps, as well as spending two years in a preschool classroom at a local daycare. During her free time, she spends her weekends at the shore with her friends.

Emmy Wilson

Emmy Wilson

Lead Teacher - Little Sprouts

Emmy grew up in Mountainside, NJ and graduated from Governor Livingston High School in 2020. She attended Raritan Valley Community College and is in the process of obtaining her infant/toddler CDA. Emmy has experience in childcare, including babysitting and working in the nursery at church. She worked as an assistant teacher in the Seedlings room at Sproutlings prior to taking on the lead teacher position in the Little Sprouts room. Emmy enjoys spending her free time with family, friends and her dog, Sofi.

Jenna Melkowits

Jenna Melkowits

Lead Teacher - After Care Program

Jenna has been working in childcare for over thirteen years. She grew up in New Providence, graduated from New Providence High School and attended Caldwell University. Jenna is the aftercare program coordinator and helps run the Sproutlings Summer Camp program. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys reading, baking, being at the beach, playing with her dog, Trixie, and spending time with her friends and family.