Gina Forbes, Executive Director
Gina Forbes (she/her/hers) is the Director of One Tree Center, home to Roots and Fruits Preschool. She is a passionate early childhood educator, parent of 2, and dedicated leader. She is committed to holistic education in support of love-based social change toward a more just, democratic world. With a background in reproductive health, early childhood development, trauma-informed practices, and non-profit administration, Gina brings a wealth of experience to the field of early childhood and beyond.
The daughter of a teacher, Gina was born and raised in Southeastern Connecticut where she was surrounded by her younger sister and several younger cousins and neighbors. Since she was old enough, she was charged with babysitting and overseeing the young kids in her life or helping her mother set up classroom activities. While teaching and learning were integral parts of Gina’s entire life, she first pursued a BA in psychology at Simmons College in Boston and studied reproductive health. She became a doula in 2004 and spent almost 10 years working with families during the childbearing year in a variety of capacities- educating, supporting, and facilitating well-being for prenatal, birth, and the postpartum. In 2008, her oldest child was born and he has since been her biggest teacher of how to appropriately and effectively support children and families as they develop over time. Now she is a parent of an 11-year-old and a 6-month-old.
Gina’s interest in family well-being has expanded beyond the childbearing year and she is excited to be working with children in the 3-5 year old range. She received her Masters of Education in Early Childhood from Goddard College in Vermont and is a certified early childhood educator (birth through Grade 3) in the State of Maine. During the course of her 8 years teaching at Roots and Fruits Preschool, she has pursued training in somatic-based trauma resolution strategies, trauma-informed practice, emergent project-based curriculum, authentic assessment, and embodied social justice education.
Now a resident of Brunswick, Gina lives with her partner, two kiddos, dog and cat and you can find her weaving, knitting, and listening to podcasts in her spare time.
Virginia E. Dearani, Founder and Senior Advisor
Virginia Dearani is the Founder and Senior Advisor of One Tree Center. She received her Masters in Education with a concentration in Partnership from Goddard College. She has been teaching children and youth ages 3 – 17 for over twenty years in a variety of environments. Her primary focus has been on violence prevention, anti-bias education, and cross-cultural relations. She has created violence prevention educational programs for children ages 3 – 13, utilizing many tools, i.e. puppets, drama, music, experiential activities, cooperative games, and art, among others.
Virginia has taught in the Early Childhood Education Program at University of Maine Farmington, Central Maine Community College and Southern Maine Community College, . She is also a licensed Maine Roads to Quality Trainer where she provides various trainings for educators of young children throughout the State of Maine. She currently writes early childhood curriculum on culturally responsive programs and creating peaceful classrooms for the State of Maine.
Virginia has tremendous energy and is passionate about teaching and learning from young children. She is committed to creating a positive, diverse learning environment for children where they can bring their whole selves to the classroom and be active participants in their educational journey. She truly believes every child is the hope for the future with the talent, imagination, and desire to create communities of peace and compassion.