As Assistant Director, Ms. Lina will support the Director and staff in the operations of the center. Her mission at Smart Start is to help guide and ensure that all the families are receiving the best care possible. Ms. Lina has been teaching for over 5 years. Before coming to Smart Start, she worked at an Early Head Start center. She also worked as a case worker on the enforcement side. She is eager to create an early learning environment where all children can learn, grow and be supported in becoming their very best selves. Ms. Lina graduated from Central High School and holds her child development associate credentials.

​(402) 614-2722

Brooke Pauley


As Smart Start's owner, Brooke assists in overseeing the operations of the center, providing support to the Director, Assistant Director and staff. Brooke is passionate about creating an environment where each child can thrive. Your child's growth, development, and safety is our top priority.  We welcome each family here with open arms as we would our own family. Brooke is married and a mother to four children. In her free time, she enjoys movies, live theater and dancing.

Apulinar Hernandez

Assistant Director 

We are always looking for experienced professionals to join our education team!

Stop in to meet management and fill out an application. We're growing and always looking for responsible, reliable teachers with center experience or early childhood development training. We keep applications on file for up to 90 days and we continue to grow and add new staff as needed. Must be 18 years of age, have a minimum of 1 year working with groups of children or in a childcare center setting, excellent references, and pass a local, state, and national background screening. A degree in childcare and/or education helpful but not required.

Our Employees enjoy Paid Time Off (PTO program) and are eligible for 
optional dental, vision, and life insurance benefits.


Smart Start Learning Center is a leader in the childcare industry. We are on the forefront of Nebraska's Step Up to Quality efforts and making great strives to improve the quality of early childhood learning and care in our community.  Our caring staff and experienced leadership have developed a program that helps to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

Come meet our excellent team of early childhood educators.  Every teacher has multiple years of childcare experience, educational training in childcare, and has gone through local, state, and national background checks.


As Director of Smart Start, Ms. Johnson oversees all systems and daily operations at the school level.  She ensures the systems developed for Smart Start are being implemented correctly. Ms. Johnson previously taught as a Special Education Teacher at Fullerton Elementary for 2 years, owned and operated Lexis Lambs Learning Center for 20 years, Contract Administrator and Executive Administrator of Property Management for Omaha Housing Authority for 3 years, and Center Director of Operations for Cherry Hills Learning Academy.
She is originally from Houston, Texas and moved to the Midwest almost 35 years ago. She has 5 adult children, 4 boys and 1 daughter. Ms. Johnson obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration/Theology from Grace University. She started her Master of Divinity September 2021 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Vanessa Johnson


 Interested in a career in childcare and making a positive difference in the life of a child?