A message from the owners:

“As life-long members of the Virginia Beach community, we are honored to provide a leading early childhood educational environment to Hampton Roads. We have established a team of exceptional educators who apply the latest proven learning practices to meet each child’s needs. We are passionate about the continuous professional development of our educators, thereby increasing their proficiency to enhance the educational experience of each child. Ultimately, we look forward to inspiring your child(ren) to be independent thinkers, compassionate world citizens, and future leaders.”
– Chelsea & Tara

Chelsea Comarda Morton, Owner, Baylake Academy

Chelsea Morton


Born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. Married with two beautiful children, Vincent (5 years old) and Kennedy (3 years old).

After graduating from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in STEM Education, Chelsea spent 12 years in Business Management across various CPG organizations. During her career she went on to further her education and obtained a Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology and currently serves on the Board of the Directors at The Epic Education Foundation. It wasn’t until after having two children and struggling to find a quality educational establishment that she realized the extreme need for a preschool that offered a safe and open learning environment where children could explore, discover, experience risk and failure, innovate, create, and problem solve, thus marking the beginning of Baylake Academy. She looks forward to providing your child (ren) with the best early childhood education program in Hampton Roads!

Tara Erbe, Owner, Baylake Academy

Tara Erbe


Born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. Married and the mother of three beautiful children, Colton (5 years old), and identical twins Evelyn and Abigail (1 year old).

Tara, Graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies with a focus on child program development. Tara has spent 10 years in business management and marketing for non profit organizations and private small businesses. Growing up, Tara has always aspired to work with children in some capacity, everything from a CHKD certified childcare provider to volunteering for children’s summer camps.  Today, having children of her own, she realizes a need for an educational environment in Virginia Beach that meets her high expectations in education, nutrition, and sanitation standards.  Establishing a safe learning environment where creativity and innovation are nurtured, physical fitness and healthy eating habits are instilled, and problem solving and technological activities are promoted, is a high priority with a daily emphasis on kindness and mindful thinking.

Bev Yoakum

Beverly Yoakum


Originally from Ohio, Mrs. Yoakum moved to Virginia Beach with her husband in 2016. The move was initiated by her oldest son and his wife, but by 2017, all three of her children had moved to Virginia Beach, the other two married Virginia Beach natives, and she and her husband now have 2 beautiful grandchildren. Mrs. Yoakum finds joy in being a grandmother and living on the bay. The community of Virginia Beach offers diversity, natural beauty, and down to earth culture she and her husband have grown to love.

Mrs. Yoakum graduated with a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, Administration. She is an inspiring leader who thrives on working with diverse teams towards a common goal. Passionate about environments whereby people can accomplish extraordinary outcomes, her knowledge and expertise have been responsible for growing several successful schools and organizations. She thrives when connecting with and channeling the strengths of educators within a high-quality educational space. She is a visionary committed to achieving excellence and seeing others succeed.

Some of her professional achievements include; a Reggio Emilia, Italy Study Tour, Step Up to Quality coordinator, Ohio Early Childhood advisory member, National True Hero award recipient, Regional School Accreditation Team member, and currently serves on the inaugural Commonwealth Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC). Mrs. Yoakum was selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants for a coveted seat. As an ECAC member, she helps shape the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) system for the Commonwealth, an initiative headed by our Virginia Governor.

As Director of Baylake Academy, she works with an exceptional team of educators and professionals passionate about providing an extraordinary school where young children lay the foundation for their life-long educational journey. She looks forward to bringing over three decades of experience to Baylake Academy, where she plans to run an outstanding program full of innovation, challenge, and wonder for each child attending.

Maria Hunger

Maria Hunger

Operations Manager

Maria, a Virginia Beach native, is married to her husband, Keith, of 36 years, has raised two beautiful children and is blessed with three grandchildren. Volunteering at a non-profit organization for sixteen years, she is a Trustee of the Ladies Auxiliary and an integral part of various committees which raise funds for various charities.

She recently retired from thirty-three years of Federal Civil Service as a GS-13 Records Manager. In addition to being a Records Manager, she was an IT Specialist, Knowledge Manager, and Quality Management Team member. Her journey afforded her many opportunities to participate in, and most times lead, the implementation of IT systems, curriculum, a Knowledge Management Strategy, Quality Management System, and a Records Management System.

As the Operations Manager, Ms. Hunger focuses on knowledge management, quality management, and records management. Her philosophy is threefold in that all organizations can benefit from their team members sharing, reusing information, collaborating and continuously learning as well as process documentation, improvement, and retention.

    • As a certified Knowledge Manager (KM Institute in Washington DC) and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (L6S School Norfolk VA), Ms. Hunger applies these methodologies and approaches in practical ways to enhance Baylake Academy business operations. Ms. Hunger uses her more than 15-year affiliation with APQC to improve the Knowledge Management and Process Improvement environment at Baylake Academy.
    • Accomplishing ISO 9001-2015 Standard Quality Management certification with the US Government has aided Ms. Hunger in identifying the importance of obtaining ISO 21001:2018 certification for running Baylake Academy’s Quality Management System.
    • Also, a very important part of business is managing records so that the right information is maintained for the correct amount of time by state and federal regulations. Ms. Hunger attained her Federal Records Manager Certification through the National Archives in Washington D.C.

Being able to implement these three lines of business in a learning environment such as Baylake Academy is a dream come true.


Announcement is coming soon

Our Lead Teachers have a degree with an Early Childhood Education focus and/or extensive years of equivalent experience in a licensed educational setting. Each teacher is CPR, First Aid, and MAT certified and completes a minimum of 20 hours of professional development training annually to provide the best educational experience for your child(ren). Our teachers implement integrated learning approaches that incorporate STEAM, Phenomenon and problem-based learning, as well as individualized and differentiated instruction. Look forward to an enthusiastic, energetic, self-motivated, supportive, and collaborative role model for your child(ren).

Assistant Teachers

Announcement is coming soon

Our Assistant Teachers have a degree with an Early Childhood Education emphasis or similar field and/or extensive years of experience working with children in a licensed facility focused on the education of children. Our Assistant Teachers support our Lead Teachers and provide opportunities that encourage curiosity, exploration, and problem-solving appropriate to the developmental levels of the students.

network of experts

Network of Experts

We are fortunate to work with a network of well-recognized Experts that are highly involved in supporting our mission, curriculum and student development throughout the year. Our Network of Experts is continuously evolving, and we look forward to expanding this network.