Preschool Teacher Profiles

I am delighted to introduce you to your classroom and specialist teachers for 2017-18. Many of our teachers are the same, and we have a few new teachers to welcome to our community this year. Our teachers understand that where you start matters and are committed to providing the best progressive educational program for your children.

As you will see, our teachers have an excellent array of skills, education, training, and interests. We all have one thing in common: each one of us commits to making Virginia Chance School an outstanding and exceptional place of learning for children and families!

Looking forward to a great year of learning,
Debbie Houston, Head of School

I am proud to present our Preschool Teachers to you:

Hannah Schardein, Fours Teacher

I continue to be influenced by modern research in education and am especially mindful of the central importance of choice, nature, and free play in children’s early educational experiences. These passionate ideas led me to the progressive education program at Virginia Chance School. I hold a Master of Education in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Louisville. I have taught first and second grades as well as taught and directed the Junior Kindergarten Program in local independent schools. I’ve enjoyed presenting at various educational conferences, such as KAIS, and serving on the Early Childhood Board at the Kentucky Science Center. I have a firm respect for the different developmental pathways and knowledge that all humans are born with different propensities. I believe that educators are responsible for caring for each child with a mindfulness of these ideas. Outside of school, my family and I enjoy getting out into nature to camp, hike, and garden, and we are all avid readers.

 

Margaret Houston, Fours Teacher

This year marks my 6th year of teaching at Virginia Chance School. My mission as a teacher of the Fours is to help children discover the joy of learning through play and exploration. I am intentional in my efforts to get to know each child as an individual and to encourage them in their journey as confident, inquisitive learners. I have a Master of Arts in Teaching, University of the Cumberlands and a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown College. I grew up in Pikeville, Kentucky. Recently my husband Crawford (a Chance graduate) and I moved to Shelbyville. We have enjoyed the farmland, fresh air and stillness that country living provides. We have two dogs (a Rottweiler named Gus and a Lab named B) and four chickens! In my free time I enjoy nights at home with my family, adventures with the dogs, and spending time with good friends.

 

Jessie Lay, Fours Teacher

I have a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Bachelor in Elementary Education from Western Carolina University. I taught for three and a half years in a program that focused on arts-infused, inquiry-based learning in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. I was drawn to Virginia Chance School because of our belief in fostering creativity, problem-solving, and skill-building, and a lifetime love of learning. I believe that children can learn best through hands-on experiences, discovery, exploration, and play. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the many things Louisville has to offer. I also enjoy reading and spending time with my family and my dog, Kero.

 

Vicki Haytchouk, Fours Teacher

I earned my Masters in Early Childhood Education from DePaul University, and I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Child Development from Florida State University (GO NOLES!). I’ve taught in private preschools, teaching two-year-olds to four-year-olds, including Junior Kindergarten, as well as 2nd grade and 3rd-grade teaching residencies. I have found that children learn best when curriculum considers both student needs and interests; when activities and lessons include hands-on and active components; when children have time to be independent and guide their learning and when creativity and imagination are a valued part of their learning experience. Additionally, I find immense importance in fostering the acceptance and respect of diversity and inclusion within the classroom. I just recently moved to Louisville from Chicago, yet was born in Mississauga, Canada and grew up in Tampa, Florida. I luckily came across Virginia Chance School while doing research for my move and immediately felt that the school’s vision, mission and core values aligned so closely with my own. Outside of the classroom, I love to travel, especially considering my parents, siblings and I all live in different parts of the country. I also enjoy going to the beach, reading, exploring different festivals and markets, college football, trying new things and seeing new places!

 

Maureen Harden, Threes Teacher

I am excited to begin my 14th year of teaching preschool at Virginia Chance School. Engaging children in a loving, joyful environment with a whole child, progressive approach to education is something I believe in, and I’ve seen the benefits of this approach in own children.  All three of my children began at Virginia Chance School as two-year-olds and attended through the completion of the fifth grade. I have an ABT Master in Psychology with an emphasis on children and child development and a Bachelor of Science from Xavier University. When not working, I spend most of my time with my children. When I do get a free moment, I often find myself solving Sudoku puzzles, knitting, reading, or watching documentaries and old movies.

 

Jenny Pritchett, Threes Teacher

I have a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. I have many years of teaching experience, including the privilege of being a mentor teacher. I was once told, “The sweet spot is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” My greatest joy and passion is teaching! Guiding and encouraging students to meet their full potential is certainly one of the world’s needs (and I don’t have the skill set to achieve world peace!). I feel I have found my “sweet spot” at Virginia Chance School with the three-year-olds, and 2017-18 will be my fifth teaching year at VCS.  I am also involved in the Magic Ladder Literacy Project, an exciting new technology and methodology for teaching reading. I volunteer with my husband on Mondays and Tuesdays, working with disadvantaged struggling readers in the JCPS school system. Outside of school, I am an active member of my church, I have been in the same book group for 14 years, and I love to work out, hike, and bake.

 

Julia Patterson, Threes Teacher

I have taught and led the Early Childhood Theatre Education Program at Imagination Stage for five years in Bethesda, Maryland. I was also Professional Teaching Artist at two local youth theatre programs here in Louisville as well as a Professional Storyteller with the Blue Apple Players. I am also a two-time children’s book author and playwright. I have a BFA in Acting from the Conservancy of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. I believe that play is ‘the work’ of early childhood and find the Chance philosophy to be perfectly aligned with my views on education.  I bring with me to Virginia Chance School over ten years of experience educating, empowering and working creatively with young children. I love bringing stories to life with small children by having them participate in the storytelling, and I’m excited to bring that gift to Virginia Chance School.

 

Jamie Briglio, Threes Teacher

I earned a Master of Arts and Teaching Certification from National-Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Illinois. My career began in secondary education, but I was given the opportunity to teach preschool while obtaining my masters degree, and fell in love with teaching the age group.

I am entering my 15th year as an educator. I believe that the students must first learn to build independence and confidence. So much is done for them at the preschool age, but when you show a child through their own actions that they can succeed, they are much more willing to try things they never thought they could accomplish. It is important for the students to have a voice and understand that what they say does matter. I specialize in an inquiry-based classroom environment, where the children’s thoughts and ideas drive the curriculum.

I quickly decided to make Louisville my home after a recent road trip from Chicago with my family. While researching teaching opportunities, I was introduced to Virginia Chance School, and was immediately struck by the beauty and nature that surrounds the school. It was a fateful meeting, and I am delighted to join a school and team that embodies all of my educational beliefs.

In my free time, I love to travel, spend time with my family and friends, and explore all there is to do in Louisville.  I also enjoy playing bocce ball and taking long walks by the water with my Yorkiepoo, Milo.

 

Crissy McMullan, Threes Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Early Elementary Education from the University of Louisville. During my studies, I discovered Virginia Chance School with the intent to simply interview the Head of School, Debbie Houston, for a project but quickly fell in love with the campus, and found myself observing in classrooms, and interviewing teachers for other class projects. When it came time to student teach, there was nowhere else I wanted to be, and luckily I was able to be placed at VCS. I found a community within the staff and families that I had never seen before, and I knew that it was where I wanted to be.

This will be my second year teaching in the threes classroom, and I love how curious, creative, loving, and imaginative this age group is! I believe that the schooling children receive at this age sets the stage for all future learning. I love to see and utilize a child’s natural curiosity and creativity at this age and foster their joy of learning and wonder.

I have been married for ten years, and have two beautiful daughters, Molly and Abigail. “Abby” will be starting at Virginia Chance this year, in the twos program. When I am not at school, my family loves to travel, mainly to visit family in Washington, California and New York. I also love to cook, read, and have recently discovered a love for Barre classes.

 

Claudia Rosas-Blanco, Threes Teacher, and Spanish Specialist

Claudia Rosas-Blanco started teaching Spanish at Virginia Chance School seven years ago and was a threes teacher in the regular classroom and during our Summer Under the Trees Camp two years ago. We are excited to welcome Claudia back to Virginia Chance School. She was born in Mexico City, and she and her family had the opportunity to move to the USA eight years ago. Claudia graduated from Tollancingo University in Mexico in Architecture and has a certification from University of Cambridge as a Teacher in ESOL (English Speakers of Other Language). She loves the architecture of our school and enjoys teaching preschoolers and Spanish to friends at Virginia Chance School! In her free time, Claudia spends time with her husband and their 9 year old, Omar. She enjoys puzzles with her family, painting, sewing, cross stitch and she is a really good chef, specializing in Mexican food! She still misses her country, but now she adopts Louisville as her second home!

 

Amy Fowler, Two Day Twos Teacher and Physical Education & Preschool Movement Specialist

I have a Doctoral degree in Leadership Education from Spalding University in May 2000 and a Master in Education from the University of Buffalo and a Bachelor of Arts from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. I began working at Virginia Chance School in 2005 as the Director of Communication, and I remained in that position until 2013 when I became the Physical Education Specialist. This will be my thrid year teaching the Two Day Twos along with being the Physical Education Specialist. This position allows me to provide our youngest students with a positive and nurturing first school experience and start them on a path that fosters a love of learning. When I’m not at school, I love to stay active. I enjoy playing tennis, backyard football and basketball, biking, hiking and gardening. I also sit on the board of Falls City Soccer Club, and I am the Parent Administrator for the Kentucky Country Day boy’s high school soccer program.

 

Elizabeth Moe, Twos Teacher

I have taught preschool for 12 years at Virginia Chance School, I look forward to each new year. I love teaching the Twos and being their first teacher! It is wonderful to be with the Twos as they begin their journey at Virginia Chance School and to provide them a loving, safe and nurturing environment for their first learning experience. I received my B.A in Art History from Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and after completing I discovered Virginia Chance School through family friends who had previously been preschool teachers here. Once I began teaching at VCS, I knew I had found my teaching home!

Outside of school, I am a busy wife and mom. I have been married to my husband Jeff for 19 years, and they have three wonderful children- Andrew, Stuart, and Sarah. I keep busy attending all my children’s games (football, lacrosse, field hockey and volleyball!) throughout the year, cooking and traveling to my favorite place- Seabrook Island in SC.

 

Corinne Kamiya, Twos Teacher

I fell into teaching preschool while living in New York after finishing graduate school, and I fell in love with the everyday wonder and incredible growth that happens in preschool. I have a Master of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Hawaii. I discovered Virginia Chance School in 2014 when my husband Eric proposed that we consider moving from Hawaii to Louisville to be closer to his family. We visited Louisville to explore the idea of a move, and after touring the school, I told my husband, “I would move to Kentucky for this school.” This fall will be the start of our fourth year at Virginia Chance School, and it will be my second year with the two-year-olds. I love finding out what the children are passionate about and exploring those interests deeply so that I am always learning new things alongside them. In my time outside of school, I love to sew dresses, bake bread, make art, and take TRX and hot yoga classes.

 

Sara Queen, Twos Teacher

I am currently pursuing my Masters of Art in Teaching from the University of the Cumberlands, and I also have my MBA and Undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville. This will be my second year teaching at VCS and first year as a two-year-old teacher. I believe my role as a teacher is to provide experiences for children that foster their curiosity through hands-on learning as well as their ability to be kind and compassionate friends.

I came to Virginia Chance School first as a parent when my daughter Mia was three years old. I then became involved as a volunteer and served as a Parent Council Co-Chair and also as the Library Volunteer Chair. Mia is now entering Primary 2/3 and the progressive model of education has had an amazing impact on my family. I am thrilled to be able to be a part of this amazing educational community.

When I am not teaching, or going to school for teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Tyler and my daughter, Mia as well as reading, baking, and sewing.

 

Samantha Heiskell, Twos Teacher

This spring I will enroll in a Masters in Education program and I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky. Before teaching at Virginia Chance School I was an Americorps member based in Louisville, and I taught English abroad in Spain. I began teaching at Virginia Chance School as the Spanish specialist last year. While working every day with preschoolers, I soon realized my passion for helping those curious minds grow and learn from the world around them. I am always eager to learn and implement the best practices approaches for nurturing this young age and I love Virginia Chance’s progressive philosophy. My personal touch I will incorporate in the classroom will include a bit of Spanish because I truly believe it is important to learn new languages. I’m beyond excited for this year with VCS!