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  • Preschool Director

Why Main Street Preschool is Rich

I’ve been working in and around education long enough to have heard the success of schools attributed to many factors. Some appeal to donors or funding as the source of success, but I’ve seen underfunded schools achieve great things. Others give acclaim to high achieving students and dedicated parents. Those are important factors, to be sure, but I am not sure they deserve complete credit for a school’s achievements. In my experience, the heart of a school is its teachers and staff. As we enter this season of gratitude, I cannot help but reflect on my appreciation for the champions that I work alongside at Main Street Preschool.

Naming what I see on a daily basis will seem trite on the surface. Unless you’ve experienced the disquiet of a child for 2 solid hours, you can’t appreciate the way that Melanie Philo never breaks her smile when comforting a distressed baby in our Parent’s Day Out classes.

Sending a text to a parent that says, “All is well. Please don’t worry. She is playing now,” seems inconsequential, but Lynn Baldwin knows the value of this to a parent who wants to know their child feels safe in our 2 Year Old’s Class. Lynn’s 30+ years of teaching experience have taught her that “a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.” (Proverbs 29:11)

Barbara “Babs” Fortenberry is vigilant each morning in serving as our “Carpool Nurse,” checking temperatures with care and love that makes each child feel as if they are being given a special hug for the start of the day instead of monitored for illness.

Sharon Bulla has served not only as a guardian of our space, but as an instructor here for more years that she would probably have me mention. Her tried and true instruction has seen children come into her class with no knowledge of numbers or alphabet and leave fully equipped for the next level of instruction. Leigh Escalante serves by her side three days a week, faithfully and patiently reinforcing each concept – always offering praise at the smallest sign of progress.

Pamela Ross and Fana Fikreyesus are new to our team this year. This dynamic duo has changed the face of our Pre-K classroom. Both certified teachers, each offer a wealth of talent and experience in the classroom. Each offer individualized instruction to our students, ensuring that every child will be Kindergarten ready at the end of this Pre-K year. Best of all, they do it with smiles and songs while teaching about the love of Christ for each child.

Vicki Westbrook teaches our Kindergarten children with an enthusiasm that has recently been described by a parent as “the best” and her classroom as “exceptional.” Children report that she makes learning a fun process, one of our primary values at Main Street Preschool.

Kathy Ray brings Music and Library into our classrooms each week to enrich our students’ experience. Building a love of literature has become so much a part of who we are at Main Street that children are often checking out books, checking them back in, and checking out another all in the same day!

I left Judy Tsegaye for last because she is perhaps the most challenging to describe in a short sentence. Serving in Parent’s Day Out three days a week, Judy lends her patience and expertise in not only caregiving for children, but acting as an ambassador to young parents. Her willingness (along with Fana) to serve as translator to families needing assistance with English has proved invaluable to us this year and truly sets us apart as a school that cares for its community.

Working alongside these women each day has already proved a tremendous blessing in my life. Because of them I consider myself, and Main Street Preschool, rich indeed.

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