Gretchen Preston

GretchenPresident and Owner Gretchen Preston graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in education. She provided child care in her home for five years when her own children were preschoolers. In 1982, she opened the first Gretchen’s House in the Eberwhite neighborhood. Since then, Gretchen’s House has grown to seven centers in Ann Arbor, one in Chelsea, one in Houghton, Michigan on the campus of Michigan Technological University, and one in Lansing on the campus of Lansing Community College. Throughout her career Gretchen has been active in the early childhood community, both locally and at the national level. She has been a validator for NAEYC’s accreditation program for several years and has served on local professional groups, as well as boards for Child Care Information Exchange and the current Washtenaw Citizens Advisory Council for Family Court. She is also a Certified Playground Safety Inspector.  Gretchen says, “I enjoy working with early childhood professionals within Gretchen’s House and the greater community. Improving the quality of our programs is at the core of everything we do at Gretchen’s House. Seeing this happen gives me great satisfaction.”

Heidi McFadden

Executive Director Heidi McFadden has been with Gretchen’s House since 1992. She was a center Director at GH-Stadium and at GH-Oak Valley and has been in her current position since 2002. Heidi has a bachelor’s degree in education from DePauw University and is a HighScope certified trainer. She’s worked in the early childhood field since 1984 as a teacher, program director, and director of NAEYC accredited programs.

As Executive Director, Heidi enjoys the perspective of working “behind the scenes” with the administrative team at Gretchen’s House and providing feedback and support for center Directors and their staff. Heidi says being at the centers regularly allows her to see the direct impact that our programs have on children and families. She gets satisfaction from knowing we provide an important service in our community.

Beth MeLampy

Beth MelampyDirector of Curriculum Beth MeLampy has worked in the early childhood community in Ann Arbor since 1984 and has been with Gretchen’s House since 2007. Beth has a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Beth became a HighScope certified trainer in the Spring of 2009. She has also been a Validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s accreditation program. Beth is currently responsible for teacher training at Gretchen’s House. This includes an eight-week training that all new teachers go through called Starting Points, as well as a seven-week series that new head teachers go through. Beth often works in tandem with our teacher support coordinator. Beth also has the opportunity to work with parents at Gretchen’s House when she conducts our annual series of parent education workshops. Beth is passionate about learning and feels lucky that she has a job that allows her to teach and learn something new every day.

Laura Griswold

Teacher Support Coordinator Laura Griswold  has been with Gretchen’s House since 1992 and during her professional journey has been a teacher and director before taking on this role. Laura is responsible for the Great Start Readiness Program classrooms that are housed at Gretchen’s House as well as supporting teachers when challenges arise in the classroom. Laura and her husband, Giovanni are the proud parents of two boys; Grant and Aidan who grew up as GH kids. With adolescent boys, life is busy with sporting events, band/jazz concerts and grocery shopping!

Michele Davis

micheleHuman Resources Director Michele Davis recruits, interviews, and hires staff for all Ann Arbor and Chelsea locations. Michele has a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology with a minor in Psychology from Western Michigan University. She began working at Gretchen’s House in early 1990. For several years, Michele worked as a classroom teacher, before moving into the role of Center Director in 1995. Since 2001 she has held her current administrative position. Michele has three children, and spends most of her free time attending their extracurricular activities, but also enjoys skiing, kayaking and golf.

Lorraine Hergenreder

Payroll and Benefits Manager Lorraine Hergenreder began working for Gretchen’s House, Inc. in 1988 as the center director for GH-Stadium, back when there were only three centers! Lorraine moved into an administrative position in 1993 after the birth of her daughter, Emma. Lorraine has a bachelor’s degree in Individual and Family Studies with an Emphasis in Infant Development from Pennsylvania State University, with a minor in business administration. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Lorraine enjoys vacationing, camping, skiing, and snowmobiling. She lives in Chelsea with her husband, daughter, two very large dogs, two cats and one tiny hamster. Lorraine celebrated her 25th year with Gretchen’s House in 2013!

Lisa Lemble

Operations Manager Lisa Lemble joined Gretchen’s House in 1997 when the need for an additional administrator had become clear as construction began on GH-Oak Valley. Lisa is responsible for all Information/ Technology purchasing and maintenance, oversees purchasing and accounts payable, and is an all-around trouble shooter and problem solver for the centers. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Lisa earned a bachelor of arts degree in Geography and German from Michigan State University. In 1981, she served in the federal VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program in Nebraska in 1981, where she then spent nine years as an urban planner, followed by seven years working locally with a real estate attorney before being lured away to join the Gretchen’s House staff.

Harmony Smargon

Administrative Office Manager Harmony Smargon joined Gretchen’s House in 2000. She started her Early Childhood Career at GH-WISD, where she developed a strong passion for working with children and their parents. Harmony has a CDA (Child Development Associate) and is a HighScope certified teacher. Harmony also has an associate’s degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing.  After 5 1/2 years at GH-WISD, Harmony transferred to GH-Dhu Varren where she spent the last part of her time in the classroom as a Head Preschool Teacher and was awarded the Gretchen’s House 19th Annual Louise Kersey Award for Outstanding Teaching. Harmony took on an Administrative role in 2013 and enjoys seeing the big picture workings of Gretchen’s House. In her spare time Harmony enjoys decorating, organizing, playing with her two children, and supporting her husband in his stand-up comedy career.

Consultants

DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM
Beth Melampy has worked in the early childhood community in Ann Arbor since 1984 and has been with Gretchen’s House since 2007. Beth has a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Beth became a High/Scope certified trainer in the Spring of 2009. She has also been a Validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s accreditation program. Beth is currently responsible for teacher training at Gretchen’s House. This includes an eight-week training that all new teachers go through called Starting Points, as well as a seven-week series that new head teachers go through. Beth often works in tandem with Loisann Arnold to plan and conduct trainings for classrooms which Loisann is supporting. Beth also has the opportunity to work with parents at Gretchen’s House when she conducts our annual series of parent education workshops. Beth is passionate about learning and feels lucky that she has a job that allows her to teach and learn something new everyday.

TEACHER SUPPORT COORDINATOR
Teacher Support Coordinator Laura Griswold  has been with Gretchen’s House since 1992 and during her professional journey has been a teacher and director before taking on this role. Laura is responsible for the Great Start Readiness Program classrooms that are housed at Gretchen’s House as well as supporting teachers when challenges arise in the classroom. Laura and her husband, Giovanni are the proud parents of two boys; Grant and Aidan who grew up as GH kids. With adolescent boys, life is busy with sporting events, band/jazz concerts and grocery shopping!

HEALTH
Dr. Andrew Hashikawa works at University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department. He trained both as a general pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic and as a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. In addition to his hospital duties, Dr. Hashikawa serves as the Michigan Chapter liaison for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In this role, he works with the AAP and child care providers to facilitate training and to mobilize community efforts to improve the health and safety of children in child care.

Dr. Harvey L. Leo is a practicing pediatric allergist and immunologist, and an Assistant Research Scientist with the Center for Managing Chronic Disease at the University of Michigan. Dr. Leo completed his medical degree at Tulane University, pursued pediatrics residency training at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and completed a pediatric allergy and immunology fellowship at National Jewish Medical and Research Center. As part of his research, Dr. Leo investigates the impact of education efforts with respect to childhood food allergies in childcare and school settings. This has resulted in work producing management protocols for food allergies with the Center for Disease Control.