President Gretchen Preston
Gretchen graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in education. She provided day 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.”
Executive Director Heidi McFadden
Heidi McFadden has been with Gretchen’s House since 1992. She was a center Director at GH-Stadium and at Oak Valley and has been in her current position since 2002. Heidi has a Bachelor’s degree in education from DePauw University and recently became a High/Scope 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.
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 every day.
Teacher Support Coordinator
Loisann Arnold has Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist degrees in Psychology, Clinical Psychology and School Psychology, respectively, from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI. She also completed the Infant Mental Health Post Master’s Certificate program through the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Loisann worked for nearly 20 years in non-profit community mental health organizations in the metro Detroit area, primarily with individuals with developmental disabilities as a psychologist and as an administrator.
Loisann has been with Gretchen’s House for many years as the head teacher in our WISD infant/toddler program. In 2005, Loisann assisted Gretchen’s House in establishing a non-profit corporation, Champions for Children. This organization has a goal of developing quality, inclusive preschool programs. Loisann and other Gretchen’s House staff are in the process of developing grant proposals to fund this effort. As Teacher Support Coordinator, LoisAnn is available to all centers to assist teachers with the children with challenging behaviors or developmental concerns. Loisann regularly observes in classrooms and assists teachers in creating individual action plans to meet children’s needs. She also meets with parents when needed.
Human Resources Director Michele Davis
Michele Davis recruits, interviews, and hires staff for all Ann Arbor locations. Michele has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology with a minor in Psychology from Western Michigan University. When she first came to work for Gretchen in 1990, Michele was an afternoon teacher at GH-Traver. She also taught in the Infant/Toddler program at GH-W.I.S.D. for four years and later moved to GH-Mt. Pleasant, where she was Center Director for six years. Michele is the mother of three children, all of whom are “Gretchen’s House alumni.” In her spare time, Michele enjoys attending her children’s extracurricular activities and sporting events, snowmobiling, canoeing, camping, and spending time with family and friends.
Payroll and Benefits Manager Lorraine Hergenreder
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 20th year with Gretchen’s House in 2008!
Operations Manager Lisa Lemble
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 received a Bachelor of Arts degrees 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.
Web Editor Hope Vestergaard
Hope Vestergaard currently edits the website and writes brochures and informational flyers such as the Purple Pages and Active Learning Brochures for Gretchen’s House, Inc. An Ann Arbor native, Hope returned to the area after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Smith College. She started as a teacher at GH-Stadium in 1993, and worked as a Head Teacher, Assistant Director, and finally Center Director until 1999. Hope is also an author. Her latest picture book, Potty Animals, was published by Sterling Children’s Books in March, 2010. Hope has also written an emergent curriculum book for Redleaf Press: Weaving the Literacy Web: Building Curriculum Around Books Children Love. Visit Hope’s website: www.hopevestergaard.com to learn more about early literacy.