Our Staff

DIRECTOR

Director Shannon Peitz has been working at Gretchen’s House since May of 2013. Previously she was a Director for 16 years at a center in Canton, Michigan. Shannon graduated with a Bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education from State University of New York College at Fredonia. Shannon has been married for 24 years and has two wonderful boys ages 15 and 19 who keep them very busy with college and high school hockey and baseball. In her free time she trains for half and full marathons and is working to complete her Masters.
SUPPORT STAFF
Office Manager Jinell Warson has been with Gretchen’s House since 1994.  She was a classroom Head Teacher and Assistant Director at our Traver location for eight years before taking on the Office Manager role at Dhu Varren. Jinell’s favorite part about her job is touring families at the center and sharing information about quality childcare. She attended Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University, completing coursework in the Early Childhood and Child Psychology programs. Jinell lives in Brighton with her husband and children. In her spare time she enjoys decorating her home, spending time traveling to visit her children in college and visiting with family and friends.
Cook Mike Roller has been with Gretchen’s House since 2007. He has an Associate Degree from Washtenaw Community College, and has worked in food service for many years.  Mike is a fan of local sports teams and, during his free time, enjoys going to games and watching movies.
AM BRT & RRPS Afternoon teacher Paige Sienko began working at Gretchen’s House in 1990. She has worked in a variety of different roles, at different locations.  Paige enjoys spending time with her friends and family, Notre Dame sports, and Hamilton the musical.
BRT & School-Age Teacher Shawn Byrum has a school age son who is his world. Shawn has prior experience working with children by volunteering to help with Vacation Bible School programs. Shawn has also helped coach his son’s baseball team and is a member of the Wayne Westland Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) where he visits different classrooms and assists teachers with activities, and work with the kids. I really enjoy watching kids learn and grow!
BRT & School-Age Teacher Leo Petrowski is a graduate of the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor where he earned a BA with a focus in Film, Television, and Media.  Currently, Leo is a part-time online student at Washtenaw Community College taking classes with plans to eventually transfer to Eastern Michigan University to obtain a post-baccalaureate degree and teaching certification in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Leo has extensive customer service experience as well as experience babysitting, mentoring, and coaching school-aged and younger children. Leo is thrilled to be turning my passion for child care into a career here at Gretchen’s House!
BRT Casey Hoist came to Gretchen’s house with 5 years of experience in center based childcare programs, working with infants and toddlers to pre-kindergarteners. In 2020, she earned my Child Development Associates credential. When I’m not working with kids, she enjoys practicing yoga, taking ballet classes, getting outside for a hike, or staying in with a book and her two cats.
BRT Adrianna Blount has been working in childcare since 2016 in various settings, mainly with toddlers. However, through other avenues such as summer camp, student teaching, and afterschool programs she has worked with children of every age. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in secondary education and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work. She hopes to use her social work degree to continue working with children and teenagers.  In her free time, Adrianna enjoys spending time with her cats, hiking, baking, playing video games, and doing crafts.
BRT DJ Edwards
BRT Sam Irvine Hi! My name is Samantha Irvine, but everyone calls me Sam. I am a senior year Business Administration student majoring in Operations Management at Oakland University. I’m currently transferring to Central Michigan online. I am originally from Macomb and am moving to Ann Arbor with my boyfriend in the spring. I have 4+ years experience with private childcare. My hobbies include working out and painting. I am very passionate about spirituality and mental health.
BRT Ying Gao 
BRT Heather Speck

back to top

POND

Assistant Director Molly Davis is a recent graduate from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning and a minor focus in Entrepreneurship. She hopes to one day open her own Child Development Center. She has a passion for music and vocal performance. Molly spent her childhood living in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Michigan in 2004. During her free time, she enjoys going to Tigers games and spending time with her family and friends.
POND INFANTS AND TODDLERS
Lead Teacher Rachel Goode earned her CDA specializing in Infant/Toddler care from Michigan State University in 2016.  She also has 2 ½ years of experience as a Lead Toddler teacher.  Rachel has a son that was born in 2004 and two pug dogs who make up her family.  She is also a lifetime ballet dancer.  She enjoys water and amusement parks in her spare time.
I/T Teacher Nicole Glenn is studying Early Childhood and Elementary Education at EMU.  She has worked with children for over 8 years in different settings.  Most recently she worked with preschoolers at EMU’s Children’s Institute.  Nicole also has experience being a nanny for multiple families.  In her spare time she enjoys babysitting, shopping and writing which she finds therapeutic.
Teacher Ana Bryant (Adriana) is attending Eastern Michigan University for a Bachelors in Children and Families. She has been working in the early childhood field for 5 years. In her free time, she enjoys art, cooking and spending time with her family and cat.”

 

Teacher Amelia Armstrong-Grant previously worked at our Dhu Varren Rd. center back in 2018 and is pleased to be return back to the center. Amelia graduated from Eastern Michigan University with honors in 2020. She also swam on the varsity swim team. Amelia is currently taking graduate classes at Eastern Michigan and plans to work as a therapist. Amelia has worked with children for the past five years.
Tenaye (Tay) Braggs has a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Kaplan University. Sh has over 10 years of experience with children and says that teaching is her passion. In her spare timeshe reads a lot, spends time with her nephew, friends, and family. Tay loves being by the water, taking nature walks, and working at her cleaning company on the side. Tay says that she is grateful to be working at Gretchen’s House.

POND PRESCHOOL

Lead Teacher Jerod Wesney started at Gretchen’s House in June 2006 as a full time Building Resource Teacher (BRT). Since then he has worked in every classroom, and has spent summers with the SCAMP program. Jerod earned a teaching certificate in Secondary Education with a major in English from Eastern Michigan University. In his free time, Jerod enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family. Jerod
Teacher Sean Schenk  started working for Gretchen’s House as a Building Resource Teacher (BRT) in May of 2016. He graduated with a master’s degree in Elementary Education in May of 2013. He is currently taking classes towards earning his Early Childhood Endorsement at Miller College in Battle Creek. Sean has worked as an assistant teacher in a GSRP classroom and a Head Teacher in a Head Start classroom. He has a wife and two children at home. They enjoy going on bike rides together and having BBQ in the back yard.
Teacher Katie Hainsworth is a 2008 Purdue graduate with a degree in English Writing and Communications.  She has worked in the field of education for the past 7 years.  She enjoys reading, photography and drinking lots of coffee.  She also spends as much time as she can with her husband, dog and their  son Griffyn.  katie-hainsworth
Afternoon Teacher Yajing Lin has over 5 years of experience in art education and school age childcare. She graduated from GuangDong Literary & Art Vocational College in China. She has a passion for doing artwork, and coming up with fun and interesting projects with children. She enjoys movies, reading, skiing, swimming, travel and learning languages.

back to top

RAILROAD

Railroad wing Assistant Director and I/T teacher Megan Haight has been working at Gretchen’s House since July 2005. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in December 2004.  Her main areas of study were science, language arts, and early childhood education.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, tending to her plants, and spending time with family and friends.

RAILROAD INFANTS AND TODDLERS

Railroad I/T Lead Teacher Denise Lechtanski began her career at Gretchen’s House in 2008.  She enjoys her time in the Toddler rooms with young children, they are so fun and full of energy!  She was promoted to Lead Teacher in July 2013.  Denise received a Childcare Professional Associates Degree from Washtenaw Community College, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Michigan.  Denise spends her free time with her two daughters, husband and three dogs. Denise Lechtanski
I/T teacher Debbie Marsh joined Gretchen’s House in 2006. She received her CDA from Baker College in 2004 and is currently working on an associates in Early Childhood from Baker College. Debbie has been working with children for over 20 years. Debbie is married and has one daughter, Anyssa, and keeps busy with her horses and other family pets. Debbie enjoys tennis, painting, traveling and spending time with her family.  
I/T Teacher Demetra Barnett is excited to be a part of the team at Dhu Varren.  She obtained an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development from Chabot College in Hayward, CA in June of 2013.  Demetra has worked with Head Start as a Preschool Teacher, as a Toddler Teacher  and also has some experience with working with children with special needs with the Early Intervention Services program.  Demetra loves to spend time with her two children.  They enjoy going on day trips, bowling and watching movies.
I/T teacher Anatacia Stoling has four children between the ages of 3 through 16.  She obtained her Applied Science degree through Washtenaw Community College as well as a Language Arts degree and a certification for Human Service work between being a student and stay-at-home Mom.
I/T teacher Ryan Hainsworth has been a chef and cooking professionally for 20 years. He attended culinary school in Chicago. Recent events cause him to change his career path from kitchens to child care. Ryan’s son attended Gretchen’s House and his wife Katie is a teacher at the center. Ryan is a family man and a big kid at heart.

RAILROAD PRESCHOOL

Lead Railroad Preschool Teacher Katy Czarnecki began working at Gretchen’s House in February 2015. Before starting her career here at Gretchen’s House, she worked with an Early Head Start program with children aged 0-3, as well as pregnant moms, for four years. She also worked at the JCC of Greater Ann Arbor with the preschool population for five and half years. She received both her undergraduate degree and her graduate degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she focused on Children and Family Services as well as Administration & Leadership in Early Childhood Settings. In her spare time, Katy enjoys spending time with her husband, Adam, their two boys, Gregory and Samuel. She also enjoys doing puzzles, playing with her doggies (Bane & Delilah), watching movies, going on [relaxing] vacations, and watching awful reality television shows.
Teacher Jam Alshaiba graduated from University of Michigan Ann Arbor with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. After graduating, she worked in various university-run studies at University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Jam worked alongside scientists to conduct research on kids diagnosed with ADHD as well as research on preventing diseases with pregnant mothers. Jam is multilingual in English and Tagalog as well as a little bit of Arabic and Japanese. In her spare time, she’s an avid coffee drinker who enjoys reading, writing poetry, gardening, and spending time with her three adorable cats.
Building Resource Teacher (BRT) & RRPS Afternoon teacher Paige Sienko began working at Gretchen’s House in 1990. She has worked in a variety of different roles, at different locations.  Paige enjoys spending time with her friends and family, Notre Dame sports, and Hamilton the musical.

back to top

FARM

 

Assistant Director Karen Clark Cantu oversees our school-age program which includes Scamp during the summer months.  Karen worked as a preschool teacher in a HeadStart Program and at the YMCA for 14 years before she joined Gretchen’s House in 1999. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health. In her free time, Karen enjoys golf, attending classic rock concerts and walking her black lab. Karen Clark-Cantu (2)
FARM INFANT AND TODDLER
Lead teacher Alex Schenk has worked for Gretchen’s House since October of 2016. She has an AS with an emphasis in Psychology. She is happily married to her husband Sean (Pond Preschool) and they have 2 children, Rose and Kristyn. In her down time Alex enjoys reading,  playing video games, camping and hiking with her family dog Odin.
Sam Nota has been working at Gretchen’s House since March of 2021. She started as a BRT and then moved into a family group position in Farm IT. Sam says that she “loves getting to watch young children grow, and develop so many new skills throughout their time in the classroom.”  Sam plans to go to university in the fall of 2022, to pursue her education in early childhood education. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her dog, friends, and family. As well as reading and crafting!
Afternoon teacher Amanda Davidson currently attends Washtenaw Community College and plans to transfer to Eastern Michigan University for counseling.  Amanda enjoys painting, crafts, and cooking when she’s not working.
FARM PRESCHOOL
Lead Teacher Danielle Estrada graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in English and a minor in Education, and from Johnson and Wales with a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education and Elem/Secondary Special Education.  After spending 3 years in elementary classrooms in Rhode Island, she worked for 2 years in an infant classroom and learned that she loved the preschool world!  In her spare time she loves books, music, food and exploring with her husband and cat.
Preschool Teacher Abby Foster graduated from Central Michigan University in December 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning.  She previoiusly worked at a preschool in Saline where she gained a lot of great experience. Abby also worked in an after school program at Morey Montessori in Shepherd, Michigan while at CMU. Abby has two older brothers who live in Chicago and Minneapolis. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, traveling, shopping at Target and watching Michigan football!  
Afternoon Teacher Alaina Yancy has received her Associate of Science degree at WCCCD.  She is currently working towards a Early Education degree at Henry Ford Community College and will attend Easter Michigan University in Fall 2021 to finish a bachelors in education.  In her free time, Alaina likes to enjoy nature and continue working on her studies.  Alaina is excited to be working in ECE, a field that she is passionate about, and to work alongside other dedicated and warm-hearted educators.
DHU VARREN SCHOOL-AGE 
Lead Teacher Betsy Walsh joined Gretchen’s House in September 2009. She was previously the Young Fives teacher at the Traver location before moving to Dhu Varren. Betsy earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood (ZA) endorsement from Western Michigan University. In her free time Betsy likes to spend time with her family, and read books. She also likes to go kayaking in the summer and knit in the winter.
Lead Teacher, Quinton Makgale, also known as “Q” lived in California and East Lansing before moving to Ann Arbor.  Q has an Associate degree in Child Development.  He is pursuing a Bachelor degree from The University of Michigan in Developmental Psychology and a separate Bachelor degree in Children and Family studies from The University of Michigan- Dearborn.  In his spare time, Q enjoys reading, being with family and friends, playing and watching sports, and loves Michigan football!  Q has worked at Gretchen’s House since January 2014.
DHU VARREN SCHOOL-AGE – 
BRT & School-Age Teacher Leo Petrowski is a graduate of the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor where he earned a BA with a focus in Film, Television, and Media.  Currently, Leo is a part-time online student at Washtenaw Community College taking classes with plans to eventually transfer to Eastern Michigan University to obtain a post-baccalaureate degree and teaching certification in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Leo has extensive customer service experience as well as experience babysitting, mentoring, and coaching school-aged and younger children. Leo is thrilled to be turning my passion for child care into a career here at Gretchen’s House!