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.
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
Assistant Cook Rachel Deren earned her degree from Concordia University as a Certified Family Life Educator in 2013. She has been working with children since a very young age which includes, baby-sitting, vacation bible schools and gym center. Rachel enjoys spending time outdoors, reading and hanging out with her family and friends.
Building Resource Teacher (BRT) 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.
Building Resource Teacher Hadiya Deas-Richberg 
My name is Yajaira (Yaya) Caballero. I am a 22 year old Latinx women. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a psychology major and cultural anthropology minor. I hope to become a developmental psychologist in the future. I love working children and watching them grow, so I am excited to be starting my career at Gretchen’s House!

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POND

Pond wing Assistant Director Julie Kotzen has been at Gretchen’s House since August 2006. She has her bachelor degree in Family and Consumer Science with a minor in sociology from Madonna University.  Julie and her husband, Matt have a son, Blake, who was born in March 2018. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing/watching sports, and traveling.  Julie is also a huge fan of anything Disney!
POND INFANTS AND TODDLERS
Lead Teacher Rachel Kriebel 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 Erica Schrodt is a past GH employee, working with Preschoolers at the Oak Valley location in 2010-2011.  She is a graduate from Eastern Michigan University with a dual degree in Elementary Education & Early Childhood Education.  Erica has worked with all ages, birth-School-age but toddlers are her favorite.  She is an Ann Arbor native, enjoys reading and DIY projects, kayaking and volunteering at the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
I/T Teacher Andrea Greer says, “Hello! I am so excited to be joining the Pond team!  Becoming an Early Childhood teacher has been my dream job and I can’t wait to start that dream.  I have recently finished up my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood from Michigan State University in 2016.  I have had many opportunities working in preschool settings from my several summers working in preschools in Livonia and East Lansing.  When I’m not at work, I am at home with my family.  We enjoy going out to eat and watch movies.  I’m very family-oriented so I know how important family is.  I can’t want to work with the kiddos and their awesome families!”
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.
I/T Teacher Morgan Sisson is currently attending Washtenaw Community College where she is working to earn her degree in Early Childhood Education.  Prior to moving to the Ann Arbor area Morgan worked at two child care centers in Marquette, Michigan. When she isn’t working or at school, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, painting, and reading.
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.”

 

POND PRESCHOOL

Lead Preschool Teacher 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.  
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
Jam Alshaiba Afternoon Preschool Teacher

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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.  Her son, David, goes to Logan Elementary and has grown up at Gretchen’s House. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with family and friends.

RAILROAD INFANTS AND TODDLERS

Railroad Infant/Toddler Lead Teacher Denise Lechtanski began her career at Gretchen’s House in the summer of 2008. She worked with the school age children before becoming an Infant/Toddler Teacher. Denise is currently attending Eastern Michigan University, majoring in Special Education-Cognitive Impairment, with an Elementary Education minor. Denise spends her free time with her two daughters and her husband. Denise Lechtanski
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.
Teacher Elena Boudreau graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor of science in Early Childhood development and learning in 2018. She completed her student teaching at CMU’s Lab school. She has worked as a nanny for an infant and has worked with several children with disabilities. She enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as listening to music, exercising and watching movies and television shows.
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 Summer Shelton earned an Associates degree in Child Development at Mount San Jacinto College while interning at their labratory school, in 2013. She also has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from FSB in Wyoming in 2007. Summer has worked with children in various setting and ages for over 10 years with several years being with toddlers and 3 year olds, in California where she lived until September 2020 when she came on teaching staff at Gretchen’s house, here in Ann Arbor.

 

Afternoon Teacher Aliza Breakey-Ways was born and raised in Ann Arbor.  She graduated Community High school and has worked in retail for the past two years.  She loves working with children. Her experience with kids includes assistant teaching in dance classes and classroom assistant with special needs students

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 has a bachelor’s degree in Children and Family Services from the University of Michigan—Dearborn. In her spare time, Katy enjoys spending time with her husband Adam, her son Gregory and their two Miniature Schnauzers Sophia & Bane. She also enjoys going to the movies, skiing and reading. Katy
Railroad 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 Sam Sweet is from Muskegon, MI and began at Gretchen’s House in August 2019. She has an Associate’s Degree in Science & Arts from Muskegon Community College, studied Natural Resource Management at GVSU, and has a Certificate in Fish & Wildlife Management from American Military University. In her free time she likes to travel, go up north to her cabin, and spend time with her husband and pets.
PM teacher Halley Semanske, named after Halley’s Comet, is currently working to complete a degree in Child Development at Washtenaw Community College.  Halley grew up attending a Montessori classroom that her grandmother owned.  She has 9 nephews and 2 nieces that she enjoys spending time with along with her two dogs.

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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.
Teacher Sam Voss has been working at Gretchen’s House since April of 2018 and has worked with all ages, from infants to school age. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Children and Families with a minor is Sociology. Sam was previously a BRT until she accepted the family group teacher position in Farm I/T. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, reading, and taking walks with her dog and her boyfriend.
Teacher Tyan Brown started working at GH in July 2013.  She has worked in both the Infant/Toddlers and the Preschool programs.  She graduated from Mt. San Jacinto College in California in 2011 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a degree in Behavior & Social Science.  Tyan and her husband welcomed their first child, Preston in January 2016.  In her free time, Tyan enjoys reading biographies, watching documentaries, taking her son to the zoo and going to baseball games.
Afternoon Infant & Toddler Teacher Rachel Deren earned her degree from Concordia University as a Certified Family Life Educator in 2013. She has been working with children since a very young age which includes, baby-sitting, vacation bible schools and gym center. Rachel enjoys spending time outdoors, reading and hanging out with her family and friends.
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 Boerema recently graduated from Central Michigan University in December 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning. For the past 4 summers Abby 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, Abby enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, traveling, shopping at Target and watching Michigan football!  
Preschool Teacher Nikki DeBellefeuille graduated from Monroe County Community College with an AS degree and an AAS in Early Childhood Education at Michigan State University.  Prior to Gretchen’s House, Nikki worked for Head Start as a teacher for four years working with preschool age children.  She enjoys hanging out with friends, crafting, singing and spending time with her dogs, Moose and Taz. Nikki Deb
Afternoon teacher Yajaira (Yaya) Caballero recently graduated from The University of Michigan with a Psychology major and a minor in Cultural Anthropology.  She has previously worked as a teacher assistant at the Towsley center and is working at Goldfish Swim School.  Yaya hopes to further her education as a developmental researcher.
DHU VARREN SCHOOL-AGE “THE GRANGE”
Jessica Saldana graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science in Children and Family studies.  She previously worked at the Dhu Varren location as a School-age teacher.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her fiance` William and her dog Finn!
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.
Teacher Laila Green has been in childcare for 5 years including experience as a nanny.  Laila earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Claflin University.  In her spare time she likes to take her dog to the park, read and knit.  Her hobbies include swimming and roller skating.
HURON HILLS “THE LODGE”
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.
Teacher Misty Wesney began teaching at Gretchen’s House in September, 2003. Misty has an Associate’s degree in Science from Monroe County Community College. She has been working in the early childhood field for twelve years. In her spare time, Misty enjoys hanging out with her daughter Elise, painting and camping. MIsty Wesney
Teacher Verity Deselles is currently at Eastern Michigan University pursuing a degree in nursing. This will be her 2nd year working for the scamp program at Dhu Varren. She began working in aftercare at our Northside Community Church in January of this year. In her free time Verity enjoys reading, listening to music, and has a great appreciation for all things nature. She is very excited to see what this year’s school year will bring.