Our Staff

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DIRECTOR

Brad Guoan has been a Lead Teacher at Gretchen’s House since 2006, he was promoted to Assistant Director in 2015 and now to Director in 2018.  Brad is originally from Bay City, MI and went to Saginaw Valley State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with minors in English and Social Studies. His wife Sara also works at Gretchen’s House as the Director of the Stadium location. Brad & Sara live in Brighton on Island Lake with their daughter Birdie and their two cats (Hip-hip and Luna), where they enjoy going out on their pontoon, hiking, and traveling.  Brad is very thankful to work at Gretchen’s House and have the opportunity to work with so many great families and develop so many meaningful relationships.

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SUPPORT STAFF

Emily Schinske has been with Gretchen’s House since December 2015. Starting as the Infant Support Teacher, she later transitioned to the Cook/Afternoon Teacher. She received her associate’s degree in Elementary Education from Washtenaw Community College in 2011 and will complete a bachelor’s degree in Children and Families in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Michigan University in Spring 2018. In her spare time, she enjoys making jewelry out of polymer clay, cake decorating, going on walks with her husband, and playing with her two adorable cats.  20151214_100457
Hi! My name is Linda Alvira. I am the Building Resource Teacher (BRT) for The Baby House & The Big House. I have a BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, and was as a Graphic Designer at U of M for 20 years. I also have my K-12 teaching certification in Art from Eastern Michigan University. I spent 5 years as a substitute teacher in all subjects and grade levels, and as a long-term art sub in elementary school. I think of everything as an adventure! I have done Pet Therapy, art lessons in my home, been a visiting summer school librarian, had my own story hour, and helped illustrate a multicultural art book for teachers. I always come back to working with children! I live on the west side of Ann Arbor with my husband Don, a Graphic Designer, a sweet but hairy 75 lb lap dog, and a very odd black cat. Our wonderful and awesome daughter is finishing her PhD and living in Bethesda, MD.

Infant Support Teacher Sherry Hafner received her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University with an Early Childhood Education certification as well. She taught preschool at the University of Michigan for five years. Sherry enjoys spending time with her family, doing outdoor activities, reading, and listening to music.

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TEACHERS

Lead Teacher & Assistant Director Teresa Bonner graduated with her Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Development from Central Michigan University in the spring of 2013. Teresa is also HighScope certified. In June of 2013, she joined the Gretchen’s House Team. Her background includes working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Teresa is originally from the Upper Peninsula and enjoys the outdoors. During her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching sports, and snuggling her puppy, Boo.  
Lead Teacher Sandra Canales joined Gretchen’s House in June 2007. She is the proud mother of two boys. She earned her BA from Grand Valley State University and has been working with children for the past fifteen years. Her native language is Spanish, so she is excited about sharing the language with the children. In her spare time Sandra likes to adventure with her children by going to festivals, libraries, museums, parks, swimming, and the lake.  
I/T Teacher Arzu Aksu joined Gretchen’s House in 2012. Originally from Turkey, Arzu came to the United States 18 years ago and has been living in Ann Arbor since then. While living in Turkey she was a teacher for middle and high school students. She completed the ESL language program at Washtenaw Community College, then earned a second bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Eastern Michigan University. In her spare time Arzu enjoys activities with her son. Arzu - 2
Teacher Kyara Payne is attending Eastern Michigan University, working on her degree in Elementary Education.  She has worked at Bach Elementary child care for the past four years.  Kyara grew up in Ann Arbor and loves walking downtown, going to UofM football games and playing soccer.  Kyara is excited about being a a part of the Gretchen’s House team! Kyara
Teacher Lauren Cusack first joined Gretchen’s House Oak Valley in August 2016 as a BRT before moving to an Infant/Toddler Family Group Teacher.  She joined the Mt. Pleasant team in August 2018.  She is originally from New Jersey, and moved to the Midwest for undergrad.  Lauren has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Miami University, received her CDA through West Shore Community College and is TEFL certified.  She is planning to attend Eastern Michigan University in fall 2018 to get a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, Brian, reading, attending UofM sports games, and traveling.
Teacher Nathan Carrera .  I received my B.A. in Family Life Education and Child Life Specialist minor from Concordia University. I previously worked for Liberty Athletic Club for 8 years and worked with infants as young as 2 months up to children 10 years old. I love hanging out with family, friends and running outside when it’s nice.
Afternoon teacher Mary Noe recently moved here from St. Petersburg, Florida to be near family and is looking forward to re-experiencing the change of seasons.   She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.  After graduation Mary worked for five years teaching preschool and loved every minute of it.  She believes all children deserve a warm, nurturing and fun setting to grow and thrive in.  That’s why she is so excited to be a part of Gretchen’s House High Scope programs.  Mary loves the community feeling and the way parents and teachers work together to create an exceptional learning environment.