Our Staff

DIRECTOR & PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Director Chrissy McKiddie has been with Gretchen’s House since 1998.  Chrissy has worked in a variety of positions.   She was the Lead Infant/Toddler teacher at the Traver Rd location and Preschool/Young Fives teacher at Mt. Vernon. She was also the Program Director at the Dhu Varren center for eight years before taking on the role of Center Director at our Mt. Pleasant location.  In 2016 Chrissy was welcomed back to our Dhu Varren location as Center Director.  Chrissy has a bachelor’s degree of Science in Preschool/Family Life Studies from Northern Michigan University. At home Chrissy is wife to David and mother to Emily and Cameron. Chrissy enjoys reading and vacationing “up north” in her spare time, which is very limited with two kids in sports. Chrissy is a swim, baseball, football, and marching band mom!
Assistant Director & Preschool Teacher Lily Cortes Klemans graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2017 with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education with a major in Early Childhood Development and Learning.  She has had many experiences working with children from nannying, student teaching, volunteering in schools and working in a child care center for six years.  Lily loves spending as much time as she can with her family, friends and animals.  IN her free time, she enjoys reading and traveling.

SUPPORT STAFF 

Cook and PM teacher Michelle Johnson has volunteered and worked at Willow Run Community Schools while her children attended.  She has 4 children and 3 grandchildren.  Michelle works for Dexter Food and Nutrition at HighPoint School in the morning and early afternoon. Michelle Johnson

BUILDING RESOURCE TEACHER

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. Linda

AFTERNOON TEACHERS

Hi! I am Hüseyin Çiftçi. I am from Turkey. I studied English Language Teaching as my major and worked as an English instructor at a university in Turkey for 3 years. I also worked as a language assistant at a public high school in Italy for 6 months through a European Union Youth Program. My wife is from Chelsea, Michigan and she and I met in Turkey for the first time while working as instructors. After we got engaged in Turkey, we decided to move to the US.  I have always been interested in psychology, child development and spirituality, and I believe I can learn so much from children. I love children and how they perceive the world and life. I always try to have the awe and curiosity they hold for life; so I don’t miss any chance to be in the vicinity of them to get inspired. Thus, I am so grateful to be working at Gretchen’s House.

PRESCHOOL & OLDER PRESCHOOL

Assistant Director & Preschool Teacher Lily Cortes Klemans graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2017 with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education with a major in Early Childhood Development and Learning.  She has had many experiences working with children from nannying, student teaching, volunteering in schools and working in a child care center for six years.  Lily loves spending as much time as she can with her family, friends and animals.  IN her free time, she enjoys reading and traveling.  
Preschool Teacher Erin Dixon started at Gretchen’s House as a BRT for Mt. Pleasant and Mt. Vernon. In 2005, she became a preschool teacher at Mt. Vernon. Prior to becoming a teacher at Gretchen’s House, Erin operated a licensed childcare in her home. In May 2011, she earned an associate’s Degree in Child Development from Washtenaw Community College. Erin and her husband have two adult children. Jill is an assistant Field Hockey Coach at Smith College and works for the USDA tracking an invasive bug species. Kenny is an active Young Life volunteer who’s working as a school bus driver as he attends Arkansas Community College. Erin’s husband is a Boy Scout Leader. In her spare time, Erin enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, field hockey and U of M football. Erin Dixon 2
Lead Older Preschool Teacher Andrea Turner has been teaching at GH-Mt Vernon since 2007. She earned an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development from Monroe County Community College and has been working in early childhood for more than 10 years. Andrea lives in Milan with her husband Jeff, daughter Lilly and two dogs, Mac and Ace. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking the dogs, sewing and crocheting, and traveling; especially camping in Michigan, visiting Traverse City, and her family cabin on Lake Huron.
Preschool Teacher Whitney Wallen is excited to be joining the preschool staff at Mt. Vernon.  Whitney graduated in December of 2017 from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.  She taught at a few school in Ann Arbor before coming to GH.  Outside of her work at GH she teaches, works and trains at PKSA Karate Ann Arbor where she is the Director of the Little Ninjas classes.  In her free time, Whitney likes to read and spend time with her family, fiance and two cats.