Our Staff


Infants and Toddlers
Cottage Preschool/GSRP

Emily Frisk graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2009, where she earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Elementary Education with a major in Language Arts and a minor in Early Childhood Education. Since then she has been working with young children both as a teacher in infant and toddler classrooms as well as a Center Director. Emily has been working with Gretchen’s house since 2014. She previously worked at the Mt. Pleasant location as the Lead Infant Toddler Teacher before becoming the Center Director at Mt. Vernon and now at the Traver location. In her spare time Emily enjoys traveling, baking and spending time outdoors with her husband, three children and her Chihuahua Maggie.
Assistant Director Danielle Wiener joined Gretchen’s House in 2007. She has as associate’s degree in Early Childhood from Niagara County Community College and earned her bachelor’s of arts degree in Education with a minor in Psychology from Dominican College. Before taking on the role of Program Director/Office Manager, Danielle worked in both the I/T and Preschool programs as a teacher and then the Young 5’s program as a Lead Teacher at our Dhu Varren location. Danielle has worked with children for the past ten years in both public schools and child care facilities. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. In addition, Danielle enjoys traveling, reading and being with family and friends. Danielle Wiener (2)
BRT Maddie Orlop says, “Hello! My name is Madelyn Orlop or Maddie for short. I recently graduated from Pennsylvania State University, where I earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies with a minor in Japanese. During my time there I was an America Reads Literacy Mentor at the local children’s museum. In my free time I enjoy reading, playing my ukulele and piano, and doing origami. I am very excited  to meet all of you!”  
Cook Ian Arnold  has seven years of professional culinary experience. He holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri. Ian has worked with children as a nursery attendant and as a student volunteer. He is very enthusiastic about serving the needs of children and their families. In his spare time he enjoys hiking and fishing with his family.
Building Resource Teacher LaDawn Walton-Edmonds is a native Michigander and graduate of Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit. In her continuing education, she has pursued a triple course study at Eastern Michigan University with focuses in Communication Principles, Feminist Theory, and Social Diversity. Via the Coordinating Council of Michigan University, she earned her Basic Childcare Certification. With a devotion to  Early Childhood Education, she has enjoyed over 20 years of experience in the childcare field with highlights being her work as a Co-Lead Teacher at Open Door Montessori and a High Scope Assistant Preschool Teacher at New St. Paul Head Start, both located in Detroit. Further, she is a member of NAEYC and The High Scope Foundation. Beyond the classroom LaDawn takes pride in her family, as a wife, and in her role as a dog-mom.  Last but most certainly not least, she cherishes her diverse background that has enabled her to find reward in serving as a Life Management Skills Mentor to first generation college students (Ages 18 -25) , helping them navigate the nuances of campus life & young adulthood, and delivering engaging presentations in University classrooms bringing awareness to issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in education, lgbtq+ life, and invisible disabilities.

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I/T teacher Alissa Graczyk is a 2012 graduate of Sienna Heights University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Child Development.  She has been working in a variety of child care settings over the past 5 years and joined Gretchen’s House in July of 2018 as a Substitute.  In Alissa’s spare time she enjoys baking, photography, and spending time with her husband Ryan.
Afternoon teacher Olga Balyabo received a degree of Science in Belarusian State University of Informatics and Electronics.  She came to the United States with her husband and young son in 2007.  Olga has worked in preschool classrooms for 10 years.  She teaches math for children ages 3-9 at an Ann Arbor Russian School.  In her free time, Olga enjoys listening to Classical music, reading books and quilting.
Lead I/T teacher Allison Rogers has eight years of experience teaching Infants and Toddlers. She has been in the Infant/Toddler Room at GH Traver for 5 years. Allison earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, taking road trips, visiting lighthouses, and photography.
I/T teacher Diana Desinger has an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Schoolcraft Community College and is currently completing her an Associates in Applied Science Early Education at Oakland Community College. She has experience working with young children in preschool programs, homes and public school. She enjoys quilting, scrap-booking, reading, playing games and traveling up north.
I/T teacher Erica Santariga comes to Gretchen’s house from Monroe County Community College. She graduated with an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education in December 2017. She has experience with toddlers and enjoys working with infants as well. In her spare time Erica loves spending time with her family, friends, and puppy along with working at a local ice cream shop on the weekends near her home. In the future, Erica plans on furthering her education and changing lives of children and families.  

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Lead preschool teacher Chelsea Miller graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Development and Learning. She has been working with children for many years.  Chelsea loves to be outside and around family & friends. Chelsea
Preschool teacher Sydney Jurczak graduated in 2018 from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child with a focus in Child Development, as well as a minor in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Since graduating, Sydney has worked in an elementary school as a Special Education Instructional Aide. Sydney grew up in Indiana near Lake Michigan. She enjoys spending time at the lake with family, drinking too much coffee, and hanging out with her boyfriend, Matt and her kitty, Peppa. Sydney also values her time volunteering with the Indiana Special Olympics.
Preschool teacher Franny MeLampy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Michigan and studied human development in school, and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Franny has been working with children for over seven years, and has previously worked at both the Stadium and Oak Valley locations as a substitute and a BRT. In her free time she enjoys reading, exploring nature with others, and spending time with her family and her two adorable cats.

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Co- Lead teacher Chelsea Hendrickson started working at our Traver location in July 2013 in the Infant/Toddler Room.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Art and Design from the University of Michigan, with interests in Art Education and Art Therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, sewing, painting, playing board games, and having Netflix marathons with her husband, Josh, and dog, Maggie.
Co-Lead teacher Jessica Cook has a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her CDA. Jessica has worked in preschools for over five years. In her spare time, she enjoys running, swimming, rooting for the Buckeyes, playing video games, eating, and spending time with her boyfriend, Matt, and pet bird, Niles.

Afternoon Teacher Pam Chapin earned a degree from Western Michigan University in 1982.  She has been teaching preschool for 14 years and before that was a stay-at-home mom.  Pam has four grown children and one grandson.  She enjoys reading, camping, watching documentaries and sewing.

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