Preschool Staff

Director:

Jamie Carr is honored to be the Director of the Preschool since 2019. For the prior 18 years, she taught in our preschool classrooms. Over the years, Jamie was able to teach every age from the adorable 2- year- olds, the fiercely independent 3-year-olds to the preparing for kindergarten 4/5- year- olds. Jamie and her husband Tim are residents of Whitehall Borough. They have three children who all attended Baldwin Community Preschool and are now in their 20’s. She is happily a first-time grandma to her beautiful granddaughter. It is through God’s guidance that Jamie is able to lead this amazing preschool that is such a big part of Baldwin Community United Methodist Church and the surrounding communities.

preschool administrator:

Nicole Mitts is our Preschool Administrator.  She works alongside Jamie in the office to make it the well-oiled machine that it is. Nicole started with Baldwin Community Preschool back in 2017.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Robert Morris University. She resides in Whitehall with her husband and son.  She loves sports, the beach, and spending time with family and friends. 

Lead teachers:

Jessi Buechel is our lead teacher for the 4-year-olds on Monday - Thursday from 9:00 - 11:30 and 12:30 - 3:00. She is married and has 2 girls, ages 8 and 4. She has a Master's degree in Education from Duquesne University. Jessi's journey with Baldwin Community Preschool started when her girls attended, and she thought so highly of the staff that she decided to join the team. Jessi loves being able to work with and help to engage and develop our young kiddos. 

Miranda Kirby is our lead teacher for the Pre-K class on Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 2:00 and Friday 9:00 - 11:30 plus Friday Fitness Enrichment. She has two amazing young boys and along with their father, this sporty family will likely be found at a field or court outside of school.  Miranda has over 10 years of experience in early childhood education and has been on staff at Baldwin Community Preschool since 2020. Her favorite part of teaching is watching a child's eyes light up as soon as a new concept is learned.

Amanda Lakomy is our lead teacher for the 4-year-old's full-day class Monday - Thursday. She lives in Whitehall with her husband and two daughters. Ms. Lakomy grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to NYC for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has been teaching in various capacities for over 12 years and started on staff here in September 2019. Her goal is to help her students grow academically, socially, and emotionally. 

Sue Mejalli is our lead teacher for the full-day Monday - Thursday 4-year-old class. She lives in West Mifflin with her husband and son and has 2 daughters away at college. Sue taught at another local preschool for 5 years and in the public school system for 10 years before joining our staff. Sue received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University of PA and her Master's in Early Childhood Education from California University of PA. Sue enjoys attending her son's soccer games, gardening, walking, swimming, and reading. 

Laura Shiring is our lead teacher for our 2-year-olds. She lives in Collier Township with her husband, Tim, son, Wesley, and two dogs, Axel and Tripp. She is a born and raised Pittsburgher. Laura has a BA in Education from Grove City College and has spent the past 14 years as the Lead Teacher for the Two’s Program at Baldwin Community Preschool. She loves working with this age group because there are so many milestones that children reach during this stage of their lives. Laura also loves helping them learn and being a positive role model as they are starting off their education and love cheering along with them when they have learned something new! 

Laura Shumate is our lead teacher for the 3-year-olds Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:15 - 11:45 and 12:30 - 3:00. She and her husband, 3 teenagers, and their golden retriever live in Canonsburg. Mrs. Shumate is originally from Charleston, WV and graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Special Education. She has been teaching for over 20 years and joined our staff in 2019 when she moved to this area. Mrs. Shumate believes that every child deserves a caring, inspiring, and engaging classroom where they can explore and learn to love school. 

Nicole Waple is one of our lead teachers for the 3 year olds. She resides in Whitehall with her husband, son (5th grade), daughter (3rd grade), and their dog. She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in Child Development and Family Relations with a minor in Sociology. She soon after attended California University of Pennsylvania and obtained her Master of Education degree in School Counseling. Nicole started her connection with Baldwin Community Preschool as a parent while both of her children attended for years. She loved it so much that she started working here. "Working with children and promoting a fun and educational environment that fosters growth and independence is what I love to do!"

Assistant teachers:

Brittany Ambrose is the assistant teacher for the 2-year-old class. She has been living in the Baldwin-Whitehall area for the last 9 years with her 2 children (ages 4&11)  Brittany obtained a certification as a Medical Assistant and worked in a pediatrician's office. She also worked as a nanny. Brittany loves going to the beach, attending her son’s football/basketball games, and taking road trips with her children.

Sharon Agnew is our assistant teacher with Sue Majalli for the full-day Monday - Thursday 4-year-old class. She resides in Whitehall with her husband and son. Sharon has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She started as a substitute teacher here in 2017 and joined the staff the following year. She is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan and enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with her family on their boat in her spare time. 

Erin Dusch is our assistant teacher for the 3-year-old classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as well as Tuesday and Thursday from 9:15 - 11:45 and 12:30 - 3:00. She began working at the preschool in 2016 as a substitute teacher and was hired full-time in 2018. Erin has lived in Brentwood for the past 18 years with her husband, son (15) and daughter (12).  Both of her children attended Baldwin Community Preschool and that is how she began working at the school.  Erin studied nursing and had a career in healthcare prior to working with children.  She loves being with all different ages of students but especially the three-year-olds because they make such progress throughout the school year.  Her goal is to keep students engaged in fun, education-based activities while they are also learning, socializing, and developing their independence.  

Ashley Gillen is our assistant teacher for the 3-year-olds Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:15 - 11:45 and 12:30 - 3:00. She started as a substitute aide for Baldwin United Methodist Church Preschool in the 2020-2021 school year. She is no stranger, as she attended BCUMC Preschool herself and has had her two children attend as well! She accepted a permanent aide position for the 2021-2022 school year with the three-year-olds, as well as the two-year-olds! Her goal is to help make your child’s learning experience both fun and productive while preparing them for Pre-K. 

Katrina Smerbeck is our assistant teacher for the 4-year-old's full-day class Monday - Thursday. She has been living in the Baldwin Whitehall area for the last 15 years with her husband and 2 kids (ages 12 & 15). She has a Bachelor's degree in Business and Marketing from California University of PA. She has been at Baldwin Community Preschool for the last 4 years, and in that time, she has fallen in love with preparing the four and five-year-olds for their next big step: Kindergarten. In our classroom, we have a lot of fun learning and discovering social skills that are the building block for long-lasting friendships. 

Denise Weidmann is our assistant teacher for the 4-year-olds on Monday - Thursday from 9:00 - 11:30 and 12:30 - 3:00. She was born and raised in West Homestead and currently lives in Jefferson Hills with her husband of 25 years and her 3 children. She has a Bachelor's degree from California University of PA. Denise has been working with preschool-aged children for the last 7 years after being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years. She loves the beach, sports, and scrapbooking.

Karen Yochus is our assistant teacher for the Pre-K class on Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 2:00 and Friday 9:00 - 11:30 plus Friday Fitness Enrichment. She may be known by the children as "Mrs. Yogurt", "Mrs. Yuck", or "Mrs. Yacas". She is married with 3 kids, two of whom are in college, and has a fur baby named Mila. She is in her 10th year on staff at Baldwin Community Preschool. She loves seeing preschoolers develop their own personalities as the year progresses. In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time with friends at their camp.