meet our staff

Our staff has over 75 combined years of experience here at Lads & Lassies Community Preschool!

STACY AKERSDirector & Pre-K Teacher

STACY AKERS
Director & Pre-K Teacher

I have been in education since 1996. After graduating from Miami University with a Bachelors Degree in education and a K-8 certification,  I taught 3rd grade in Lebanon Public Schools.  I took a break from teaching to stay at home with my own children for a few years and then entered the field of Early Childhood Education in 2003 as my own daughter’s preschool teacher here at Lads and Lassies Community Preschool. I quickly realized preschool is the place for me!  I set out to learn all I can about how young children learn. I was introduced to The Project Approach and the schools of Reggio Emilia, and find this to be such a beautiful and authentic way to work alongside children.  This approach/philosophy became the heart of my work with children.  In 2010 I became the Director of Lads and Lassies. Through teaching, reflecting, researching and now blogging I continue to follow my passion… learning about how children learn!


CATHY WALTON
Pre-K Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Virginia and a Master of Education in Special Education.  I spent 9 years teaching in an elementary resource room in Hershey, PA and Troy, MI until my family and I moved to Wyoming and I decided to stay home with my daughters, Lucy and Sophie. Sophie started kindergarten in the fall of 2006 and I planned to spend the year looking for the perfect teaching job.  Well, the perfect job found me!  A church member passed along my name to the director and I ended up joining the staff on Sophie’s first day of kindergarten!

I have taught happily in the Bear classroom and have found no two days at preschool are ever alike and not a day goes by I don’t laugh.

 

SHARON MARCK
3/4’s Teacher & Music Teacher

 


I have a Bachelors Degree from Xavier University, and have been with LLCP since 1996! I love teaching preschool because the children arrive so eager and thrilled to learn! Where else can I work and receive free hugs every day? Teaching music is such a joy for

me–the children’s faces are so expressive when they sing!

My husband and I (married 35 years) have 3 grown children, all of whom graduated from LLCP (which gave me the inspiration to work here). I enjoy Jazzercise and reading.

KARA GARROD
3/4’s Teacher


I joined Lads and Lassies Community Preschool as the weekly yoga instructor in January 2019- little did I know then I would fall back in love with the place, the program, and the people (I’m a graduate of L&L)!

When I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Xavier University, many people assumed I would teach. Even though my side jobs for the last 20 years have always involved teaching children – teaching sailing at summer camp, teaching swim lessons, and now teaching yoga to adults and children — I admit, I was in denial. In my adult life, I worked in the mortgage industry before staying home to raise our daughters. After homeschooling for a few years we had an opportunity to move to Wyoming. When they started at Wyoming City Schools, I began — you guessed it — substitute teaching while I arned my RYT-200 to become certified to teach yoga.

So here I am, helping teach the 3s and 4s with an amazing co-teacher during the week and yoga on Fridays. My husband and I are grateful to be part of the Wyoming community, our daughters are thriving, and I get the best of both worlds: enjoying the precious moments of the preschool years while our own children grow more and more independent by the day. When I’m not teaching or practicing, you will find me enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a good book, running, or playing in the woods.


LISA SASSON
Young 3’s Teacher

I am the lucky one who gets to teach the young 3 year olds! I have been teaching at Lads and Lassies since 2007.  After graduating with an English Education degree from Miami University, I spent my first teaching years in the high school classroom.  Years later, I was blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool my amazing daughters for a few years.  When they returned to Wyoming Schools, it was perfect timing to enter the preschool world.

Teaching is certainly something that God has put on my heart.  When I decided to return to work, my top priority was to find an environment that was joyful and rewarding.  What an awesome privilege it is to spend my days learning, laughing, pretending, and singing with preschoolers!  Top it off with a group of dedicated, intelligent, and hilarious co-workers, and Lads and Lassies quickly became the place for me.

My very favorite thing to do is spend time with my family:  husband, Brian (whom I met in the first grade), my two daughters, Sara and Lindsay, and our five pets.  We enjoy any kind of vacation outdoors together, whether it be camping in our pop-up or traveling around the country.  I love great music, great books, great weather, and great food! My personal goals are to trust and follow God, seek joy, love and look out for others, and teach my girls to do the same.


LAURIE RYAN
Young 3’s Teacher

My husband Todd and I have been married for 19 years and have 3 children. Kyle (17), Evan (15), and Reese, our bonus baby, is 4. I came to Lads when my middle son went to Kindergarten and taught here for 7 years before staying home with Reese. I’m thrilled to be back! My time at Lads and Lassies definitely prepared me for raising a toddler again!

I have taught in the Fish and Bear Classes and I’m excited to venture into the Frog Class. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child!

My background is in Occupational Therapy and I enjoy working on gross/fine motor skills and sensory integration.

 

Jenny Whaley
Office Manager

 


I have had the pleasure of knowing so many wonderful children and their families over the years. I love running into them around our community. It’s a joy coming to work with children every day, not to mention our awesome staff! They are the best!

My husband, Kevin (high school sweetheart) and I married in 1986. We have 3 “20-something” children and 2 labs.  I love Siesta Key Beach, I am an avid reader (I’ve been in a book club with the same 8 women since 1998), a sports enthusiast, a longtime member of the handbell choir at Northminster Presbyterian Church, and a techie…I love the lastest and greatest gadgets! And of course, I love kids! Working in such a happy, positive environment full of children and laughter is truly hard to beat!

 

Kelli Domke Teacher, 4/5's

Kelli Domke
The Studio Teacher


I am the Art Studio teacher! I am excited to have joined the happiest group of teachers I’ve ever seen, and have long held an interest in project-based learning. Sharon Marck and the teachers here have already fostered such joyful and enthusiastic young music makers and singers! I taught Musikgarten for 10 years at the Wyoming Center for the Arts with my mentor, the beloved Ms. Mary.

I was a child who grew up living in many places and attending many schools in Ohio and Texas, but my summers were spent at my grandparents’ and dad’s farm in NW Ohio, riding bikes for miles a day, “adopting” barn kittens, building clubhouses, and singing at the top of my lungs in the barn loft. There, my voice became my own and my dreams were a big as the blue sky. Eventually, I studied voice and opera at The University of Houston under Katherine Ciesinski (now at Eastman) and director Buck Ross, where I was honored to sing leading roles with full orchestra. Masters work brought me to CCM, where I sang as soprano soloist in Philip Glass’ 6th Symphony, a peace blessing written for the millennium which was attended by Mr. Glass himself.

Like most parents, my children are my life’s work. Talk about project-based learning! My husband Eric and I have been together for 20 years, and live in an old dairy farm-house in Pleasant Ridge with our 3 children. There we grow fruits and veggies and even keep a flock of urban laying hens. My son Emory is 13 now, bright and voraciously curious. A born science “geek”, he jumped for joy on the bed when he discovered the periodic table of the elements at age 4!  Oliver, age 10, is a peaceable fellow who loves animals, language and legos in equal measure; he is a “lefty” and a quirky learner with an IEP at school who has taught us that the glass can be both half-full and over-flowing at the same time. Our 7 year old daughter, Amelia, is our family’s truest extrovert, by turns tender and ferocious, playful and driven. Her main frustration is that her family won’t let her go out into the streets (at night, no less!) to fight crime as a superhero. All three of our kids attends our wonderful neighborhood school, Pleasant Ridge Montessori, where I am active in the school garden and in the gifted kids’ Coffee Cup Cafe.

 

Kathy LyonsYoung 3's Teacher

Kathy Lyons
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My husband, Bill, and I are high-school sweethearts and we have three fabulous children: Kelly (14), Meghan (11) and Billy (8). We have lived in Wyoming since 2001 and are happy to call Lads & Lassies our children’s preschool too.

I am the youngest of nine children (7 girls and 2 boys) and grew up in Dayton, OH. We came to Wyoming and purchased our first home on Maple Avenue. I have a background as an Administrative Assistant working for and with many interesting companies. I am very organized and love to use post-it notes, especially fluorescent colors.

My passions include our three children; gardening; coaching basketball for the last 3 years, volleyball and pee-wee soccer. I LOVE to run through the streets of Wyoming by myself or with my three children (for the runners in the group, yes your kids will run with you someday and they will even pass you by).

My trademark is “smiley” faces. I love to write a note and end with a happy face 🙂

 

 

Jen Marck
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I am a Lads & Lassies alumni, graduating in 1995! I grew up in Wyoming and through a WHS program, I volunteered here when I was 16 & 17 years old. I graduated from Wyoming High School in 2010. I recently graduated Wilmington College, receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education (May 2014). I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for LLCP. The transition was easy, knowing all the staff members from previous experience, and also knowing the loving, caring, beautiful and safe environment that I was joining!

At Wilmington College during my student teaching, I experienced many different challenges with students due to their cultural backgrounds. This was a wonderful learning experience for me because all I knew was Wyoming. All 4 years I was in classrooms- observing, teaching and creating lesson plans. These experiences have helped me become the teacher I am.

After graduating college, I moved back in with my parents and have reunited with our community. I am coaching both JV girls soccer & basketball at the high school. This is my first year as a coach rather than a player (the transition was more difficult than I expected). During my spare time I play in a co-ed soccer league and work at the Skyline in Woodlawn.

 

 

Candice Sheppard
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Although I worked with children for many years (and some years ago) before entering the world of Marketing, I never forgot the spark. The one you feel when you’ve finally connected with a child.  I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business from UC in 2005 and worked in public relations before staying at home to raise my children. My most rewarding experiences were working on campaigns for non-profits. For example, Aubrey Rose Foundation was a client who helps families of children with life-threatening illnesses. I was pregnant with my second child, Alice, at the time and had no idea that she would go on to be born with three major heart defects similar to this foundation’s angel. I feel that you cross paths with people in life with great purpose!  I also believe that raising children… well, it truly takes a village. Now our family has also created a local organization that provides hope and happiness to other families experiencing the emotional and financial burdens that may come with caring for a child with heart disease and this has allowed us to connect with a few amazing families in the Wyoming community already!

Raising a child with special needs has changed my entire perspective and appreciation for “the spark.” Alice’s complex medical journey and development made me step back and re-evaluate my path in life, which takes me back to where my heart’s love of teaching children began. I helped pay for college working as Assistant Teacher at Children’s for Children Daycare, but also held several other positions working with children with diverse backgrounds, age-ranges and developmental needs. I spent my summers at Powel Crosley YMCA Childcare (my former preschool) in Springfield Township where I have resided for 33 years and later assisted at Wyoming After School Care at Vermont. The most important job of my life, however, was becoming a mother to my now 14-yearp-old stepson, Blake, Sophia (6) and Alice (4).  We have learned to slow down, to live in the moment and to appreciate life’s smallest victories. I intend to do exactly that with your children, celebrating each child’s unique differences with positivity and patience! My life is dedicated to child advocacy and researching the various ways in which children engage.

We feel blessed that Lads & Lassies embraced both of our girls in this program. I fully credit my family for inspiring me to rediscover this calling and return to the classroom! My stepson was actually the one who encouraged me to go back into this field and the timing feels perfect! I am honored and humbled to have the privilege of teaching alongside this extraordinary team and I’m overjoyed to share my experiences with your children as the PM Bear Teacher!

Outside of school, my family loves to share new experiences together! You might catch us at the zoo, the park, the pool or the ball field. I love being outside, sunny days, great (mostly old) music, children’s literature, film, writing rhyming poetry, board games and event planning. My preschool teacher told my Mom that I could be the first woman president, but I would venture to say that she would be most proud of me now. We still keep in touch.