Ms. Melanie is from Madisonville and has lived in Kentucky her entire life. She came to the Day School five years ago while her daughter, Ella Rhea, was a student in Ms. Lucy’s class. She has her Kentucky Director’s Credential from Morehead State University, Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kentucky and Bachelor of Art in Psychology from Transylvania University. She enjoys traveling, cooking, doing volunteer work and spending time with family and friends in her free time. Ms. Melanie is honored to be the Director of a school full of talented, dedicated teachers and wonderful children and parents. She is inspired by the rich history of the Day School and is committed to maintaining the esteemed reputation it holds in our community.
Kris Wilkins - Assistant Director
Ms. Kris is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan.While living in Georgia, she taught in a Special Needs classroom, as well as 4th grade.This year Ms. Kris begins her 10thyear at the Day School and fourth full year as our Assistant Director.She has held the position of floater, assistant teacher, and extended day coordinator in the previous years. In her free time Ms. Kris loves to read, listen to music, and dance with her husband, Bill. She has three grown children, Ryan, Jared and Lindsey. Ms. Kris enjoys working at the Day School “…because the staff is as passionate about providing a quality education and school experience as she is. We love what we do here and we love who we work with. It’s a real family environment.”
Meet the Lead Teachers
Debbie Bates - Music and Movement Teacher
Originally from Versailles, Ms. Bates holds a Bachelor's Degree in health and physical fitness, and a Master's in Education, both earned at the University of Kentucky.A veteran teacher at the Day School, she has taught music and movement since 1989. When she's not movin' and groovin' with the children at school, Ms. Bates enjoys walking, playing with her grandchildren and visiting friends. She is also an animal lover at heart and volunteers her time at the local Humane Society.
Megan Ciekurs – Lead Teacher
Ms. Megan is originally from Ferndale, Michigan, and this year marks her fourth as lead teacher in the two-year old program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Math and Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University.Ms. Megan taught a wide range of children for four years while in Michigan including, 2nd grade, 4th grade, and 8th. Ms. Megan loves crafting and a plethora of sports, including soccer, basketball and volleyball.She has a beautiful little girl, Olivia, who attends GSDS, a cat named Abbey and a dog named Mac. She enjoys working with the friendly staff and all the young children who attend the Day School.
Lucy C. Cox – Lead Teacher
Ms. Lucy is a lifelong resident of Lexington, Kentucky. She attended college here at the University of Kentucky where she studied Special Education and obtained her CDA credential. Ms. Lucy is a member of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and has worked at the Day School since 1985. Outside of school, she volunteers with a reading camp for at-risk children and serves as a Board Member for the Lexington Orphan Society. She is also a board member of the Lexington Junior League and a Tri-Delta alumnus. She loves working with GSDS children and says the Day School is blessed to have wonderful families who entrust us with their children.
MarthaAnne Dunaway - Lead Teacher
Ms. MarthaAnne has lived in Kentucky most of her life and earned her degree in family and consumer sciences from the University of Kentucky. She enjoys traveling with friends, going to concerts and playing trivia. She loves being a part of the children's lives and watching them grow up.
Joan Hutchinson - Lead Teacher
Ms. Joan has lived in Lexington for 30 years, but also lived in West Hartford, Connecticut and Weekapaug, Rhode Island. She attended Eastern Connecticut State University where she earned her degree in elementary education. She has taught at the Day School for eleven years and has found it one of the friendliest schools she has ever encountered. When not at school, Ms. Joan enjoys reading, kayaking, paddle boarding and puzzles. She and her husband, Larry, also spend time with their three grown children, Caroline, Andrew and John whenever they are in town.
Jacinta Lipsey - Lead Teacher Ms. Jacinta is originally from Terceira, Azores and moved to Lexington in 2009. She joined the Day School with an Associates Degrees in Early Childhood Education, a CDA in Preschool, Toddlers and Infants, and her Director's Credential. Ms. Jacinta likes to get out and explore by gardening, hiking and traveling. She also loves to spoil her family with her cooking whenever she gets the chance. She is excited to be a part of this amazing team of teachers who value all children as individuals.
Debbie Lutz –Lead Teacher
Originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, Ms. Debbie has lived in Kentucky for 37 years, obtaining her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Interdisciplinary Education from Bluegrass Community and Technical College.This is Ms. Debbie’s 18th year teaching at Good Shepherd. She enjoys walking, reading, baseball, UK basketball and spending time with her family, including her children Missy and, Chris and her two granddaughters, Hailey and Leah. Ms. Debbie loves working with the three year olds and knows she is meant to be at Good Shepherd.
Rhonda C. May – Lead Teacher
Born in Bowling Green, raised in Lexington, Ms. Rhonda received her Master of Arts in Education from Western Kentucky University, and her CDA from Morehead State University. In her fifth year at the Day School, Ms. Rhonda is the assistant teacher in the Kindergarten. She loves to knit, make jewelry, and spend time with her three children, Lindon, Luke and Lara Grace, all graduates of the Day School. After witnessing the positive impact Good Shepherd had on her children’s lives, Ms. Rhonda decided to pay it forward by teaching at the Day School.
Jamie Palumbo – Lead Teacher
Ms. Jamie is from West Virginia and moved to Kentucky fourteen years ago. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and a Masters of Arts in Teaching, both from Eastern Kentucky University. She has many hobbies and interests, including watching and playing sports, traveling, cooking and playing trivia. She also loves spending time with her husband, Steven, daughter, Sanina, son, Baker, and youngest daughter, Juliette who currently attends the Day School. Ms. Jamie joined the Day School five years ago because she wanted to be part of a school that has such an amazing impact on the lives of children and their families.
Angie Pickett - Lead Teacher
Ms. Angie is relatively new to the Lexington area. Originally from Virginia, she moved here with her husband for a job relocation 2 1/2 years ago. They have two grown children. Her daughter, Morgan, lives in Tennessee with her husband and son, Liam. He is Angie's first grandchild and the joy of their lives! Angie also has a son Zachary who has moved to Lexington and is the Channel 18 "pet of the week guy." Ms. Angie has many, many years of experience working with children, as well as a degree in Early Childhood Education, CDA, and her director's credentials. In her free time Ms. Angie loves to antique shop, read, walk her dog, and spend time with her husband, friends, and family.
Laura Sikora – Lead Teacher
Ms. Laura is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Lexington for 18 years. She holds a degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia University and joined the Day School 14 years ago. She enjoys cooking, riding her bike, shopping, traveling and spending time with her family, especially when they visit Grater’s for ice cream! Ms. Laura loves the Day School because she gets to use her talents and be appreciated for them!
Gwyn Weixler - Lead Teacher
Ms. Gwyn moved to Kentucky 32 years ago from the suburbs of Chicago. She has a BS in Child Development and began teaching at the Day School 15 years ago. Ms. Gwyn is also a certified Red Cross Instructor and provides CPR and First Aid training to the Day School staff. After school she keeps busy with many activities, including reading, scrapbooking, counted cross stitching and crocheting, singing and playing the flute. She loves the Day School because it provides a place where she can teach young children according to developmentally appropriate practices and through hands-on learning activities, all while living out her faith with co-workers and families.
Meet the Assistants
LeAnne Ash - Assistant Teacher
Ms. LeAnne is joining our staff for the first year after being a parent of the Day School for the past two years. We will be fortunate enough to have both of her sons here this year! Ms. LeAnne is originally from Louisville, but has called Lexington her home for the past 27 years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and loves to be active enjoying hiking, biking, yoga, gardening, pottery and cooking with her husband Galen and her boys.
Kelly Crawford- Assistant Teacher
Ms. Kelly is originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky and attended college there as well. She has 11 year old twins, Tyler and Taylor and loves spending time with them and watching them play sports. Ms. Kelly is active herself. She enjoys playing tennis and running. Although she lived in Knoxville, Tennessee until recently, she is settling in to life in Lexington and is a wonderful addition to our staff.
Jennifer Dunn – Assistant Teacher
Ms. Jennifer is one of our Lexington-native teachers. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in merchandising from Eastern Kentucky University.This year marks her ninth at the Day School as a teaching assistant and she “loves being with the children!” Outside of school, Ms. Jennifer plays tennis whenever she can and works for the USTA as a local league coordinator. She also enjoys watching her two sons, Jacob and Jonah, play sports.
Celine Dunne – Assistant Teacher
Ms. Celine came to Lexington 24 years ago from Ireland, where she attended school in Kildare at St. Mary’s College. This year is Ms. Celine’s 17th year at the Day School and she loves working with the wonderful, caring teachers. She also loves to cook and garden and any teacher at the Day School will attest to her amazing culinary skills!
Kim Hils - Assistant Teacher
Ms. Kim is originally from Dayton, Ohio, but came to Lexington through the University of Kentucky where she earned a 4 year athletic scholarship for volleyball. While there, she earned her degree in physical education and health. Ms. Kim, along with her husband Andy, have two children, both alumni of Good Shepherd. Maddie, a freshman at Ole Miss, and Zach, a sophomore at Lexington Catholic, are both competitive swimmers which keeps Ms. Kim very busy. We have been fortunate to have Ms. Kim around the past several years as a substitute teacher, but are thrilled that she as decided to take a permanent position. She said the nurturing environment in which the children learn is what convinced her to join us.
Angie Loy – Assistant Teacher
Ms. Angie originally hails from Naas County Kildare, Ireland, and moved to Kentucky 22 years ago. This marks her fifth year at the Day School, where she works as an assistant teacher in the four-year old program. Ms. Angie likes to read, paint, and go swimming at the YMCA with her three sons, Patrick, Aaron and Ethan. Ms. Angie has always loved working with children and finds that the teachers at the Day School are great co-workers and friends.
Stefanie McDowell - Floating Teacher
Ms. Stefanie is a native Kentuckian. Originally from Erlanger, she earned her bachelor's degree in recreation from Morehead State University and then settled in Lexington. She, and her golf pro husband, Aaron have two beautiful daughters, Lexi and Lauren. In her spare time she likes spending time with her family, reading, and baking. Her pumpkin muffins are delicious!
Lisa Mittan - Assistant Teacher
Although Ms. Lisa has moved around some in her lifetime, she was born in Frankfort, Kentucky and has lived here for over 20 years. Ms. Lisa has spent almost all of her adult life working with children, having her CDA, CNA, montessori experience, and 22 years in child care. She is married, has three grown children, two cats, and a dog. She is also a big supporter of Lafayette's marching band and Drum Corps International. In her free time she likes to garden, travel, and spend time with her family. What drew Ms. Lisa to Good Shepherd was the love and care shown to children in our early childhood setting.
Donna Piccioli - Floating Teacher
Ms. Donna is originally from Anaheim California, but has made her home in Kentucky for the past 20 years. Although relatively new to GSDS, with her CDA, she has worked many years educating children. She and her husband Peter have three grown children and enjoy an active lifestyle with such pursuits as motorcycle riding, and white water rafting. Other hobbies she enjoys are photography, scrap booking, and card making.
Elizabeth Ross – Floating Teacher
Born and raised in Lexington, Ms. Elizabeth is starting her seventh year at Good Shepherd Day School. She attended Centre College, where she earned a degree in English and minored in Art History, and received her J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Ms. Elizabeth is a former student of the Day School (Ms. Lucy was her favorite). Outside of school, she enjoys making jewelry, knitting, and jogging.
StojankaSimic – Floating Teacher
Ms. Stoja is from Yugoslavia and has lived in Kentucky for 21 years. She has an associate degree in early childhood from the Stratford Career Institute. She started at the Day School five years ago after working many years with troubled teens, and says she loves working with all the sweet children. She loves to cook fresh, healthy food from her vegetable garden.
Kristine Walker – Assistant Teacher
Before moving to Lexington 19 years ago, Ms. Kristine grew up in Michigan and holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology from Western Michigan University. She is beginning her 8th year teaching at the Day School. After school Ms. Kristine flips back to full time wife and mother mode with Chad and Kate, her husband, and daughter. She first fell in love with the Day School when Kate enrolled as a three year old and decided it was where she needed to be! To this day, it fills her heart with joy!
Julia Wallin - Assistant Teacher
Although Ms. Julia is new to Good Shepherd this year, she may be a familiar face. Julia subbed for us last year and fell in love with the school. She says "it just felt like home" and she knew she needed to become part of our staff. Ms. Julia is a native of Lexington, graduating from Lafayette High School and attending Lexington Community College. When she's not spending tine with her husband, Kelly, and her two teenage children, Connor and Avery, she loves to cook and read.
Jennifer White - Assistant Teacher
Ms. Jennifer came to Kentucky 2 years ago from Birmingham, Alabama where she was born and raised. She graduated from Auburn University and has eight years of teaching experience working with 2 and 3 year olds. She has 3 beautiful children, ages 13, 10, and 8 which keep her very busy in her spare time shuttling them to all their extra curricular activities. She loves spending time with them, as well as crafting, photography, and working as a stylist for Stella & Dot.