Ms. Melanie is a lifelong resident of Kentucky. Originally from western Kentucky, she moved to Lexington to attend Transylvania University and never left. She has a BA in Psychology, an MSW in social work from the University of Kentucky, her CSW Kentucky State Board of Social Work, and her Kentucky Directors Credentials from Morehead State Univesity. Recently married, she and husband Chris have 3 daughters between them. Ella Rhea is in Middle School at Morton, Brooklyn is a Sophomore in High School, and Avery is a Freshman this year at the University of Kentucky. Ms. Melanie enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, shopping, and spending time with friends and family when she's not attending to school or her "mom" duties. Ms. Melanie was drawn to Good Shepherd because of the "excellent program it provides young children. It's the best of the best!"
Kris Wilkins - Assistant Director
Ms. Kris is a Michigan native who came to Kentucky by way of Atlanta, Georgia 10 years ago. This is her 10th year at Good Shepherd and her 5th full year as assistant director. Kris graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in elementary education and has previously taught 4th grade and K-2 special needs. When not at GSDS, this mother of 3 grown children likes to spend her time watching her daughter play volleyball for Indiana State University (go Trees!), reading, traveling with her husband, and taking care of her new puppy, Barley. The thing Ms. Kris likes most about GSDS is the passion and commitment the staff has for providing the very best education to the children.
Meet the Teachers
LeAnne Ash - Music and Movement
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. LeAnne bounced around a little bit before returning to Kentucky back in 2008. This is LeAnne's 2nd year with GSDS and with her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, we're thrilled to announce she will bring that creative flair to our music and movement program. LeAnne enjoys hiking, teaching pottery classes, spending time with her family, all things nature, and is currently training for her first triatholon. Ms. LeAnne fell in love with Good Shepherd when her oldest son, Sebastian began in the program and we are lucky to have both her boys with us this year!
Megan Ciekurs - Lead Teachers 2s
Ms. Megan came to us from Royal Oak, Michigan back in 2009. This will be her 6th full year of teaching at Good Shepherd where she loves instilling a love for learning in the children. Megan graduated from Grand Valley State University with an elementary education degree and math major. She loves spending time with family and friends, especially her daughter Olivia, who is a treasure here at GSDS as well, crafting, and watching reality TV.
Lucy Cox - Lead Teacher 4s
Ms. Lucy begins her 32nd year with Good Shepherd Day School! Not only is she a lifelong resident of Kentucky, but almost one of GSDS as well! Ms. Lucy studied special education at the University of Kentucky and has also completed her CDA credentials. She is very active in the community as a member of the church, the Junior League of Lexington, and the Orphan Society of Lexington. She and her husband Bill have two grown children and In her free time she enjoys pilates, reading, and is a super fan of UK basketball. Lucy obviously loves being with children and feels blessed to serve such wonderful families at GSDS.
MarthaAnne Dunaway - Lead Teacher 2s
Our resident animal lover, Ms. MarthaAnne, was born and raised in northern Kentucky. MarthaAnne earned a Bachelor's degree from UK in Family and Consumer sciences and has been teaching at the Day School since 2006. She finds it "the most rewarding career and that the children and families of GSDS make this school the happiest place on earth."
Joan Hutchinson - Lead Teacher 4s
Ms. Joan begins her 11th year at Good Shepherd and her 4th year in the 4 year old department. Our newest "grandma" on the staff loves spending time with her family, especially her granddaughter Emmie, reading, paddle boarding,working puzzles, pilates, and anything to do with the beach. Ms. Joan received her education degree from Eastern CT State University and was drawn to GSDS because of the friendliness of the school.
Jacinta Lipsey - Lead Teacher 4s
Ms. Jacinta has been at Good Shepherd since 2013, but hails from Terceira-Azores, Portugal originally. She has her Early Childhood Education Associates Degree, and director's credential from Moorehead State University. When not at GSDS, Ms. Jacinta likes to hike, crochet, cook and garden. She is "proud to be a part of an amazing team of teachers who work together to help each child achieve their full potential." Debbie Lutz - Lead Teacher 3s
Ms. Debbie is originally from Pennsylvania, but has called Kentucky home for the past 38 years. She begins her 19th year at Good Shepherd, during which she completed her associate degree in early childhood education from BCTC. She loves the wonderful co-workers, children and families of GSDS. When not at school, Ms. Debbie loves reading, walking, UK basketball, and spending time with her husband, MIke, children Missy and Chris, and granddaughters Hailey and Leah.
Rhonda May - Lead Teacher 4s
Ms. Rhonda was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky and moved to Lexington in 1993 after marrying her husband, John. Together they have 3 very active children, all alumni of Good Shepherd,which is what brought Ms. Rhonda to us. She has worked at GSDS since 2010 while earning her CDA. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, and a Master of Arts in Education from Western Kentucky University. In the little free time she has between taxiing her children to their sporting events Ms. Rhonda enjoys knitting, reading, gardening, and spending time with friends and family.
Jane Patterson - Speech Pathologist
Ms. Jane has been providing speech and language services for the children of Good Shepherd for the past 15 years. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she has lived here her whole life. Jane received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Centre College and her Masters of Science in communication disorders (speech pathology) from UK and has been practicing for the past 22 years. When she's not working with the children she enjoys running, reading, following sports, especially UK basketball or her children's activities, and traveling with family and friends.
Donna Piccioli - Lead Teacher 3s
A Southern California native, Ms. Donna has lived in Kentucky for the past 20 years and begins her 3rd year with us at Good Shepherd. With her CDA, and plenty of experience with children, Donna planned on joining us as a substitute teacher. Lucky for us, she loved the people and place so much, she decided to take on a full time position this year! Ms. Donna keeps very busy with her husband and 3 grown children in college, but when she has free time she likes to travel, shoot photography, ride motorcycles and whitewater raft.
Angie PIckett - Lead Teacher 2s
Ms. Angie comes to us from the lovely state of Virginia. She is beginning her 2nd year with Good Shepherd and brings with her a wealth of teaching experience from preschool to High School. She has her Early Childhood Development Degree, CDA, and Director's credentials as well. Her hobbies include reading, vintage shopping, zumba, cooking, and enjoying friends and family. We asked Ms. Angie why she came to Good Shepherd she said when she "walked through the yellow door, I felt as if I were home!"
Laura Sikora - Lead Teacher Kindergarten
Ms. Laura has lived in Lexington for 19 years and for 15 of them she has taught at Good Shepherd Day School. With her elementary education degree from WVU, she has dedicated herself to the Kindergarten children at GSDS providing them an exceptional education. Married, with 2 grown children, Ms. Laura likes to spend her free time cooking, reading, hiking, riding her bicycle, shopping, and traveling.
Gwyn Weixler - Lead Teacher 3s
Ms. Gwyn has been with the Day School for over 15 years and we're blessed to have her. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she has been in Lexington for more than 30 years. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development, Ms. Gwyn loves being able to work in an environment where she can express her faith as she helps children learn and grow. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing the flute, crafting and spending time with her family, especially her two granddaughters Mariah and Sylvia.
Jenn Whitton - Extended Day Coordinator
Ms. Jenn is a Kentucky native originally hailing from Mt. Sterling. She is entering her second year as a staff member, but has a long history with the school as a nanny to several of our former students. Ms. Jenn received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Charleston, West Virginia and her Masters of Arts in History from Georgia Southern University. She loves to research and write on a wide array of topics in her free time and also enjoys a variety of sporting events. When she's not busy at the school, she is working for the business she co-owns with her mother.
Meet the Assistants
Kelly Crawford - 2 year old assistant teacher
Ms. Kelly was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, moved to Nashville and Knoxville, and then returned to Lexington about 3 years ago. She attended Hopkinsville Community College and is married to husband Jonathan for 20 years and has 12 year old twins, Tyler and Taylor. She enjoys watching her children play their sports as well as partaking in running and tennis herself. In the 3 years Ms. Kelly has been at Good Shepherd she says her favorite part of her job is watching the kids learn something new and the excitement on their faces when they achieve something for the first time.
Celine Dunne - 2 year old assistant teacher
Ms. Celine has been a staple in our 4 year old department for the past 17 years, and has brought her expertise to the 2 year old department this year. Coming to us all the way from Ireland, where she attended St. Mary's College, she has been in America for the past 27 years working with childre both as a preschool teacher and a nanny. Although she misses her parents back in Ireland, she spends her free time gardening and cooking.
Stacy Forrester - Kindergarten assistant teacher
Ms. Stacy was born and raised in Lexington, moved away for a few years, and is happy to call Lexington home again. She begins her second year here at Good Shepherd and brings with her a wealth of knowledge. Stacy received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia in Child and Family Development, and her graduate degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She and husband Rob enjoy cooking, traveling, UK sports, and spending time with family and friends in their free time.
Adrienne Jones - 3 year old assistant teacher
Ms. Adrienne started with Good Shepherd four years ago as a substitute teacher, and with our family first environment, found it was the perfect fit for her. Originally from Pineville, she has lived in Kentucky since birth. Adrienne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University in public relations and loves anything to do with fashion & design. She and husband, Tom have two girls, Mallory and Amelia. Afternoons are spent going over their homework, attending their activities, cooking, working out, and getting ready to do it all again the next day!
Whitney Keough - 2 year old floating teacher
Joining us in the middle of last year, this will be Whitney's first full year with us at Good Shepherd. Originally from Frankfort Kentucky, and studying at Eastern Kentucky University, she has lived in Kentucky her whole life. She, and her husband of 16 years, Mike have two boys Davis and Alex. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time with her family running them to their sports and activities.
Angie Loy - 4 year old assistant teacher
Living in Kentucky for the past 24 years, Ms. Angie comes all the way from Ireland where she attended St. Mary's College. Her oldest son, Aaron attended GSDS as a child and that's what brought her back to us six years ago. She and husband Eric, who have been married 21 years, have two other sons as well, Patrick (14) and Ethan (12). In her free time she enjoys reading and doing arts and crafts.
Stefanie McDowell - 4 year old assistant teacher
A Morehead State University graduate with a degree in Recreation/Early Childhood Development, Ms. Stefanie has been with the Day School since 2011 when she started with us as a substitute teacher. A lifelong resident of Kentucky, she spends her time with her husband and two daughters reading, running the girls to their various activities, and baking. We are all very thankful that Ms. Stefanie loves baking!
Lisa Mittan - 4 year old assistant teacher
Lisabegins her 3rd year with us at Good Shepherd. Originally from Michigan, Ms. Lisa has lived in Kentucky for the past 20 years. She holds her Child Development Associates degree from BCTC and has worked in the child care profession since moving to Kentucky. She has a wide range of interests from hiking with her husband to crafting, to volunteer work, as well as theater and symphonic music. Ms. Lisa was attracted to GSDS because "it's a great place to work."
Jamie Palumbo - floating teacher
Ms. Jamie has been with the Day School now for 6 years, both as a parent and a teacher. Two of her children are graduates of our program, one is currently enrolled, and her fourth is on the way! Ms. Jamie has her Bachelor degree in Health Education and her Master of Arts in Teaching. She enjoys playing sports of all kinds, is a super fan of UK, loves traveling, and also enjoys the outdoors.
Elizabeth Ross – 3 year old 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.
Stojanka Simic - 4 year old floating teacher
Ms. Stoja has been in Kentucky for almost 22 years, but is originally from Bosnia. She has her associates degree, which she earned before coming over, and has worked at Good Shepherd for 7 years now. She and her husband, Vinko, have two grown children who own businesses in Ohio and New York. When Stoja is not taking care of children she loves to garden and be outdoors.
Alana Stuart - 4 year old floating teacher
Ms. Alana is originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but has called Lexington home for the past 22 years. She has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Kentucky, a BA in Elementary Education from Midway College, and is working on her Masters in Teaching from the University of the Cumberlands. Alana first came to GSDS back in 2008, has taken some time off to start a family, and is returning for her 5th year with Good Shepherd, 3 kids in tow! In her time away from work she enjoys spending time with her family and being active in the Parish Youth Ministry.
Marisa Van Arsdale - 3 year old assistant teacher
We'd like to welcome Ms. Marisa to Good Shepherd for her first year on staff. A marketing graduate, she is currently in school at Asbury completing her elementary education degree. Originally from Syracuse, New York, she has lived in Kentucky for the past 18 years and is recently married to hsuband, Jack. In her free time she enjoys swimming, cheering on UK sports, and spending time with her family and friends. Ms. Marisa was introduced to GSDS as a nanny to two of our students and joined us because of the wonderful staff, children and families.
Kristine Walker - 3 year old assistant teacher
Kristine is beginning her 11th year at Good Shepherd Day School, workinig in the three year old program. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. Kristine began her career at GSDS as a parent sub when her daughter joined the 3 year old program. Kristine is the proud mother of 15 year old Kate, and wife of Chad. Her focus is caring for her family and dedicating her day to caring for GSDS families!
Julia Wallin - 4 year old assistant teacher
Another born and raised Lexington girl, Ms. Julia has spent many years working with children and we were fortunate enough to get her 2 years ago. She attended Lafayette High School and Lexington Community College and in her spare time loves to read, cook, spend time with her family, and she absolutely loves the beach! Ms. Julia says she "loves that Good Shepherd is a warm, welcoming school with awesome kids and families."
Jennifer White - 2 year old assistant teacher
This marks her 3rd year of teaching at Good Shepherd, but her 8th year of teaching 2 year olds, both as a lead and an assistant. Ms. Jennifer is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but relocated to Kentucky three years ago. Some of her interests apart from the Day School are photography, watching her 3 children in all their after school activities, and operating her own business through Stella & Dot and Ever skincare.