Our Team

Meet our nurturing, faith-based educators!

The Early Learning Center is a part of the team at Granger Community Church. Our staff consists of our administrative, teaching and arts teams as well as our Advisory Council. We strive to provide a faith-based experience for our families that is:
Loving and Nurturing

Our staff family believes in loving children, families and colleagues as Jesus loved us, providing the soil in which each learner can grow.

Engaging and Encouraging

Our team believes in the power of encouragement and active learning. We look forward to actively engaging and guiding each child through their own unique learning experiences. Our goal is to help children build skills for later success in school and in life.

Knowledgeable and Collaborative

Our lead teachers and administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree with previous experience in early childhood education. We bring out the best in each child and in each other as we collaborate on lessons, strategies and creative teaching moments. We are a family ministry.

Purposeful and Joyful

Our team is intentional in our planning and interactions with each child, infusing contagious joy and natural wonder into each learning experience.

Mandy Gibbons

ELC Director

Mandy joins the Early Learning Center with over sixteen years of experience as a preschool and kindergarten teacher at Bridges (also NAEYC accredited) and Covenant Christian School. With a B.S. in Hospitality Management, as well as a Masters in Education from Bethel College/IUSB, Mandy is passionate about shaping the development of young children in their early childhood years. Most recently, she worked as a preschool director, employing best practices to create an incredible learning environment that nurtures and supports young children. With a warm and magnetic personality, Mandy is excited to lead the Early Learning Center starting in the fall of 2018. She attends Granger Community Church with her husband Russ and her daughters Kaylah and Kenzie. Mandy and Russ are empty-nesters!

Olivia Alexander

Art Teacher

Olivia graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in painting from Herron School of Art & Design at IUPUI. She has always had a passion for art and painting, and has fallen in love with sharing her passion with a new generation of budding artists. She loves the creativity, wonder and joyful spirit with which children at the Early Learning Center approach their art.

Stefanie Berger

Teacher

Stefanie has a degree from IU and is HighScope certified. She’s taught preschool for five years and loves every minute of it. She loves having the opportunity to enrich young minds through play and mindful experiences. She and her husband have been married for 14 years and have two sons.

Erin Bozha

Associate Teacher

Erin has worked with children in various capacities throughout her life, including being a foster parent for many years. Her son Michael is the light of her life! In her free time, Erin enjoys working out, eating healthy and going to car shows with her son.

Nicole Burkus

Lead Teacher

With a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood, Nicole has taught kindergarten, most recently in the South Bend Community School Corporation. She loves to work with young children and watch them grow to love learning, too! In her free time, you’ll find her being active outside and exploring nature.

Holly Case

Lead Teacher

Holly has her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Bob Jones University, and is also HighScope trained through Ivy Tech. She’s worked with young children for years, including directing a NAEYC accredited, HighScope early childhood center and teaching kindergarten in a public school setting. Her passion is creating a warm and inviting environment for children to explore and discover in a developmentally appropriate setting. Holly and her husband Ryan have  a son, Lucas and three dogs.

Kelly Charlton

Associate Teacher
Currently working on her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, Kelly has an associate’s degree in office administration and several years of experience teaching preschool. In her free time, you’ll find her spending time with her two daughters and decorating.

Katelyn DeJong

Teacher
Currently working on her bachelor’s degree in business at Bethel University. Katelyn loves working with children. She’s also passionate about horse riding and teaching younger students to ride.

Marissa Downer

Teacher
Marissa loves working with young children and sharing her love for Jesus with them. She has grown up in a faith-filled household and has continued to volunteer at her church. Marissa’s spiritual gifts are to love, teach and guide young children. Marissa graduated from Clay High School and she’s working toward her CDA in Early Childhood Education. Her heart is full and ready to love on the children in her class. She is looking forward to growing alongside the children as they continue to teach her along the way.

Casey Fike

Teacher

Casey graduated from Bethel College with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She has been a volunteer in children’s ministry for over 10 years and has over three years experience as a nanny.

Kathy Greve

Associate Teacher

Kathy has a degree in education and has taught kindergarten, first grade and third grade for 30 years. She loves being able to teach children about Jesus. She and her husband Dan of 28 years have a daughter and a son. In her free time, you’ll find her baking out of her home and making wedding cakes and desserts!

Carla Gull

Naturalist Teacher
Dr. Carla Gull teaches beginning college classes online with the University of Phoenix, hosts the podcast Loose Parts Nature Play, leads nature programming in her local area, facilitates professional development in early childhood, shares insights on Loose Parts Play  and Inside Outside Michiana on social media and enjoys finding frogs with her 4 boys at the stream. She researches tree climbing, outdoor classrooms and the theory of loose parts. You can also find her at loosepartsnatureplay.com.

Mitzi Holland

Substitute Teacher

With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Valparaiso University, Mitzi loves working with children. She’s married to Jim and they have three adult children who are all graduates of Indiana University, so she’s become a Hoosiers fan, but still cheers for the Crusaders. In her free time, Mitzi enjoys playing tennis, reading inspirational books, being in nature and is a huge dog lover.

Jessica Humphries

Lead Teacher

Jessica grew up working with kids in her mom’s in-home daycare. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Central Michigan University, and has two young children—her son, Cooper and daughter, Penelope. She loves to read and watch Notre Dame football in her free time.

Ashley Korsmo

Teacher

With Associates degrees in both Photography and Early Childhood Education, Ashley also has her CDA, and is trained in HighScope and is in the process of becoming HighScope certified. She has spent several years working with young children and teaching. In her free time, you’ll find her reading, or spending time in nature kayaking or doing archery.

Debbie Lanning

Food Coordinator

Debbie enjoys children and food! She came to the Early Learning Center after working 15 years with Penn-Harris-Madison Schools in Food Service. Debbie has a husband, Tim, who also works at the church. She has two sons, Matt and Josh.

Peggy Lutz

Office Coordinator

With four kids of her own, Peggy has loved working with children as long as she can remember! She and her husband were high school sweethearts and raised their children here in Michiana and she has two grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Rebecca Miller

Associate Teacher

With a degree in sociology and family studies from Bethel University, Rebecca is currently getting her master’s degree from Liberty University in Pastoral Counseling. She has years of experience working with young children, including directing a children’s camp for the Mishawaka Parks & Rec Department and working as a behavioral therapist at the Lighthouse Autism Center. She loves Jesus and the outdoors.

Stacey Mullins

Lead Teacher

Stacey graduated from Bethel College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Working at the Early Learning Center is her dream job—she loves working with children and can’t wait to spend time with her class each day. She and her husband have a daughter and enjoy spending their free time flipping houses.

Jenny Rairdon

Lead Teacher

Jenny has her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood. She has previously worked as a first grade teacher and as a 4/5/6 Gifted & Talented teacher. She has experience in elementary education, gifted and talented programs and early childhood.

Judy Riboni

Substitute Teacher

Judy is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management. She’s been a teacher’s aide for 13 years. She and her husband have two wonderful children and a four-legged baby named Pepper. In her free time she loves to cook and listen to audiobooks.

Abby Shepard

Teacher

Abby has a B.A. in Sociology from Grand Valley State University. She volunteered during her high school years in Granger Community Church’s children’s ministry. This is her third year working in a pre-k classroom and working with children continues to be her passion. In her free time, you’ll find Abby attending concerts, at the beach, watching baseball and spending time with family and friends.

Heather Swanson

Teacher

Heather is a HighScope-certified infant and toddler teacher, who’s worked in the Early Childhood field for 30 years. She and her husband, Peter, have four children. She loves to spend time with her family.

Jill Thompson

Teacher

Jill has her bachelor’s degree with an Early Childhood Education emphasis. She has experience in preschool, kindergarten and children under the age of three.

Elizabeth Urbanski

Teacher

With a degree in marketing from St. Joseph’s College, Elizabeth previously taught preschool for three and four-year-olds at River Valley Preschool. She and her husband Mark have three active children and she enjoys relaxing at their lake house, decorating and crafting.

Pam VanDeVoorde

Substitute Teacher
Pam has worked in school systems as a kindergarten aide and loves working with children, to help them learn and grow. She has three adult sons and three amazing grandsons. When she’s not working, she loves to be outdoors, biking, walking and spending the day at the lake.

Madeline Logan Williamson

Music & Movement Teacher
Madeline holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Contemporary Dance and Kinesiology from Indiana University and is a trained Pilates instructor. She has taught a variety of dance styles and techniques at local dance studios and non-profit organizations as well as at public and private schools.  Madeline believes that dance and movement are extraordinary tools for developing body and spatial awareness, coordination, creative-thinking, and confidence—dance is for everyone! She enjoys cooking, reading, rehearsing and performing with New Industry Dance and spending time with her husband and their dog.