Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Sara Ausher: Sara is a native New Yorker and comes from a family of 10 children! In 1993, she moved to Jacksonville where she and her husband are happily raising their 2 daughters, Haille and Alexandria. Sara enjoys children (good for MPP), cooking (good for her husband, Jerry), and decorating (good for her own creative needs!)

Mary Bagby: Mary is mother to two grown daughters and wife to Stan. Jennifer and her husband live in North Carolina and Beth and her husband live right here in Jacksonville.  Mary is a grandmother to Chloe, Harrison and Spencer.  She loves to teach, garden and sing and has taught preschool for 24 years. She is a member of this great church and sings in the choir.  Mary was born in Pampa, Texas and lived on a ranch until she was 21. Her mother still runs that same ranch.

Amber Canipe: Amber was lucky enough to grow up on a farm in Pennsylvania and attended college in both NY and OH. At 19 and 20 years of age, she worked with special needs and a nursing home as well. Amber married her husband in 2001 and has a 10 year old and a 7 year old. As a mother of 2 girls I found MPP to be a loving and caring environment for my children. I was happy to return to MPP for a great employment opportunity.

Elizabeth Clayton: Elizabeth Clayton is North Carolina native, having graduated from Appalachian State University and University North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She and her husband, Ward, have two children who are both graduates of MPP. Daughter, Monica, is a sophmore at Creekside High School, and son Will, is a eighth grader at Fruit Cove Middle. Elizabeth is certified to teach K-3 and is also a Speech Language Pathologist. Previously, she held numerous music positions at her church. She is very excited to begin her fourth year as MPP’s music teacher, and looks forward to sharing her joy of music with the children. Elizabeth also enjoys yoga, dancing, visiting the beach and the North Carolina mountains.

Pat Coffing: Twenty two years ago, Pat began teaching 3’s at MPP, moving on to 4’s, and after 14 years, left MPP to join her husband in St. Petersburg while he pursued a second career.  Six years later and “fully” retired they returned to Jacksonville, and Pat returned to MPP as a 4’s assistant. Bill and Pat have two boys…Matthew and Jason, a wonderful daughter-in-law, Karen, and a dog and a cat. Pat fills her spare time with sewing, quilting, reading, and travelling. This will be an especially exciting year for them, they are expecting their first grandchild in January 2014.

Brenda Crawley: A Chicago native, Brenda attended the University of Florida, where she earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees.  She has been married to her husband, Andrew, for twenty-four years.  They have two children, Eric, a UCF student and Audrey, a high school student at Mandarin (both are MPP grads).  Brenda assists with 3s and in one of our VPK classes. She loves to read, bake, cook, travel and can’t do enough of Sudoku, crossword puzzles and the like!

Mariadanna Davis: Mariadanna Davis has lived in Jacksonville for 10 years with her husband and three children, Luke(12), Lily(8), and Liam(6). She has a BA degree in Child Development and Family Studies and has worked in the Early Learning field for over 14 years, teaching and assessing preschool programs. Her passions are reading, running, and teaching her favorite age, the Terrific Twos!

Amy DeBerardine: Though Amy has called Florida her home now for the past 18 years, she is an original Jersey Girl at heart!  Amy graduated from Monmouth University where she met her husband Mark whom she has been married to for the past 20 years.  Amy is the proud Mom to three children (who all went to MPP!): son,Zachary (19), daughters Dylan (18) and Kaylee (14). In her 13th year at MPP, she considers her job the best in the world. Where else can you play in the sandbox, build with Legos, color, paint & read Dr. Seuss every day?!?  She is a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and loves to have family game nights, ride roller coasters, hike, bake, read and solve Sudoku puzzles.

Nicole Franklin: Nicole has lived in Jacksonville 10 years. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Florida and has taught Pre-K and Kindergarten in the Clay County Schools. Nicole and her husband, Matt have 3 children (Kate, Sam, Sara) who have all attended and loved MPP. She is excited to be back in the classroom again working with the 3’s!

Kathryn Garrow: Kathryn is a happily married mother of three children. Kathryn and her husband, John, joined the church (Mandarin Presbyterian) in 1987. She has worked at MPP since 1989 – with a short 2 year break after the birth of her youngest child. Kathryn loves children, animals, camping, traveling, reading, singing in the choir, photography . . . oh, and riding on the back of John’s Harley!!

Kira Greco: When the youngest of her 3 boys graduated from MPP last spring, Kira decided that after 8 years at such a wonderful school, she wasn’t ready to leave!  Kira, her husband Karl, and their boys (Sam, Jonah and Charlie) have lived in Jacksonville since 2004.  Back in the days before children, she taught elementary school, and is excited to be back in a classroom working with little ones again!

Ginny Groeteke: Ginny is an ‘Air Force brat’ and lived in Canada, Hawaii and Taiwan while growing up. She’s been married 47 years and has two grown sons, two incredible daughters-in-law and 3 grandchildren. Ginny and Bob have lived in Panama City, Fl, St. Simons Island, GA and now in Jacksonville for last 12 years. Ginny retired from teaching 3-5 year olds in afternoon programs at three different Montessori schools. She is active at MPC in a Women’s Circle, Supper Group, Angel Tree and teach 4-5th graders Sunday School.  In her free (??) time, Ginny reads as much as possible.

Mellanie Henderson: Mellanie has been at MPP a LONG time!! Over the past 24 years, she has filled taught 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and Pre-K 5 year olds; been the Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant Director and, for the past 5 years has had the joy of being the Director of this wonderful preschool. Her greatest joy and personal ministry is to connect with and love each child, family and staff member at MPP! Mellanie and her husband, Craig, adore their daughters, Amy and Kelly, 3 precious granddaughters, Caroline, Eden and Annsley, and grandson, Harrison!! Her cup overflows :>) Outside of MPP and family, Mellanie loves traveling and loves, loves college FSU football. Go Seminoles!

Terri Jarrett: Terri is our lead teacher assistant/resource specialist and has worked at MPP for 26 years.  She has been married to John for 36 years, who retired after 35 years on the Jacksonville Fire Dept. They have two daughters, 34 and 30.  Terri and John are also raising their 2 1/2 year old grandson. Terri loves Gator football, the beach, country and oldies music.  She looks forward to working another year with a wonderful staff and of course the precious children.

Melody Longstreth: Melody is looking forward to beginning her 6th year at MPP as a TWTh VPK teacher. She and her husband, Wes, have been married 28 years and have 2 sons, Hunter (24) and Will (18) and a daughter, Ellie (22). Melody taught in Duval County, primary grades and in Kindergarten at San Jose Episcopal Day School the years her children attended. Melody returned to the classroom part-time at MPP when her children started college. This Fall Melody’s youngest leaves for Ole Miss which leaves Melody with an ‘empty nest’! She feels blessed to have the very happy distraction from her very quite home-front that teaching VPK provides!

Elizabeth McDonnell: Elizabeth comes from a large family of six girls originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Villanova University where she also played the sport she loves most – volleyball.  In 2004, Elizabeth and husband Jeff headed to Jacksonville to be closer to family.  They have four children ages 12 to 4.  The oldest three graduated from MPP while our youngest is still enjoying being a student here.  Elizabeth, has always loved children, is in her second year as a MPP staffer.  Elizabeth’s favorite things to do include crafts, cooking, watching her children play sports, and especially having a house filled with children and friends to swim and entertain.

Debra McElreath: Deb is beginning her 5th year as MPP’s Assistant Director, after teaching 35 years with the Duval County Schools.  She has taught kindergarten, first, and second grades and has a B.S. in Early Childhood from Iowa State University and a Masters in Elementary Education from University of North Florida.  She loves working with the MPP staff, parents, and especially, children and loves to read fiction and be outdoors.  Deb has been married to her best friend, John, for 36 years.

Terry McMahon: Terry moved to Jacksonville immediately after graduating from the University of Central Arkansas to work for Duval County Public Schools as a Speech Language Pathologist. Terry met her husband, Bruce, at First Methodist Church Downtown Jacksonville and will celebrate 21 years of wedded bliss in October. Colin, their 16 year old son, is entering 10th grade at Christ’s Church Academy. Colin also attended MPP beginning in Ms. Mary’s “Mom’s Morning Out” and stayed an “extra” year in the pre-kindergarten class (at the time). Terry loved MPP and just couldn’t leave.  She volunteered, substituted, and eventually gained employment . . . and still loves it here!  She enjoys sewing, reading, shopping, and hanging out with her family and friends.

Christi McQuaig: In her 9th year at MPP, Christi is excited to be teaching three year olds 5 days a week!! Christi has been at MPP since her twin daughters, Caitlyn and Julia, were in our 4 year old program. Christi and her girls love to follow college football (go Gators), travel, and just be lazy together. She loves to read and thinks Barnes & Noble would make a nice home . . . books, comfy chairs, and Cheesecake Factory – who could ask for more?

Jeanne Orman: Jeanne is a graduate of Indiana University (MA) and University of Illinois. She and her husband, Steve, will celebrate 31 years of marriage this year. Raising their two boys, Christopher, 26, a recent graduate of Univ. of South Carolina, and living in Charleston; and Patrick, 24, fresh out of Florida State and working in Jacksonville, has been her greatest joy. Teaching is her second one: she has enjoyed teaching at middle school, elementary, and pre-K. Jeanne enjoys cooking, Pilates, reading, entertaining, preschool work, and cheering for the Gators. This year she will gain a daughter when her oldest son gets married in October!

Denise Robinson: Denise is originally from Kentucky, but moved to Jacksonville 12 years ago by way of Mississippi. She and her family have also lived in Columbia, South Carolina. Denise and her husband Ron are the proud parents of three boys, two of which are twins and attended MPP. The twins are in 7th grade and their older son is a senior in high school. Denise has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and worked in a Neonatal Unit for eight years. She recently returned to college to get her Teacher’s Certificate. Walking on the beach, cooking, bike riding, photography, and spending time with family are things Denise enjoys doing in her spare time.

Mary Rockwell: Mary has degrees from Middle Tennessee State (Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education) and Vanderbilt University (Masters in Special Education). She has used her degrees to teach Blind and Visually Impaired students for 7 years, as well as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and LOGOS at Mandarin Presbyterian Church. Last, but not least, Mary has used her classroom gifts teaching four year olds at MPP for the past 8 years. Her joys include spending time with her husband, Rocky, and their two daughters, Kimberly and Veronica. Both girls are away at college now! She also loves teaching at MPP, the beach, dolphins, collecting sea glass and shells, long walks, biking, reading great books and doing arts and crafts – especially with friends.

Carolyn Schmoyer: Originally from New Jersey, Carolyn graduated from Jacksonville University with a BS degree.  She has been married to her husband Steven for 19 wonderful years!  They have two children, Andrew (14) and Stefanie (10 and a former MPP student).  The Schmoyers live and play in Julington Creek.  In her 4th year at MPP, Carolyn is very excited to be assisting in a VPK classroom. She is an active member of St. Joseph’s Church, loves volunteering at her children’s school, and spending all of her free time with her family.

Jane Sutton: For 29 years, Jane has been married to Bob, and this will be her 16th year teaching at MPP. Jane graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Early Childhood – a degree that has come in handy raising her 3 children: Kaitlin, Kelsey, and Matt. Kaitlin graduated from the University of South Alabama; Kelsey is a senior at Georgia Southern University; Matt is starting his second year at Santa Fe College. Jane loves all sports, especially college football. She also loves the beach, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Maria Whitcombe: Maria was born in Cuba and due to political unrest in the country her family moved to Spain when she was four years old. Maria had the experience of living in Spain for 5 years before coming to the United States. As a result of having lived in Cuba, Spain and Miami, Maria is fluent in Spanish. She feels blessed that it was in Miami that she met her wonderful mid-western husband, Erik. In 1997 Maria and Erik moved to north to Jacksonville. Their children, Cassandra (16) and Jake (14), are both alumni of MPP. Maria has been a classroom assistant at MPP since 2005 and a nursery worker for Mandarin Presbyterian Church since 1999. This year, Maria will be teaching Spanish during Lunch Bunch on Thursday! She enjoys working with kids, spending time with family, traveling, cooking, gardening, shopping and having coffee with friends.

Becky White: Becky was born in Michigan and raised in Ohio, but has lived in Florida since high school, so she feels like a true Southerner. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and has taught almost every grade, 4 and 5 year olds are her true love. She loves their curious minds and their excitement about learning new things! Becky and her husband, Bob, try to attend as many Gator athletic events as possible. She enjoys gardening (in the cool weather) and loves to read and antique!  She and Bob have 3 children: Matt, Katye and Drew who live all over the country! Her favorite time is the holidays when all the family comes together. Becky feels so very blessed to be a part of the MPP family.