Galilee Christian School Staff
Ms. Utterback is a rare D.C. area native, having grown up in nearby Maryland. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech and holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Hood College. Ms. Utterback is a licensed teacher with an advanced professional certificate in Early Childhood Education, K-12, and Special Education. She was a teacher and reading specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools for 15 years before beginning her work in early childhood education. Her interests include reading, crafting, cheering on her favorite teams, and spending time with her family. Her professional interests center on the development of foundational reading skills and encouraging higher-level thinking in young children.
Leigh Pappalardo, Lead Teacher Pre-Kindergarten
Ms. Pappalardo grew up traveling the United States as a child of an Air Force officer. She attended the College of William and Mary where her focus of study included developmental psychology and sociology. After earning a BA in Psychology, she embarked on a sales career bringing her to Northern Virginia. Ms. Pappalardo has two children in middle school and is active in volunteering in their school and activities. She serves on the PTA and on the board of the Cascades Rapids swim team. Her interests outside of teaching include cooking, painting, and SEC football! Her main interests of study in preschool education are fine motor skill development, developing hands on science curriculum, and Conscious Discipline.
Lauren Donaldson, Lead Teacher 5 day 3's
Ms. Donaldson is a native of York, PA. She attended Clemson University where she was a member of the rowing team. She also received her MA in Technology Education from the Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Donaldson started her career in education teaching second and third grades. She has two busy and active girls in elementary school. Ms. Donaldson serves as a Coach for an after-school running club, as well as a private swim coach. She enjoys soccer, running, beach life and travel outside of school. Her main interests of study in preschool are music and movement and the positive development of self.
Dawn Meehan, Assistant Teacher Pre-Kindergarten
Ms. Meehan is a native of Georgia and traveled the United States as the child of a Marine officer. She received her BS in nutrition from Auburn University and continues her interest in researching healthy food choices. Ms. Meehan's previous teaching includes assisting in a special needs environment. She has twin elementary aged boys that keep her running, and a daughter in middle school. Ms. Meehan is active as a volunteer in both elementary school and her daughter's travel soccer program. In her free time, Ms. Meehan is a voracious reader, loves crafting, enjoys watching all levels of soccer, and walking her crazy dog. :) Her main interest in preschool development is creating dramatic play opportunities.
Kathy Schulien, 2 day/3 day 3's
Ms. Schulien earned her B.A. in French from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is fluent in French and was the foreign business manager for an international manufacturing company, coordinating sales for all French speaking countries. When her first son was born, she became a stay-at-home mom.
She was an active volunteer in her son's classrooms throughout their elementary years, helping with reading groups and word study. She taught religious education for 5 years. She has been teaching preschool for the last 10 years and loves it!! She especially loves the 3 year olds. For many children, this is their first experience in school and her goal is to provide them with a safe, loving, and nurturing environment to grow and learn. Her hope is to instill a love of learning and harbor curiosity. She lives in Potomac Falls with her husband of 31 years and their 3 wonderful sons. She loves to read, decorate, take exercise classes, and spend time with family.
Cristina Koethe, After-School Program Supervisor
Stacey Garrison, Lead Teacher 5 day 4's
Ms Garrison grew up in Northern Virginia and now resides in Ashburn. She is a graduate of Va Tech where she met her husband of 25 years. She received her BS in Marketing, and, before having children, worked for the Express division of Limited Corp corporation in management/merchandising for ten years. Currently, she continues her interest in fashion by working as a stylist for cabi clothing on nights and weekends. She and her husband have 2 daughters who both attend Christopher Newport University. She loves her position at Galilee because of the joy and laughter the children bring into her life now that she and her husband are "empty nesters". In her free time, Ms. Garrison enjoys reading, watching all types of sports, taking Pilates classes, road tripping to CNU to visit daughters, and walking their Golden retriever, Emmitt.
Lori Ensminger, Assistant Teacher 5 day 4's
Bio coming soon
Sarah Fri, Assistant Teacher 5 day 3's
Mrs. Fri is a Washington, D.C. native. She attended Virginia Tech and earned a B.S. in Management Science. After working for Lockheed Martin for 10 years in subcontracting, Mrs. Fri took some time off to raise her two daughters, one a James Madison University graduate and the other a sophomore at JMU. Mrs. Fri's interests include reading, exercise, her two dogs, and traveling with her family. Her main interest of study in preschool are music & movement and conscious discipline.
April Chandler, Lead Teacher Toddler Class
Mrs. Chandler is a native of Kentucky but grew up in South Carolina. She attended the College of Charleston and earned a BA in Political Science. She came to the Washington area to work in the political arena, but finds toddlers easier to manage than politicians. Mrs. Chandler has two daughters and enjoys volunteering in their elementary school. She is an avid reader, and she is fond of studying history and traveling. Her primary preschool interests are fostering emotional intelligence and encouraging independence.
Cortney Spritzer, Assistant Teacher 5 day Toddler Class
Bio coming soon
Erin Farmer, Assistant Teacher 3 day
Mrs. Farmer is another rare Northern Virginia native! Born in D.C., she moved to Sterling at just 9 months old. She lived here until marrying her high school sweetheart and moving with him to Camp Lejeune, where her husband served in the U.S. Marine Corp. After a few year down South and a few more in Moses Lake, WA, she settled back into NOVA with her family. She has a 10 year son and two daughters, ages 6 and 4, who keep her on her toes. When she is not at preschool, she pursues her passion for baking and makes cupcakes out of her home. Her other hobbies include playing with her kids, enjoying nature (as long as the humidity is low), and volunteering at the elementary school.
Maggie Meyer, After-School Program Instructor
Bio & Photo coming soon
Kaitlyn Whitaker, After-School Program Instructor
Bio & Photo coming soon
Courtney Thomas, After-School Program Instructor
Ms. Koethe grew up traveling the United States and Europe with her family as a military brat. She is a graduate of Sacramento State University, California. After earning a Bachelor’s of Art in Interior Design, she moved to Seattle, Washington where she joined a design showroom, married, and started a family. Ms. Koethe and her husband, Patrick, moved to Virginia 14 years ago with their 3 daughters, now teenagers. Guiding her girls in exploring their world, volunteering in their schools, and leading Sunday School is how she discovered her passion for teaching. She is also a Girl Scout leader and swim instructor for the Countryside Tides. Her main interests of study in preschool education are differentiated instruction, hands-on science and math, and Conscious Discipline. Her interests outside of school include hiking, gardening, cooking, and sharing experiences with her family.
Christi Hendershot, Lead Teacher 3 day 4's
Ms. Hendershot grew up in NY and is a huge Yankees fan! She is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park where she earned a Bachelors in English. She worked as a marketing executive in DC for many years. Her three active boys in three different schools keep her very busy and also give her a deep appreciation for the joy and wonder of preschool! Her focus in preschool is to facilitate learn through play and exploration. When she’s not at preschool, you can find her cooking, cheering on her boys at a swim meet or soccer game, traveling or reading.