9220 Georgetown Pike
Great Falls, Virginia 22066
703-759-2082 fax: 703-759-0874

Staff Biographies

JANE RUPPE KEIHN  (Mrs. Ruppe) joined the Crèche soon after the preschool opened in March 2001. She taught the four-year-old class and assisted the past Director until November 2002 when she became Director of the Crèche. Prior to working at St. Francis Creche, Jane worked for five years at a nearby church-affiliated Mother's Day Out program and preschool. Hobbies include tennis, yoga, jogging, gardening, nutrition and cooking. Jane has a B.S. degree in business and economics from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. with an emphasis on marketing from George Washington University. Jane lived in Great Falls for over twenty years and lives in Reston, VA. She has two grown children.

VALERIE MORGAN (Mrs. Morgan) is a Lead Teacher for the 4-day Yellow Class, assists the Director and is our Movement Teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Pittsburgh. Valerie enjoys continuing her study in Early Childhood Education and applying what she has learned to the Crèche. Valerie lives in Great Falls with her husband John and has two adult sons. 

KATHLEEN WALKER (Mrs. Walker) has been an on and off resident of Great Falls for many years. In 2008, Kathy's husband retired and they began a new adventure - giving up the gypsy life and living in one place!  Kathy joined the Crèche in 2009 as assistant to the Green Class and then Lead Teacher in the Red Class as well as assistant in the Rainbow Class.  Kathy taught the Red and Green Classes for many years and is now the Lead Teacher of the Purple Class.  She has many years of preschool experience abroad -- 2 years at Noddy Preschool in Bangkok, Thailand; 2 years in the United Nations School in Kabul, Afghanistan; 4 years in the American Preschool in Berlin, Germany and has taught at St. Francis Crèche since 2008. She has four adult children -- 3 boys and 1 girl.  Kathy heads to the Crèche every morning with a smile on her face - the children are the twinkle in her eyes and fill her days with purpose.

KIM BUCKINGHAM (Mrs. Buckingham) is the Lead Teacher for the Rainbow Class.  Before working at St. Francis Creche, she spent several years substituting at Colvin Run ES. Kim has also taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School at a nearby church since 2007.  She has a M.A in Education from George Washington University.  She enjoys tennis, hiking, and spending time with family.  Kim lives in Great Falls with her husband and three children.

JESSICA MAXSON (Mrs. Maxson) is our Art Teacher.  The Creche has built a dedicated Art Studio and Jessica, former Yellow Class Teacher, will now teach Art classes, as she is pursuing her Masters in Art Therapy.  She and her family are members of St. Francis Church and her son Tommy is a Crèche alumnus; he is now at Edlin School in Reston. Jessica holds a Bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and English Literature. She also has a background in visual arts and teaches at an art camp for children during the summer. She has never met an art form she didn't like.

DUNBAR OKESON  (Ms. Dunbar) After substitute teaching at the Creche this past school year, Dunbar is now joining the Creche Staff as an Assistant Teacher working along side Mrs Rivers in the Green Class.  Dunbar comes to the Creche with over 10 years of experience teaching Pre-School Sunday School at St John's Episcopal Church in McLean as well as helping to develop and launch the Children's Programs at HTC~McLean. Dunbar lives in Great Falls with her husband and three children. When not at the Creche, she continues to be an active volunteer at Cooper Middle School where she sits on the PTO Board and she has recently launched her own small business, Magnolia Lane ~ A Home Organization and Consignment Services Business. Dunbar loves gardening, reading and spending time with her family!

JOANNA FITZMAURICE (Ms. Joanna) is co-teaching our Blue Class.   Joanna is a graduate of the University of Maryland.  Joanna loves working with children and is familiar with St. Francis Creche since her daughter Josie just "graduated".  In her spare time, Joanna enjoys distance running.

LEILA MCCLANAHAN (Ms. Leila) is  the  Lead Co-Teacher in the three day 3-year-old Blue Class.  In addition to working at the Creche, Leila is employed as a Nanny for a local Great Falls family and has been with this family for over ten years.  Prior to her employment as a Nanny, Leila taught Preschool in McLean, VA.  Leila was born and raised in the McLean area and is currently living in Reston, VA.

BRANDI STEORTS (Mrs. Steorts) recently moved from Florida to Great Falls with her husband and two young daughters.  After spending a decade in the military life, Brandi's husband decided to start a new chapter and is now working in Great Falls.  Brandi taught 2 year olds at First United Methodist Preschool in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  She graduated from the University of Alabama with a B. S. degree in Marketing.  She went on to earn a professional teaching certification from the University of West Florida, as well as Masters of Elementary Education from the same school.  In her spare time she enjoys running, working out, reading and hanging out with her little girls.  She is very excited to join the Creche team in the Red and Green Classes.

TARYN RIVERS (Mrs. Rivers) is assisting the Red and Green classes this year.  Taryn has been on the staff at the Creche for over six years.  She is a graduate of Marymount University and prior to coming to St. Francis her work was in the staffing industry which she continues to pursue.  Taryn lives in Great Falls and has three children.  Hobbies include cooking, nutrition and physical activity.

 CAROLINE GROSSMANN ( Ms. Grossmann) joined the Crèche as a sub earlier this past year, then moved on to be a permanent staff member with the Blue Class and Caroline will assist Valerie Morgan in the Yellow Class this year.  Prior to joining the Crèche she volunteered and assisted teachers at the International School of Zurich, in Switzerland for four years. She has worked as an assistant/helper to various teachers at Great Falls Elementary especially in the reading/writing labs for 4 years. She was an active member of Boy Scout troop 55 for four years, the latter two years as a Board Committee Member. Her joy of working with children led her to becoming a Sunday School teacher at St. Francis for the last ten years. She is a graduate of the George Washington University school of Business, and brings an enthusiasm and respect to the development of our students. She enjoys hiking, gardening,traveling, music, and reading. Caroline lives in Great Falls, and has two grown sons.

SUSAN GARDINER (Ms. Susan) is an assistant teacher in the Rainbow class and is also teaching the Creche music program. She has a bachelor's degree in Business. She is from the UK and has lived in the USA for seventeen years after teaching in Tokyo for two years.   Susan enjoyed substitute teaching at St Francis while her youngest son, George, attended the Creche and is looking forward to being on staff.  She has four children, two of which are St Francis Creche graduates.  She enjoys marathon running, singing in choir and spending endless hours on the side of a soccer field!

BETH STVAN (Miss Beth) has lived in Great Falls with her husband, daughter and son, for 17 years. Beth joined the staff at Creche in September of 2013 as Assistant teacher in the Red Class with Mrs. Walker. In the past, she assisted Mrs. Walker in the Green Class. This year Beth will be working with Mrs. Walker in the Purple Class. Beth graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1985 with a B.S. degree in Psychology. She worked in the non-profit world for 12 years before having her children. She has spent the past 15 years volunteering in the public schools. 

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Creche Upcoming Events

Registration is open for 2017-18

Tours are given daily!

April 10 - 17 - Spring Break

April 16 - Easter Sunday

April 22 - Earth Day

April 23 - Creche Teachers Appreciation Week

May 5 - Petting Zoo visits 12:30

May 11 & 12 - Creche Singers at 1 pm

May 11 & 12 - Art Studio Art Show

May 25 - Last day of School

May 26 - 11 am - Chapel End of Year Service

May 26 - School-wide Picnic

May 30 - Camp begins

 

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