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Our Staff

Each class has a two-person teaching team.  All staff have child abuse, state police, and FBI clearances. They are also trained in CPR and First Aid.  
2-year-old/young 3's class
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Keri Paetzold ("Miss Keri")

Miss Keri has taught at Little Friends since 2013.  Since her first babysitting jobs as a young teenager, Keri has always loved working with children.  Prior to teaching, she worked for twenty years in the restaurant business.  After she became a mother, Keri transitioned to a career in preschool education, bringing with her all of the patience, multi-tasking, and diplomacy skills one learns in customer service as well as parenting.  She especially enjoys helping her students explore their creativity by making art they can share with their families.  Keri's favorite pastimes include crafting, swimming, gardening, travel, and most of all having fun with her family.

Carla Greenberg ("Miss Carla")

Miss Carla joined Little Friends in 2022 and loves getting to work with children!  She had previously taught at Highland Baptist Preschool.  Carla moved to Mechanicsburg from New York about 4 years ago with her family; she lives with her veteran husband and 4 daughters, ages 22, 16, 8, and 6.  They also share their home with two dogs and a cat.  Carla loves the color purple, likes to vacation at the beach, enjoys reading, working out, and going for walks, and loves Plaza Azteca, Texas Roadhouse, and pizza!  Miss Carla has a lot of love to give to her students and loves connecting with their families as well.  

"3C" 3-year-old class - M/T/Th
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Christine Burhans ("Mrs. Burhans")

Mrs. Christine Burhans joined our staff in 2021 following her retirement from full-time teaching locally.  Christine has been teaching for over 20 years and loves working with children of all ages.  She loves to travel with her husband, especially on cruise vacations.  Christine enjoys reading in her spare time, and loves spending time with her adult children and their families. 

Patricia Vargas ("Miss Patricia")


Miss Patricia Vargas is in her second year of teaching here at Little Friends Preschool, after previously working as a substitute at her daughter's preschool and working for 20 years as a family & pediatric dental hygienist.  Originally from New York City, Miss Patricia moved with her family, including her 7-year-old daughter, 23-year-old stepdaughter, and 1-year-old maltipoo Fiona,  to Mechanicsburg six years ago.  Her favorite color is purple, she enjoys Mexican food, and she loves to vacation anywhere that's warm.  Miss Patricia loves running, reading, and baking bread; she frequently runs in local races, so say hello if you see her!

"3M" 3-year-old class - M/T/Th
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Trudy Krueger ("Miss Trudy")
  

Miss Trudy has taught at Little Friends since 2017; she joined the school as a TSS, then became a beloved 2’s teacher, and is now enjoying teaching in one of the 3’s classrooms. Prior to that, she taught at Playful Beginnings. After serving in the US Navy, Trudy has focused her career and life on her passion for child development, from running a childcare business to being a scout leader, Sunday school teacher, and youth sports coach. These experiences drive her dedication to creating an inclusive learning environment and taking a whole-child approach to teaching. Outside of school, Trudy enjoys travel, hiking, pickleball, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Irene Clauser ("Miss Irene")
 

Miss Irene Clauser started teaching at Little Friends in September of 2022, and loves working with children!  She had previously worked with adults and children as a victim advocate for several years, and also began teaching yoga in 2016, which she still does today.  She lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband of 9 years, their two children, and a dog.  Miss Irene loves cooking, yoga, and listening to audiobooks, loves visiting Ocean City, NJ and Rhode Island on vacations, and enjoys Thai food and sushi.  Her favorite color is purple.  She loves serving and helping others as often as she can, and especially loves working with children and getting to see the world through their eyes.  Miss Irene loves to find joy in the little things in life!

4-year-old class
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Janet Rice ("Mrs. Rice")

Mrs. Janet Rice moved to the Mechanicsburg area 5 ½ years ago.  Her daughter attended the 4-year-old program at Little Friends Preschool; the following year, Mrs. Rice was hired to teach that same class!  Between her teaching degree, experience as a one-on-one aide, and time as a special education teaching assistant, it’s obvious that Janet’s passion is working (and playing!) with children.  2022-2023 will be her 5th year teaching at Little Friends.  Janet has also taught the 4/5’s summer camps and is a frequent and beloved substitute in the Pre-K classroom.  Above all, Janet believes in making learning FUN!  In addition to her now-third-grader daughter, Janet shares a home with a son starting 11th grade at Cumberland Valley High School; her husband, an Army retiree now “playing in the dirt” at a construction company; and a crazy cat named Abbott.

Kayla Martin ("Mrs. Martin")

Mrs. Martin joined Little Friends in January of 2022.  She worked for several years as a medical assistant in orthopedics, followed by working as an events manager, and finally found her way into the field of education.  Originally from New Jersey, Mrs. Martin moved to Mechanicsburg in 2019 with her husband and her 6-year-old son Finnegan (who was a Little Friends student!); they share their home with their catahoula leopard dog named Chips and two axolotls, Nini & Beanie, all of whom were named by Finnegan.  Mrs. Martin's favorite colors are black and teal, and she loves Halloween, fall, chocolate, and pumpkin pie.  

Pre-K class - AM & PM
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Candice Rudy ("Ms. Rudy")

Candice Rudy is starting her 7th year of teaching at Little Friends Preschool, her 6th year in the Pre-K Class.

**More information to come!**

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Emily Anderson ("Miss Anderson")

Miss Emily Anderson joined our preschool this year, and loves getting to work with children!  She loves spending time with her 6-year-old daughter, who is truly her very best friend.  They like to go to Skyzone, and love getting bubble tea together.  Miss Anderson loves cats, and has two of her own named Shiloh & Ida that she loves to pamper and cuddle.  She loves working with children so much that she even volunteers in the children's ministry at her church!  One of Miss Anderson's favorite Bible verses is Psalm 127:3 "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him" She believes it's a wonderful reminder of what a blessing each and every child truly is! 

Director
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Jemma Church, Director

Jemma has a long history with Little Friends Preschool, having been a Little Friends parent from 2010-2015 and then a 3’s teacher from 2015-2021.  She assumed the role of Director in November of 2020 before officially stepping down from teaching in February of 2021.  When she’s not at the school, Jemma can be found hanging out with her husband Dan, her children Addison (16) and Owen (13), and their menagerie of pets (2 dogs, a bunny, 4 guinea pigs, 2 rats, a leopard gecko, an axolotl, a turtle, and a betta fish). Her love of working with children and her passion for ministry and outreach has made the director position at Little Friends a dream job for Jemma, and she truly loves coming to work, supporting the teachers, and interacting with the students and their families. 

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