Dear Preschool Community,

As many of you know we have been conducting a search for a new divisional department leader at The Preschool to serve as Assistant Director of Preschool Programs (division administrator of the Three’s -3’s-5/6 Programs). The Preschool’s administrative model will evolve beginning in the 2019-2020 school year dividing our 5 age-levels into two divisions; Early Childhood (Toddler & Twos) and Preschool (Threes – 5/6). The two divisions led by our Assistant Directors will ensure the very best experience for children and families in pursuing and implementing The Preschool’s history, quality, culture and philosophy of education and serve as leaders of pedagogical and educational practices.

Anne Steward who is celebrating her 40th year at The Preschool this spring has agreed to serve the school for one more school year as the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Programs and Personnel before her retirement commences May 2020. The position referred to in this letter is a new role (not in replacement of) Anne’s role but is an expanded position that was previously on The Preschool faculty slate. I am very pleased to announce that we concluded our search and extended an offer to Kristen McCleary.  Kristen has gladly accepted and I am personally excited for her perspective, growth and energy that she will contribute to The Preschool’s already fabulous and effective teaching models and programs. Kristen will officially begin in this role at The Preschool August 1, 2019.

Kristen stood out among a list of many highly-qualified candidates and she is currently a Lead Teacher in the MWF Two’s class at The Preschool. She holds a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Florida where she received a specialization in literacy, ESOL endorsement and where she maintained a cumulative GPA of 4.0. Kristen’s undergraduate work was also at the University of Florida where she holds a B.A in Education and was recognized on the President’s List, Dean’s List and where she was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society and also served as the Kappa Delta Pi Cohort Representative.

Kristen has been a teacher in the field of early childhood and elementary education for approximately 13+ years. She has served as a preschool teacher and a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Centennial Place Elementary and Warren T. Jackson Elementary in Atlanta. Notably, Kristen was also the International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator at Warren T. Jackson Elementary School where she was responsible for planning and implementing the IB program. Kristen worked closely with teachers during collaborative planning sessions to ensure that teachers felt supported and prepared to implement an IB curriculum. Kristen was active in weekly training sessions  and schoolwide trainings based on classroom/teacher needs. Kristen has been highly successful in both teaching and administrative roles having also led the site-based gifted teacher and eligibility program teaching gifted students in grades 2-5. In this role she was responsible for coordinating CogAT, ITBS, Terra Nova, Renzulli Inventories, the GATE and TONI assessments in regard to scheduling, administering and analyzing results. She led the gifted eligibility team to discuss results and make final placement decisions.

Kristen has been a mentor for the new teacher academy as well as being a “teacher of the year” nominee. Kristen has been a grant recipient by the Council for In-Town Schools, she is published in the Music-In-Education Journal and has participated in the Harvard Study of the Sound Learning Program as well as having had attended the Learning Laboratory School Network (LLSN) convention at the New England Conservator.

Kristen believes in a supportive and risk-free environment where each student is respected as an important and unique contribution to the learning process. She believes it is our responsibility as educators to prepare students to effectively communicate and respect the cultures and beliefs of others. Based on Kristen’s passion, experience, knowledge and philosophy, I am confident she will be a great addition to our preschool division.

Kristen is married to Frank and they have two daughters Madeleine (rising Kindergartner) and Isabella (rising Threes). The McCleary’s are expecting their 3rd child in October and they reside in Smyrna. Kristen is a strong, dedicated woman of the Christian faith. Her faith is the core of her being and she believes that children must be intentionally taught faith, as well as taught to take action in their community, just as Jesus did in his ministry. Kristen’s goal combines her range of experience with her ability to be a hard-working, organized, thorough; as well as a kind and passionate administrator. We believe that Kristen will meaningfully contribute to this new role!

Very Sincerely,

Andrea Petsche