top of page

Meet Our Staff


Mary-Kathryn Connor is the Director of Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool. She is a native of Goldsboro, NC and holds a Bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Meredith College and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has her B-K, K-6, and 7-12 teaching licenses. She has a vast resume of experiences having been a teacher, department chair, and adjunct instructor in Wake County Public School System and Meredith College. Through her skillful leadership, Mary-Kathryn brought about instrumental change and success not only in programming but also in student achievement and staff support. The Wake County Public School System recognized her work by naming her Wake County’s Diane Kent Parker First Year Teacher of the Year, Broughton High School Teacher of the Year, Wake County Teacher of the Year Finalist, WRAL Teacher of the Week, WCPSS Employee Excellence Award recipient, and the Richard M. Jewell Teaching Excellence Award. 


Mary-Kathryn is married to Jeff, and they have 3 children -- Jordan, Mary-Knowles and Pate. She is an active member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church and is a board member of the Root Elementary PTA and Broughton High School PTA. When she isn't working at the preschool or volunteering through the Dogwood Chapter of National Charity League, she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and taking group fitness classes.


Jessie Barringer is the Operations Manager at HBUMP. She grew up in Kinston, NC and graduated from NC State University with a BS in Accounting as well as a Masters in Accounting with a concentration in Finance. Upon graduation, she obtained her CPA license and went to work for Pricewaterhousecoopers where she worked in the Audit Group with clients across various industries including manufacturing, real estate, and life sciences. After leaving PWC, she went to work for Allscripts Healthcare as a Finance Manager for the services function. Her main responsibilities included developing budgets and forecasts, creating capacity models and project-level profit and loss statements, and writing add-on services contracts. Jessie is married to TJ and together they have two sons, Jones and Hayns who attend Aldert Root Elementary and are former students at Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool. They are active members of HBUMC where Jessie enjoys teaching children’s Sunday School and volunteering with Vacation Bible School. She also enjoys volunteering at Root and is currently wrapping up her term as the Treasurer of the Root PTA.

Penny Hage_edited.jpg

Penny Hage is a licensed pediatric Occupational Therapist who has vast experience working with children who have developmental differences. Penny has an Associates degree from Peace College as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from UNC- Chapel Hill. In 1995, she received her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill and has been employed in both educational and clinical settings. She has worked as a school-based OT for WCPSS, performed pediatric multi-disciplinary evaluations for Developmental Therapy Services and worked as an inpatient and outpatient pediatric OT at WakeMed. HBUMP feels very fortunate to have Penny help to address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory components of academic performance through one-on-one therapy and classroom instructional support.

Meet Our Teachers

Beth Schwartz_edited.jpg

Beth Blackwell Swartz is one of our Support Teachers. Beth is a native North Carolinian who grew up in Raleigh. She received a BA in Elementary Education from Furman University and later earned a Master of Education with a concentration in Literacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her teaching career, Beth held a variety of leadership positions including School Improvement Chairperson, grade level chairperson, Mentor Coordinator, and served as an active member of various committees.  Beth believes relationships are key. She loves differentiating education and incorporating literacy in all areas of the curriculum. Beth and her husband Tony are members of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church and have two children, Amanda and EB. Beth is an active volunteer in the community and can most often be found chatting with people at A Place at the Table. In her spare time, Beth enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Liz Fulton_edited.jpg

Liz Fulton is our MWF support teacher. Originally from Ohio, she has been in the Raleigh area for 16 years. Liz earned a BA degree in Communication with a minor in Human Development from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the HBUMP team, Liz worked in Children's Ministry for several years. Liz lives in Raleigh with her husband and three sons. She enjoys volunteering and serves as the current Vice President of the Barton Pond Elementary School PTA. In her free time, Liz enjoys photography, reading, crafting, and cheering on the sidelines of her kids’ soccer games.


Kathy Hamilton is our Transitional Kindergarten teacher. Kathy has lived in Raleigh for over 25 years; moving here with her family from the Washington DC area. She received her BA in Communications from the University of Maryland, College Park. After realizing education was her passion, she returned to school to complete a Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology and has worked in Special Education and Early Childhood Education for over twenty years, most recently at St. Michael’s and the Raleigh School. Young children are her most favorite people and she loves using her hands-on, energetic teaching style to ignite their natural love of learning! Kathy is married to her husband Steve and they have three children: Alex, Eric and Kendall. She is an active volunteer with the Heroes Read Program and at A Place at the Table. When she isn’t walking her Labradoodle, Ruby, you can find her reading, working in her garden or trying out new restaurants with her family and friends.


Missy Boyd is one of our 5-day 4s teachers. She holds a BA from Meredith College and a Master's in Education in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support from UNC Chapel Hill. Before teaching at HBUMP, she served as an inclusion specialist with Community Partnerships, Inc. where she provided strategies to preschool teachers with students who had behavior and learning differences, ensuring teachers, families and children were supported and included. Missy has also been an educational trainer leading professional development training for early childhood educators throughout the state. Missy has two daughters, both proud HBUMP graduates: Hayden who attends the "other Carolina”, and Maddie who attends Broughton High School. When Missy isn’t working with young children and families, you can find her in Chapel Hill cheering on her beloved Tar Heels or on the beach collecting shells and reading.


Heather Wilson is one of our 5-day 4s teachers. Heather grew up in Snow Hill, NC.  She was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill where she graduated with a B.A. Heather continued her studies at Wake Forest University where she earned a Masters in Education (K-12). Throughout her teaching career Heather served in various leadership positions including department chair, student council advisor, National Honor Society advisor, mentor teacher and Professional Learning Community chair. She has served as a presenter at several county level professional development seminars, focusing on topics such as student engagement and differentiated instruction.  Heather was named the Cox Mill High School Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for the Cabarrus County Teacher of the Year.  Heather's family relocated from Charlotte to Raleigh in 2019 to be closer to family.  Heather and her husband, Rob, have two children; Everett is an HBUMP graduate and attends Lacy Elementary while Caroline attends HBUMP. Heather and her family are members of HBUMC. 


Mary Beth Evans is our 4-day 4s teacher. Mary Beth is from “Little” Washington, NC and has a B.A. in history from UNC, where she minored in creative writing. In addition, she earned her M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University, during which time she had a teaching assistantship at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, TN. She has nine years experience teaching preschool and elementary school and has completed extensive professional development in literacy through Teachers College at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh. Mary Beth has a passion for incorporating literacy across the curriculum and she looks forward to exploring authentic and joyful learning in the early childhood environment. Mary Beth and her husband Zach are members of HBUMC, and children Louise, proud graduate of HBUMP, and Henry, happily enrolled at HBUMP. In their down time they enjoy working on house projects, spending time with friends and family, and playing with their German Shorthair Pointer, June.

Ronnie Wood_edited.jpg

Ronnie Wood is one of our 3-day 3s teachers and our Inclusion Coordinator.  She grew up in Greensboro, NC and holds a BA in Psychology from UNC- Chapel Hill, as well as a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University.  Ronnie supported preschoolers with special needs within Wake County Schools for 6 years, both as a classroom teacher for young children with Autism, as well as an itinerant teacher for children with Individualized Education Plans throughout our community.  She values creating an inclusive school family and nurturing social-emotional skill development through play. Ronnie lives in Five Points with her husband Stuart, her son Finn, and two kitties. She loves to spend family time exploring neighborhood restaurants and going on walks.


Lisa Coster is one of our 3-day 3s teachers. She received a BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then embarked on a 30-year career in the Wake County Public Schools System, with five years at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner, NC and 25 years as a Kindergarten teacher at Lead Mine Elementary School in North Raleigh.  Lisa retired from the school system in 2015. Later in 2015, Lisa began teaching at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church Pre-School.  Lisa was raised at, was married in and remains an active member of HBUMC, where in addition to teaching in the preschool, she leads the children’s choir, sings in the chancel choir, co-leads the Appalachia Service Project and co-leads a circle.  Lisa has been married to David since 1985 and they have two adult children, Davis and Kiley.


Erica Jones is one of our 5-day 3s teachers. Erica graduated from East Carolina University with a dual degree in Family & Community Services and Family & Consumer Sciences Education. She taught high school for over 10 years, earned her National Board Certification and was a Certified Teacher Mentor in WCPSS. Erica taught Parenting & Child Development and Early Childhood Education courses while maintaining various leadership roles within her school and department. In her Early Childhood Education classes, Erica taught her students about working with young children and placed them in internships at local elementary schools, childcare centers and even at Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool. She loves the opportunity to use what she taught her high school students for many years. In her classroom, Erica is known for providing a welcoming, home-like environment where everyone feels comfortable. She prides herself on creating and maintaining positive and meaningful relationships with her students. She believes in teaching the whole child, meeting children where they are and providing differentiation, as needed. Erica also deeply understands the importance of the parent-teacher relationship and how it correlates with student success in the classroom. Erica and her husband, Jason, have two little girls, Emma and Willa, who both attended the preschool. They enjoy spending time outdoors, walking their dog and having dance parties in their living room. 

Denise Stovall_edited.jpg

Denise Stovall is one of our 5-day 3s teachers. Denise graduated from Appalachian State University with a BS in Child Development/Birth-Kindergarten Education with a concentration in Psychology. She has been teaching young children for over 25 years in a variety of settings, including her own home preschool, faith-based preschools, private early learning centers and special needs programs. She takes great pride in engaging young children in activities that interest them as well as exposing them to new and exciting learning opportunities. She has a passion for providing positive and meaningful preschool experiences that spark a child’s love of exploration and discovery and lays a strong foundation for future learning. Denise lives in Apex with her husband David, and they have three children, Becca, Cameron and Madison, and a wonderful son-in-law, Cody. In her free time, Denise and her family love vacationing in the Outer Banks and the NC Mountains. They also enjoy attending ASU and Clemson football games, where their son plays in the Clemson University Tiger Band. 


Jennifer Boney is one of our 3-day 2s teachers. Jennifer holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University and is certified in grades PreK-6th. She taught both public and private school in the Raleigh area for 8 years. After having her first child in 2018, she started teaching 4s at HBUMP and immediately fell in love with what HBUMP has provided her entire family, most of all the inviting community of teachers, students, and parents. After taking a year off to care for her growing family, she is excited to spend her days with the 2s while providing a warm, playful, and engaging environment. Her favorite thing about teaching preschool is creating special memories for families, establishing a love for learning in the children she serves, and watching friendships flourish between classmates and their families. Jennifer lives in Raleigh with her husband John, their two girls Margaret and Ellie, and their new puppy, May. In her free time, she enjoys vacationing in the NC mountains and beaches, exploring Raleigh's food scene, and playing tennis. 

Carroll Vuncannon_edited.jpg

Carroll Vuncannon is one of our 3-day 2s teachers. Originally from Charlotte, Carroll graduated from Washington & Lee with a BA in English and concentrations of study in Education and Developmental Psychology.  She taught 10th and 11th grade English at the Bullis School outside Washington, D.C.   While there, she most loved her time in the classroom but also served in several leadership roles, including advising the students’ Peer Mentor Program, acting as a Grade Level Coordinator, and assisting the admissions office. Carroll focused her professional development pursuits on supporting Equity and Diversity initiatives and on supporting students’ mental health and the “whole child” experience. She is a proponent of the growth mindset and loves meeting each child where they are, then finding the individualized approaches to guide them to blossom to their fullest potential.  She was recognized with the RK Jung Faculty First Award for Excellence in Teaching. Carroll was blessed to spend the last decade at home with her three daughters, Louella, Hazel, and Millie, the youngest of whom attends HBUMP.  She loved shifting her educational focus from teens to preschoolers last year as a teaching assistant and is excited to return as a lead teacher this year.

Christine Stone_edited.jpg

Christine Stone is one of our 2-day 2s teachers. She has lived in Raleigh for 16 years. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from James Madison University and a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Reading from UNC-Greensboro. She taught first grade for 11 years beginning in Woodbridge, Virginia, then Winston-Salem, and later at Millbrook Elementary in Raleigh. During her teaching career, she earned her National Board Certification and served in many leadership roles. She is passionate about building positive relationships with her students and their families. She strives to create a comfortable classroom where all students can play and learn together. Christine and her husband Jim have three daughters, Kate, Emily, and Molly, all proud graduates of HBUMP. She currently serves on the PTA Board at Root Elementary, where her daughters attend. She is an active member at Christ Church where she volunteers with the Outreach Ministry and teaches Sunday School. She enjoys reading, playing tennis, walking her dog Tucker, and traveling with her family.

Amanda Warnke_edited.jpg

Amanda Warnke is one of our 2-day 2s teachers. Amanda was raised in Greensboro, NC and received a bachelor’s degree from NC State University in Education. Before having children, she taught Language Arts for WCPSS. Once her children started preschool, she began teaching at their school, which turned into a 14-year commitment as either a sub, assistant, or lead teacher. Amanda and her husband Andy have three boys, Cale, Carter, and Mack. She enjoys running, being outside, reading, and spending time with her boys. 


Susan Johnson is one of our MMO teachers. She is a native of Williamston, NC, a graduate of Meredith College, and a member of Christ Church.  She and husband, Dick Johnson, are proud parents of Sarah and Richard.  Susan loves spending time at the beach, singing in the Junior League Chorus, and reading.  She is excited to begin her 24th year of teaching at Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool.

Sarah Donovan_edited.jpg

Sarah Donovan is one of our MMO teachers.  Originally from Henderson, NC she has a BA in Community Health from UNC-Wilmington. Prior to teaching at HBUMP, Sarah was fortunate to stay home with her two children, Ford and Sally. She is a member of St. Michael's Episcopal Church. She enjoys running, yoga, reading, and spending time at the beach with her family and friends.

Betsy Vancc_edited.jpg

Betsy Vance, a native of Clemson, SC, is our music teacher  She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Health and Exercise Science from Furman University and a Master’s of Public Health degree from Boston University. Growing up, Betsy participated in church children’s choirs, the SC Baptist Honor’s Children’s Choir, her high school’s elite choral ensemble, was selected to attend the prestigious SC Governor’s School for the Arts Academy and Honor’s programs, and was selected into the SC All-State Honor’s SATB Chorus each year eligible. She received a vocal scholarship to attend Furman University where she was a member of the University’s Chamber Choir and Furman Singers.  Betsy has sung with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, and the world-renowned Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus where she had the great opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall. Betsy is married to Wes and they have two children- Hannah and Collins. She is an active member of HBUMC. In her free time, she enjoys singing, traveling, reading, running, photography, and cooking. Betsy is a strong believer that all children have a natural capacity for music. Her goal is to increase your child’s curiosity about music in a fun, nurturing, and positive environment.


Rachel Woods is the owner and lead teacher of Dragonfly Nature Programs LLC, where she designs and teaches nature studies for young people. She feels tremendously blessed to provide the monthly science specials for Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool as well as more than a dozen other schools in the Triangle. She learned to love the natural world in the redwood forests of the Northern California coast, where she grew up. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UNC Chapel Hill, Rachel taught high school science for 13 years prior to earning her NC Environmental Educator’s certificate where she studied the natural flora and fauna of NC. Rachel uses her past experiences to inform her programming with an aim to share the passion she has for the natural world with her young learners. Rachel is raising two fantastic young men with her husband Mark. While they find themselves happy at the NC coast, they find home in the NC mountains where they fly fish, mountain bike, hike and bird. Outside of work and home life, Rachel advocates for local environmental protections, knowing the well-being of our community is directly connected to the health of our environment.

Ashley Silverman is the Movement Instructor at HBUMP. She grew up in Raleigh, NC, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from the University of Virginia. She became a certified Athletic Trainer and then received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a pediatric Physical Therapist for 8 years at Wake Forest University Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC before moving back to Raleigh and beginning work in a pre-school setting. Ashley is married to William, and they have three sons -- Wally, Whit, and Andrew.


Chris Gower Hahner is our Lego Learning Instructor. She grew up in Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Delaware. She was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force and served on both active duty and in the reserves. She received her Master’s degree in Education and has been a part of the Wake County Public School System ever since. Chris believes in the power of connecting with others; she fosters curiosity and a love of learning as her students explore our world. During the past twelve years, she has been blessed with incredible opportunities and experiences at A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary and Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary; she was also recognized as a Diane Kent Parker First Year Teacher, Teacher of the Year, and WCPSS district finalist.  She has served as a classroom teacher, department lead, LEGO Education consultant, curriculum coach and magnet coordinator. Chris’s proudest titles are wife and Mom. Chris and Ryan have two daughters, Teagan, a recent graduate of HBUMP, and Renn, a current student at HBUMP. Chris loves new adventures with family and friends, volunteering, college sports, the St. Louis Cardinals, traveling, cooking, and reading.

bottom of page