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 at Moore Square Magnet Middle School, Needham B. Broughton High School 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 recipient.
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, Wee Care Children's Enrichment Program, and the Alexander and Southeast Raleigh YMCAs. When she isn't working or volunteering, she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and taking group fitness classes.
Beth Blackwell Swartz is one of our Pre-K 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.
Jennifer Boney is one of our Pre-K teachers. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University. She was born and raised in Raleigh, so was eager to return to her roots after college and pursue a career in education. She is thankful for the opportunity and experience she has had teaching in both public and private schools. She most recently comes from teaching 4thgrade at St. David’s School and coaching high school girls’ soccer. She is looking forward to integrating arts and crafts into literacy and math, hands-on centers and science experiments, and getting to know the families at Hayes Barton Weekday Preschool. Jennifer is married to her husband John and together they have a daughter named Margaret. She enjoys traveling to the mountains and beach, concerts with her husband, exploring Raleigh restaurants, working out, and spending time with family and friends.
Kristine Ference is one of our 4 day 4’s teachers. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Educational Psychology. She began her career as a teacher and assistant director at a Montessori Preschool before teaching Kindergarten. Later she joined St. Timothy’s school as a classroom teacher, private tutor, and summer camp coordinator for 16 years. Kris is an active member of Trinity Baptist Church and volunteers with Young Life and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She and her husband Mark have two children, Hayes and Izabella. Kris enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking her dog Chumley, reading, cooking, and improving her gardening skills.
Chris Gower Hahner is one of our 4 day 4’s teachers. 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 a daughter, Teagan, who attends HBUMP. Chris loves new adventures with family and friends, volunteering, college sports, the St. Louis Cardinals, traveling, cooking, and reading.
Ava Hunnicutt is our 5 day 3’s teacher. Ava is originally from Wake Forest and is a proud graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading. She taught kindergarten and first grade for WCPSS before deciding to stay at home with her daughter. Throughout college she worked at a preschool, which is where her love for student learning flourished. One of her favorite things about teaching is to see or hear one of her students apply the skills that she has taught and see the excitement on their face. Ava is married to her husband, Ryan and they have one daughter, Caroline. When Ava isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cheering on her favorite sports teams, reading, getting in a good workout, and relaxing by the water.
Lisa Coster is one of our 3 day 3’s 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 children, Davis (Associate Youth Director at HBUMC), and Kiley who is completing her Master's Degree in Higher Education.
Missy Boyd is one of our 3 day 3’s and 2 day 2’s teachers. She holds a BA from Meredith College and has been working with children for her entire career. Most recently, she served as an inclusion specialist and consultant with a non profit called Community Partnerships, where she would provide strategies to teachers who had preschool students with behavior challenges and learning differences. She has led professional development training for teachers all over the state over the past 10 years. Her company, called SuperFamilies, provides in-home consultations for families needing assistance with structure, self-management, and positive discipline. She has two daughters, Hayden and Maddie, who attended HBUMP when they were little. In her free time, Missy loves being the head coach for the JV women’s lacrosse team at Broughton, collecting shells and surfing at the beach, and reading a great book.
Jennifer Brown is one of our 3-day 3's and 2-day 2’s teachers. She grew up in New Jersey and holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education with a specialization in Experiential Learning for Early Childhood. Russ, her husband, and Jennifer have been married for 31 years and have 5 daughters who all attended Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool. When the girls all graduated from the preschool, Jennifer stayed. She has been working as a teacher's assistant in the 2 year old class since 2008 and added the 3 year old class as an assistant in 2015. She is now applying to Clemson University to pursue a Master’s in Education. In her free time, Jennifer likes to explore the greenways on her bike, read, and walk.
Ronnie Wood is our 3 day 2’s teacher. 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.
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 20thyear of teaching at Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool.
Sarah Wyche 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 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.
Casey Parvin is our movement teacher. She grew up in Nashville, NC and attended Elon University, where she was a NC Teaching Fellow and Division I Cross Country and Track Athlete, serving as captain of the team her senior year. Casey holds a BA in Secondary History Education as well as a Masters in School Administration from NC State University. Casey was a classroom teacher for 5 years where she was a Professional Learning team leader, the state testing coordinator, and created a new class and curriculum. Casey also coached Track and Field for Wakefield High School from 2006-2010. She served as a High School administrator for one year prior to welcoming her first daughter. Casey and her husband Robert Parvin have two little girls, Molly and Betsy, who are both products of Hayes Barton UMC Preschool. She is an active member of Hayes Barton Methodist Church and volunteers with the Children's Department as well as with the United Methodist Women. Casey believes that Movement class is a place where kids can play and have fun, but also a place for them to become aware of their bodies and how they work and move.
Laura Vann is our preschool accountant. While not originally from Raleigh, she has lived in the Triangle area since graduating college. Laura earned a BSBA from West Virginia University majoring in Finance and an MBA from Meredith College. She worked for a commercial real estate developer, as an auditor in public accounting and is currently the accountant for Vann Attorneys, PLLC. Laura is married to James, and they have two teenagers Sarah and Walker. She and her family attend Providence Baptist Church. In her free time, she enjoys watching her children’s activities, walking her dog Cocoa, volunteering with National Charity League and trips to the beach.