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.
Mary Clayton Sherrill is our part-time Assistant Director. She graduated cum laude from Salem College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education. She taught preschool for one year before teaching third grade in the public school system for eight. MC consistently held leadership roles in her career as an educator before staying home with her children, serving as chair of the Literacy Committee, Parent-Involvement Committee, School Improvement Team, Safe and Healthy Schools, and multiple years as the Grade Level Chair. Her friendly relationship with co-workers, rapport with students and families, and dynamic teaching style led to her being named a Teacher of the Year at Douglas Elementary. MC and her husband Philip have two children that attend HBUMP. A former member of the HBUMP Board, Mary Clayton serves our preschool with a passion for education and a belief that children of every age deserve to feel loved and known.
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.
Jen Christian is one of our Pre-K teachers. She is a proud graduate of UNC with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies as well as her K-6 teaching license. She taught kindergarten in Wake County for 7 years before deciding to stay home with her children. While with WCPSS she was grade level chair, a beginning teacher mentor, and served on several committees including math and science as well as the School Improvement Team. During the summer she was a site coordinator for Project Enlightenment’s kindergarten readiness program. Before coming to Hayes Barton Weekday Preschool, she taught 2 years at another church preschool here in Raleigh. Jen and her husband Dave live in downtown Raleigh with their two children, Colby and Stella.
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.
Debbie Poetzsch is our 4 day 4’s lead teacher. Debbie is a native North Carolinian who grew up in Charlotte, attended Appalachian State University and graduated from University of NC-Greensboro with a degree in Music Education and a concentration in violin. She has completed multiple courses in Early Childhood Education and has taught at Holy Trinity Day School in Greensboro and White Memorial Weekday School in Raleigh. She previously was a member of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and taught with the Symphony Orchestra Development Association at NCSU. Debbie has taught preschool at HBUMC for 25 years working with 3 and 4 year olds. Debbie and her husband John have two grown children, David and Courtney and a daughter-in-law, Liz. Debbie enjoys the arts, reading and NCSU sports. She also has an interest in and has worked to promote mental health awareness and the cooperation of mental health professionals with community law enforcement. Debbie is a long time member of HBUMC.
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.
Mary Beth Evans is one of our 3 day 3’s teachers. 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 six years experience teaching 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 and Henry are both happily enrolled at HBUMP. In their down time they enjoy working on house projects, spending time with friends & family, and playing with their German Shorthair Pointer, June.
Erica Jones is one of our 3 day 3's teachers. She 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 Early Childhood Education courses while maintaining various leadership roles within her school and department. She is excited to have the opportunity to use what she has been teaching 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 and her husband Jason have two little girls, Emma and Willa, who both attend the preschool. They enjoy spending time outdoors, walking their dog and having dance parties in their living room.
Katie Pauley is one of our T, Th 2’s lead teachers. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from NC State University. She has been in the teaching field for almost 10 years as a Kindergarten teacher. During those years, she was grade level chair, co-taught inclusion classrooms and held multiple leadership roles within the school. Katie is most known for creating a warm, loving classroom environment focused on student achievement and family involvement. Her favorite thing about teaching is watching kids have a “light bulb moment” and the growth they make from the beginning to the end of the school year. Katie is married to her husband, Ben. They have one daughter, Eleanor and a big fluffy sheepdog, Bexley. When Katie isn’t at preschool she enjoys playing with her daughter, date nights with her husband, working out, being with family and friends and drinking lots and lots of coffee.
Kelly Valdespino is one of our 2 day 2’s teachers. She is from Hickory but has lived in Raleigh for almost 25 years. Kelly graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Psychology and then went on to get a Master’s degree in Counseling from Appalachian State University. Before she had children, she worked as an elementary school counselor. She has been a Teacher Assistant here for 6 years and she and her family are long-time members of Hayes Barton United Methodist. Kelly is married to Bill, and they have three children: Nic, Vada, and Stella. In her free time, she is busy with her children’s activities and enjoys walking her dog, spending time with friends, and family trips to the mountains.
Marty Munt is our 3 day 2’s teacher. She was born in Winston-Salem, NC, and graduated from Agnes Scott College with a BA in Sociology and Psychology and a Master of Arts in Education from UAB. Marty joined the Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool staff in 1996 and has enjoyed all these years of working with her little friends. The most rewarding part of her job is having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful families and to see her students grow and become excited about learning and their accomplishments. Marty has three children, Chris, Helen and Daniel, and four grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She is a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and is currently serving on the Vestry as well as being an active member of ECW (Episcopal Church Women), the Interfaith Ministry, and the writers’ group.
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.
Betsy Way is one of our MMO teachers. She was born and raised in Raleigh and has a Psychology degree from NCSU. She has been married to her husband for almost 30 years, Thomas, and they have 2 children, Taylor and Katy, both attended HBUMP. She has been at Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool for 16 years. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog, Raleigh, reading, and watching HGTV.
Heather Smith is one of our My Morning Out teachers. She grew up in Raleigh and graduated from Broughton High School. She also has a degree from Elon University and Meredith College. Heather is married to Sam Smith and has a son, Sammy and a daughter, Cole. Sammy and Cole both attended Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool. Heather and her family enjoy outdoor activities and attending NCSU sporting events. Heather has been a life-long member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church.
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.