Michelle Rippeon

Executive Director

Maryland Credential Level Six

Michelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Virginia Tech and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from George Mason University. She taught elementary for six years before starting a family. Michelle has four children of her own, two of which attended St. James. Michelle has been a preschool teacher at St. James and has worked as an early childhood education in Maryland since 2014. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cheering for her children at sporting events, exercising and crafting.

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Kathryn Janiga

Preschool 2's Teacher

Maryland Credential Level Four

Kathryn holds a BS in Nursing from University of Maryland.  She has been married 37 years with two grown children. She received her 90 Early Childhood Education certification from Carroll Community College. Kathryn began teaching pre-school in 2005 after practicing nursing for 25 years.  While nursing, she specialized in pediatrics.  She loves music, gardening and arts and crafts.  Kathryn also is an avid scrap-booker. She is very excited to begin her twelfth year at St. James.

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Nikki Davis

Preschool 2’s Teacher and Teaching Assistant

Maryland Credential Level Four

Nikki Davis grew up in North Carolina. She moved to Maryland nine years ago and settled in Frederick County to raise her son. She has an AA degree in General Studies, her 90-hour Early Childhood Education Certificate, and 45 Hour Preschool Certification. Nikki has obtained numerous other certifications all for Early Childhood. This is her third year at St. James but has been working in Early Childhood Education since 2015. Her son Alex is 10, in the 5th grade, and he wants to be involved in every activity that he can convince mom to drive him to. She currently spends her evenings and weekends going to and from baseball, swim, karate and golf activities. When she has time, Nikki loves to spend time curled up with a book, or cooking up something new and exciting in the kitchen.
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Christine Christner

Preschool 2's and 3's Teaching Assistant

Credential Level Pending

Born and raised in College Park MD, I moved to Carroll County in May of 2006. I have two children, Abby, a freshman and Anthony, a junior who attend South Carroll High School. Most recently I worked within the Autism Program as a paraprofessional with grades K-5., however began my start with CCPS prior to that in middle school, working 1:1 and in the BEST program. I love photography, which I do in my spare time, going to the beach with family, and watching my kiddos play sports!

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Tara Heil

Pre-K Teacher and Preschool 3's Teacher

Maryland Credential Level Six

Tara has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech and Maryland Certification in Early Childhood Education. Her undergraduate degree is in Materials Science and Engineering. She taught third grade for seven years in the Annapolis area. She lives in Mount Airy with her husband and two daughters, both St. James' alums. Tara enjoys her family and friends, as well as reading, being active outdoors, and practicing yoga. She loves young children’s curiosity and is excited to help nurture their development.

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Lynne Colantoni

Preschool 3's and 4's Teaching Assistant

Maryland Credential Level Two

Lynne is originally from Massachusetts and has called Carroll County her home for the past 15 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master in Business with a concentration in accounting. Lynne worked in accounting and finance for several years before starting a family and staying home with her children. Since then she has become interested in early childhood education, particularly the preschool years. She has experience working in preschools as a substitute and is excited to start her second year on the team at St. James. Lynne has also both volunteered and worked in Carroll County Public schools and has served on the PTO board at her children’s school.
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Amanda Norman

Preschool 3's Teacher

Maryland Credential Level Three

Amanda is a MD native, growing up in Frederick County. She graduated from Hood College in 1999 with BA degrees in Special Education and Psychology. She also attended McDaniel College and obtained a master’s degree in Reading Instruction in 2009. Amanda taught in Carroll County as a special education teacher for almost 20 years, teaching grades PK-12 over her career. She and her husband have lived in Sykesville for 11 years and have two sons (one in kindergarten and one in 4th grade). In her spare time, Amanda enjoys watching her oldest son play baseball, spending time with her extended family, and catching up with friends.
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Alexis Paul

Preschool 3's Teaching Assistant

Credential Level Three

Alexis Paul graduated with her Associate's Degree at Carroll Community College and returned to school to pursue Early Childhood Education achieving her 90 clocked hour Early Childhood Education Certificate and 45-hour Preschool Certification when she began her family. Alexis stays active with her family and riding her horses with her 4-year-old daughter. She has a passion for helping others achieve their goals and stays up-to-date with course work related to maintaining a healthy learning environment.
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Ashley Williams

Preschool 4's Teacher

Ashley moved to Mt Airy when she was 5 years old. She went to elementary school at Twin Ridge, then on to middle school at New Market Middle and graduated from Linganore High School. Ashley has a bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and a master's degree in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction from Hood College. Ashley started her teaching career with Washington County Public Schools and has teaching experience in pre-kindergarten  - grade 2. Ashley has been teaching since 2009 and has 11 years of early childhood teaching experience. Ashley's husband, Justin, is a LT in the US Navy and serves as a Navy nurse in the emergency department at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital. Ashley and her husband have two childres, Lea and Ellsea. Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and traveling to Maui every summer.

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Patti Hill

Pre-K 4’s Teaching Assistant and Office Administrative Assistant

Maryland Credential Level Four

Patti has been a resident of Mt. Airy for the past nine years. Retiring after 30 years from Montgomery County Public Schools in support staff positions, she is excited now to be working with preschoolers. Patti loves spending time outside in her flower and vegetable gardens, attending events in downtown Mt. Airy and in Frederick. She loves exploring the countryside with her best friend, Dave, on the back of his motorcycle. She is looking forward to continuing her education in early childhood development to become the most successful preschool educator possible. Her greatest joy is seeing the world through children’s eyes.
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Nikki Facchine

Preschool 4's Teacher

Nikki Facchine graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education.  She has a master’s degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Middle School Mathematics.  She also holds a certification in Early Childhood Education.  Nikki has taught eighth grade, third grade and first grade.  She lives in Sykesville with her husband, three children and two cats.  When she is not busy running her children to their sports and after school activities, Nikki enjoys reading, running, hiking and spending time with her family and friends. 

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America Wheat

Substitute Teacher

Maryland Credential Level Six

America has lived in Mt. Airy with her husband and four children, ages 11-16, since 2001.  She obtained her Bachelor's degree from Marymount University and has completed much of the coursework for her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. America recently became a qualified Orto-Gillingham “Plus” tutor after taking a 60-hour course on the Orton Gillingham approach (a multisensory structured literacy approach to reading and writing, with an added focus on phonological awareness). America has worked as an early childhood educator in Maryland since 2015.  She is current in CPR and First Aid training as well as her ADA certification.  She enjoys spending time watching her children play sports.  America is excited to be starting her third year at St. James.

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Sam Gass

Substitute Teacher

Maryland Credential Level Six

Sam is a former middle school science teacher in Carroll and Frederick Counties. She has a degree in biology and a master's degree in education with a concentration in curriculum & instruction. Mt. Airy is home to Sam, her husband and two kids (both college students), however they are frequently out of town visiting far-away places. When Sam is not at St. James or watching her children play sports, you'll find her on one of the local tennis courts.

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Jen Marcinko

Substitute Teacher

Maryland Credential Level: Pending

Jen is a Sykesville native and has lived there for the past 20 years raising her three sons.  She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from College of Notre Dame and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Towson University.  Prior to working in the education field, she worked in the mortgage securities industry.  More recently, she taught Kindergarten and has experience working in both PreK as well as Special Education.  She completed the Orton-Gillingham 60-hour course and loves teaching reading.  In her spare time, she enjoys watching her boys play sports, exercising, fishing, and spending time with her family and friends.  

 

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Rachel Barlow

Substitute Teacher

Credential Level Two

Rachel holds a Child Care Preschool and School Age Teacher Training Certificate from Frederick Community College and is working on her Early Childhood Development Certificate. She is current with Child, Infant and Adult CPR, AED, and First Aid training.  While working with many different ages, Rachel enjoys preschool students the most. She has lived in Mt. Airy for over 20 years.  When not at work, Rachel enjoys spending time with family and friends, kayaking, doing crafts, and working on her photography. 
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