Mrs. Rule joined the preschool staff in February 2017 as the Preschool Director. Graduating from James Madison University with a B.S. in Business Communications, she worked in a position that allowed her to interact daily with children and returned to J.M.U to add a degree in Early Childhood Education. Continuing to follow her passion for teaching, she once again returned to J.M.U. to earn her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. Her interest in education continued as she later received an additional endorsement in Administration and Supervision for PreK-12. She retired from Waynesboro Public Schools after thirty years of service.
Mrs. Rule feels that "the joy and wonder of children as they are learning have made my career full of joy and wonder as well. Sometimes we all need to stop and look at the world through the eyes of children for so many reasons. Children are amazing students but they are also amazing teachers."
She is a native of Waynesboro and is married to Jimmy Rule. Their daughter, Jamie, also lives in Waynesboro and their son, Jacob, lives in Arizona with his wife and their twins.
Traveling to Arizona to visit family, assisting area animal rescue groups, and taking care of her rescue pets keep her busy when she is not enjoying the company of children.
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Preschool Floating Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Leech serves as the preschool's floating teaching assistant and assists any teacher/class as needed.
She attended Montreat Anderson College where she majored in Elementary Education. She has served First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool for many years as both a teacher and teaching assistant. She has also taught at Reveille Preschool in Richmond. Mrs. Leech also worked for the Department of Social Services for 7 years.
First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool is near and dear to Mrs. Leech's heart and she feels that this preschool is "her third child" in many ways. Supporting not only the children, but also their families is very important to Mrs. Leech. We know the what our preschool means to her and we know what she means to our preschool.
Mrs. Leech has 2 sons, Ben and Daniel and 2 grandsons. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling when she can and promoting the arts at the Wayne Theater.
2 Year Old Class (Tuesday and Thursday)
Mrs. Amy Smith (LEAD TEACHER)
Mrs. Smith graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a Liberal Arts degree. She majored in education and a minored in psychology. Mrs. Smith's teaching experience includes working with preschool special education students at Hugh K. Cassell, and teaching at several private church preschools.
Mrs. Smith feels that as a First Baptist Church member, teaching at First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool is a perfect fit for her. She says that her passion for teaching lies with teaching our youngest students, the 2 year olds. We can tell they make her days at school very special and vice versa.
She is a native of Waynesboro. She and her husband, Danny, have two sons, Caleb and Patrick. When not busy planning for her days at school, Mrs. Smith enjoys doing church volunteer work. She loves sports including UVA (Go Hoos!), Liberty University, and the Redskins. Her family enjoys caring for several pets as well. She visits her family close by often, and loves to go shopping.
Mrs. Brittnie Crabtree (Teaching Assistant)
Mrs. Crabtree works with Mrs. Smith in our 2 year old classroom. Prior to working with our 2 year old class, she was a parent volunteer and a substitute teacher for our preschool. Mrs. Crabtree attended Blue Ridge Community College while taking Pharmacy Tech classes.
She says that she "loves FBC Preschool" and feels very close to everyone here because her girls attended our preschool. We love that she treats every child like her own.
Mrs. Crabtree and her husband, Corey, have twin girls, Lorali and Avery and a sweet pup named Huck. She loves her family and friends, her church and Bible study group, reading , going to the beach, and staying active with her daughters.
3 Year Old Classes
Erin Harlow (LEAD TEACHER for 3 year olds, Mon.-Fri.)
Mrs. Harlow studied at Radford University where she majored in education. After leaving Radford, she was employed at Ashland Y.M.C.A. as their Child Care, Youth and Family Director.
She enjoys serving the community as an educator. She says that the joy she shares with her young students is what she values most about teaching. Stop by and you will see that her classroom is certainly a joyful place!
Mrs. Harlow was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, but made her way to Virginia to attend college. Her husband, Brent, is a native of Waynesboro and they are thrilled to be raising their two girls, Lily and Morgan here.
She loves gardening and making pizzas with the girls. She and her husband also stay busy with home projects that they design themselves.
Mrs. Ashley Sherman (Teaching Assistant)
Mrs. Sherman is the teaching assistant in Mrs. Harlow's classroom. Prior to working with our 3 year old class, Mrs. Sherman was a parent volunteer and a substitute teacher for our preschool. Mrs. Sherman holds an Associate's Degree in Psychology. She has also worked as a Patient Care Technician for Augusta Health.
She says that she enjoys teaching preschool children skills that will help them to be successful now and in the future and that "it's wonderful having fun with children and being silly with them." We know the children will love having fun with her too.
Mrs. Sherman and her husband, Wray, are raising their sons Kellen and Bryce right here in her own hometown. In her free time, she enjoys being with family and friends, participating in outdoor activities and indoor crafts and attending concerts.
Mrs. Sheri Hicks (LEAD TEACHER for 3 year olds, Mon./Wed./Fri.)
Mrs. Hicks received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education from James Madison University and her master's degree in Education with a concentration in Library Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a classroom teacher and a school librarian for several school systems She was honored to receive the William Perry Teacher of the Year Award and the Rotary Club of Waynesboro Jean Harris Award for her dedication to children who are economically disadvantaged.
She says that she loves teaching 3 year olds! She enjoys helping them as they become more independent. Encouraging a love for school and learning is a focus in her classroom. We love seeing her students thrive in her classroom.
Mrs. Hicks and her husband, Preston, have 2 children and 6 adorable grandchildren. In her free time, she loves gardening, cooking, traveling and spending time with her grandchildren. Sheri attends First Baptist Church and has a real love for serving the Lord and helping others.
Sharon Tooley (Teaching Assistant)
Mrs. Tooley is the teaching assistant in Mrs. Hicks' classroom. Mrs. Tooley graduated from James Madison University with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and later received her master's in Early Childhood Education from J.M.U. as well. Mrs. Tooley also holds a degree as an Education Specialist in Leadership and Administration K-12 from the University of Virginia. She has worked as a classroom teacher in grades PreK-4, as a preschool director, as an elementary school assistant principal and as an elementary school principal.
After retiring from Waynesboro Public Schools, Mrs. Tooley continued to work with children. She has worked as a volunteer and a substitute at our preschool in the past. She says that she "loves the program, the staff, the students and being a part of the children's spiritual, academic and social growth." It is wonderful to see the joy she brings to the school each day.
Mrs. Tooley is a native of Waynesboro and her children Josh and Alli both live nearby. She enjoys spending tie with her children and grandchildren, taking care of her many rescue pets and attending plays.
4 Year Old/Pre-Kindergarten Classes
Carrie Jones (LEAD TEACHER)
Mrs. Jones received her B.A. from Mary Baldwin College and received her master's in Museum Studies/Education from Baylor University. Focusing on hands-on learning experiences while leading the educational department of Historic St. Mary's City allowed her to develop programming for all ages. She also was in charge of staff training regarding teaching techniques to bring history to life for the public. Mrs. Jones has enjoyed working with students in a variety of classroom settings from preschool to high school.
Mrs. Jones says she "believes in the power and impact of a solid, creative, play-based beginning for children." She cherishes the opportunity to help young children grow and flourish in a preschool environment. First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool feels like "family" and she enjoys being able to contribute to that environment by helping children to get the best start possible. We are thrilled to watch the children receive such a positive start at school!
After moving around the country, Mrs. Jones, and her husband, Steve, resettled in her hometown of Waynesboro to raise their two daughters, Charlotte and Amelia.
When she is not busy setting up new activities in her classroom, she enjoys the Blue Ridge Mountains, spending time with her family, and reading.
Kim Artz (Teaching Assistant)
Mrs. Artz is the teaching assistant in Mrs. Jones' classroom. She graduated from Radford University with a B.A. in Journalism and Speech. Prior to joining our preschool staff, Mrs. Artz worked for Waynesboro Public Schools as an instructional assistant and recently retired after 23 years of service. She has also volunteered as a tutor at the Learning Tree. As a member of FBC, she enjoys working with children and families through our church programming.
She says that she "loves children's perspective on the world. They remind us to see the beauty and wonder in God's creation." We know the children will enjoy sharing their ideas and feelings with Mrs. Artz at preschool each day.
Mrs. Artz and her husband, Ron, have 2 children, Susan who lives in Nelson County and Joe who lives in Colorado. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing games, visiting with friends and family and exercising.
Melanie Keagy (LEAD TEACHER)
Mrs. Keagy received her B.A. in psychology and her master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia. She is currently working on a Reading Specialist endorsement at Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to teaching at First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool, she taught first grade in Chesapeake, Virginia for six years and taught in their preschool program during the summers.
Mrs. Keagy says that she loves spending her day with the little ones! "Getting to watch them grow, change, and learn is extremely rewarding." And we love getting to watch all of the learning that goes on in her classroom!
She was born in Buffalo, NY, and raised in Springfield, Virginia. After graduating from UVA, she lived in Virginia Beach for seven years with her husband, Michael, before moving to the area. They are raising their 3 daughters here in Waynesboro, and are so excited to call it home!
Besides spending time with family, Mrs. Keagy loves to read, dance, exercise, go to the beach, and just be silly and have fun!