Staff

Administration

Polly Prendergast, Director. Polly has been in the field of early childhood for over 20 years. She received a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Kansas in Human Development and Family Living (ECE) and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, with an emphasis in Emotional Intelligence, from Concordia University St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2009 Polly was the first Director In the Greater Kansas City Area to receive the Missouri Association for the Education of Young Children Director’s Credential and one of three in the state of Missouri and Kansas. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC), was elected to the UMKC Staff Council in 2012 and is a past president for The Mid-America Association for the Education of Young Children. Polly is actively engage with the community and is Adjunct Faculty for UMKC, Park University and Johnson County Community College. Polly is also a curriculum facilitator for Project Construct. In 2013 Polly was invited by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) to be part of the review process for Missouri Early Childhood Curriculum. As part of the evaluation process evaluators will be using the Missouri Early Childhood Curriculum Rubric to score each curriculum in the areas of: Valid Research, Evaluations Results, Professional Development and Developmentally Appropriateness. Throughout her career Polly has been a classroom teacher, program director, accreditation specialist, executive director, university supervisor for early childhood practicum students, NAEYC accreditation validator and ASQ advisor for School age care. She has been the Director at Berkley since June 2003. To view Polly’s complete Vitae click here

 

Becky West, Classroom Instructional Specialist. Becky has a BS in Child Development from the University of Missouri – Columbia , and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education from UMKC. Currently Becky is working towards an I. Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction / Higher Education. She has over seventeen years of teaching experience and says “teaching on a daily basis has provided me with an understanding of and appreciation for the challenges as well as the joys classroom teachers face each day as they plan and manage their classrooms. I find that, through my course of study, and through the work I am currently doing with student teachers at UMKC and Penn Valley , the interconnections between the quality of staff development and the quality of curriculum, guidance, and management at the classroom level has become a source of fascination and challenge for me”. She has been at Berkley since June 2006.

Monica Houston, Administrative Assistant. Monica holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Avila University, Kansas City, Missouri . She has been at Berkley since March 2003.

Beth Kaplan Liss, Part-time Project Coordinator. Beth received a BS in Psychology from Union College , Schenectady , New York and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Early Childhood from UMKC. She has been at Berkley in various capacities since July 1998.

Vanessa Gibbs, Cook. The children adore her and especially her cooking. She also teaches West African Dance to children of all ages. Vanessa has been at Berkley since 1993.

Infant Toddler Department Classroom Master Teacher

Kathleen Cross, Kathleen received a BA in English and French from Truman State University and her MA in Curriculum and Instruction Early Childhood emphasis from UMKC. She has been at Berkley since July of 2006.

Infant/Toddler Department Classroom Lead Teacher

Laura Bohorquez, Laura received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Universidad de la Sabana (Savannah’s University) in Bogota, Colombia. She has specific education in child development such as learning, social learning and educational psychology.  Laura has been with us since May of 2013.

Vonnchet Traylor, Vonnchet is a graduate of UMKC with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education in May 2013. Vonnchet worked as a Child Care Assistant for Berkley from 2009-20011. She then completed a year of student teaching and returned to Berkley in the summer of 2013. Vonnchet received a Full Time Classroom Lead Teacher Position in June of 2013.

Alyssa Morrow, Alyssa is a graduate of Central Missouri Sate University, Warrensburg, MO with a Bachelor of Science in Education, December 2005. She then completed a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language in December, 2009. Alyssa is also adjunct faculty at Kansas City Kansas Community College teaching English as a Second Language. Alyssa has been at Berkley since July of 2013.

Susan Myers, Susan received a BA in Early Childhood Education from University of Missouri-Kansas City. Susan was a practicum student in the River room in 2005. She has been with Berkley since August of 2006.

Jessica Newman, Jessica holds a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Leadership from Park University, Parkville Missouri. Jessica complete her infant toddler practicum at Berkley in the Summer of 2010 and completed an administrative internships the fall of 2010. She came to work as a substitute in December of 2010 and received a full time teaching position in July of 2011.

Lauren Ragan, Lauren holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Lauren was a substitute teacher at Berkley in 2009 and returned as a full time teacher in August of 2010.

Brittany Greenlee, Brittany received a BS in Early Childhood Education form Park University. Brittany completed her student teaching at Berkley in 2009. She has been with Berkley as a classroom Lead Teacher since October 4, 2010.

Preschool Department Classroom Master Teacher

Jennifer Copeland, Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of Kansas and her Master’s of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Early Childhood in July of 2012. She has been at Berkley since January of 2009.

Preschool Department Classroom Lead Teacher

Jessica Morris, Jessica is a graduate of Park University, Parkville, MO and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Jessica completed her Infant/Toddler teaching practicum at Berkley in the summer of 2009. Jessica has been with Berkley since August of 2011.

Monica Quiros, Monica received her Bachelor of Art’s degree in Liberal Studies from Vanguard University. The Liberal Studies Major at Vanguard University is the universities academic program for students preparing to enter a graduate or teacher credentialing program. Monica has been at Berkley since October of 2010.

Cecilia Harris, Ceci has a certificate in Child Growth and Development and an Associate’s degree in Child Development from Penn Valley Community College. She has been here since January 2013

Kate Ghio, Kate received a BFA (Fine Arts) from Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an AAS in Early Childhood Education, Penn Valley Community College , Kansas City, Missouri . Kate completed her MA in Curriculum and Instruction Early Childhood from UMKC in May of 2011.. She has been at Berkley since August 2003.

Karen Hutchinson, Karen received a BS in Recreation and Health from Emporia State University, Emporia , Kansas . She has been at Berkley since May 2005.

Laura Crowe, Laura received her Bachelor of Science in Early childhood Education from Kansas State University. She has been at Berkley since July of 2012.

Jennifer Fletcher McKerrow,Jenny received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Ealry Childhood Education from Culver-Stockton College. She recieved her Mast of Art in Curriculum and Instruction with and emphasis in Early Childhood Education from UMKC. She has been at Betkley since October 2013

Part Time Child Care Assistants/Floaters

Keshauna Alexander, Trolley room. Keshauna is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education UMKC. She has been here since February 2012

Hanah Bratt, Royal room. Hanah is currently pursuing an Associate’s degree in Social Work. She has been here since November 2011.

Shilo Canady,floater. Shilo is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s dress in Elementary Education at UMKC. She has been here since February 2014.

Elizabeth Crandall, Westport room. Liz is currentely pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UMKC. She has been here since September 2013

Kayla Croft, Front Desk, floater and kitchen help. She has been here since May 2010.

Britney Enochs, Fountain room. Britney has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Families from UMKC. She is currently pursuing a certification in Child Life. She has been here since June 2013

Justine Fox, Substitute and Floater. Justine is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the UMKC.

Parker Heying, floater. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education at UMKC. He has been here since January 2014. Parker is also an alumi of Berkley.

Sarah Johnson, Zoo room. Sarah is currently pursuing a studio art degree from UMKC. She has been here since June 2011

Melissa Kiehne, Roo room. Melissa is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at UMKC. She has been here since September 2011.

Nanell McAlpin, Substitute and Floater. Nanell is currently pursuing a Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from UMKC. She has been here since January 2012.

Hannah Morris, floater. Hannah is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UMKC. She has been here since December 2013

Brigitte Rooks, floater. Brigitte has been here since October 2013.

Jonalyn Spadling, floater. Jonalyn is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UMKC. She has been here since December 2013.

Sylvia Wrench, Child Care Assistant. Sylvia has an Associate degree in Child Growth and Development from Penn Valley Community College. She has been here since September 2011.

Peyton Yocum, Child Care Assistant Peyton is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from UMKC. She has been here since July 2012.