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Preschool Staff

cropped Michelle Butera head shotMichelle Butera, Preschool Director – Michelle is excited to continue some of the long-standing traditions of Ardmore Preschool while maintaining the nurturing environment AWPS offer. Michelle has a background in finance and management, 20 years of parenting experience and 20 years as member of APC, 8 years of Sunday School teaching and 15 years of preschool teaching experience. She brings her faith, her heart and her wisdom to help the preschool have an amazing year. Michelle is originally from Cherry Hill, N.J.. She has her undergraduate degree from Drexel University and her Masters Degree from Penn State University. She loves to see the happiness and joy that come from each child. Michelle is the mother of two daughters in college.

pearliePearlie Diesinger, Preschool Administrator/Church Secretary Pearlie was born and raised in the south and moved to suburban Philadelphia when she married husband Bill. She has been on church staff since 1969 starting as an assistant teacher in the pre-school. She has been on staff ever since, mostly in her current capacity. Pearlie lives in Wayne and has a grown son and two step-grandchildren.



cropped Michelle BridgeMichelle Bridge-Michelle Bridge grew up in Pottstown, PA.  She has a BA from Ursinus College.  She moved to Ardmore in 2005 with her husband Jerome and four children, Wesley, Isabelle, Lillian, and Charlotte.  She has been a Sunday School teacher for 8 years at Berean Bible Church in Pottstown where her family still attends.  She was a preschool teacher at Grace Lutheran Church in Pottstown and taught preschool art at the Main Line YMCA before coming to Ardmore Presbyterian.  Three of her children have also attended Ardmore Pres.  “I love to see the excitement and amazement that children have for life every single day!  It’s such an incredible privilege to be able to help them explore the world, themselves, and especially the Lord.”

Rachel Hickey kissed by her children 2015 IMG_0766Rachel Hickey-Rachel is from the outskirts of London, UK and moved here with her husband and two daughters in October 2013. Her youngest has just graduated from APWPS and loved her time here! Rachel has her Bachelor of Arts and Primary Education from Exeter University, UK and has worked for 15 years in Elementary schools including eighteen months in China. Rachel has coordinated Art and Physical Education and taught all curriculum subjects. After having her own children Rachel enjoyed co-running ‘Toddle Time” a voluntary group for parents and children aged 0-4 years. She has also taught Sunday school groups in England and more recently volunteered as a Girl Scout parent leader here in Lower Merion. After teaching a term in the 3-day class at APWPS, she looks forward to the coming school year. ‘The joy of working with young children and being part of the process when, ‘the penny drops’ never ceases to excite and amaze me!’


Jennifer Jackett – Jennifer grew up in nearby Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.  She has an Jennifer-Jackettundergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.  She currently resides in Bala Cynwyd with her husband, Sean, and two daughters, Brooke and Emmy and son, Sean Jacob.  Brooke graduated from APWP in 2013, and Emmy is currently enrolled in the five day program.  Although her educational background is in business, since the birth of her first daughter, she has found her passion in caring for and nurturing children.  Jennifer has spent the past two years both volunteering and substitute teaching for APWP, and is thrilled to now be teaching the three day program with Carolyn Mager.  She is truly grateful for the opportunity to help shape the lives of these remarkable young children.

Leigh Lignowski Leigh grew up in Summit, New Jersey. She has an undergraduate background in leighLiterature and Art and graduated from Villanova Law School, where she met her husband. They have four young children, two boys and two girls, all of whom “graduated” from APWP. Leigh taught K-8 art at St. Colman-John Neumann and was a substitute at preschool for several years before joining the staff to teach MDO with Laura Rossio. She loves being with young children and is excited to encourage their creativity, curiosity, joy, and love of learning, and to watch them grow over the course of a school year. Leigh’s family belongs to St. Colman Church in Ardmore.

Carolyn Mager – “Teaching young children to learn has always been my passion.” Carolyn-MagerShe received her BA from University of Delaware in Elementary Education and her Masters in Reading from Widener University, Before having children of her own, she taught for more than10 years. Carolyn Mager grew up in Chatham, New Jersey. After getting married eleven years ago, she moved to Ardmore where she still resides. Her two boys attend(ed) Ardmore Presbyterian Weekday Preschool. “It is such a loving and nurturing atmosphere for young children to learn and explore. I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful and caring staff and look forward to guiding and watching our young ones grow.”

xxpetersDenise Peters – Denise has her degree in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching children since her Springfield High School’s Early Childhood Program. She grew up in Spingfield, PA and met her husband, Bob in church and they have 4 grown sons with the youngest heading to college this fall. Denise has taught numerous programs in church from Pre-K to Youth Group and is presently attending Springton Lake Presbyterian Church in Media. She also teaches a summer program for Haverford Park and Recreation’s Tot Lots. Denise loves pre-schoolers because they are innocent and funny. She also love dogs, especially her Minitature Dachshund and English Pointer and is looking forward to meeting her first grandchild this fall.

Danuta (Danka) Jablonska-Rauer – Danka is from Poland, where she began her academic and danskaprofessional career by completing a Master’s Degree in Early Education and becoming a teacher. She taught preschool children and grade school children for over 10 years. In 2001, Danka moved to the United States, where she met her husband. She now lives in Ardmore with her husband, their two young daughters, a bunny rabbit and four goldfish. Danka loves to involve her little ones in crafts, gardening, baking and creative play (everything she enjoys doing!) She loves to see each child’s curiosity grow as he or she explores the world.

xxlaurarossioLaura Rossio — Laura Rossio grew up in the Philadelphia area, and has a background in nursing. She has been teaching at APWPS since 2006 in the Mother’s Day Out program, with Leigh Lignowski. Laura enjoys the genuine enthusiasm and joie de vivre of these youngest children in the preschool. She marvels at the incredible growth from fall to spring as language emerges, skills improve, and the children begin to care about each other. Laura feels a teacher should be a role model, patient, kind and especially flexible in expectations. Laura is the mother of a daughter and was raised as a Quaker.

xxsuzannescovillSuzanne Scovill — Suzanne Scovill is from Dearborn, Michigan (Go Blue!). She has taught over 35 years in many places – the most fantastic place was Zimbabwe, Africa. She has been teaching at APWPS since 2000 in the four year old class. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and graduate work in Early Childhood Studies and Special Education. Suzanne loves seeing the children laugh and have fun discovering new things. Books, words, hands-on projects, developing responsibility and friendships are key elements in her class. Suzanne wants children to feel competent and good about themselves. “Even small people can do BIG things”. She also lends her creativity to the Art Classes she teaches at APWPS. Suzanne has a daughter and a son. She attends Daylesford Abbey in Paoli.

Shannon Smith – Shannon Smith, has an undergraduate background in Childhood Education and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology from Penn State University. After college she has worked as a child mental health worker, victims advocate and as an assistant and lead teacher for the YMCA. Shanon and her husband have 2 daughters both who went to Ardmore Presbyterian Preschool and are now in elementary school.

Ami Van Dine, MS, CCC-SLP – Ami Van dine, MS, CCC-SLP is a licensed and certified speech – language pathologist who received her Masters of Science at La Salle University in 2008. She is currently employed by Goldstar Rehabilitation, where she teats the birth-to-three population through early intervention. She also works in a private practice servicing school-aged children. Additionally Ami is published in the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and the Journal of Communication Disorders. Ami has had two children graduate from APWPS.

Janet Abel — Janet is from Ohio and has been teaching music and singing joyfully with our preschoolers for over twenty years. xxjanetabelFormerly she was a vocal teacher and choral director at Baldwin School. Janet meets with each class weekly and directs the music the children sing in our annual Thanksgiving program, Christmas Carol sing, and Easter program. Interesting note is that Janet’s husband is a retired percussionist from the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has grown children, grandchildren and is a member of Ardmore Presbyterian Church.

Elizabeth Luff — Elizabeth has taught dance to all ages for many years. Her company, Moving eluffStudios, takes dance out of the studio and into the community, including Ardmore Presbyterian Preschool. Elizabeth works with each class dancing to a variety of music, with props an stories. Boys, girls, and often teachers dance up a storm in her classes! Through dance children practice gross motor skills, learn to manage their bodies in space without bumping, and explore concepts like big and little, high and low, floating leaves and swirling snow. And most important, as one student replied when Elizabeth asked, “Why do people dance?” “Because it’s fun!” Elizabeth is a graduate of Lower Merion High School and the University of Delaware. She is a member of Ardmore Presbyterian Church. She is married with a son in college.