Each of our staff members attends at least 10 hours of continuing education classes each year. They have all studied child development, signs and symptoms of illness, and are mandated reporters in child abuse and head trauma. They also receive training and certification in pediatric first and CPR every two years, and we have an AED kit on site for our program's use. We have varied levels of education and experience, some degreed and some not, but only the most skilled and trusted staff are offered positions at our school. Our preschool teachers are degreed in elementary or early childhood education.
Crystal Friend, Program Director
I am excited to work with your children at Leawood Baptist Preschool/PDO. It is a joy to help children learn and watch them grow in confidence as they discover new skills. I have a background in Elementary Education and have taught English as a Second Language for schools in Kansas and Nebraska. I have also worked with a Montessori preschool in Nebraska and have directed the children’s preschool aged program for the Overland Park Community Bible Study. My husband, Tim, and I have three children and as a family we enjoy being outdoors, playing board games, and riding bikes.
Jan Akin, Toddler Teacher
My name is Jan Akin, my priorities are, my faith, my family, and caring for families. I have been in childcare for 36 years, 24 at Leawood Baptist. My husband, of 40 years, and I have two grown sons, daughter in-law, and a granddaughter. I absolutely love caring for and helping children grow into strong, independent, and happy people.
Dawn Branstetter, Infant Teacher
My husband, Henry, and I have four children — our oldest son 38, son and daughter twins 33, and youngest daughter 31. We have four grandchildren. They are such a blessing.
I have worked at LBC since 2002 and have worked in the infant room most of that time, with some time in the 2-year-old room.
I Armour Heights Baptist Church and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, family, and friends. I also enjoy gardening, camping, music, and music festivals.
Michele Watters, Infant Teacher
14 years of school, with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science
25 years experience and continuing education courses in early childhood
25 years at LBC
I have been married 40 years and have three children. I enjoy watching children become excited about learning new things and seeing their wonder in God's world.
Sarah Williams, 3-year-old Preschool Teacher
I have degrees in Biology and Spanish from Texas State University and my teaching license for K-12 Spanish. I’ve worked with kids in a variety of capacities for the past 15 years. I also serve as Children’s Ministry Director at Country Club United Methodist Church. I moved to Kansas last July with my husband, almost 2 y/o son Wesley, and dog Raleigh.
Callie Gerbrandt, 3-year-old Preschool Teacher
I graduated from Tabor College this spring with my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. While I was in school, I worked part time at a daycare in town and absolutely fell in love with the kids in my classes. During my time there I worked with children ages 3-11. I will be moving to Tegucigalpa, Honduras at the end of July to teach there for a year. I’m so excited to get the opportunity to work in a preschool setting again and love on the children I get to spend time with every day!
Mia McClanahan, Toddler Teacher
I'm a teacher in the Green Room. This is my 14th year at LBC PDO. I was born and raised in the Johnson County KS area. I'm married and have 4 kids of my own. Two married, one in college and my youngest will be a senior in high school this fall. It's been a great fit for me to raise my family andenjoy loving on your little ones too!
Victoria, 4-year-old Preschool Teacher
I am a Mom of 3 boys who has been an early childhood educator for over 15 years. I grew up in Southern California where I played soccer for 20 years, 4 of those years at the college level. In my spare time I enjoy gardening and weight lifting.
Cheryl Miller, Toddler and Infant Teacher
I worked at Leawood Baptist in the early 2000s for quite a few years and then left to see if the grass was greener on the other side...and found out it wasn't. I was fortunate to be able to return and bring my grandbabies.
I have raised four amazing children and now have been blessed with grandchildren. My daughter Kaley, 28, graduated from ESU and now works at St. Luke's. Ryan, 23, graduate from Arkansas and is now getting his Master's in Sports Science. Anthony, 20, just finished his second year at JCCC and was drafted to play in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians. And my youngest daughter, Kobi, 18, gust graduated from Blue Valley Southwest and is going to FIT in New York.
My husband and I are very active and enjoy our free time. We love to travel, root for the Royals, and support our family in any way we can. I enjoy working with kids and my coworkers here at LBC.
Laura Schmidt, Toddler Teacher
I have been working with children for over three years and have been a toddler teacher at Leawood Baptist Preschool and PDO since January and have loved every minute. I cherish each and every child and make sure they get the care and love they deserve. I currently live in Prairie Village with my husband, John, two children, Jude (7) and Lydia (3), and our dog Chief. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading, traveling, and staying active with Jazzercise.
Shawndra Kusiak, Toddler Teacher
I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with most of my background spent working with severely emotionally disturbed youth & adolescents. My husband & I have been married for 5 years & have two boys: Kyler (3) & Colin (1). After the birth of our boys, I transitioned from full-time work to part-time. I heard about LBC through a friend & was lucky enough to join this amazing staff this past January. I absolutely love working here. I am excited to come to work every day & feel honored & privileged to be a part of these children’s lives. In my free time, I enjoy baking, running & spending time with my very active family & friends.
Christyn Zins, Preschool Assistant Teacher, Floater
I grew up in Overland Park and graduated from Kansas State University in 2004 with a degree in Elementary Education. I have 9 years of teaching experience, but my most recent job is being a mom. My husband and I have a son, Andrew (3 ½) and a daughter, Claire (1 ½). We enjoy spending time with our family and friends, trying new restaurants, and cheering for our favorite sports teams.
Stephanie Heath, Toddler Teacher
I am a teacher with the Shawnee Mission School District. I hold my Masters Degree and my Bachelors Degree both in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas. (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) I am a parent of two wonderful children, Maria (15) and Damon (11). When I am not teaching, I am often the chauffeur to extra-curricular activities, their personal chef, and attend community theatre.
Betsi Cobb, Toddler Teacher
Betsi earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development from Kansas State University, her Master of Science in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Kansas, and her Master of Science in School Leadership Administration from Baker University. Betsi worked full time from 2006 to 2014 in the Shawnee Mission School District as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher both in the classroom and in the community. She was the assigned teacher on the Leadership team while completing the districts Career Advancement Program.
"I have two children; Parker, age 6 and Ivy, age 2. We have a small dog, Bella, who we consider part of the family too! I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, gardening, and working out."