Preschool & Childcare Staff

At. St. John Preschool & Childcare Center, we think you will find a heart for service and a passion for children in our staff, regardless of position held.  While all of our staff is highly qualified for what they do, they were also hired because of their personalities and love for serving children and families. We understand that you not only expect the best programming for your child, but you also want them to be cared for and loved. 

  • Kathy thompson, director

    I have been in the early childhood education field for more than 25 years. I have a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and two Master’s degrees in Reading Education and Early Childhood Education from UNI. 

    I came to St. John in July of 2012 to launch the childcare portion of our program and it has been a wonderful journey thus far with many more opportunities for learning and growth in my profession. I am blessed to be here to work with this wonderful staff as well as the children and their families.

  • Teri stuckey, 5 day preschool

    I graduated from Mt Mercy University and hold a degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Reading and Early Childhood. My teaching experiences include being a first grade teacher, as well as a preschool teacher and director. I am originally from Cedar Rapids and have been enjoying the Cedar Valley since 2010. I joined the St. John staff in 2016 and it is one of the best communities I have had the pleasure to be part of! I enjoy walking my dogs and biking on the trails, going camping and spending time with my family.

  • Megan Lawler, 2 & 3 day preschool

    I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Elementary Education, with an endorsement in Educational Technology. I have been a part of St. John since 2012 and I absolutely love working with the children and families here. I especially enjoy the smiles, fun stories and unique challenges that each day brings.  My family and I enjoy traveling, biking, camping and spending time outdoors as much as possible.

  • Valerie kurth, childcare lead

    I graduated from M-F-L Mar Mac High School in 2000 and then went on to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls receiving an Associate Degree. I then transferred to UNI and majored in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education courses. I graduated in 2007 with a Liberal Arts bachelor’s Degree. I hope to return to finish my education courses and earn my teaching certificate. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, and boating on the Mississippi whenever possible. I love to spend time with kids! I absolutely love my job here at St. John. I love listening to music and dancing and I enjoy going to concerts with my friends.

  • Sandy Ferguson, Childcare co-Lead

    I am a graduate of UNI with a BA in Physical Education.  My love for children is what brought me to St. John's in the Fall of 2019.  I love hearing about the children's take on life, their curiosity and the amazing daily hugs.


    The majority of my career has been working with persons with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. I also spent 5 years as a substitute teacher at the Lied Center on the Bremwood campus in Waverly as well as at River Hills School in Cedar Falls. 


    In my spare time I enjoy travel, especially the beach, crafting, reading, running, spending time with family and friends.  I recently became a Grandma and loving it!

  • Natalie Julin-McCleary, Childcare Co-Lead

    I studied Spanish and Women’s Studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State and am currently working on my Master’s in School Counseling at UNI. I have always loved working with children, though I have worked in a variety of settings over the years - coffee shops, college admissions, bridal shops, childcare, administration, youth mentorship programming, social work, and high school theater education. I was blessed to join the St. John staff in October of 2020 and appreciate the teamwork we have here tremendously. 


    I am married to Pastor Brian and we have two children, Toby and Sophie. I love anything artsy like music, theater, dance, movies, and visual arts. I enjoy traveling, acting, singing, going to the beach, walking, yoga, cooking, gardening, reading, cheering for my kids at their numerous extracurricular and school activities, and spending time with my family, friends, and cats. 

  • Beckie Kniep, childcare lead


    I grew up in Cedar Falls and graduated from Cedar Falls High School in 1987. Eight years later, I started at Hawkeye Community College and graduated in 1997 with an AAS degree in Early Childhood Education. I've worked in many Preschool and Child Care Centers in the Cedar Valley with a lot of great families. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family, especially my grandkids. Being a grandma has been the best part of getting older. Working at St. John has been such a blessing in my life. The staff and families I've gotten to work with have been the best. I love spending time reading, playing, and exploring new things with my kiddos.

  • Jane Bentley-Gadow, PCC Assistant

  • Katie Charlton, Substitute Teacher

  • Allison Dailey, Childcare

  • JoAnna Ferguson, Childcare

  • Heidi Guse, Kitchen Assistant

  • Megan Hermansen, Childcare

  • Anna Krumwiede, Childcare

  • Lauren Lorentzen, Childcare

  • Zoey Jones, Childcare

  • Calla Kerndt, Childcare

  • Sue Linck, Childcare

  • Sandy Livingston, Kitchen Coordinator

  • Morgan Miller, Childcare

  • Marissa Murphy, Childcare

  • Andrea Poyzner, Childcare

  • Becky Risner, Childcare

  • Lilly Rush, Childcare

  • Sara Schares, Preschool Associate

  • Sophie Stewart, Childcare

  • Carrie Sulentic, Childcare

  • Anna Sullivan, Childcare

  • Amy Van Arkel, Preschool Associate

  • Heather VanEngelhoven, Preschool Associate

  • Lamar Whaley, childcare