The high levels of education and experience held by our teaching staff allow DPNS to offer an exceptional preschool experience. All of our Directors have teaching credentials, and all have completed extensive coursework in early childhood education. Additionally, our affiliation with Davis Joint Unified School District (DPNS Directors are DJUSD employees) and staff requirements we meet as a state-licensed preschool contribute to the strength of our program. Remarkably, and as a testament to our school, every one of our Directors attended DPNS as a participating parent with their own child(ren)–for some, this was 20-30 years ago!
Laura Burke | Director, 2-day & 3-day Sessions
It was at DPNS that Laura first discovered the joy and satisfaction of working in a preschool classroom. Laura initially studied and trained to teach secondary students–earning both a BA and a Teaching Credential from UCD–and spent nine happy years teaching junior high school students. The younger two of her three children attended DPNS as preschoolers, and it was Laura’s participation as a DPNS parent for six years that exposed her to the many benefits of a preschool program that emphasizes both developmentally-appropriate curriculum and family involvement. While a parent at DPNS, Laura served on the DPNS Executive Board as a Registrar and Secretary. The experience at DPNS inspired Laura to complete requisite ECE couses, and then to pursue an MA in Child Development. In 2008, Laura joined the staff of DPNS as the Assistant Director of the 5-Day Program and spent 4 years working along side Director Becky Montgomery. In 2012, Laura was named Director at the Danbury site. She is thrilled to be teaching with Assistant Directors Mariah Hess and Kathleen Reddick in the 3-Day and 2-Day programs respectively, and looks forward to working, playing, and collaborating with the participating families.
Mariah Hess | Assistant Director, 3-day Session
Mariah grew up in Iowa and moved to Davis to attend graduate school. After receiving her Masters of Fine Arts degree from UC Davis in 2007, Mariah began teaching art to elementary school students throughout the area. Her love of young children drew her to continue her studies in early childhood education. In 2012 Mariah became an assistant teacher in the DPNS Extended Day program. Mariah and her husband, Doug, have a three-year-old daughter who will be attending DPNS!
Christina Hietbrink | Assistant Director, 5-day Session
In 2001, Christina began volunteering in her son’s preschool class. With encouragement from her son’s teachers, she went back to study Child Development. Throughout her career, Christina has worked in various aspects of education from informal to formal. Her daughter began playgroup at DPNS in 2008, which was the same year she began assistant teaching for the Extended Day Program. From 2011 – 2013, Christina served as Head Teacher of the DPNS Extended Day Program. In 2012, DPNS named Christina the Assistant Director of the 5-Day Session. Christina is delighted to be involved with DPNS by working with families and teachers in the 5-Day program.
Becky Montgomery | Director, 5-day Session
Becky’s connection to DPNS started in 1992, when her daughter attended the afternoon session. She enjoyed being a working parent so much that when her daughter graduated to kindergarten, Becky stayed on as an Assistant for the Extended Day Program. She later returned as a working parent in 2002 with her younger son. She has been unable to leave since! She began as the Assistant Director for the 5 Day Morning program in 2004. She has directed this program since early 2008. Becky received her BA in Sociology from the University of San Francisco. She also has completed extensive coursework in early childhood education and has an Adult Education teaching credential, specializing in parent education. Prior to her life here in Davis, she was Director of an inner-city after-school program for the Booker T. Community Service Center, located in San Francisco.
Annie Ramirez | Extended Day Program, Head Teacher
Annie returned home to Davis after studying at the University of Portland in Oregon. She is currently working towards obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. As a nanny for a DPNS alum family, Annie spent some time volunteering at DPNS and fell in love with the program. Starting out in 2012 as an Assistant Director for the DPNS Extended Day program, Annie was delighted to be named Head Teacher in 2013 and looks forward to working with our talented staff to provide an enriching environment for our children.
Our Extended Day Program is an limited program offered to children from all sessions, age 3 or more. Parent participation is not required for this program. It is currently offered Fridays at 8th Street from 11:45-4:30.
Kathleen Reddick | Assistant Director, 2-day Session
Kathleen is very pleased to be the assistant director for the 2-day program and looks forward to working with each child and their parents at DPNS. Kathleen grew up in Davis and attended Birch Lane Elementary, Holmes Junior High, and Davis High School. She and her husband Steve have two children.
Sandy Rendig | Director, Monday Playgroups
Sandy has been associated with DPNS for more than 30 years, first as a parent participant, then as an Assistant Director, and finally as a Director since 1985. She has spent most of her DPNS career teaching in our preschool sessions, and now is working her magic with the toddlers. She attended U.C. Davis, where she majored in English Literature with a minor in psychology and art. Sandy also received her teacher’s credential from UCD. Prior to teaching at DPNS, she taught kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade. She and her husband (a DPNS alumnus) have two adult children, a son and a daughter.
Heather Smith | Head Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten Session and Friday Playgroups
Heather Smith was born in Sacramento, but grew up and went to college in the UK, where she received a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (B.Ed), a British peculiarity. Her teacher training in the UK emphasized child-centered learning and the value of play (She heartily supports mud and messiness). Prior to raising a family, Heather was a classroom teacher both in West Sacramento and London UK, as well as a pre-school teacher at the UC Davis Early Childhood Lab. She has been involved in educating children of all ages for more than 25 years and loves teaching. Recently she completed a Masters in Elementary Math and have given several workshops on ‘Nurturing Mathematical Development in Early Childhood’ for DPNS. For the past three years Heather has worked with Special Education students at North Davis Elementary School. As a family alumni of DPNS, she is very familiar with the wonderful organization and parents that it represents, and very much loves teaching and playing with the pre-school and playgroup children in her sessions.