Our warm and caring teachers promote a culture of kindness, respect, and joy of school. They set a tone of exploration and encouragement for the children, while offering a wide variety of opportunities for each child’s growth and development.

Julianne Haggart – Director and Assistant Teacher, Firefly Class

Julianne comes to Bethany with over 20 years of Early Childhood Education and childcare experience. Before joining the Bethany Preschool staff in the winter of 2023 as the Director, Julianne worked as Lead Teacher at a multi-aged preschool program in Seattle.

Julianne loves working at Bethany and being a part of a preschool that fosters growth and social-emotional development through a nurturing and play-based curriculum. When Julianne is not at Bethany, she enjoys spending family time with her husband, two kids and their dog Sven. Julianne also enjoys traveling, cooking and hiking.

  • Bachelors in Human Development and Psychology
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Allison McDonald – Lead Teacher, Grasshopper Class

In 2014, Allison joined the Bethany staff as the lead teacher for the Bumble Bee Class. Teaching preschool is a perfect fit for Allison because she loves playing on the floor, singing silly songs and playing make-believe.  Allison is not only a certified teacher, but has been a KinderCare Center Director and lead teacher for a 2-3 year old class at a preschool in Seattle.  She was a Contributing Writer for Scholastic Parents and PBS Parents.  Allison co-authored the books Setting The Stage for Rock-Star Readers and Raising A Rock-Star Reader, published by Scholastic. Her first solo book Everyday Preschool is a top-rated resource for home educators and teachers. She is the founder and author of the website  Both of Allison’s children attended Bethany Preschool, and she was excited to become a part of the teaching staff.  Allison is wonderful at bringing equity into the classroom while helping little ones become more independent.

  • Masters of Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Education:  Endorsement, Elementary Education, K-8

Brooke Russell – Lead Teacher, Bumble Bee and Firefly Class

Brooke has been on the Bethany staff since 2012, as a Bumble Bee teacher, a substitute, and the Grasshopper teacher.  Brooke is a wonderful teacher, and her warm and nurturing nature helps all children feel cared for and connected at school.

Brooke has five children of her own (one of whom attended Bethany).  She has spent the last 20+ years homeschooling her own children, serving her church congregation in teaching and leadership roles, and traveling the globe. She has lived in many parts of the world (Finland, Turkey, Spain, UK) and speaks Finnish. 

  • Bachelors in History
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Missy Rehder – Assistant Teacher, Grasshopper class

Missy joined the preschool staff in 2021 as an assistant teacher after all three of her daughters attended Bethany.

Missy grew up on the island, and you can often find her shuttling her three children to their various sports and activities. She also enjoys gardening, camping, and spending time outdoors.

Missy thinks working with preschoolers is the most rewarding job. Every day is a new adventure, witnessing the wonder and excitement a child has for the world. She feels incredibly blessed to watch each child play, learn, and grow from new experiences.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Tracy Nilsen – Assistant Teacher, Bumble Bee Class

Tracy joined Bethany in the fall of 2023 as the assistant Bumble Bee teacher. Tracy grew up on Bainbridge Island and then lived in New York City for 14 years. After working as a lawyer for 12 years, Tracy quit her job and spent time traveling, working in childcare, volunteering as a doula, and working as a CNA. Tracy has always loved children and, with 15 nieces and nephews, has had a lot of opportunities to spend time with children. She has also taught children in her church. Tracy is thrilled to be a part of Bethany and feels lucky to get to spend time with little children as they begin preschool.

Tracy has one daughter who is currently a Grasshopper. Tracy loves to read, bike, and explore the trails on Bainbridge Island with her husband and daughter.

BA – American Studies


Preschool Board

  • Julianne Haggart — Director
  • Leanne Wetzel — Board Chair & Parent Representative (Grasshoppers)
  • Missy Rehder — Secretary & Staff Representative
  • Kristi Sutton — Church Council Representative
  • Katie Walton — Parent Representative (Bumble Bees)
  • Lexi Bayley — Parent Representative (Fireflies)
  • Shawna Paulson — Congregation Representative
  • Vikki Anderson — Congregation Representative
  • Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

Staff photos by Catie Cleveland Photography and Lindsay Nolan Photography