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

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.

  • BA in Human Development with concentration in Family Systems
  • Minor in 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

Valerie Johnson – Lead Teacher, Firefly Class

Originally from France, Valerie started teaching in a French-language preschool in Virginia. She has always been interested in Early Childhood Education and is constantly amazed to see young children’s capacity for learning.

Valerie stayed home for a few years raising two bilingual daughters and then joined the Bethany teaching staff in the fall of 2009. Her younger daughter attended Bethany Lutheran Preschool, and Valerie has served as Secretary of the Preschool Board, Substitute Teacher and Lead Teacher of the Firefly class. Valerie brings a sense of joy to the classroom and uses her gifts of storytelling, puppets, and song to engage the children.

  • Bachelor of Arts in French and Sociology
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Brooke Russell – Lead Teacher, Bumble Bee 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

Rachel Running – Assistant Teacher, Grasshopper Class

When an opening occurred mid-year in 2006, Rachel was thrilled to join the Bethany staff. She worked as a pediatric nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Washington Medical Center for 15 years. During that time, she also worked as an infant ground transport nurse for Children’s Hospital.
Rachel has three daughters. She is drawn to children and child development, but preschoolers are her favorite age. Rachel is gifted at making every preschooler feel cared about and important while fostering their growth toward independence.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Missy Rehder – Assistant Teacher, Firefly Class and Bumble Bee 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

Preschool Board

  • Julianne Haggart – Director
  • Dede Knapp – Board Chair & Parent Representative (Grasshoppers)
  • Missy Rehder – Secretary & Staff Representative
  • Kristi Sutton — Church Council Representative
  • Vanessa Christoff — Parent Representative (Bumble Bees)
  • Leanne Wetzel — Parent Representative (Fireflies)
  • Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

Staff photos by Catie Cleveland Photography and Lindsay Nolan Photography