Staff

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.

Katie Drovdahl – Director

Katie joined the Bethany Preschool staff in the fall of 2019 as the director.  Before taking on her role as director, she worked as a High School English teacher (in the classroom and online) and as a substitute Elementary Paraeducator.  She is currently the Girls Varsity Soccer Coach at Bainbridge High School.

Katie took a break from teaching full-time while her three children (two of whom attended Bethany) were young, and now that they are all in school, she is excited to bring her education experience to her work at Bethany.

Watching her own three children make the journey through preschool and into Elementary School solidified Katie’s belief in the importance of a quality early childhood education.  She loves working with preschool families and believes all children should have the opportunity to attend preschool.

  • Masters in Teaching
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Brooke Russell – Lead Teacher, Grasshopper Class

Brooke has been on the Bethany staff since 2012, first as the Bumble Bee teacher and then as a substitute.  She assumed the role of Grasshopper teacher in the fall of 2019.  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

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
  • Member of the Bethany Lutheran Church Council
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Allison MacDonald – Lead Teacher, Bumble Bee Class

In 2014, Allison joined the Bethany staff as the lead teacher for the Bumble Bee Class. It 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.  She is the author of Raising a Rock-Star Reader and her second book will be published the summer of 2019.  She is the founder and author of the website Notimeforflashcards.com.  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.

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

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

Selina Johnson – Assistant Teacher, Firefly Class and Bumble Bee Class

Selina joined the preschool staff in 2004 as an assistant teacher. She brought a wealth of experience since she had been involved in a cooperative preschool for seven years as a parent, taking on the job of risk manager and serving as a board member.
Selina lived in Alaska for 11 years working as a store manager for a seafood company. She, her husband, and two children, still go to Alaska every summer! Selina loves helping young children to be independent, self-assured and capable to work and play with others with kindness and respect. Selina brings a positive energy to the classroom that is infectious.

  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • CPR & First Aid Certified

Preschool Board

  • Katie Drovdahl – Director
  • Dede Knapp – Board Chair & Parent Representative (Grasshoppers)
  • Missy Rehder – Secretary & Parent Representative (Fireflies)
  • Becci Kerstetter – Congregational Representative
  • Allison Pringle – Congregational Representative
  • Pat Sather — Church Council Representative
  • Valerie Johnson – Staff Representative
  • Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

Staff photos by Catie Cleveland Photography