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Our Staff

Our Staff: thoughtful, creative, dedicated and caring.

Denise Gruetzmacher is happy to begin her fourth year as the Little Saints Preschool Director.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the College of St. Elizabeth (Morristown, NJ) and a Bachelors of Arts from Regis College (Weston, MA), as well as certifications from the American Montessori Society and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Denise has experienced and studied the philosophy and practices of Reggio Emilia schools.  Her teaching experience for over 16 years has been in a variety of schools and classrooms including kindergartens, Montessori schools, and Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools.  From each new experience and environment she has learned much from children who speak languages other than English and possess a variety of learning styles and differences.  Denise will be responsible for the children in the “Blue Room,” the afternoon BRIDGE program and two days of aftercare.

Email Contact: DGruetzmacher@stthomasannarbor.org

Laure Dallas is responsible for the “Green Room:  She has been an educator at Little Saints Preschool since 2007.  Laure and her husband have four boys.  The eldest is married and living and working in Washington, D. C. Her youngest is a senior at the Penn State University, Laure specialized in Child Development for her Bachelors of Science degree in management, housing and family development at Virginia Tech.  She is experienced in working with children with special needs. Laure’s two middle sons have also attended Virginia Tech.

Email Contact: LDallas@stthomasannarbor.org

Mary Sue Ortiz will be joining our preschool staff this year.  She has moved back to the area after living in Rochester Hills for 25 years.  Mary Sue has been teaching for 20 years.  She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in education at Central Michigan University.  Preschool children, with all their excitement and love of learning have become her favorite.  She and her husband, Fernando have three daughters and two sons-in-laws.  Mary Sue will be in the “Yellow Room,” continue with her students in the BRIDGE afternoon program, and stay for “Aftercare” two afternoons per week.

Email Contact: MOrtiz@stthomasannarbor.org

Kathryn Simpson approaches all children with her caring and nurturing style.  Kathryn has an Associate Degree from Washtenaw Community College in Early Childhood Development and a Nursing Degree from The University of Michigan. She is a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd certified Atrium educator.  Kathryn has been a part of the St, Thomas School for many years as both a teacher and parent.  She will be working to assist children in all classrooms each morning, as well as in the afternoons during nap-time and afternoon lessons and play until 3:00 PM afternoon dismissal.

Email Contact: KSimpson@stthomasannarbor.org

Sue Heemstra will be assisting children in aftercare on Friday afternoons.  She married her husband Ron at St. Thomas Church 38 years ago.  Sue’s youngest son (of 9 children) is entering the 8th grade at St. Thomas School, and she has 13 grandchildren.  Sue graduated from The University of Michigan with a BA in Linguistics, and is a certified Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium educator.

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