Our Staff

2 Day 2's Teacher - Susie Powell

Before moving to Williamsburg in 1998, I was a public school teacher in Baltimore City and Montgomery County, Maryland for seven years.  My secondary school classroom was one of “play” or dynamic experiences for my students.  In my Social Studies classroom, the students were engaged in activities that involved movement, dramatic play, role-playing, visual presentations,  and group negotiations – all active experiences that

 brought them to a better understanding of classroom topics.  I was always impressed by the expressions of creativity my students fostered in this environment.  It is what has kept me in the field of Education, watching the magic of learning in each individual unfold.   It is the very thing that drew me to Co-op as a parent, and fills me with wonder each day as a teacher.   I came to Co-op through my daughter, enjoying three years as a parent helper and benefiting
 from the wisdom of the teachers and relishing in the shared experiences of my fellow parents.   I taught the twos class from 2004 to 2009, and am delighted to return to enjoy the opportunity to play and learn with children of this tender and dynamic age.  Since 2009, I have worked on Virginia’s Quality Improvement programs for Early Childhood, tr
aining and coaching in programs throughout the state.  For me, Co-op is a unique preschool experience providing all the shared benefits of working together as a community to enrich the lives of our children.   

One Day 2's Teacher - Molly Gareis

I knew from a very young age that my life would be dedicated to teaching and working with children and families. I babysat all through middle school, high school, and college before graduating and earning my Virginia teaching license from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. I began my career as a classroom teacher in the Williamsburg-James City County Public School System teaching children in grades 8, 6, and 3. After my tenure with WJC Schools, I spent the next eleven years as a stay-at-home Mom with my son and two daughters. As a parent, contributing to the education of children remained a part of who I am. For eight consecutive years I was fortunate enough to be a Co-op parent. I loved working in my own children’s classes and I grew by serving alongside the amazing Co-op teachers. During this time I read constantly about child development and parenting, and, eventually I went back to Old Dominion University and earned my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. My husband, Chris, is currently Associate Dean in the School of Education at the College of William and Mary, but he spent many years as a classroom teacher and as a school principal. We are both dedicated to our own children and to our careers in education. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at Co-op and be surrounded on a daily basis by such wonderful children, families, and teachers. 

Children are my passion, and it is my hope that as a Co-op teacher, I will be able to give back some of the invaluable gifts that I have received over the years from Co-op.

3's Teacher - Sue Barton

Like many of my Coop colleagues, I always knew that teaching and working with children was my calling. From the time I was young I spent a lot of time around children and loved helping out in nurseries, preschools and the kindergarten class in which my mother worked for several years. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pittsburgh. My teaching career began in the Williamsburg James City County Schools, and I spent 14 years teaching at the elementary level in both the United States and Overseas for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. I have a Master’s degree in International Education from the George Washington University.

All three of my sons had the privilege of attending the Coop. My husband, Jim, and I both learned much from the teachers during the eight years that our boys were part of the school. The Coop community was a nurturing place for our whole family, and we are grateful for the lasting friendships that we made during our time here. I was always impressed by the hard work and dedication of the caring Co-op staff, and I’m honored to be a part of this talented group of teachers. Now I get to share the same kind of joys that we experienced with someone else’s family. I have fun trying to create some of the magic that made my children’s preschool years special. 

3's Teacher - Shelly Adkins

I earned my BA in English Literature, my Early Elementary Teaching Certification along with honors and awards in Student Teaching from Mary Washington College. I spent the next two years as a First Grade Teacher. The next ten years I dedicated myself to being a stay-at-home mother with my three sons. I then taught one year as a lead 4 year old preschool teacher and enjoyed it immensely.

My love for teaching and passion for education only deepened as I watched my sons grow and I became an active part in the beginning steps of their early education. All three of my sons attended Co-op, and I was lucky enough to serve alongside some of the amazing Co-op teachers. I discovered the world of early childhood education and became deeply interested in child development and how it affects their later careers as life long learners.  It is so wonderful to be back home at Co-op.

4's and 5's Teacher - Emma McMillan

I come from a business background with various business jobs such as cost accountant. I began my preschool career by substituting at my children’s preschool in Phoenix, AZ. The preschool transitioned into a Parent Participation Preschool in 1986. I was offered a four-year-old teacher position with two parents helping in the classroom. I attended teacher training workshops and classes during my four years in Phoenix. Our family moved to Williamsburg in 1990 and I became an avid volunteer at Waller Mill Elementary where my children attended. I was hired as a Special Education aide for one year before the opportunity to apply at the Williamsburg Co-op arose. I received the 4 day 4’s & 5’s position in 1992 and have enjoyed four-year-olds for 20 years. I continue to attend early childhood conference workshops as well as having received training as an “observer” for Preschool Partners, an organization, created in Newport News, VA to help early childhood programs meet the needs of preschoolers.

4's and 5's Teacher - Lisa Old

I was born and raised in California. I graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked as a reporter and editor in Los Angeles before moving to northern Virginia.  I have two children, a daughter, Sarah, who loves horses, and a son, Ryan, who loves making music.  My husband, Hunter, is an attorney here in Williamsburg. After having children, I decided to change careers so I studied early childhood education and began teaching preschool. 

My favorite age of children is definitely these early years, particularly the 4- and 5-year-olds. I have the pleasure of playing with an exuberant group of boys and girls three afternoons a week, sharing in their delight as they discover the world around them through play. Watching these children learn to play cooperatively with each other, get their hands dirty in arts and crafts, and run wild on the playground makes this the best job in the world.

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