Early Childhood

Early Childhood Staff
Early Childhood Administration
  Head of Early Childhood  

Becky O'Hearn

All of my favorite things; nature, reading, art, children and meeting new people come together at Wichita Collegiate School and I feel extremely blessed. My work and what gives me lasting joy are one. I love teaching, collaborating with educators and working together with parents to see children reach their full potential. An extra special benefit of my work is seeing former students return as parents with their own children. Nothing is better than getting to nurture the hearts and minds children with a lasting impact for generations to come. Please visit my blog at http://wcsinspiredbythechild.blogspot.com/

rohearn@wcsks.com (316) 771-2204
  Assistant Director of Early Childhood  

Junilda Farner

I have spent my entire adult life working with children.  I taught preschool for 28 years and 14 of those years as a teacher and director at a small community preschool.  I adore earlychilhood age children.  I love their innocence, honesty and most of all how they can always make me smile.   I enjoy spending my days at a place where the faculty is devoted to providing the best environment possible for children, and WCS is that place!   


jfarner@wcsks.com (316) 771-2247
  EC & LS Counselor  


Jennifer Hearne

Childhood is a journey, not a race. This is one of my favorite sayings that summarizes my teaching and parenting philosophy. Of course, that journey continues in all stages of life and I am blessed that WCS is a part of mine.  I have the good fortune to not only be a counselor for the Early Childhood and Lower divisions, but also teach a class to Lower School students called Positive Steps. I had many years of classroom teaching experience prior to getting my Masters of Education Counseling in 2003. As a parent of two children, I know that the parenting journey can feel more like a roller coaster at times. But I believe that every step of our journey is unique and an opportunity to learn and grow. I am here for parents or students that would like a little support or sounding board during the early years. Collegiate is such a supportive environment and I am thrilled that I can be a part of it.


jhearne@wcsks.com (316) 771-2238
Great Beginnings
  Great Beginnings Teacher  

Kay Forsyth

I graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and have been teaching and working with children for over 30 years. I love working with children, helping them learn, and watching them grow.  I have had a variety of teaching experiences throughout the years, but I can’t say that I have enjoyed any of them more than my time at Wichita Collegiate. I am a proud member of the WCS family. My husband and I have been married for 36 years and have served as pastors in our church for the last 34 years. God has blessed us with one daughter, who is also a teacher, one granddaughter who attends WCS, and a fun grand-puppy.  I enjoy spending time with my family, vacationing in the mountains of Colorado, working in our church, gardening, cooking, entertaining, and doing crossword puzzles.


kforsyth@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 533
  Great Beginnings Teacher  

Victoria Ruffin

I have had the privilege to teach at Wichita Collegiate School as an assistant teacher in Great Beginnings since 2010.  I am excited to lead the way for our little Spartans in a nurturing, loving environment with lots of fun hands-on activities. As a mother, I have the rewarding experience of raising three Collegiate Spartans.  My oldest, Miles, came to Collegiate at age four and is now a member of the Class of 2018.  Audrey and Luke started Collegiate at the age of two and are now in the Class of 2020 and Class of 2022. I am blessed that they are here receiving an excellent education while I am only a building away. I am a transplant from Southern California and have been living in Wichita for 14 years.  Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my children, caring for our pets, teaching dance, and attending sporting events.


vruffin@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 532
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5  

Barbara Burcham

have been teaching at Wichita Collegiate for over 25 years. During those years, I had the privilege of watching many students, including my own three sons mature into amazing adults. I feel very honored and blessed to have watched their development. My purpose as an early childhood teacher is to provide a stimulating, safe and developmentally appropriate educational environment where children have the opportunity to develop cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. I love to joke around with children, learning from them and watching as they make new discoveries. I feel that it is a privilege to be able to share in children's lives. It is so rewarding to watch a child grasp a new concept and know that I was able to be a part of that discovery.




bburcham@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 511
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4  

Julia Collier 

I have been a preschool teacher at Wichita Collegiate School since 2003 and I love nurturing young children to be lifelong learners. When I graduated from Friends University I intended to teach English and literature. My husband and I moved to a small town outside Wichita with our two sons and I had the opportunity to work at my son's preschool. The 3 and 4 year olds were so enthusiastic about learning about everything around them. Every day was fresh and exciting. I have been teaching preschool for over 25 years and it has been a joyful adventure. Each child has something special to offer the world and I am so blessed to be able to share in that development. Please visit my website at 



jcollier@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 531
  Montessori Primary Teacher  

Debra Dennill

As a Montessori teacher I foster each child’s growth and development through a prepared environment with distinctive learning materials that are designed to meet their individual developmental needs. I see myself as a bridge between the environment and my students providing appropriate instruction and guidance. I believe that each child has tremendous ability to learn and assimilate from the world around them without conscious effort. It is my priority to teach according to my student’s needs in a safe and loving environment. This is my eleventh year teaching the Montessori Preschool class at Wichita Collegiate and I love every minute of it. I have found that I have grown alongside the children I have taught and look forward to every new school year. Both my children have been fortunate enough to attend Wichita Collegiate. Even though they have been taught by the same teachers, both have very different learning styles. Their learning instruction was tailored according to meet their individual needs, and this has helped them immeasurably. What a blessing to be part of a caring community.




ddennill@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 528
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5  

Kristin Freed 

I am so blessed to have “discovered” Collegiate for my own children 8 years ago. My oldest son Jordan, graduated in the class of 2010, my middle son Austin graduated in May 2016, and my daughter Natalie is in the class of 2018.  In 2015, I was fortunate to become part of the fantastic staff at Collegiate. As an Occupational Therapist and a teacher I enjoy “playing to learn” every day.  I believe that each child learns most effectively through play and these early years are so important for their future development and success. Please follow my blog at


kfreed@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 306
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4  

Heidi Gallagher  

I have three kids, two dogs and a fantastic husband! Our dogs are named after flowers. A White dog named Tulip, and a black dog named Lily. We like to play OUTSIDE as a family as much as possible. Our favorite things to do together are bouncing on the trampoline, and playing at the pool. I enjoy cooking yummy food to eat. I like to sew, and wish there were more hours in the day to do so. Teaching has always been my chosen career. I can't imagine doing anything else with my time outside of my family.







  Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5  

Cathy Gray

I believe that children are our greatest resource! It is an immense privilege to work with the children, parents and families of Wichita Collegiate School. I’ve enjoyed teaching in various early childhood settings in Kansas and Texas since 1996, but feel that I’ve finally found my “teaching home” here at Collegiate. It is rewarding to help nurture and facilitate each child’s growth academically, socially and emotionally. As I teach, I strive to make each day with the children positive and full of learning opportunities. I believe that children have the right to feel that their ideas and needs are respected. I understand the importance of listening patiently to their thoughts and concerns. As the mother of two children (one with learning differences), I know firsthand that each child has a unique way of learning and working. I am devoted to helping each child, adapting my instruction, classroom environment and the activities I provide to match their interests and needs while stimulating their curiosity and innate sense of wonder.


  Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5  

Cindy Johnson

I came to Wichita Collegiate school in 2004 to start a teaching career. I found a home within the school which has allowed me to work with adoring children and wonderful families. As a mom of two young children, I believe all children develop at the same level yet, the stages of development to reach that level take time. Once your child feels safe his / her social-emotional skills will begin to show confidence. New skills will begin to bloom such as cognition, language, large and fine motor skills. As a teacher my role is to implement developmentally appropriate practices which will stimulate curiosity and help children succeed in new experiences. I will also model positive behavior, interact in role play experiences and talk about emotions and feelings which will help guide them in making good and confident decisions. To learn more about our classroom please visit us at http://mrsjohnsonpreschoolclassroom.blogspot.com/

cjohnson@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 482
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5  

Amanda Leger 

I feel blessed and honored to be a teacher in the Early Childhood Division at WCS.  This is a very special place.  I knew that right when I stepped foot on the EC front porch that I needed to be here.   I taught Kindergarten for nine years in Arizona.  Upon moving to Wichita, I was offered a very exciting position wearing many hats in the Lower School and Early Childhood Divisions.  I received a birds’ eye view of how this amazing school functions and the many celebrations that occur.  Being a part of this family is truly a privilege.  Now that I have my own classroom I can provide the tools necessary to aid another generation through this rare educational opportunity.  




aleger@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 482
  Montessori Primary Teacher  

Swarna Manamperi

I believe to teach children, they need to be given freedom within limits and they must be loved and appreciated as individuals.  At Wichita Collegiate Montessori Primary we strive to take the whole child and help each individual child to develop character, academic skills and social behavior while teaching them to concentrate and improve self discipline.  I am proud to promote Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy and be part of Wichita Collegiate School for the last 15 years.



smanamperi@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 523
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4  

Beth Reeder

I am so excited to come back to my passion, teaching.  I can't wait to share in the lives of these young children and their families. I have an Associate degree from Southwestern College. I am also a Certified Instructor of Conscious Discipline and hope to share these skills with my students.  


bredder@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 513
  Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4   Maisy Ritter 

I believe that each child develops uniquely and at their own pace. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to provide a stimulating, safe, loving, and fun environment for each child to reach their full potential. It brings me immense joy to have a hand in fostering a lifetime love of learning in three and four year old children. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, taking care of our pets, reading, doing yoga, and cheering on the Shockers! For more information, please visit our classroom blog at: mritterwcs.blogspot.com

  Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4  

Cheryl Snyder

I have been a part of the Wichita Collegiate family since 2008. I have my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and feel passionate about giving our youngest learners a strong foundation to their academic career. Each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and engaging classroom in which to learn and grow. I am married and have two daughters. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, scuba diving and exercising.  


csnyder@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 512
  Full -Day Traditional Kindergarten Teacher  

Tyla Ast

I graduated from Fort Hays State University with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. After teaching Kindergarten in Texas for 6 years, I am so happy to be back in my home state of Kansas and feel very fortunate to continue my teaching career at Wichita Collegiate. I am very passionate about teaching and strive to make learning fun each and every day! I love to sing, dance, and read with my students. I find teaching Kindergarten to be so truly rewarding. It is wonderful to witness them become independent learners each day. I believe every child has the ability to excel and it is my privilege to help them reach their full potential! 


tast@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 514
  Full -Day Traditional Kindergarten Teacher  

Peggy Drew

I have been a teacher at WCS for over 22 years. In addition to teaching at Collegiate, I have taught kindergarten in the Los Angeles area. I am married and have one daughter, who is a graduate of WCS. I am now a proud grandmother to one grandson. When I am not teaching or working on school related activities I enjoy spending time with my family. I believe in having high expectations for my students and creating opportunities for them to have success in their developmental stage while stretching and growing as fast as they are able. I strive to provide a learning environment where each child feels safe, comfortable, welcome, and important. I want my classroom to be filled with joy, laughter, music, and active and engaged learners. I have degrees from Wichita State University, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA, with additional class work from UC Berkeley and UCLA. It is my privilege to work with young children and their parents. 


pdrew@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 509
  Montessori Kindergarten Teacher  

Sumita Ghosh

2010 was the year when I joined Wichita Collegiate to teach Montessori Kindergarten. Students, faculty and parents constitute the” Collegiate family.” I feel very blessed to be a part of this family where education holds a central position. My husband and I have 2 beautiful daughters. I enjoy cooking, art, travelling, and spending quality time with my family. It has been my passion to teach and nurture young children and help them become self-directed learners. I believe in a safe, loving and prepared classroom environment with the appropriate learning materials. This method of instruction enable each child to work at their own pace and reach their full potential in all areas of development.  It is very rewarding to watch how the children blossom at the end of each school year. The foundation that is laid at a very young age helps the students to grow up to be successful global citizens. Please visit my blog to learn more about my classroom.


sghosh@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 520
  Half-Day Kindergarten Teacher  

Leigh Godwin

My home is in the country, just outside of Belle Plaine. My husband and I have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, three grandsons, and three granddaughters. If I am not with family I am at school or outside working. Music, animals, insects, flowers, and watching the process of growth are a few of my passions. My professional background is in psychology, middle school science, special education, elementary, and early childhood education. I believe that children do not care what you know unless they know that you care. Belonging to the WCS community since 1996 has given me the great fortune of working with dedicated colleagues that share this philosophy.


lgodwin@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 510
Enhancement Teachers

Belinda Mould

I am thrilled to start a new chapter at Collegiate as the Early Childhood Librarian. Passing on my love of books and reading to youngsters is a dream come true. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.  My very first teaching position began at Collegiate over thirty-five years ago teaching third grade. After being at WCS for three years I chose to go part-time at another private school while my children were young, After seven years I returned to my first roots, Collegiate. I have a son and daughter who both graduated from Collegiate. My son, Aaron lives in Houston with his wife, Erin, and two of my grandsons, Jake and Chase. My daughter, Shannon lives in Wichita with her husband, Joe and my third grandson, Lucas. Shannon works at WCS and heads up the middle school learning lab. I have loved every minute of teaching third graders for twenty-nine years. I’m happy I will be tutoring lower school students when I’m not working in the library. My husband, Art and I love going to anything - Collegiate, especially dinner theatre and basketball. I feel so blessed to have Collegiate be such an integral part of my family and my life. Jeremiah 29:11


bmould@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 406
  Physical Education Teacher  

Kathy Wagner

I have been teaching Physical Education at Wichita Collegiate School for forty years. Throughout that time, I have taught at every level and coached a variety of different sports, including gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, and track. For the last 17 years I have been teaching PE to early childhood and Kindergarten students. I feel fortunate to work with this age student because laying the foundation for a lifetime of physical activity and healthy choices is so important. I enjoy attending and presenting at Physical Education conferences around the country and have returned with many innovative ideas to share with students and colleagues. This helps to keep my curriculum fresh and fun as I incorporate my yearly theme. Please visit my blog at http://wcsecpe.blogspot.com/

kathywagner@wcsks.com (316) 771-2207
  Music Teacher  

Steve Elmore

"Don't underestimate the children."--that's the motto that could be posted above the Early Childhood Music Classroom door.  Our young students are more musically capable than many persons realize, even music teachers.  We explore melody, harmony, beat, rhythm, expresion, and movement in age-appropriate ways, but in a manner which attempts to motivate each student to reach higher levels of achievement.  My twelve years serving as the Early Childhood Music Teacher has given me a great appreciation of the joy and exuberance demonstrated by the students I have had the privilege to engage.  I consider working with your children a wonderful blessing.


selmore@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489 ext. 536
Support Staff
  Teacher's Aide   Teri Blasi tblasi@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Teacher's Aide, Lunch Bunch   Kristin Chamberlin kchamberlin@wcsks.com  (316)634-0489
  Teacher's Aide, Kids Club Supervisor   Sarah Walston swalston@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Teacher's Aide    Lauren Messamore lmessamore@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Lunch    Vicki Salemi
vsalemi@wcsks.com (316)634-0489
  Teacher's Aide   Katie Nicholson knicholson@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Kids Club Supervisor   Gracie Moore gmoore@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Lunch, Kids Club Supervisor   Paige Gray pgray1@wcsks.com (316) 634-0489
  Teacher's Aide   Masumeh Zarei mzarei@wcsks.com  (316)634-0489 
  Teacher's Aide   Shelly Salimnejad ssalmnejad@wcsks.com (316)634-0489
  Kids Club   Kelli Kirmer
kkirmer@wcsks.com (316)634-0489
  Kids Club   Sage Lawrence slawrence@wcsks.com (316)634-0489
  Kids Club   Jackie Sebbo jsebbo@wcsks.com (316)634-0489