Early Childhood

Becky O'Hearn

Head of early childhood


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. 

Tel: (316) 771-2204

Junilda Farner

Assistant Director of Early Childhood


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 early 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!

Tel: (316) 771-2247

Kennedy Beck

teacher assistant


I am so excited to be working in the preschool classroom. I have always had a love for children and I love learning from them. This fall I begin graduate school to earn my Master's degree in Education.

Tel: 316-634-0489

Teri Blasi

support staff


My husband and I have one daughter who is 27 years old.  She began attending Collegiate in kindergarten.  My career at WCS started when she was in 4th grade.  Prior to that I was a stay at home mom.  Before my daughter was born I worked as an x-ray technologist for Wesley Medical Center and Dopps Chiropractic.  This is my 18th year assisting teachers with classroom prep and recess.  
In our free time we love spending time at our family cabin on Table Rock Lake, but on many weekends you will find us babysitting our precious grand puppy and helping our daughter remodel her 1950's home.  

Tel: 316-634-0489 ext. 525

Barbara Burcham

Traditional Preschool teacher 4/5


I 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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 377

Tiffany Cleveland

Great Beginnings Teacher Assistant


My husband and I have three children, all boys, ages 19, 17 & 8. This is my 6th year at WCS and all have been spent in the Great Beginnings program.
I love teaching the youngest Spartans to find a love of learning. It is amazing to see their growth by the end of the school year.  My approach to this position is to be of great support to my lead teacher and to care for our students as I would care for my own children.
Go Spartans!

Tel: 316-634-0489

Julia Collier

Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4


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 

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 531

Kasey Criser

Teacher Assistant


This is my first year at Wichita Collegiate and I could not be more excited to join this inviting atmosphere! I have lived in Wichita all my life and attended Andover School District K-12. I graduated in 2016 from Kansas State University with a BA degree in Elementary Education and minor in English. In my many years volunteering in the classroom, it confirmed my 2nd grade dream of being a teacher was the right decision for me. I am very passionate about making an impact in the lives of children and joining them on their journey to learn. In my free time, I enjoy watching a good movie, spending time with my loving family, or going to the lake. I am excited to meet more of the Collegiate family and feel very blessed with the opportunity to work with this amazingly supportive staff. Go Spartans! 

Tel: (316)634-0489

Debra Dennill

Montessori Primary Teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 528

Steve Elmore

Early childhood Music Teacher


"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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 536

Kay Forsyth

Great Beginnings Teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 533

Kristin Freed

Traditional Preschool teacher 4/5


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

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 306

Heidi Jo Gallagher

Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 306

Sumita Ghosh

Montessori Kindergarten Teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 520

Leigh Godwin

Teacher assistant


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489

Cathy Gray

Traditional kindergarten teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 263

Rene Hanson

teacher assistant


 I dearly love working with the children and at this wonderful school.

Tel: 316-634-0489

Jennifer Hearne

EC & LS Counselor


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.

Tel: (316) 771-2238

Cindy Johnson

traditional kindergarten teacher


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 our blog. 

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 265

Missy Kotkin



I studied at Penn State University and University of Iowa receiving a Bachelor degree in Business and Communications. I love working with children, especially ages 3-5 and watching them grow. We lived in Atlanta, GA for almost 10 years where I taught 3/4 year old preschool, Sunday school and Awanas. We lived in Shanghai, China for 4 years where I worked in the International school with children grades K-2, Girl Scout troop leader, Cub Scout leader and taught SundaySchool. We have lived in Wichita, KS for 4 years and just dropped off our Collegiate '17 graduate to college. I'm very excited for this new chapter in my life and to be a part of Collegiate. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and have been blessed with 4 amazing children ages 6, 12, 14, 18 and a cute dog named Hershey that speaks Chinese. I treasure my time with family, enjoy doing arts & crafts and love coffee.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 306

Amanda Leger

Traditional kindergarten teacher


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.  

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 262

Swarna Manamperi

Montessori Primary Teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 267

Lauren Messamore

Teacher Assistant 



Tel: 316-634-0489 ext. 531

Belinda Mould

Early childhood Librarian


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

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext406

Elizabeth Quick

Teacher assistant


I graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After graduating, I began teaching high school Spanish. Although the majority of my teaching experience is with high school students, I have had the privilege of teaching all levels from preschool to university students. For the past ten years, I have been a stay at home mom to two wonderful children. I am so excited to be back in the classroom learning and growing with the extraordinary students, faculty, and staff at Wichita Collegiate School.

Tel: 316-634-0489

Beth Reeder

Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4


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.  

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 513

Maisy Ritter

Traditional Preschool Teacher 4/5


I have been a part of the Collegiate family since 2012. I have a BA from Wichita State University and will complete my MS in Early Childhood Education in Spring 2018. I believe that each child develops uniquely and at their own pace. I strive to provide a balanced, developmentally appropriate curriculum where children engage in both hands-on, child-directed activities as well as teacher-directed activities. I believe that children learn best when they know they are loved and supported. 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 our young Spartans. In my free time 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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 282

Tara Ritter

Great Beginnings Assistant Teacher


I have enjoyed being part of the WCS family since 2014. Over this time I have served in various support staff roles and currently work as a teaching assistant in Great Beginnings. I thoroughly appreciate working in a supportive environment which considers the whole child; individual developmental needs and the shared impact of students, families, our school and our community.  I have worked in some aspect of early childhood for over 20 years and am daily reminded how thankful I am to have landed here. I am married and have three children, the oldest of which teaches traditional preschool at WCS. I have an Associate’s of Applied Science in Early Childhood and will receive my Bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University in the spring of 2018. In my free time I enjoy weight lifting, cooking, reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Tel: 316-634-0489

Victoria Ruffin

Great Beginnings Teacher


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.

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 532

Cheryl Snyder

Traditional Preschool Teacher 3/4


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. 

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 512

Kathy Wagner

Early Childhood Physical Education Teacher


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

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 207

Sarah Walston

Teacher Assistant


My name is Sarah Walston. I was born and raised in Wichita and married my husband, Andy, in 1999. We have twin daughters, Abby and Haley that were born in 2005. My love of Collegiate started when I enrolled my girls into the Great Beginnings classroom in 2008. As they continued their journey through Early Childhood, I grew more in love with the school and the staff. When my girls started kindergarten in 2011, I started working for Collegiate. I have worked as a Lunchroom Aid, Recess Monitor, Teacher Prep, Kids Club, Montessori Teaching Aid and Traditional Pre-K (4-5) Aid.  I enjoy helping to support children’s learning and development through these important early childhood years.

Tel: 316-634-0489 ext. 517

Masumeh Zarei

Traditional preschool teacher 4/5


Children learn more from who you are than what you teach!
My genuine enthusiasm for teaching gives me purpose and lifts my spirit! Since I walked through the doors of Early Childhood back in 2011, I have been welcomed with love and compassion from colleagues, students and parents and WCS has become second family for me. Children inspire me and I love their individuality and uniqueness. Each day is a gift as I watch the sparkle in the little ones’ eyes as they learn and discover something new.
My husband and I have two amazing daughters, Hanna and Ayla. I love spending time with my family enjoying the great outdoors while riding our bikes or taking a walk in a park. Reading, watching movies, listening to music, yoga, cooking and gardening are among my favorite activities.
I look forward to what each school year brings!

Tel: (316) 634-0489 ext. 268
Mrs. Zarei's Blog