Teachers and Staff

Staff

My name is Amy Goodmanson and I have had a passion for working with children for as long as I can remember. Through the years I have had incredible mentors, coaches, and colleagues who have helped shape who I am and what I believe.

For the past 22 years that I have worked in Early Childhood Education, I have had the privilege of working with young children from birth through age 6 and their families, and what I love most is watching how much children learn, grow, and change while they develop trusting relationships with their caregivers. I strongly believe that parents are their child’s first and most important teacher, and teachers, staff and parents are partners in a child’s education.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. I started working at Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten in 2009 as the Assistant Director, and became the director in 2017. It has been a blessing and a joy to lead a team of amazing early childhood professionals, and I look forward to continuing our journey as we learn and grow together.

My husband is a high school music teacher and we have two daughters. As I continue my lifelong journey of growing in my faith, family, and career, I am constantly reminded that I am blessed beyond measure.

My name is Jackie Van Winkle.  I feel fortunate to be working as Assistant Director at Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten. I value the sense of community and family, small class sizes, and nurturing and experienced teachers. This is my fourth year at Cross of Christ. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age 11, our family moved to my parents’ native country of the Netherlands where we lived for 8 years. We then relocated to Colorado, where I have lived ever since.

I received my Associate of Arts from Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado in Early Childhood Education. I then taught preschool for one year prior to returning to college. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado with a major in Elementary Education. I was fortunate to start my teaching career in Adams 12 Five Star Schools where I taught Kindergarten for 27 years. I loved creating a caring, nurturing and developmentally appropriate classroom community for my students. I retired from full time teaching in 2012; however, I have remained active in the field of education in various roles as a part time Literacy Interventionist, English Language Learner Teacher, Substitute Teacher, and now as an Assistant Director at Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten. 

Combined, my husband Joey and I have 4 adult children, 3 daughters and 1 son. We feel blessed that they and their spouses all live in northern Colorado. We also have 3 grandchildren, Haley is 14 years old, Carson is 6 years old, and Brooks is now 10 months old.

I enjoy gardening, snowshoeing, spending time with family, and an occasional good novel.

My name is Carlen McGregor and I have been working as the bookkeeper at Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten since 2009. Prior to working at the school my two children attended Cross of Christ. The philosophy of the school and the hands on approach to learning are two ideals that drew me to this place. The biggest plus for me is the loving and caring atmosphere the staff consistently displays. Teamwork is very important to the staff, and each one is willing to go the extra mile to help out.  My family and I enjoy hiking and camping. I also enjoy attending my kids’ sporting events and band concerts.

My name is Michelle Thornhill and I am a pediatric Physical Therapist who teaches Movement and Music here at Cross of Christ as well as three-year-olds. A native to Colorado, I grew up in Boulder and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Health Sciences Center to get my master’s in Physical Therapy. I had the great fortune to spend nearly 18 years working at The Children’s Hospital in nearly every department, helped establish the International Adoption Clinic, and provided Early Intervention services in the home for many families with children Birth to 3. I came to Cross of Christ in 2011 to help consult with teachers and never left. I am fascinated by children’s growth and development as well as watching children learn and have found my role here to be very fulfilling.

I have been married to my husband Joel for 19 years and we have two teenage daughters (Megan and Lindsay) and two dogs (Bella and Mayzie). I have a love for children, animals, ancestry and like to spend my free time with family, gardening, scrapbooking or reading.

My name in Bonnie Cleary and I am native to Colorado, growing up in the Arvada area. I currently live in Erie with my husband Steve, and our 2 children, Benjamin and Emily. Ben is 14 and in his first year of high school, and Emily is 11 and in her first year of middle school.

Teaching is actually my second career, my first being in health care. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University with a Human Services degree. With this I started working as a Medical Assistant in OB/GYN and Pediatrics, which I did for 10 years. I then took a few years off to be home with our children. Both of my children attended Cross of Christ Preschool, and it was during this time that I began subbing at our school. I also worked in the nursery during Sunday services, where I discovered that I loved working with young children. I then decided to go back to college, and enrolled at Front Range Community College in the Early Childhood Program. I graduated from the certificate program, and am Early Childhood and Kindergarten certified. I began working at a full time childcare center, but missed the smaller community feel of Cross of Christ.

Since returning I have facilitated the lunch bunch program, worked as a substitute teacher, was the snack preparer and assistant teacher, and most recently became a 4-year-old teacher. As your child’s teacher I will create a safe and inviting environment where children feel comfortable exploring and learning. I believe that parents are their child’s first and most important teacher, and as your child’s teacher, I will strive to form a partnership with you and your child as they learn and experience new things.

In my free time, I enjoy cooking, watching sports especially the Avs and Rockies, and spending time with my family.

3 year old teachers

Kaarin Jacobson has experience with children from ages 1 to 11, as well as a strong education background and a passion for teaching.

She has taught toddlers (1 to 3-year-olds) and Pre-Kindergarten (ages 4 ½ to 5 ½ ) in childcare settings for 5+ years. After earning her Masters of Elementary Education (K-8) degree and K-6 teaching license, she taught third and fourth grade in the Jefferson County school district for 3 years until her first daughter, Sarah, was born.

Kaarin was a stay-at-home mom for 7 years and had another daughter, Anna. Both of her daughters attended Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten from age 3 through Kindergarten; as a parent volunteer, Kaarin created the student picture directories and yearly auction booklets for 5 years.

For the 2016-2017 year, Kaarin taught the Thursday Lunch Bunch group and was a substitute in every classroom including Kindergarten, and got to know all the children and the wonderful teaching techniques of all Cross of Christ’s excellent teachers.

Since 2017, Kaarin has taught the Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday 3-year-old classes. Her favorite parts of teaching 3-year-olds?: Watching them grow, their incredible curiosity, energy, and willingness to learn, singing and doing fingerplays and stories, and sharing her love of learning with them!

My name is Mary Hoyland and I’m excited to be a teacher at Cross of Christ Preschool.

Three of my five children attended Cross of Christ Preschool and it always felt like a big family, with the teachers as well as other student’s families.  I joined the Preschool team in 2017 as a substitute teacher and helped with the Lunch Bunch program.  In 2019, I became a teacher for the 3 year olds (3 day program).

I earned my BS in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University.  I have spent numerous hours volunteering within the preschool, and elementary schools that my children attended.  I have also held several volunteer positions for Boy Scouts of America (from Den Leader – until my son aged out, to most currently the Pack Activity Coordinator for a Pack of nearly 100 scouts).

I grew up in Colorado, and after graduating from CSU I moved to England where I previously met my husband. We started our family in the UK and after 10 years we decided to move back “home”.  Our 5 kids (John (18), Nathan (16), Madeleine (14), Elliott (12) and Grace (7)) keep us busy with all their activities.  

My name is Michelle Thornhill and I am a pediatric Physical Therapist who teaches Movement and Music here at Cross of Christ as well as three-year-olds. A native to Colorado, I grew up in Boulder and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Health Sciences Center to get my master’s in Physical Therapy. I had the great fortune to spend nearly 18 years working at The Children’s Hospital in nearly every department, helped establish the International Adoption Clinic, and provided Early Intervention services in the home for many families with children Birth to 3. I came to Cross of Christ in 2011 to help consult with teachers and never left. I am fascinated by children’s growth and development as well as watching children learn and have found my role here to be very fulfilling. 

I have been married to my husband Joel for 19 years and we have two teenage daughters (Megan and Lindsay) and two dogs (Bella and Mayzie). I have a love for children, animals, ancestry and like to spend my free time with family, gardening, scrapbooking or reading.

4 year old teachers

My name is Bilette Kulhanek and I grew up in the mountains here in Colorado. I currently live in north Thornton with my husband David and 2 of our 3 children. Nathan is 17 and Grace is 12. Our oldest daughter, Katrina, lives in Colorado Springs.

I began my college education at CU in Boulder. I finished with a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Growth and Development at George Mason University in Virginia. I also have 28 hours of Early Childhood Classes from Red Rock Community College.

My career in Education began in a small Infant Center in Boulder. Since then, I have worked with children of all ages in public and private child care centers, Jefferson County Preschools, and was invited to help open and teach at the child care center at Red Rocks Community College. During my time at Jefferson County and Red Rocks my classrooms were often models of quality for college students in the Early Childhood programs at the college.

I took a break for awhile to foster/adopt our oldest daughter and ended up home for 16 years raising my own children. As my children got older I found myself missing my young friends. I came to Cross of Christ looking to substitute, but they needed a  teacher. This will be my 3rd year at the school and I have loved being back in the classroom.

My goal in my classroom is that every child feels welcomed and loved. I strive to create a warm, friendly, safe, and fun environment where children are comfortable exploring and learning.

In my free time I like a good book, cooking, gardening, camping, and traveling.

Jamie Merrion has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over twenty years as a teacher, director, and parenting coach. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. She hopes to continue to work in early childhood as a mental health consultant. Jamie believes that early childhood is an important part of life, and children should have the opportunity to learn and grow in a loving and supporting environment.

Jamie is married with four children, three of whom attended Cross of Christ for preschool. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, reading, and walking her dogs.

My name in Bonnie Cleary and I am native to Colorado, growing up in the Arvada area. I currently live in Erie with my husband Steve, and our 2 children, Benjamin and Emily. Ben is 14 and in his first year of high school, and Emily is 11 and in her first year of middle school.

Teaching is actually my second career, my first being in health care. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University with a Human Services degree. With this I started working as a Medical Assistant in OB/GYN and Pediatrics, which I did for 10 years. I then took a few years off to be home with our children. Both of my children attended Cross of Christ Preschool, and it was during this time that I began subbing at our school. I also worked in the nursery during Sunday services, where I discovered that I loved working with young children. I then decided to go back to college, and enrolled at Front Range Community College in the Early Childhood Program. I graduated from the certificate program, and am Early Childhood and Kindergarten certified. I began working at a full time childcare center, but missed the smaller community feel of Cross of Christ.

Since returning I have facilitated the lunch bunch program, worked as a substitute teacher, was the snack preparer and assistant teacher, and most recently became a 4-year-old teacher. As your child’s teacher I will create a safe and inviting environment where children feel comfortable exploring and learning. I believe that parents are their child’s first and most important teacher, and as your child’s teacher, I will strive to form a partnership with you and your child as they learn and experience new things.

In my free time, I enjoy cooking, watching sports especially the Avs and Rockies, and spending time with my family.

Kindergarten

My name is Lynne Hobbs. I was born in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher as I loved playing school with my two sisters. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The Ohio State University, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I met my husband. I substitute taught in grades K-6 before landing my dream job of working as a kindergarten teacher. While substitute teaching, I earned my master’s degree in elementary education at Arizona State University.

After having twin daughters in 2000, I decided to stay home with my children. My family moved to Colorado in 2001 and made Cross of Christ our church home. Both daughters attended Cross of Christ Preschool. I decided to become a preschool teacher after volunteering in this nurturing environment.

This is  my 14th year at Cross of Christ Preschool and Kindergarten. My first two years were spent substituting and facilitating the lunch bunch program. I taught the 4 year olds, first in the 3 day a week class and then the 4 day class, until 2019, when I became the kindergarten teacher. I enjoy working with preschool children and watching them learn and grow as they experience new things.

In my free time I enjoy traveling, camping, taking lots of pictures, and spending time with my family.

Wonder of Wednesday teachers

My name is Leah Guias I have been teaching at Cross of Christ since 2017. Although I have been working with children professionally for over ten years, my love for children started when volunteering with Romanian orphans. On my annual trips to Romania to work with abused and abandoned children I became passionate about child development. Naturally I decided to study human development with a minor in early childhood education. Now I feel so blessed to be a part of helping children learn and grow in the preschool setting. My favorite part of working with children is getting to know each child as a unique person and helping them grow into that. One thing I love about working at Cross of Christ is the small classes where I can take the time to get to know each child and teach to their uniqueness.