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About Us

History

Established in 1974 as a mission of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Early Childhood Center has been serving the northwest Tucson community for almost 50 years. Our center started with 24 students and has grown to over 100 students all while maintaining small class sizes and high-quality programs for young children.

Purpose and Philosophy

St. Mark’s Early Childhood Center provides developmentally appropriate, play-based year-round and school year programs for children ages one – Kindergarten.  We believe that children can flourish in a kind, nurturing, and joyful environment. Together we work to ensure every child has an opportunity to grow in all areas of their development-cognitive, social, emotional, physical, language, and spiritual.  

A young child’s brain grows and develops at an incredibly fast rate.  The best early learning provides opportunities for children to explore through hands-on activities that are play-based, intentional, and meet the needs of each individual learner. Our programs align with the Arizona Infant/Toddler Guidelines and the Arizona Early Learning Standards.

Come Grow With Us!

Meet Our Staff

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Laurie Walsh, Director

Laurie has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Special Education with a teaching endorsement in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Laurie has taught preschool through sixth grade as well as special education.  In 2007, Laurie began teaching Kindergarten at St. Mark’s Early Childhood Center and after nine years in the classroom, she became the center director in 2016.  Laurie is a Tucson native and enjoys hiking, exercising, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.  Laurie is passionate about providing a joyful, supportive, safe environment at St. Mark’s where children learn and grow at their own pace. 

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Amy Boynton, Assistant Director

Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a post-baccalaureate certification in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona.  She worked in kindergarten-3rd grade classrooms before taking a break to raise her own two kids who attended St. Mark’s. When Amy returned to the classroom, she taught 3’s preschool classes at St. Mark’s and then moved into the office in 2021.  She has been the Assistant Director since April 2022.  Amy is a Tucson native and enjoys traveling with her family, hiking, sports, and supporting her kids in their extra-curricular activities.  Amy truly enjoys the relationships and connections she makes with the St. Mark’s students and their families.

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Jenny Lowery, Administrative Assistant

Jenny has a BA in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Studies in that degree include Psychology, Sociology, Family Studies, Elementary Education and Special Education. She has raised two children who both attended St. Mark’s Early Childhood Center for preschool and kindergarten, where she served on the ECC advisory board and also taught Spanish for one year. Jenny rejoined the St. Mark’s ECC family once again as the Administrative Assistant in April 2022. Jenny is a Tucson native who loves the summer rains, desert hikes and quality time with family and friends. Jenny enjoys watching children grow and thrive while working alongside the caring and dedicated team that is St. Mark’s ECC.

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Jordan Parrish
Kindergarten Teacher

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Sandra Butterbrodt
Kindergarten Assistant

  • Associates Degree
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Ammie Cooper
Pre-K Teacher

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Tiffany Simmons
Pre-K Teacher

  • Master’s in Education
  • Children are alumni
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Robin Vanderkolk
Pre-K Teacher

  • Bachelors in Elementary/Early Childhood Education
  • Children are alumni
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Liana Nelson
3’s Preschool Teacher

  • Associates in Early Childhood Education/Applied Arts
  • Children are alumni
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Kristen Sawyer
Pre-K/Preschool Assistant

  • Associates degree
  • Children are alumni
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Arcy Braggs
4-Year-Old Teacher

  • 20+ years preschool teaching experience
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Laurie Harvey
4-Year-Old Teacher

  • Associates in Visual and Performing Arts
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Jordan Parrish
3 & 4-Year-Old Teacher

  • Bachelors degree/current post-bacc student in elementary education
  • Child attends St. Mark’s
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Hannah Hartranett
3-Year-Old Teacher

  • Current college student in elementary education
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Ammie Cooper
Teaching Assistant

  • Masters in Education
  • Children are alumni
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Linda Galaz
2-Year-Old Teacher

  • 13+ years experience teaching toddlers
  • Children are alumni
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Allyson Paul
2-Year-Old Teacher

  • JTED Early Childhood Education Certificate
  • Child attends St. Mark’s
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Dana Fellhauer
2-Year-Old Teacher

  • 6+ years experience in early childhood classrooms
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Natalie Granados-Vasquez
2-Year-Old Teacher

  • 6+ years experience in early childhood classrooms
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Debby Kelly
1-Year-Old Teacher

  • 16+ years experience teaching toddlers
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Monique Tena
Teaching Assistant

  • Associates degree
  • Child is alumni
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