Our Staff

Mary Glish
Director

Mary started United Church Preschool in 1993, soon after moving to Chapel Hill.  Mary has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Purdue University and taught Kindergarten and Preschool for 10 years prior to joining UCP. She was excited for the challenge of creating a Preschool from the ground up and is still as passionate today as she was on her first day at UCP!  Mary was a teacher in the Fish Class for several years until the size of the program required a full time Director.  Mary loves the many traditions at UCP; but her favorite day of the year is Hibernation Day. All of the teachers and children wear PJs to school as Mary whips up her homemade pancakes! Maryhas two grown children with families of their own.  Mary loves to see her own children’s childhood friends come to UCP as parents!  Outside of school Mary likes to play tennis, read, swim and visit her two sweet granddaughters. You will see and hear Mary; with her infectious laugh, greeting the children every morning in the hallway.

Jane Waddell
Music Teacher

Jane started at UCP in 2016.  She previously taught Music at St. Thomas Moore for 21 years.  Jane’s credentials include K-12th grade state certification in music and Chorister's Guild certification in conducting children's choirs. Jane is Orff and Suzuki piano trained. Jane is excited to provide a fun environment for experiencing music in the Preschool classroom setting. She looks forward to introducing music terms and concepts in an age appropriate way that will encourage musical growth for the children. Jane and her husband are members of the South Orange Rescue Squad as CPR instructors and former Paramedics.  They also volunteer at the Orange Grove Fire Department. Jane would love to welcome any UCP parents to visit the music classroom any Monday or Tuesday morning to watch your kids in action!

Anitra Grove
4-5 Year Old
Frog Teacher

Anitra has been involved with UCP since 2012 as a former Turtle teacher, a parent, and as a board liaison with the church.  Anitra also serves as the Director of Children’s Ministries here at United Church of Chapel Hill.  A Southeastern North Carolina native, Anitra graduated from Meredith College with a degree in Child Development and has enjoyed more than 20 years of working in the early childhood field.  Sharing space with children and being invited into their sacred world is a gift and Anitra is thrilled to join this amazing team of early childhood educators to nurture and support the development, joy, and curiosity of every child at UCP!    Anitra, Neil, their two children, Anna and John, and dog, Sadie, enjoy life in Hillsborough, NC.  In her free time, Anitra enjoys time in nature, reading, yoga, and spending time with her family and friends!

Liz Gray
3-4 Year Old
Fish Teacher

Liz has been involved with UCP for 13 years—as a parent, board member, and substitute teacher—and she is thrilled to begin her second year teaching in the Fish class. All four of her children are UCP alums who to this day maintain some of the friendships they first made here at the preschool. Her favorite UCP tradition is Hibernation Day. Liz graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English. In her free time, she enjoys walking, reading, and spending time with her family. 

Jaclyn Volpe
2-3 Year Old
Turtle Teacher

Jaclyn started at UCP as a Turtle Class teacher in 2015. Three of four of Jaclyn’s children attended UCP during which she was an active board member. After her last child graduated from UCP she couldn’t bear to leave so she accepted Mary’s offer to become a UCP teacher! Before having children, Jaclyn taught high school math outside of Chicago and Boston. Jaclyn has a bachelor’s degree in math from Duke University and a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University.  She loves all ages of children (her oldest is 15), but believes ages 2-5 are the most magical years.  Outside of school Jaclyn enjoys reading, Pilates, and volunteering.

Ellen Stillson
4-5 Year Old
Frog Teacher

Ellen started at UCP in 2008. Ellen has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and studied speech therapy for two years in graduate school. Ellen has been an instructional helper at her children's elementary school and also teaches at Duke School in the afternoons. She enjoys reading, movies, bike riding and loves spending time with her family and friends.  Both of Ellen’s children are in traveling sports which keeps her very busy! The Stillson Family loves the Chicago Cubs since her husband grew up just outside of Chicago; go Cubs!

Peggy Brill
3-4 Year Old
Fish Teacher

This is Peggy’s 25th year at UCP! She has taught in both the Turtle and Fish classrooms.  Peggy loves working at UCP because of the awesome staff and getting to know all the wonderful children and families. Peggy’s favorite tradition is Splash Day because it is a really fun way to end the school year with the children enjoying the outdoors and water play. Peggy’s family includes her husband Pete, son Nick and daughter Dayna. Outside of school she enjoys walking, reading and going to the movies. 

Cindy Riebling
2-3 Year Old
Turtle Teacher

Cindy started at UCP as a Turtle Class teacher in 2015. Cindy’s daughter Mackenzie, went all the way through the program from Turtle, to Fish and then Frog.  As both a teacher and a parent, Cindy believes the best part of UCP is “learning through play”.   Two of Cindy’s favorite UCP traditions are Hibernation Day and Splash Day. Cindy also loves seeing the kids at the Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser.  Cindy’s family includes her husband Jeff, daughter Mackenzie and two mini pinchers, Izzy and Jake. Outside of school Cindy really enjoys running and traveling with her family.

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