Our Team




Mary started United Church Preschool in 1993, soon after moving to Chapel Hill.  She 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.  She 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! Mary has two grown children with families of their own.  She 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.



Turtle Class Teacher

Jaclyn started at UCP as a Turtle Class teacher in 2015. Three of her four children attended UCP, during which time she was an active parent, board member, and substitute teacher. After Jaclyn's last child graduated from UCP she couldn’t bear to leave so she accepted Mary’s offer to become a UCP teacher! She loves all ages of children (her oldest is 17), but believes ages 2 to 5 are the most magical years. Jaclyn considers being a child’s first teacher outside the home a true privilege and a great responsibility. It is her hope to instill a love of school in each Turtle’s mind and heart.


Turtle Class 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.


Fish Class Teacher

Liz has been involved with UCP since 2005—as a parent, board member, and substitute teacher—and has taught the Fish class since 2017. She uses books, songs, art, and activities to make her classroom a joyful place to begin a lifetime of learning. All four of her children are UCP alums who to this day maintain friendships they first made here at the preschool. In her free time, Liz enjoys walking, reading, and spending time with her family.


Fish Class 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. 


Frog Class 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!


Frog Class 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, and 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!