Mt Edgecumbe Preschool Team

Kate Johnson

Teacher 

I bring songs and stories to the children of Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool. Often I start the day with our students singing songs and end the day with them bundled up for outside play.

 

My background in early childhood education started in 1998. After a couple years of studying psychology I discovered playing & doing projects with children was much more fun than studying their behavior. From that point I completed my degree from University of Alaska Anchorage in Early Childhood Education. I have been working and playing with young children since. 

 

Outside preschool I can be found on beaches and hiking trails with my husband Luke & daughters Isabel & Amara.

 

I am is a voracious reader and have passed on this interest to my children. If you need book ideas for your children or something for yourself, I might be able to help!

Kate 2019.jpeg

Erika Knox

Office Manager

I first came to Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool in 1977 with my brother when it was located across the bridge on the "island." That year my mother helped the preschool transition from an informal group of friends offering preschool-like experiences to an official licensed facility with IRS 501(c)3 non-profit status.

 

The school continued as a place of exploration for my own children Kobi & Anan who are now alumni.  Even though they both graduated from preschool they enjoy coming back to school to spend time with the currently enrolled children.

 

I offer a tiny desk for visitors during the day while I pay the bills and keep things going behind the scenes.  Young visitors enjoy "supervising" copy machine repair people or listening to audiobooks or classical music.

Bernadette Rasmussen

Teacher 

I came to Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool after spending time with the Wooch.een Head Start Preschool & as an Americorp Volunteer at Baranof Elementary School kindergarten classes.  

Most locals will recognize me as the avid baker & business owner of the Backdoor Cafe of 18 years.  When my daughter was young I cared for her and several other children in our home. I've been part of the Sitka community since 1980 with my partner Darryl Rehkopf.

When I'm not listening to children tell their stories at Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool, I spend my time baking, volunteering everywhere in the community including  the Baranof Elementary School Kindergarten classrooms, visiting my daughter & traveling the world. You may see me walking around town often followed by a small elderly grumpy dog named Tucker.

Lori Whitmill

Director and Teacher

I've been lucky to call Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool my second home for 16 years. 

I first joined the Preschool as a devoted parent helper in daughter Kaysia’s class, then joined the staff as a teacher in 2003 before becoming Director in 2004. I enjoy kids of all ages and have taught middle and high school biology and coached high school and college sports. 

I have a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of California – Davis, a teaching certificate from Sonoma State University, and a Masters in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from UAS.  I especially enjoy continuing education classes and self-directed study in Early Childhood Education.

 

I have lived in Sitka for 25 years. Commercial fishing brought me here and I've never wanted to leave!

 

When I'm not at school I spend my time gardening, building things, cooking, and going on hikes with my partner Jeannie Jay and my dog Charlie. I have a new granddaughter so I'll be making lots of trips to Oregon to visit!

Krystal Strong

Teacher

I am so excited to meet all of you and begin our 2020-2021 Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool adventure together!

Sitka has been home to my family for the past nine years.  My husband is a math and PE teacher at Sitka High School and we have three children together: Calvin (11 years old), Malachi (six years old) and Valya (four years old). Valya is also a student at Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool.

I have my Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in teaching and an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I love working with children and have a long history of working in various early childhood programs before running my own family childcare program, Nature & Nurture Family Childcare, from 2010 until now. 

Shortly after getting married in 2007 I taught at Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool and the program has had a special place in my heart ever since. It’s fun to see how many of the preschoolers I worked with then are now being taught by my husband in high school! Both my boys attended MEPS and have rich memories of their time there and now that my youngest is preschool age I’m looking forward to working with the preschool once again and  making lasting memories with her and all of your amazing children.