All staff members at Good Shepherd Preschool meet or exceed the educational requirements of the Maryland State Department of Education.
All teachers of Early Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten classes have bachelor's or master's degrees, experience working with young children, and additional training and coursework in early childhood education. Assistant teachers have at minimum high school diplomas, experience working with young children, and additional training and coursework in early childhood education.
The directors, teachers, and assistant teachers participate in the Maryland Child Care Credential program, which requires extensive continuing education in child development, early childhood curriculum, special needs, professionalism, communication, and health, safety, and nutrition. Staff members are certified in First Aid and CPR and are active members of area Christian congregations.
Mrs. Jennifer Coxson
My job at GSLP is: I work with parents on school forms and tuition, and keep track of the budget and other administrative jobs.
About me: I am an Army brat and moved a lot when I was a child. I still love to travel and to read books. I have 3 tall sons and am told that I am now the shrimp of the family. I have a Master of Business Administration degree as well as college-level coursework in child development, early childhood curriculum, and administration of child care programs. I spent three years working in our classrooms before becoming co-director in 2014.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I love seeing the little kids. I also love all of the events and service opportunities that are available.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: Reading, doing water aerobics, grocery shopping and dreaming of future trips!
Ms. Colleen Fischer
Educational Program Director
My job at GSLP is: I put together the preschool's curriculum based on the state's early childhood learning goals, train teachers, and lead our music and chapel classes.
About me: I'm originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. I dug my way out from under my hometown's usual three feet of snow and lived in Las Vegas, Seattle, and Europe for a few years before finally landing here with my husband, Scott. I received a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, during my time as a Teach for America corps member. I previously worked as an elementary school and pre-kindergarten teacher before becoming co-director in 2014.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I love helping children discover the joy of learning and instilling in them the knowledge that they are loved and valued. Seeing students smiling and bounding in the door with such excitement each day makes me happy. I also enjoy singing, dancing, and playing instruments with the kids in our weekly music classes.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: Spending time with my dog, playing the guitar, and cycling.
Ms. Elisabeth Bendo
Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 3
My job at GSLP is: I had a wonderful preschool experience as a child. I hope to help other children and families have a positive experience that becomes part of a lifelong love of learning.
About me: I grew up mostly in Montana. My husband, older daughter, and I moved to Maryland in 2008. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science degree in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania. My last laboratory research job was working on the genetic expression of melanoma. I became a stay-at-home mom when my older daughter, Zoe, was born. When my younger daughter, Cora, finished her time at GSLP in 2015, I became an assistant teacher at GSLP.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I've enjoyed helping children learn at school and gain confidence in their abilities, like putting on their coats, using scissors, and making friends.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: When I'm not at GSLP, I am taking my kids to their activities, playing board games, reading about local news and events, running on the treadmill, or watching TV and movies. Any other This is Us, Superstore, or Manifest fans?
Mrs. Laura Cerezo Vargas
Assistant Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 2 and 3
My job at GSLP is: I assist teachers for the Early Pre-K 2 and Early Pre-K 3 classes. My son has a wonderful experience at GSLP. He has had great teachers, and I want to offer the same experience for others’ kids.
About me: I am originally from Puebla, Mexico. In Mexico, I earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). I got married in 2006. I moved to Maryland 12 years ago. I have two boys: a 9-year-old, who is starting 5th grade this fall, and a 4-year-old, in his third year at GSLP. Last year, I was blessed joined the GSLP team!
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I really like to see the children smile when they are doing their activities, playing, and making new friends.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: I love to spend time with my family. My kids love to go to museums and the library and to walk around the town. I take my kids to their activities, and when I have the opportunity, I volunteer at our elementary school.
Mrs. Lori Forcey
Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 3 and Pre-Kindergarten
My job at GSLP is: Co-lead teacher for 3-Day Pre-K and 2-Day Early Pre-K 3.
About me: I am a graduate of the University of Maryland, and I spent seven years as a sports writer for several newspapers before transitioning to public relations. I started working at GSLP in 2010 when my two sons (both GSLP grads) were in kindergarten and pre-K. They’re now in 9th and 8th grade, respectively.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: The kids. I love it when they grasp new concepts; they are so proud of themselves.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: Rooting on my favorite English Premier League team, Manchester City, as well as the Washington Capitals, Washington Redskins, and Maryland Terrapins. I also write a preschool blog.
Mrs. Melissa Ganz
Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 3 and Pre-Kindergarten
My job at GSLP is: I am one half of the teaching team of Forcey/Ganz. I co-teach with Lori Forcey for the 3-Day Pre-K class and (new for this year) the 2-Day Early Pre-K 3 class, which we taught together a few years back. Co-teaching lets us offer the experience of two lead teachers wrapped up in one.
About me: I am originally from Long Island, NY. I moved down to Maryland 13 years ago with my husband, and soon after moving, I had my son (who is a GSLP alum). I am also a mom to a rescue dog named Bear. I've been working at GSLP since my son was in Pre-K. I have taught or assisted in the Early Pre-K 2, Early Pre-K 3, and Pre-K classes.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: My favorite thing about working at GSLP is the kids. I love getting to know the children and the families of GSLP. I love watching them grow, succeed and become confident in their abilities. My co-workers at GSLP are a great group of caring women and make coming to work a fun place to be.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: I love to spend time with my family and friends. I like to shop at antique and vintage stores, go to concerts, travel, play board games, walk, and go to Zumba.
Mrs. Tracey German
Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten, and Assistant Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 3
My job at GSLP is: To assist in the 2-Day Early Pre-K 3 STEAM class and co-teach the 3-Day Pre-K class.
About me: I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and have taken extensive graduate courses in biomedical science with a concentration in cellular and molecular biology. My husband and I have two daughters, a high school sophomore and a third grader (who both attended GSLP). I was afforded the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, and once our youngest started elementary school, I began to work outside the home. After a year as a lunch recess aide, I decided I wanted more interaction with the children and began working at GSLP.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: What I enjoy most about working at GSLP is interacting with the children. It is wonderful to see the growth and confidence they exhibit throughout the year!
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: When I am not at GSLP I am shuttling my girls to and from activities and working on arts and crafts with the neighborhood children. I enjoy baking, watching Hallmark movies, and spending time with my family.
Mrs. Jennifer Gormley
Assistant Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten
My job at GSLP is: I assist Mrs. Lindy Parrales with the students in the 5-Day Pre-K program.
About me: I am originally from New Jersey but have lived in the DC area for many years. I received a bachelor's degree in Education from The Catholic University of America and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland. I was a teacher in MCPS for 12 years and have spent many recent years with my children at home. My children are 11, 9, and 6 years old. I started substitute teaching at GSLP while my youngest daughter was in pre-K and loved working with the children and staff at GSLP. I was lucky to join Mrs. Parrales's team in 2018 and look forward to another year ahead.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: It is amazing to see how the students grow and develop throughout the school year. I love their energy and seeing their smiling faces each day.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: I enjoy running, fishing, and spending time with my family and friends.
Mrs. Nina Jackson
Assistant Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten
My job at GSLP is: To assist our awesome lead teacher, Lindy Parrales, in nurturing these young minds and hearts. In particular, I love working with them on art. I love to see and help them take chances and explore creatively.
About me: I am originally from New York but have lived in the Maryland area for 17 years. My degree is in fine arts (visual arts), though I took some childhood education courses in undergrad for fun! I have one son and one daughter. When my daughter was attending GSLP, I started as a substitute, and now they can't get me to leave! I have always enjoyed working with and on behalf of children in a variety of roles. For example, in college, I was part of a mentoring program for elementary school children, and in the DC area, before its closure, I worked at the Capital Children's Museum in guest services.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I love working with the children. Their perspectives are interesting, fresh and entertaining. I enjoy engaging with them and learning about them as people. It is very rewarding to see their progress through the year as they grow in ability and confidence.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: My hobby is hobbies! I enjoy many creative endeavors such as sewing, customizing dolls, and metalsmithing, just to name a few. I also love reading, musicals, and playing board games with my family.
Mrs. Jennifer Jones
Teacher, Early Pre-Kindergarten 2 and 3
My job at GSLP is: My job at GSLP is Lead Teacher for the 3-Day Early Pre-Kindergarten 3 class and for the 2-Day Early Pre-Kindergarten 2 class. I'm beginning my fourth year at the school.
About me: I grew up in Gaithersburg and am happily married to my high-school sweetheart. We have three children: 13-year-old twins and an 8-year old boy (who attended GSLP). I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master;s degree in sociology. I was a stay-at-home mom and home-daycare provider before I started teaching at GSLP. After completing the necessary coursework last year, I achieved a Level 5 ranking through the Maryland Child Care Credential Program.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: What I like most about working at GSLP is the opportunity to work with young children. At ages 2, 3, and 4, children are just beginning to explore and interact with the world around them. It's a delight to watch their little minds work, help them foster new friendships, and create fun art projects together. I also enjoy the comradery I feel with my fellow teachers. It's nice working for a small school because of how quickly I've gotten to know my fellow teachers and directors.
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: When I'm not at GSLP, I am enjoying my house, family, and our tiny dog, a terrier-mix. I enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or just what's playing at almost any moment on NPR. My twins start eighth grade this year, while my youngest will be in third. As a family, we enjoy camping and going to the beach and local pools. My three kids were kept quite busy this summer with the Lake Marion swim team. At home, we like to play board and card games. Our current favorites are Exploding Kittens, Catan, and Bananagrams.
Mrs. Sandra Lawson
My job at GSLP is: As a co-teacher for Pre-K I help children explore and understand their world as they make new discoveries about who they are, what they like, and learn new things. My job is to give my students a sense of safety, purpose, awe, and comfort as they go on the journey of growing up.
About me: I'm originally from Los Angeles, California, but I have been a Maryland transplant for 13 years. I have always been in the education field, even peripherally — I worked for a tutoring company through college, then as a high school teacher, and then as a program manager that worked closely with school on grants and character programs. My husband and I met in college and have been married for almost 15 years. We have two wonderful kiddos: a 6-year-old son, who did 3 years at GSLP, and a 4-year-old daughter, who is in her last year at GSLP. I was a stay-at-home mom after my son was born, and last year I was blessed to be able to join the GSLP teaching team!
What I like most about working at GSLP is: As a co-teacher there are so many wonderful things about working at GSLP. The sense of wonder a child brings to the class is contagious! I have amazing coworkers who help each other, find plenty of reasons to laugh and are always building each other up! I love getting to know each child and watching them shine!
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: Outside of GSLP I love to cook — it's my love language, so I am always exploring new recipes or baking a sweet treat for my friends and family. I enjoy reading, shopping, sewing, volunteering at our elementary school, and planning playdates for my kids. I have just discovered running and have coupled that with an active gym life. My favorite thing to do it to hang out with my kids and husband exploring the DC and Baltimore area.
Mrs. Lindy Parrales
My job at GSLP is: I teach the 5-Day Pre-K program at GSLP. I have enjoyed working at GSLP for sixteen years. During my years here, I have taught the 2-Day Early Pre-K, 3-Day Early Pre-K 3, and the Pre-K class. It has been great to experience teaching all age levels of children at GSLP. We work hard to build a strong sense of community in our classroom and teach the importance of kindness. We focus on building strong relationships with each student in order to meet the needs of every child in our classroom. We want each child to love coming to school and realize that learning is fun!
About me: I am originally from Alexandria, Virginia, but moved every couple of years growing up. I tend to call Pittsburgh home because it is where I spent the most time and graduated high school. Yes, I am still a huge Steelers fan! I have lived in Maryland with my husband for the last 30 years. I have a daughter who teaches kindergarten with MCPS and a son (a GSLP alum), who is a senior at James Madison University.
What I like most about working at GSLP is: I love working with the children each and every day! It is so rewarding to witness their growth socially and academically throughout the year. I enjoy getting to know and working with the families of GSLP to ensure each child gets the support they need. I especially love the challenge of making sure the children are prepared and ready to enter kindergarten with confidence and a love of learning! I cannot say enough about the staff at GSLP. They are a kind, dedicated, and deeply committed group of women. We enjoy working with each other to create the best preschool experience possible for each and every child walking through the doors of GSLP!
When I'm not at GSLP, I am: I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, and reading. I love going to the beach and spending time in the Shenandoah Valley. My husband and I love to travel and plan to journey across the country in an RV one day when we retire.