First School - Preschool in Dayton, OH

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Experienced Preschool & Kindergarten TEACHERS

First School is home to a tight-knit community of preschool and kindergarten teachers in Dayton, Ohio. Get to know every member of our staff by reading a few words they've each prepared about themselves below.

Staff Group Photo

Julie Wright

Julie Wright


Hello, my name is Julie Wright, and I am a graduate of Miami University in Oxford. I will be teaching a three-year-old class this year. I've enjoyed volunteering at the school throughout the years, and now I'm excited to have a class of my own. It's a special school and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

My 3 children and husband also attended First School. My oldest son just turned 20 and is a sophomore at Miami, my middle son is 17 and a senior, and my daughter is 12. We love to travel and especially enjoy going out west. I love to read and also enjoy scrap booking when I get the time. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, playing with my three chocolate labs, and spending time with my family. Thank you for letting me be a part of this special time in your child's life. I'm looking forward to a great year.

Tracey Kershner

Tracey Kershner


Hi, I'm Tracey Kershner and I will be teaching four-year-olds and MWF afternoon enrichment, as well as various STEM classes throughout the year. I have loved working with young children for years, beginning way back in high school. I decided to make teaching my career and received a B.S. in Education from Ohio University. Before coming to First School, I taught for five years at Miami University Middletown's Lab School/Daycare, and then taught for two years for Head Start in Dayton.

I am married to Jeff, who works for DP&L, keeping their computers up and running. We have two children: Jake, who works in Columbus, and Erin, who is studying at Miami University to be a teacher. In my spare time I read voraciously, do a little gardening, and complete arts and crafts projects. We are animal people and are currently sharing our home with a couple of lap dogs named Willie and Rickie (who weigh 90 pounds), and a cat named Sammie. I'm looking forward to a great year!

Stacey Yarger

Stacey Yarger

Director of Operations

Hi, my name is Stacey Yarger and I am the director of operations at First School. I have a B.A. from Northwestern University and am originally from the Chicago area. I have lived in Dayton for 35 years, have been married to a native Daytonian for 35 years, and have three great daughters. My oldest daughter is 30 and lives in Northern California. My middle daughter is 27 and lives and works in Chicago with her husband, while my youngest is a 22-year-old senior at Oberlin College.

I have been a long-time volunteer in the Dayton area for many organizations: The Junior League of Dayton, the Dayton Ballet, Buckeye Trails Girls Scouts, and the Dayton Art Institute. I am also a past president of the Women's Board of Dayton Children's Medical Center. I am involved in the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae group in Dayton. My current position at First School is one of the most enjoyable opportunities I have experienced. It is a wonderful school and I am proud to be part of it.

Shayna Schroeder


Director of Curriculum/Four-Year-Olds

Hello, my name is Shayna Schroeder and this is my third year as Director of Curriculum, as well as one of the MWF morning four-year-old teachers. I am excited to be at First School this year and am looking forward to getting to know all of our families. My husband and our three boys live in Springboro and are involved in many activities with them, including baseball, Cub Scouts, and hockey. I have my B.S. in Elementary Education from Wright State University and have been a preschool director for many years in Springboro. In my spare time I enjoy cooking and doing craft projects. Please stop in and visit me in my office any time you are at the school!

Debbie Richardson

Debbie Richardson

My name is Debbie Richardson and I have been teaching preschool children for 4 years, along with substituting for primary school classes.  I’m married (Dan) and we have a 9 year old son, Benjamin.  I coach my son’s LEGO League robotic team, enjoy reading, gardening, soccer, football, hiking and watching my son in his many activities.  I graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in Management and the University of Cincinnati with an Environmental Science Degree.  I have worked in both fields, manly in the financial sector as an Investment Rep/manager and wholesaler prior to becoming a stay at home Mom (almost 10 years ago).  I was pulled into teaching young kids through volunteering at my son’s preschool and them asking me to become a specials teacher along with substituting.  I liked it so much that I now have my own class which I am super excited about.  I enjoy working with young children and helping them develop a life-long passion for learning by encouraging their many curiosities.

Amy James


Assistant/Social Media

My name is Amy James and I have been married for 16 years. We have made our home in Centerville with our two great kids (Broderick, 12 and Cary, 10). They both attended First School as preschoolers. I absolutely fell in love with the school, so I stayed! I was a substitute for two years here and now I assist Monday through Friday with all of our social media. I love to blog, scrapbook, ride bikes, and travel. I am so excited to be at First School for another year with all the wonderful children and staff!

Shelly Zielinski


Early Five-Year-Olds/Kindergarten

Hello, my name is Shelly Zielinski. This is my second year teaching at First School, and I am so happy to be part of the First School family. I teach the early five-year-old class in the morning and the Kindergarten class in the afternoon. I am a graduate of Miami University, with a degree in elementary education. I have been teaching in some capacity for almost 30 years. My husband and I live in Springboro, and we have two children who both attend Wright State University. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, and quilting.

Lori Hackathorne

Lori Hackathorne


My name is Lori Hackathorne, and this is my eighth year working at First School. I studied early childhood education at The University of Cincinnati. I am excited to be teaching two-and-a-half-year-olds this year, and I look forward to the fun and exciting months ahead. My daughter Kailey attended First School, and is now a Senior at Miamisburg High School and dances with the South Dayton Dance Theatre.

Kate Miller

Kate Miller


My name is Kate Miller and this is my first year at First School. I teach four-year-olds in the morning MWF. I am a graduate of Bowling Green State University, and when I am not teaching at First School, I spend most of my extra time on the football, soccer, lacrosse, and softball fields supporting my four children. I look forward to helping your child or children learn and grow this year!

Pat Forster

Pat Forster

Learn with Me

I'm Pat Forster and I am teaching the Tuesday Learn with Me class this year. My husband and I, with our four daughters, moved from Canada 27 years ago and have been very happy to call Centerville home! I have taught the three-year-old classes in the past and have moved to the two-year-olds this year. I am loving this age group, and there is never a boring moment.

Michelle Meadows



My name is Michelle Meadows, and I teach three-year-olds on weekday mornings. I am excited to be teaching at First School, and I have my B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston. My husband and I reside in Bellbrook with our two daughters. Some of my favorite pastimes include: a good book, baking, and spending the day with my family.

Jean Larson



Hi, I'm Jean Larson, and this is my 10th year as an assistant at First School. My husband, Michael, and I have three sons and one crazy dog. I love kids and people, and always find them interesting. To relax, I love to read, scrapbook, exercise, and watch the Cubs!

Molly Bishop



My name is Molly Bishop. I am excited to be back at First School teaching our four-year-olds. I look forward to another great year! My husband Cliff and I have two daughters, and in my free time I enjoy gardening, needlepoint, and volunteering.


First School encourages lifelong learning for students, families, and staff. It is a warm and joyful place to enrich the lives of young people. We are now accepting applications for part-time preschool teachers. Email resumes and cover letters to today.