Preschool Staff '16-'17

Stephanie Boyer (Pebble Director) has been a part of the Mercer Island community since 2004. Her roots stem from Southern California but the Pacific Northwest has won her heart. Ms. Steph has a B.A. in Elementary Education, parent coaching certificate and years of preschool teaching experience to the Pebble. She is currently finishing up her Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Youth and Family at Fuller Theological Seminary in Seattle. Stephanie is passionate about a holistic approach to life and is excited to see what God has in store for the Pebble this year.


Susan Gallagher (Office Assistant) is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland.  She has a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Carleton College and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Boston University.  Before having her own children, Susan taught fourth and fifth graders in Massachusetts, Missouri and California.  More recently, she has worked in an early childhood center, substituted in several preschools and tutored elementary school students.  Susan is very excited to continue in her job as the assistant in the Pebble office!


Heidi Lewan (T/TH Bears, MWF Bears, 3 & 5 Day Panda Pre-K) is a graduate of Eastside Catholic High School in Bellevue, WA and Concordia University in Irvine, CA. Heidi earned her BA in both Early Childhood Education and Liberal Studies, with a Child Development emphasis, and she completed a fifth year of study to earn her Elementary Teaching Credential. In addition to a four-year Early Childhood degree, Heidi has also taken classes in Preschool Administration. She completed her student teaching in Pre-K, kindergarten, and fourth grade, and she directed and taught at Little Lambs Christian Preschool for three years. Heidi has been at the PEBBLE PRESCHOOL since it opened in 2001.


Dawn Gomez (MWF Lions, T/TH Alligator Pre-K, and Panda Pre-K) grew up in a military family and has lived in several places throughout the country, but she has proudly called Seattle her home for the last fifteen years.  She graduated for the University of Washington with a BA in Psychology.  While participating in the North Seattle co-op preschool program with her eldest son, she was strongly encouraged to apply for a preschool co-op teaching position.  She was elated to accept the position, and she taught within the North Seattle Community College Preschool program for four years in the toddler and threes classes.  In addition to teaching preschool, she also is the lead teacher for her church's Sunday Childcare program.  Dawn is extremely excited to begin another year at the Pebble teaching in the three’s class, T/TH Alligators, and MWF Panda Pre-K!


Emily Tanis-Likkel (Alligator 5 Day Pre-K) begins her first year at the Pebble as one of our Alligator Pre-K teachers. Emily comes to us as an ordained Minister who serves as Minister of Spiritual Play at Valley and Mountain Fellowship in Columbia City.  Emily did her undergraduate work at both Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI and Seattle Pacific University. She went on to complete her Masters in Divinity at Fuller Seminary in Seattle. Ms. Emily is an amazing story teller, passionate about drama and theater, learning through play and creation, and trained in teaching Godly Play. Commuting from West Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children. We are delighted to have Emily as part of our team.


Zoe Spranger (MWF Alligator Pre-K) can be found in the Alligator Room on MWF mornings. Zoe is new to the Pebble, but not new to Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. MIPC has served as her home church and community for years, Zoe grew up on the island. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree from Foster’s School of Business led her to working for years as a Project Controller Consultant in downtown Seattle. Currently, Zoe is working towards her Masters at Seattle School of Psychology and Theology. With experience as an CBS art teacher, volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, and long standing nanny we are excited for her partnership on our team. Ms. Zoe has a passion for engaging young minds through play and integrates both creativity and movement into her classroom. Be sure to wave at Ms. Zoe if you see her running down Island Crest Way.


Lisa Patacsil (MWF Bears) is a Mercer Island resident and a warm welcoming presence throughout our community. A mother of three keeps her busy when not loving on our three year olds in the Bear Room. Graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Sociology and teaching Sunday school at a Korean Presbyterian Church for five years has added in shaping Lisa into the amazing Pebble teacher who we know and love. Lisa experienced many years of the Pebble through the lens of a parent, all three of her children attended, and is excited for her second year as a Pebble teacher.


Melissa Petersen (T/TH Toddlers) grew up in Spokane but has lived in the Seattle area for the past 20 years.  She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  After graduating, Melissa worked full-time at Early World Montessori on Mercer Island and part-time at the UW Parenting Clinic in Seattle.  During this time, she also volunteered at Special Olympics, Eastside Youth Community Services, and Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association.  As a stay-at-home mom of two boys (11 and 8), Melissa enjoyed participating in and volunteering for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS).  In addition to MOPS, she taught skiing to children ages 3 to 8 years old.  Currently, Melissa volunteers in her sons' elementary classrooms and is actively involved with her church as a volunteer serving on two committees.  Melissa loves learning about God, watching her boys participate in sports, and engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.  She also loves working with children, which is why she came to the Pebble two years ago to teach the Pebble Tigers Twos Class.


JJ Richards (MW Toddlers) is a born and raised Islander. This is JJ’s second year with us in the Tiger Room and her joyful presence is a warm welcome for toddlers. Ms. JJ has her degree from the University of Washington in Speech Communications, early childhood education from Bellevue Community College, and experience as an art docent at Lakeridge Elementary School. With a teenager, pre-teen, and a new puppy named Milo.

Caitie Buell (M/W and T/TH Toddlers) joins us this year as our link between both M/W and T/TH Tigers. Caitie has been a long standing nanny for one of our Pebble families and comes with outstanding experience and knowledge of early childhood development. Trained in early education and family studies at North Seattle Community College. In addition to being a trained yoga instructor for kids, she has years of experience working at Bright Horizon and Valley Catholic Early Learning in Portland. Ms. Caitie is a perfect fit for our Pebble teaching team, please take a minute to welcome her.