O.N.S. Faculty 2015 - 2016

Renae Slaton - Director

Renae is the Owner/Director of the Okemos Nursery School. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Psychology (area of interest, Child Psychology) from Michigan State University. During the past several years she has had the fortunate opportunity to study the philosophy and pedagogy of the Reggio Approach to early childhood education in Reggio Emilia,Italy and throughout the United States at various colleges, universities and Reggio inspired centers. Renae has over 36 years of experience working with preschool children.

Judy Hirn - Lead Teacher

Judy is the Lead Teacher at Okemos Nursery School. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education (with minors in Social Studies and Fine Arts) from Michigan State University. She has 27 years of experience in working with preschool children.

Wanda Degen - Music

Wanda is our “Musician in Residence” at Okemos Nursery School. She is well known as a member of the trio, “Lady of the Lake”, and as a teacher of dulcimer and auto harp at Elderly Instruments in Lansing. She is also Coordinator of the Children’s Concerts for the City of East Lansing, and Performance Coordinator for the East Lansing Arts Festival. Wanda has 25 years of experience working with preschool children.

Mary Jane Heppner-Gamble - Creative Movement

Mary Jane is our Creative Movement instructor. She began her dance career in 1972 as a full-time student at the Cleveland Ballet and has taught creative dance for over 28 years. She teaches many classes in Creative Movement for children throughout the area. In the course of her classes, she uses music, props and stories and weaves them into dances.

Shiloh Daum - Yoga

Shiloh is a traditionally certified yoga instructor, and has participated in training with YogaKids. Shiloh teaches a diverse selection of Yoga classes to both children and adults throughout the area. She shares her passion for Yoga with our children,using books, music, props and activities to help convey and instill a deeper understanding of the precepts of  Yoga

in an extremely child-friendly manner.

Kelly Boyle – Studio Art

Kelly Boyle is a printmaker and painter. She also teaches art to elementary students at the Stepping Stones Montessori in East Lansing, and runs a home-based program called "Art Adventures" during the summer. She is mother to two ONS alumni, and has over 10 years of experience working with preschoolers.

Jim and Carol Mc Grath – Nature Discovery

Jim McGrath, is the founder of Nature Discovery, a Michigan natural science education facility in Williamston, MI. Jim has a degree in Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University and has over 23 years experience as an interpretive naturalist.

Carol McGrath has a degree in Biology from the University of Illinois and is contracted by Fairview Elementary as their specialist science teacher. Carol and Jim’s obvious love of nature and science is infectious to students of all ages --- from preschool through adult!

We feel extremely fortunate to have all the resources these exceptional people bring to our program!