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.

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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 scrapbooking 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 lapdogs 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 and Admissions at First School. I have a B.A. from Northwestern University and am originally from the Chicago area. I have lived in Dayton for 38 years; have been married to a native Daytonian for 38 years; and have three daughters and two sons in law and two grandsons. My oldest daughter is 34 and lives in Northern California with one of my grandsons and is an organic farmer, fashion designer, astrologer, and a grad student in clinical psychology. My middle daughter is 31 and lives in Chicago with her husband and my other grandson and is currently enjoying a hiatus from the corporate world as a stay at home mom. My youngest is 25, lives in Northern California, and is working as a freelance writer and is currently applying to grad schools in Creative Writing.

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 (that I have held for 9 ½ years) is one of the most enjoyable opportunities I have experienced. It is a wonderful school, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Shayna Schroeder


Director of Curriculum/Four-Year-Olds

Hello, my name is Shayna Schroeder, and this is my sixth 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. I love to talk with the kids. They make me smile every day. My husband and our three boys live in Springboro and are involved in many activities with them, including cub scouts, boy scouts, piano, and travel hockey. We also have a mini zoo at our house. We have a dog, 2 cats, a gecko, 2 bearded dragons and fish! I have my B.S. in elementary education from Wright State University and was 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!

Shelly Zielinski


Early Five-Year-Olds/Kindergarten

Hello, my name is Shelly Zielinski. This is my fourth year teaching at First School. I am very happy to be a part of the First School family. I just love the way this school takes care of its families! I teach the Young Five’s 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 over 30 years.

My husband and I make our home in Springboro; we have two grown children who also live in the Dayton area. Even though we are technically empty-nesters, we currently host a high school student from China and recently added a new puppy to our home. It seems our empty nest isn’t so empty!

My hope for my students and all the students in our school is that they have a positive and encouraging first school experience at First School!

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. I have the privilege of teaching 4 year olds on MWF and assisting on Tuesdays. I have a degree in Early Childhood/Pre K education from Bowling Green State University. When I am not teaching, you can find me on the road driving 3 of my kids to their different activities or visiting my oldest at U.C. On those days when I am home, I am walking my 2 dogs or reading. I look forward to helping your child learn and grow.

Molly Selby

Molly Selby


Hello, my name is Molly Selby. This is my first year teaching at First School, and I love the sense of community that we share with our students and their families. I teach a Young Three’s class in the morning, and in the afternoon, I teach Enrichment. I have a degree in Elementary Education and have taught for seven years in various grade levels and subjects. I have also worked as a Pediatric Dental Assistant in an office that specialized in treating differently abled patients. This experience gave me a passion for adapting my instruction to the individual needs of each of my students as much as possible.

My family lives in Clearcreek Township. After living for many years in Northern Virginia and dealing with the traffic and congestion just south of Washington DC, we love living in the Dayton/Cincinnati area. We have two children, a daughter in Jr. High and a son in Fifth Grade. We enjoy exploring outdoors, crafting-especially with paper and clay, and occasionally taking on a furniture refinishing project. We fit these activities in around work, school, scouts, and caring for our fur babies. We have two large dogs and two squeaky, but adorable guinea pigs.

Jean Larson



Hi, I'm Jean Larson, and this is my thirteenth 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!

Ann Merrill

Ann Merrill

My name is Ann Merrill, and I am officially retired after 24 years of teaching 4-year-olds at First School. But First School is a hard place to leave so I happily returned as the dance teacher and later added teacher assistant. Being able to spend the day with your children is a highlight of each week.

I graduated from Wright State University with a B.S. in Sociology and later from Indiana University with a M.S. in Education. My professional career included working at several universities in varied capacities, six years
at WPAFB, 12 years as a scientific proofreader, teaching several forms of dance, and operating my own small landscape company. But by far, the most joy came from teaching children.

For many years I have been a volunteer in the community and served on several local boards, including 22 years with The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. During that time, my attentions were focused on SunWatch archaeological park. As a certified master naturalist and a recently nationally certified interpretive guide, I have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with 5RiversMetropark leading public programs, school and scout groups, and conservation kids programs. My love of nature is nourished regularly with these activities and additionally by life in our home in the woods.

My husband of almost 43 years is retired from his position with Montgomery County but works part-time. We are parents of two children, both of whom graduated from First School. Our son, Griffin, is currently serving as a Major in the United States Army. He and his wife, Melissa, have three children: Ryan (12), Leah (8), and Hattie Mae, (2 1/2). Hannah, our daughter, and her husband, David, live in Columbus. She is a Human Resources manager for Abercrombie & Fitch. They are parents of 2-year-old, Cooper.

My favorite things are Starbucks tea, pizza, the color orange, spending time with family, hiking, ballet and tap, squash soup from Panera, boots, hats, being outdoors, and, of course, First School.

Michelle Meadows

Michelle Meadows

Hello! My name is Michelle Meadows, and this is my 5th year teaching at First School, and I love it! I am teaching Monday through Friday for four-year-olds. I'm very excited to get to know you this year.

My husband and I have two daughters, and we live in Bellbrook. We are involved in many things, including lacrosse, volleyball, theater, and running. My family and I love to play board games. We have two dogs that we love to spoil.

I have a B.S. In Childhood Education from the University of Houston. I enjoy cooking, doing crafts, working in my yard, and running.


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.