Meet the Preschool Staff!
Heidi Nichols is in her 5th year of teaching preschool here at Westshire. She has taught preschool through 4th grade as well as special education since 1993 when she finished her teaching degree in NY. She has enjoyed teaching in New York, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Vermont. Mrs. Nichols lives in Lyme, NH with her husband and two children Casey and Evan. She enjoys cross country skiing, running, biking, and watching her kids ski jump, play soccer and row crew.
Mrs. Elizabeth lives in Fairlee, VT and has worked for the Rivendell school district over the last 15 years. Her experiences range from Pre-K to 5th grade. She loves the preschool age the best though! She has three children in the district in grades Pre-K, 1st, and 6th. She is currently finishing her degree in Human Services and plans on pursuing one in Early Elementary Education as well. Mrs. Elizabeth enjoys cooking, gardening, canning, reading, basketball, and time outside. She has been in the Westshire Pre-K program for 1 year.
Nancy Cushman lives in West Fairlee, VT. She has three adult children, 10 grand-children, and one cat. She first started working with children in 1995. She worked in a preschool setting for two years and then moved on to Thetford Elementary as a para-professional. After three years there, her first grandchild was born so she opened her own daycare. Later on she returned to public school as a lunch cook then as a substitute teacher. She is now a para-professional and the afterschool program teacher for the Westshire preschool. During the summer she works at a summer camp in the kitchen. She has been there for 12 years!
Caitlin Leonard is in her 2nd year teaching here at Westshire. She has been a teacher with infants all the way up through 1st grade. She finished her teaching degree in 2011 at Keene State and has worked at a couple different preschools before joining the Westshire family in 2015 . She lives in West Fairlee, VT with her husband and many animals. She enjoys walks with her two dogs, gardening, and just being outdoors!
Kim Smith lives in Groton, VT with her husband and two children. She has three dogs, 6 cats (yes 6!) and two horses. She just recently graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with her masters in Psychology with a concentration in Child and adolescent development. She loves to shop, watch movies, cook, and listen to music in her spare time. She previously worked at Westshire and Samuel Morey for 4 years and returned last year to the program!
Jane Finlay is the preschool special educator. This is also Jane’s eleventh year with us, and she works with the Samuel Morey preschool children as well. Jane’s interest in early education began when she worked in a community center preschool in Indianapolis during her holiday break in 1971. She then worked in her college preschool, and after graduating she volunteered for six months in an Adventure playground, a daycare and a preschool in Glasgow, Scotland. After attending Bank Street College of education, Jane worked in New York City for six years. Of her first twelve years as a teacher, she spent ten of them teaching infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners. After moving to Vermont, Jane began to work as a special educator. Following five years on the pre-kindergarten level, she worked as a kindergarten through eighth grade special education teacher. Joining the Rivendell Early Childhood Program has given Jane the opportunity to get back to being with preschoolers. Jane lives at home with her husband Charlie. Her daughter Hannah and her husband have a six month old baby boy. They live nearby in Putney VT. Jane and her husband feel very grateful that their grandchild and family are so nearby! In her free time Jane has often been in the Christmas Revels and she leads a teenage girls’ Morris and sword dancing team (traditional English dances). Jane contra dances whenever possible, loves swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing, enjoys good food and good company.