Staff Biographies

JANE RUPPE KEIHN (Mrs. Ruppe) joined the Crèche soon after the preschool opened in March 2001. She taught the four-year-old class and assisted the past Director until November 2002 when she became Director of the Crèche. Prior to working at St. Francis Creche, Jane worked for five years at a nearby church-affiliated Mother's Day Out program and preschool. Hobbies include tennis, yoga, jogging, gardening, nutrition and cooking. Jane has a B.S. degree in business and economics from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. with an emphasis on marketing from George Washington University. Jane lived in Great Falls for over twenty years and lives in Reston, VA. She has two grown children.

VALERIE MORGAN (Mrs. Morgan) is a Lead Teacher for the 4-day Yellow Class, assists in the Red Class and also with many of out after school programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Pittsburgh. Valerie enjoys continuing her study in Early Childhood Education and applying what she has learned to the Crèche. Valerie lives in Great Falls with her husband John and has two adult sons. 

KATHLEEN WALKER (Mrs. Walker) has been an on and off resident of Great Falls for many years. In 2008, Kathy's husband retired and they began a new adventure - giving up the gypsy life and living in one place!  Kathy joined the Crèche in 2009 as assistant to the Green Class and then Lead Teacher in the Red Class as well as assistant in the Rainbow Class.  Kathy taught the Red and Green Classes for many years and is now the Lead Teacher of the Purple Class.  She has many years of preschool experience abroad -- 2 years at Noddy Preschool in Bangkok, Thailand; 2 years in the United Nations School in Kabul, Afghanistan; 4 years in the American Preschool in Berlin, Germany and has taught at St. Francis Crèche since 2008. She has four adult children -- 3 boys and 1 girl.  Kathy heads to the Crèche every morning with a smile on her face - the children are the twinkle in her eyes and fill her days with purpose.

KIM BUCKINGHAM (Mrs. Buckingham) is the Co-Lead Teacher for the combined Rainbow and Green Class.  Before working at St. Francis Creche, she spent several years substituting at Colvin Run ES. Kim has also taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School at a nearby church since 2007.  She has a M.A in Education from George Washington University.  She enjoys tennis, hiking, and spending time with family.  Kim lives in Great Falls with her husband and three children.

JOANNA FITZMAURICE (Ms. Joanna) is the Lead Co-Teacher in our combined Rainbow and Green Class.   Joanna is a graduate of the University of Maryland.  Joanna loves working with children and is familiar with St. Francis Creche since her daughter Josie just "graduated".  In her spare time, Joanna enjoys distance running.

LEILA MCCLANAHAN (Ms. Leila) is the  Lead Co-Teacher in the three day 3-year-old Red Class.  In addition to working at the Creche, Leila is employed as a Nanny for a local Great Falls family and has been with this family for over ten years.  Prior to her employment as a Nanny, Leila taught Preschool in McLean, VA.  Leila was born and raised in the McLean area and is currently living in Reston, VA.

TARYN RIVERS (Ms. Taryn) is assisting the Red and Green classes this year.  Taryn has been on the staff at the Creche for over six years.  She is a graduate of Marymount University and prior to coming to St. Francis her work was in the staffing industry which she continues to pursue.  Taryn lives in Great Falls and has three children.  Hobbies include cooking, nutrition and physical activity.

 CAROLINE GROSSMANN (Mrs. Grossmann) co-teaches the Yellow Class with Mrs. Morgan.  Prior to joining the Crèche, she volunteered and assisted teachers at the International School of Zurich, in Switzerland for four years. She has worked as an assistant/helper to various teachers at Great Falls Elementary especially in the reading/writing labs for 4 years. She was an active member of  Boy Scout troop 55 for four years, the latter two years as a Board Committee Member. Her joy of working with children led her to becoming a Sunday School teacher at St. Francis for the last ten years. She is a graduate of the George Washington University school of Business, and brings an enthusiasm and respect to the development of our students. She enjoys hiking, gardening, traveling, music, and reading. Caroline lives in Great Falls, and has two grown sons.

SUSAN GARDINER (Ms. Susan) is co-teaching the Green Class and is also teaching the Creche music program. She has a bachelor's degree in Business. She is from the UK and has lived in the USA for eighteen years after teaching in Tokyo for two years.   Susan enjoyed substitute teaching at St Francis while her youngest son, George, attended the Creche and is looking forward to being on staff.  She has four children, two of which are St Francis Creche graduates.  She enjoys marathon running, singing in choir and spending endless hours on the side of a soccer field!

BETH STVAN (Miss Beth) has lived in Great Falls with her husband, daughter and son, for 17 years. Beth joined the staff at Creche in September of 2013 as Assistant teacher in the Red Class with Mrs. Walker. In the past, she assisted Mrs. Walker in the Green Class. This year Beth will be working with Mrs. Walker in the Purple Class. Beth graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1985 with a B.S. degree in Psychology. She worked in the non-profit world for 12 years before having her children. She has spent the past 15 years volunteering in the public schools.