Preschool Staff

Meet the team.

Elise Coakley
Preschool Director
Meet West Lawn Preschool Director Mrs. Elise Coakley! Mrs. Coakley has a bachelor’s degree in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education from West Chester University, and brings years of teaching and leadership experience to our preschool!
Mrs. Coakley taught in the Children’s Center of West Chester United Methodist Church. She also worked as a substitute teacher in various school districts, and most recently taught nutrition and cooking education programs for pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade children in the Reading and William Penn School Districts, as an employee of The Food Trust.

She’s well known by the West Lawn UMC congregation as the Director of Children’s Music Ministry and is a member of West Lawn’s adult choir and brass ensemble.

Preschool families will come to love Mrs. Coakley’s caring and kind personality, as well as her strong organizational and communication skills. As a classroom teacher, the preschool children will flock to this gifted leader who excels in classroom management and creating positive learning environments.

Mrs. Coakley resides in Exeter with her husband, John, and two elementary-aged children, Jordan and Jenna.

If you are interested in joining our preschool staff, email preschool@westlawnumc.org.

Erica Kairis

Pre-K Lead Teacher & Extended Day Teacher (Tuesday & Wednesday)
Erica is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with over 22 years of preschool and classroom experience. Erica has a Bachelor's Degree from Penn State University in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Youth and Family Services. Before moving to Sinking Spring 10 years ago, Erica was a preschool program coordinator for a child development center in New Jersey. Erica and her family have been members of West Lawn United Methodist Church for over 10 years. During that time, she has been very involved in teaching Sunday school, helping to lead Vacation Bible School and has served in other ministries of the church. Erica is no stranger to the Wilson School District as she has been involved in classroom teaching and providing teacher support throughout the past 10 years. Her passion for teaching, strong leadership and teaching strategies in addition to her creative abilities and nurturing personality make her the perfect teacher to prepare our Pre-K students for kindergarten. We welcome Erica Kairis to our Preschool team!

Rachel O'Donnell

Assistant Teacher- Pre-K Class 
 Rachel is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with many years of preschool and school age classroom experience. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Journalism from Shippensburg University. Over the past 10 years Rachel has dedicated her time and talents as a classroom volunteer and homeroom parent in the Wyomissing and Wilson School Districts. During her time in the classrooms, Rachel has learned valuable teaching techniques and best practices for preparing our young learners for Kindergarten. Rachel especially loved helping with the kid writing and rocket math programs in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. West Lawn United Methodist Church has been Rachel’s family's home church for over 10 years. During this time, she has served and continues to serve as a VBS volunteer, mentor to our confirmation students, member of the Faithful Friends consignment sale committee and pianist for our praise and worship team. She also gives of her time to work with the women in Berks county prisons through our prison ministry team. Rachel is a soft spoken, kind, caring and understanding teacher who will be extremely supportive and encouraging to our Pre-K students. She is excited to get to know these amazing children and to help prepare them for their journey to Kindergarten. We welcome Rachel O’Donnell to our Preschool team!

Stacey Nemitz

Lead Teacher- 4-year-old Class  & Older 3's Class
Stacey is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with over 18 years of early childhood and school age teaching experience. Stacey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lock Haven University. Over the past 12 years Stacey has been a lead teacher for a Christian preschool in Georgia. While there, she taught in both the 3-year-old and 4-year-old classrooms. She also worked as an Assistant Director at the Huntington Learning Center prior to her teaching in the early childhood field. Stacey just recently moved back to the area with her family and is so excited to experience all four seasons in the northeast again. Since she was a teenager, Stacey has enjoyed volunteering in various ways in the church’s children’s ministry program. Stacey is a fun, vibrant and creative teacher who loves to do music and movement, art, science experiments, cooking, songs, fingerplays, stories, and a wide variety of center and free play activities! Stacey’s goal in teaching young children is to help them to develop an early love and excitement for learning. We welcome Stacey Nemitz to our Preschool team!
 

Laurie Jentes

Assistant Teacher- 4-year-old Class 
Laurie is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with several years of early childhood experience. Laurie holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and English from Elizabethtown College. Over the past several years she has been a teacher's assistant in a local preschool program as the 4-year-old class assistant teacher. She is also a member of West Lawn United Methodist church along with her family. Laurie has been an employee for the church as the Coordinator for Children’s and Family Ministry for 4 years. Laurie has held vital roles in our Sunday School program, VBS, Kids Club, Tween Group and Wednesday night toddler time programs in addition to being a freelance writer on the side. Laurie is a very kind and patient teacher. Her ability to connect with young children and to help them learn and explore the world around them is just what our 4-year-old students need. Laurie will help to prepare these young children for their next step into the Pre-K class as they enjoy story time, learning centers, and working in small and large group settings. We welcome Laurie Jentes to our Preschool team!
 

Anita Powell

Assistant Teacher- Older 3's Class & Extended Day Assistant
Anita is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with over 46 years of preschool teaching experience. Anita holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Lock Haven University. Anita has dedicated her life to teaching and shaping the minds of young ones. She started off teaching school aged children, before switching to a preschool aged class at a child development center in Bellefonte, Pa. Anita has spent the majority of her career at the Reading Hospital Child Care Center where she has filled many rolls over the years. She has been a toddler teacher and a preschool teacher in addition to eventually being an administrator for the center. Anita’s kind, nurturing and loving personality are the perfect fit for welcoming some of our youngest preschoolers. Their first experience with school will be one the children and parents will feel right at home in. Anita has lots of creativity and passion for teaching and helping children explore the world around them, which is all so new and exciting. She also has a passion for gardening and will bring that special gift with her as we have the opportunity to learn in nature as well as the classroom.  We welcome Anita Powell to our Preschool team! 
 

Elise Coakley

Lead Teacher- Young 3's Class & 2-year-old Class & Director
Elise is the Director of the West Lawn UMC Preschool and has over 16 years of various early childhood and elementary school teaching experience. Elise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from West Chester University. She has spent the past 16 years teaching and caring for newborns through high school aged students. Previously, Elise worked for the United Methodist Children’s Center in various capacities including Lead Toddler Teacher, Assistant Pre-K teacher, Afternoon Supervisor and held administrative roles in the office. She has spent the past several years teaching nutrition education to Pre-K- 8th grade children in the Reading school district. Elise and her family are members and current employees of the West Lawn United Methodist Church. She serves as our Children’s Music Ministry Director while her husband is the Minister of Music for the church. Elise has a passion for young children that is shown in the way she interacts with little ones on a daily basis. She is kind, patient and caring which is exactly what our little 3-year-old's  and 2-year-old's need for their first learning experience. She will encourage her students to try new skills, make new friends and have a positive learning and social experience, all while teaching them the fundamental skills young toddlers and preschoolers need to learn. We welcome Elise Coakley to our 3-year-old and 2-year-old classrooms.

Jessica Zeiner

Assistant Teacher- Young 3's Class
Jessica is joining West Lawn UMC Preschool with experience in the athletic training field. Jessica has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and is a licensed massage therapist. She also loves being a coach for the girl’s high school soccer team at Schuylkill Valley. Jessica has been a member of West Lawn United Methodist Church since she was a young child. Over the years she has been involved in many ministries of the church including VBS, nursery leader and helping with the youth group. In addition to her volunteering she is excited to start working with young children in the preschool. Jessica brings a vibrant smile and lots of excitement to the classroom. She is eager to work with some of our youngest children and help them get acclimated to school, new routines and making new friends. We welcome Jessica to our Preschool team!