Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage

Our Staff

  • Mr. Henderson, Director

    Mr. Henderson


    Mr. Henderson holds an AA Degree in Childcare and Guidance, a Bachelors of Science in Child Development and Masters in Education with an emphasis in technology, all from Southeast Missouri State University. He has more than 10 years of formal experience in the field including teaching, leadership and teacher preparation. He enjoys using the skills he has gained throughout his career to empower children and teachers to be leaders in today’s society. In his free time, Mr. Henderson likes to travel and spend time with family.

  • Mrs. Hicks, Assitant Director of Operations

    Mrs. Hicks

    Assitant Director of Operations

    Mrs. Hicks has over 10 years of experience in early childhood education. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in early childhood education with an emphasis in Administration and she is currently pursueing a Master's in Educational Leadership.

    Mrs. Hicks is the proud mother of Tyler and Emery. In her free time, she loves being with her family and doing Zumba. Mrs. Hicks especially enjoys watching children grow and connecting with families. She is excited to meet you and your family!

  • Ms. Crandall, Education Coach

    Ms. Crandall

    Education Coach
    Apple of Our Eye

    Ms. Crandall moved back to the St. Charles area after living in Kansas City, MO for 12 years. During those 12 years, she completed her bachelors degree while working part time at a child development center. After a short time, she was promoted to a lead teacher where she worked with children ages 3m-3 years for 9 years. During that time, Ms. Crandall graduated with her Masters in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. She also has experience teaching at the university level as an adjunct professor at UMKC.

    Ms. Crandall loves watching children explore their world and make connections with the people around them. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her dog, Amos, travel, and do anything outdoors; but her favorite is hiking and paddle boarding. Ms. Crandall is excited to be a part of the Primrose Family!

  • Ms. Volz, Administrative Coordinator

    Ms. Volz

    Administrative Coordinator

    Ms. Alyssa Volz was born in St. Louis and later moved to St. Charles which she considers “home”. While she has a love for children, she specifically enjoys the administrative side of Primrose as well as engaging with families and teachers. Ms. Volz holds an associates degree from St. Charles Community college and has taken several child development courses.

    Ms. Volz has a passion for helping others and loves to engage with children. In her free time, she likes to craft, and spend time with family and friends and her dog Leela!

  • Mrs. Day-Smith, Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Day-Smith

    Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Day-Smith has over 7 years of experience in early childhood education. She has held positions as a 2nd grade teacher and kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Day-Smith has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Southeast Missouri State University and is certified to teach birth through 6th grade.

    Mrs. Day-Smith grew up in small town in Southeast Missouri, but she currently lives in St. Louis with her husband and twin son and daughter. Mrs. Day-Smith is passionate about building a peaceful classroom community where everyone feels safe to be themselves, explore, and learn. She is excited to be a part of the Primrose team as they deliver passionate and high quality care to their families.

  • Ms. Pagel, Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Pagel

    Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Pagel has over 7 years of experience in the field of early childhood education including the role of lead pre-kindergarten teacher. She is currently pursuing a degree in education. Her natural ability to connect with children and manage a classroom make her a wonderful additional to our preschool team!

    Ms. Pagel is originally from Wisconsin but has lived in the St. Louis area since 2014. In her free time she likes to travel and spend time making memories with her friends and family.

  • Ms.Steffenson, Explorer Teacher


    Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Steffenson holds a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences and a minor in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Ms. Steffenson loves to help children develop their passions and to watch them discover the world. She loves to build strong relationships with the Primrose children and their families. In her spare time, Ms. Steffenson likes to crochet, read, and play games with her friends and family.

  • Ms. Dorsam, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Dorsam

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Dorsam graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelors degree in Child Development. She has nearly 5 years experience in early childhood education.

    Ms. Dorsam loves to connect with children and watch them use their creative minds. She was born and raised in St. Louis and in her free time, she loves to be active and travel.  

  • Mrs. Mallinson, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Mallinson

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Mallinson has a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood: Child and Family Services from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has over ten years in early childhood education. Mrs. Mallinson loves to watch students explore and learn through play. She was born and raised in the St. Louis area and married her high school sweetheart. She has two amazing puppies and loves to go on new adventures. Mrs. Mallinson loves to teach and has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. She loves building relationships with children and families.

  • Ms. Gray, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Gray

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Gray has over 40 years of profesional teaching experience working with ages preschool through 8th grade. She has taught in a variety of settings, from public to private schools. She holds a bachelors in education from UMSL, a lifetime teaching certificate and has completed post-graduate course work. 

    Ms. Gray is the proud mother of 4 children and is looking forward to becoming a grandma very soon. She is also a loving aunt to many. In her free time, Ms. Gray enjoys having fun with her family and friends and traveling. Ms. Gray is always open to learning and doing new things and meeting new people at Primrose. 

  • Mr. Dyal, Preschool Teacher

    Mr. Dyal

    Preschool Teacher

    Mr. Dyal attended the University of Florida and holds a bachelor’s in Journalism with a minor in education. He has an Elementary K-6 certification along with an ESOL and Reading Endorsement. After teaching 10 years in Florida, Mr. Dyal and his two kids relocated back to Missouri to be close to grandparents.

    In his free time, Mr Dyal enjoys spending quality time with his kids and listening to KSHE95. He also loves watching the Cardinals and Gators. Mr. Dyal loves working at Primrose and building everlasting relationships with the children, family, and staff. Mr. Dyal’s goals are to build a mutual respect and Primrose is the foundation to get them heading into the right path for success.

  • Ms. McDaniel, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. McDaniel

    Preschool Teacher

    Ms. McDaniel began her work with children as a cheer and tumbling coach during her ten years as a competitive cheerleader. She attended Missouri Valley College, where she was pursuing a degree in Psychology. She recently changed courses and is now pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. McDaniel’s passion for working with children grew as her close friends and family began their families and she was drawn to helping their children grow and develop. Her love for children was complete after the birth of her son, Brody.

    Ms. McDaniel is grateful to be a part of Primrose where she has the opportunity to help children become strong, independent individuals. She loves providing high quality educational care while building strong relationships with the children and their families. Ms. McDaniel’s grew up in St. Charles, Missouri and she enjoys traveling, sports and spending time with her family and three dogs.

  • Ms. Smith, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Smith

    Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Smith has over ten years of experience working with children in early childhood education. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Child and Family Development. Ms. Smith became a teacher to make a difference in her students' lives by encouraging self-confidence and helping them take educational risks. She is looking forward to building relationships with Primrose families and getting to know everyone that is a part of our school. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outside, traveling, and hanging out with her family and friends

  • Ms. Vestal, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Vestal

    Preschool Teacher
  • Ms. Scott, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Scott

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Scott has a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Southeast Missouri State University. She has four years of experience in an early childhood setting. Ms. Scott is excited to help her students grow into bright, motivated learners, and encompass values that will lead them to become good citizens. She is looking forward to building strong relationships with the students and families at Primrose.

  • Ms. Anderson, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Anderson

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Carlie Anderson has a passion for young children. She takes this passion along with the skills she has developed working with children and brings them to the classroom.

    As the oldest child in her family, Ms. Anderson has always had a love for caring for children. In her free time, Ms. Anderson enjoys watching tv shows, hiking, playing with her pets, and hanging out with her family.

  • Ms. Blanchard, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Blanchard

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Blanchard has six years of child care experience. Ms. Blanchard Blanchard was drawn to a career in pediatrics at a young age. Her love of early childhood education started after completing high school and blossomed even more after having her son. She took her passion and love of children and started her career working at a local learning center when her son was a baby. She is excited to be part of the Primrose family. In her free time, Ms. Blanchard loves spending time with her son at the park and having game nights with her sisters and brother.

  • Ms. Landreth, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Landreth

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Landreth is enrolled at St. Charles Community College where she is studying education. Ms. Landreth is CPR certified and has participated in an explorer program to further her emergency medical training skills. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

    Ms. Landreth has a passion for children loves watching the children at Primrose learn and grow.

  • Ms. Gruszczynski, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Gruszczynski

    Early Preschool Teacher
  • Ms. Dunton, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Dunton

    Early Preschool Teacher
  • Ms. Bamert, Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Bamert

    Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Bamert joined Primrose after retiring as a Kindergarten Teacher. She taught kindergarten at a local elementary school for nearly 27 years. She has a deep passion for watching children grow and change. Ms. Bamert holds a Bachelor’s degree including a teaching certification in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. She also has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum.

  • Ms. Cornell, Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Cornell

    Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Cornell attended Fontbonne University, where she started her journey as a teacher. Ms. Cornell was a teacher assistant, then she became a substitute teacher for first through eighth grade. After, for the next five years, she will dedicate her free time to tutoring children with learning disabilities.

    Ms. Cornell’s love for teaching has never been diminished in all the years of her career, but it continues to grow each and every day. It is Ms. Cornell’s love for teaching that has led her to be a part of the Primrose team. She counts each and every day as a blessing, and she makes sure that she shows the children she teaches, through her actions, how much she loves and enjoys being a part of their lives.

  • Ms. Ellison, Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Ellison

    Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Ellison has nearly 6 years of professional teaching experience. She holds an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Moberly Area Community College. Ms. Ellison is passionate about being an early childhood educator because it brings a personal satisfaction knowing she is making a difference in young lives and being an influence on future generations. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family!

  • Ms. Eichenberger, Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Eichenberger

    Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Breeley Eichenberger has over three years of professional experience working with children, including experience as a lead teacher. Ms. Eichenberger has an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and plans to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education or a related field. Ms. Eichenberger loves watching children develop individual personalities. Her passion is to build strong connections with each child in the classroom.

    In her free time, Ms. Eichenberger enjoys taking walks with her dog, baking, and watching movies.


  • Mrs. Gurney, Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Gurney

    Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Gurney has over nine years of experience in early childhood education. Shaping the lives and positively influencing young children is her passion.

    Mrs. Gurney has been married to her husband, Dan, for 19 years. She is the proud mother to Jacob (19), Aidan (16), and Noah (15). She also has a yellow lab named Faith. She loves spending times with her family and going on vacations. Mrs. Gurney is enjoys watching the children in her care develop and grow. She is thrilled to be a part of the Primrose team!

  • Ms. Plunk, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Plunk

    Infant Teacher

    Meet Ms. Kaitlyn Plunk, one of our support teachers. Ms. Plunk is currently attending Lindenwood University and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Plunk brings over four years customer service and childcare experience working with children as a volunteer with the Crisis Nursery. She loves being part of the Primrose family since it allows her to live her passion for helping children.

  • Mr. Appelbaum, Support Teacher

    Mr. Appelbaum

    Support Teacher

    Mr. Appelbaum has over three years of experience in the field of elementary and early childhood education. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri. His professionalism, kindness, and care for children make him a great addition to our team!

    Mr. Appelbaum is originally from St. Louis and he graduated from Westminster Christian Academy before joining the Infantry Marines with time in Afghanistan. In his free time, he likes to teach yoga, do/teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, and spend time with his husky puppy, Odie.

  • Ms. Davis, Support Teacher

    Ms. Davis

    Support Teacher
  • Ms. Johnson, Support Teacher

    Ms. Johnson

    Support Teacher

    Ms. Johnson has 2 years of experience working with children and is currently pursing her degree in biology at Maryville University. Ms. Johnson loves working with the children at Primrose because they are so eager to learn. 

    Ms. Johnsons has a large family. She is very close with her 2 sisters and many cousins. In her free time, she enjoy spending time with friends and family as well as swimming and cooking.

  • Ms. Kelch, Support Teacher

    Ms. Kelch

    Support Teacher
  • Ms. Lam, Support Teacher

    Ms. Lam

    Support Teacher
  • Ms. Lawson, Support Teacher

    Ms. Lawson

    Support Teacher

    Ms. Jane Lawson has worked with children in a professional setting for nearly 15 years. She has had the privilege of working with children from 6 weeks through age twelve years. In Ms. Lawson’s time away from Primrose, she enjoys walking her dog, Lucy, and spending time with her family and friends.

  • Ms. Manno, Support Teacher

    Ms. Manno

    Support Teacher

    Ms. Manno has a passion for working with children. She loves coming to Primrose each day to teach student and help them build life-long skills. Ms. Manno is currently in school earning her cosmetology license but plans to remain working with children long-term.

    In her free time, Ms. Manno enjoys expressing herself through creative arts as well as reading and spending time with her two dogs. She is very happy to have found a place as welcoming as Primrose.

  • Ms. Olney, Support Teacher

    Ms. Olney

    Support Teacher

    Ms. Olney is a career nurse with over 40 years experience of caring for, listening to and learning from patients. Her passion for helping people brought her to Primrose where she enjoys using the skills she developed in nursing to provide educational based care to toddlers. 

    Ms. Olney was married for 28 years and is the proud mother of three grown boys. She is currently engaged to be remarried. In her free time, Ms. Olney is active in her church. She has volunteered with the youth group when her children were young and now enjoys volunteering as a Sunday School teacher. She also enjoys painting landscapes with pastels and watercolor and long walks or bicycle rides on nature trails. She loves to be part of the Primrose family and help children learn from their Primrose (puppet) friends. Above all, she finds excitement in supporting children in becoming curious, self-confident and strong citizens of our world.

  • Mrs. Theby, Support Teacher

    Mrs. Theby

    Support Teacher

    Mrs. Rene Theby is a retired nurse who spent her career working with new mothers and their babies. She found her love of teaching at her church’s preschool and elementary program. Mrs. Theby wanted to continue to work after retirement and found a home at Primrose. She has a passion for being a positive influence in a child’s development at every level.

    In her search for a place to pursue her passion, she stopped looking after visiting Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage as a vaccine clinic nurse during their annual influenza vaccine clinic. The love and care for children was palpable and she knew she wanted to spend more time there. 

     Mrs. Theby is married with three adult children and two grandchildren. She enjoys cycling, swimming and creating stained glass projects.

  • Ms. Deardorff, School Chef

    Ms. Deardorff

    School Chef

    Ms. Diane Deardorff was born in St. Louis and moved to California when she was 21. She recently relocated back to St. Louis with her daughter and is excited to be a part of the Primrose team. Ms. Deardorff has extensive experience in the field of education, working as the director of a children’s education program and public school lunch supervisor. She is excited to provide healthy, nutritional meals to our students to support their learning experience and create healthy bodies and active minds. Ms. Diane Deardorff enjoys the laughter and kindness at Primrose and lives by the quote “Do one thing every day that scares you.” We are so happy to have Ms. Diane Deardorff on the Primrose team!

  • Mr. Dornseif, Transportation Specialist

    Mr. Dornseif

    Transportation Specialist

    Mr. Dornseif holds a BS Degree in Healthcare Management and a BS Degree in Information Systems, both from Maryville University. He is currently retired and serves as the Transportation Specialist (aka Bus Driver) for Primrose. He has 15 years experience mentoring boys as an assistant scoutmaster for a large Boy Scout Troop in Des Peres and now volunteers weekly at the Harvester Christian Church Food Pantry. He is married and has a son and daughter and two granddaughters. He is an avid cyclist and participates in many outdoor activities and loves to travel. He enjoys being part of the Primrose team and is known by the children on the bus as “Mr. Dan”.

  • Jamie and Vince Ovlia, Franchise Owner

    Jamie and Vince Ovlia

    Franchise Owners

    I am Jamie Ovlia, proud Franchise Owner of Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage. I am excited to be a very hands on owner of a school in my hometown and love to provide families in St. Charles and St. Peters with the high-quality education and care that Primrose Schools offers.

    From our own experience as parents, my husband, Vince, and I know how hard it can be to find premier child care, daycare, and preschool services in our community. In 2016, we found Primrose and instantly knew it was what we were looking for. From the Balanced Menu to the Balanced Learning® approach, our family fell in love with the Primrose Experience®. We were willing to extend our commutes so our daughter could attend Primrose, and now we are thrilled to provide that same child care experience to children in our community.

    Vince and I were both raised in the area. After leaving to further our educations, we decided to move back to St. Charles in 2012 to begin our family. My background is in medicine with a bachelor’s in health science from Truman State University and a master’s of medical science in physician’s assistant studies from Midwestern University. I have always had a passion for helping people, and coming from a career focused on health and safety, I am a natural fit to enriching the lives of children and their families through Primrose.

    Our family's goal is to offer the children of our community— including our three children, Penelope, Leo and Benson— well-rounded, high-quality child care, allowing them to grow academically, physically, socially and emotionally.

    We are proud to deliver the Primrose Experience, and we can’t wait to welcome you to our Primrose family!

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