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. Hake, Assistant Director

    Mrs. Hake

    Assistant Director

    Deborah grew up in the Hill Neighborhood where she attended St. Aloysius Gonzaga School.  From there she went on to Bishop Du Bourg, Webster University, and finally Lindenwood University where she earned a Master’s Degree in School Administration followed by a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction.  With years of classroom experience including preschool – eighth grade, Dr. Hake enjoyed the enthusiasm she brought to the subjects she taught and making the curriculum engaging and applicable for students. 

    Deborah loves working with children and providing a safe, nurturing environment in which to play, learn, and grow. Equal to that passion is her drive and dedication to helping teachers find the best practice techniques to reach all learners where they are.  Her hobbies include making stained glass panels, lamps, and sun-catchers. She enjoys being outside and taking longs walks with her husband. 

    Dr. Hake and her husband have two grown children and love spending as much time with them as possible, enjoy the “country” living of Defiance with their 3 dogs and 1 cat, as well as visits back to The Hill.

  • Ms. Crandall, Education Coach

    Ms. Crandall

    Education Coach

    Ms. Crandall moved back to the St. Charles area after living in Kansas City, MO for 12 years. She has over 8 years of classroom experience in early childhood education. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Missouri – Kansas City. During Ms. Crandall’s tenure as a teacher on UMKC’s campus, she served as a mentor teacher to practicum students. As a mentor teacher, she observed and coached teacher candidates in creating a facilitating lesson plans, building relationships with children and parents and meeting curriculum goals. She was also an adjunct professor at UMKC where she taught a course on assessment and observation to teacher candidates. The focus of this course was on ASQ, child portfolios and behavior screenings. 

    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 nearly 10 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. Jones, Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Jones

    Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Jones is currently in school pursuing a degree in counseling at Maryville University. In addition to being the eldest of five children in her family, she also has experience in childcare, after school programs, and summer programs. Ms. Jones’ lifelong love for children and community is what led her to the Explorers Classroom at Primrose.

    Ms. Jones was born is St. Charles, MO, but grew up in Okinawa, Japan. She also spent some time in Las Vegas, NV before her step father retired from the Air Force and they moved back to Missouri. Ms. Jones’ experiences abroad increased her love for children and their families. Ms. Jones feels privileged to spend her days witnessing children grow and develop through the balanced curriculum at Primrose.

  • 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. 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. Cruz, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Cruz

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Cruz is native to Puerto Rico and moved to St. Louis in 2017. Spanish is her first language. Mrs. Cruz has been working with children for nearly 10 years and has completed college course work in Early Childhood Education. Her work with children has ranged from teaching in a preschool setting to tutoring elementary aged children. She also has had the opportunity to travel Central America with her church to help teachers in other countries. Mrs. Cruz loves to help children build a strong foundation that includes love and compassion.

    In her free time, Mrs. Cruz enjoys spending time with her husband. Together, they especially love to travel. Interior design is a passion of hers as well.  She loves Fall and Christmas and looks forward to sharing in these seasons with the children at Primrose.


  • Mrs. Sen, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Sen

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Saheli Sen has been in the early childhood field for more than 3 years. She has earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature and has a diploma in elementary education. She moved to Saint Louis from India a couple of years ago along with her husband. She loves teaching children and feels every child has a different need in terms of learning. Mrs. Sen is excited to help her students become self-confident, curious and reach their full potential. In her free time, she loves to cook and be creative with arts & crafts. She is delighted to be part of the Primrose Family and guide her students to a brighter future.

  • Mrs. Kyttle, Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Kyttle

    Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Kyttle has nearly 10 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!

    Mrs. Kyttle 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. Linhares

    Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Karen Linhares has more than 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. She received her associates degree in Early Childhood Education and currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree. She strongly believes in the Primrose Balanced Approach to learning and has a passion for helping children grow and learn. In her free time,  she enjoys archiving family photos, gardening, watching old movies, listening to music, reading and collecting children's books. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family and friends.

  • Mrs. Liwo, Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Liwo

    Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Rosaline Liwo has more than 18 years of experience teaching in early childhood education. She worked overseas, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with both infants and preschoolers from various cultural backgrounds. She is bilingual in English and Fanji. Mrs. Liwo is the recipient of various achievements and awards for her mentorship, including the Role Model Parent Award from the Carbondale Middle School in Illinois and Outstanding College Mentor (Life Saver) Award from the African Student Council at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale.

    Mrs. Liwo values treating children with kindness and respect at all times. Mrs. Liwo views her love for children as her way of giving back to the community. She is passionate about the importance of parents and teachers working together as a team, to provide a safe environment for students to learn, grow, and develop essential life skills. She is happily married with eight adult children and ten grandchildren. In her spare time, Mrs. Liwo loves traveling, crocheting, dancing, shopping, and cooking. She is proud to call St. Louis her new home, and is excited to be a member of the Primrose family! Mrs. Liwo chose Primrose because of the warmth and positive energy she felt from staff and students on her first visit. Her favorite thing about Primrose is their balanced approach to teaching and learning.

  • Ms. Hepper, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Hepper

    Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Hepper received her Bachelors Degree in Child Development from Southeast Missouri State University and has worked with children for over 5 years. She enjoys helping children develop important life skills and forming trusting relationships with students to support them educationally, socially, and emotionally. Her favorite things to teach include the solar system, shapes, and how to write! Ms. Hepper is from St. Louis and is a life-long Cardinals fan. She also enjoys spending time outdoors, painting, and going to the movies. She is excited to be teaching at Primrose and help our students be successful learners.

  • Mrs. Wright, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Mrs. Wright

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Mrs. Wright has a bachelors degree in Intercultural Studies. This led to her family living in the United Kingdom for six years where she worked with children in a church and within the community. After returning to the US in 2021, Mrs. Wright began her masters degree in Mental Health. She has a passion for understanding culture and development. She has a desire to create a safe and fun learning atmosphere where kids can build resilience in their early years of life that will continue to grow as they do. 

    In her free time, Mrs. Wright loves spending time with her husband and four children. She also enjoys quiet activities like reading and crafting. 

  • Ms. Meneses, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Meneses

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Meneses has over 6 years of professional experience working with children in an early childhood education setting. Ms. Meneses attended Missouri Western State University and obtained a bachelors degree in early childhood education. She enjoys working with children to help them learn and grow into outstanding citizens.

    In Ms. Meneses free time, she enjoys taking her dog on walks, gardening, and reading. Ms. Meneses enjoys being part of the Primrose family and its balanced approach to teaching and learning.

  • Ms. Blanchard, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Blanchard

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Blanchard has nearly 10 years of child care experience. Ms. 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 working with children and loves watching the children at Primrose learn and grow each and every day. 

  • Ms. Gruszczynski, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Gruszczynski

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Gruszczynski is currently in school pursuing a degree in Early Education. She has 5 years of experience working with children. Ms. Gruszczynski also completed a 2 year Pathways to Teaching course when she was in high school.

    Ms. Gruszczynski loves working with children and helping them learn and grow. She is especially excited to be working at Primrose and to encourage and help children become their best selves. 

  • Ms. Dunton, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Dunton

    Early Preschool Teacher
    Apple of Our Eye

    Ms. Echo Dunton’s passion to work with children began at a young age when she would babysit for family and friends. She is currently pursuing her degree in early childhood end elementary education. Her favorite part of being a teacher is building meaningful relationships with children and their parents. She also loves to foster friendships amongst the children in her class to help them learn how to build and maintain relationships throughout their life.

    In her free time, Ms. Dunton loves watching movies, spending time with her friends and family, and making art. Ms. Dunton loves being a member of the Primrose team!

  • 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 30 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 substitute teaching, Ms. Cornell dedicated her free time to tutoring children with learning disabilities, for nearly 5 years. 

    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. House, Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. House

    Infant/Toddler Teacher

    Ms. House has always had a passion for working with children and has had ambitions to be a teacher since she was in high school. Ms. House attended Southwestern Illinois College to receive her Associates Degree in Elementary Education. Currently, she is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree to become an Elementary School teacher. In her free time, Ms. House enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves exploring new places and trying new foods. Ms. House is from Ukraine and speaks 3 languages. Ms. House is very excited to be part of the Primrose family.

  • Mrs. Gurney, Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Gurney

    Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Gurney has over 10 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 21 years. She is the proud mother to Jacob, Aidan, and Noah. 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!

  • Mrs. Bolk, Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Bolk

    Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Leslie Bolk has over 15 years of experience in early childhood education. She has completed coursework in early childhood education including the Child Development Associate program. She has held positions from classroom teacher to private nanny of children ages 6 weeks through 7 years.  Mrs. Bolk loves caring for children and watching them learn and grow. Infants have a special place in her heart as she loves to develop a special bond with them. Mrs. Bolk was married in 2021 and her and her husband love to travel together. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, camping and crafting. Mrs. Bolk is excited to be a part of the Primrose Family and deliver high quality care and education to the babies in the infant class.

  • Mrs. Kisinger, Support Teacher

    Mrs. Kisinger

    Support Teacher

    Mrs. Kisinger graduated with her Associates Degree in 2013 and has now returned to school to obtain her Bachelors. Recently she moved from Arizona to Missouri with her husband and their son. In addition to being a mom, she enjoys spending time outdoors, running and riding bikes with her family. Mrs. Kisinger strives to make a difference in the lives of her students while helping them to discover new and important facts and ideas. She is excited to be part of the Primrose Family and ignite a love of learning within her students.

  • Ms. Lam, Support Teacher

    Ms. Lam

    Support Teacher

    Ms. Lam is very grateful to be part of the students' experience at Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of North Texas and is a native Texan.  She found her passion for teaching and being part of children’s lives through serving as a youth minister.

    Ms. Lam loves the sense of wonder and excitement children bring to her day. She loves to help form children’s future through both formal and informal education, helping children grow into well-rounded people. When she's not at school, her favorite things to do are cook delicious food, go on walks with her fiancé, and video call her two sisters.


  • 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 students 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.

  • Ms. Deardorff, School Chef

    Ms. Deardorff

    School Chef

    Ms.Deardorff was born in St. Louis and moved to California when she was 21. She relocated back to St. Louis with her daughter and loves 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.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.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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