Rachel graduated from Harding University with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. Her love of traveling took her to Scotland for a semester for her pre-student teaching as well as Panama City, Panama for 6 months after college to teach English with the Let’s Start Talking program. She moved to Alaska from Ohio over 8 years ago. After spending a year on the advisory council when her oldest was at the Playschool, she knew this was a uniquely special place and is so proud to be a part of the staff here now!
A lifelong Alaskan, my early childhood was spent in Juneau and the rest in the small southeast town of Haines. I am a product of Montessori and Waldorf teaching, having been exposed early on from my mother's own daycare where she used these principles, and then reinforced by the Juneau cooperative preschool, an experience which nurtured my affinity for the outdoors, and stood as the standard throughout my life of what learning could be.
I studied Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a focus on Archaeology. While I decided that career path wasn't for me, I still carry a passion for people, our environment, and the history of both. Since then, I have worked as a nanny, a falafel maker, a whale watching tour guide, and a registrar in the E.R. My most recent adventure has been raising our 2 young girls with my husband and trying to figure out this parenting thing.
I’m extremely excited and honored to have this opportunity to teach and soak up the decades of wisdom available at St. Mary’s Playschool, and to be part of such a generous and compassionate community.
Hello! My name is Jessica Mangano. I am excited to be joining this amazing team of educators!
My teaching experience started around the age of fourteen as a tutor and elementary basketball coach. In 2006, I earned my degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I have been blessed to work with students and families all over the state of Alaska as both an educator and athletic coach. I am passionate about play-based learning that is child-centered and promotes socio-emotional and cognitive development through play. As your child's teacher, my goal is to provide a healthy and safe learning environment where your child can use their imagination to explore, experiment, discover, collaborate, improvise and create all through play!
I have been working with kids for as long as I can remember. I am the oldest of 10 kids, I've been teaching bible classes since I was a teenager, and I lived at a summer camp all my teen years. I am married and have 3 kids of my own, all of whom attended St. Mary's. The Playschool had a huge impact on my life because of the amazing teachers my kids had. I learned so much from them that was able to help make me a better parent!
Out of high school I did mission work in Australia for a year which made me certain I wanted to work with children and youth "when I grew up.” Since that time I've done exactly that! My goal this year is to learn a little more each day about the children in my class and how to best help them as one of the adults that is lucky enough to be in their life.
I grew up in Upstate New York, went to college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando to escape the harsh winters. Ha! I came to Alaska for the summer after graduating from college to work up in Denali National Park in the tourism industry, one summer led to 2 summers, and I eventually moved to Alaska to work for a tourism company. I eventually left that job to be a live-in nanny in Girdwood, then had an administrative job for a few years . Somewhere along the way I met my husband and we now live in Anchorage with our 4 wild and beautiful kids. Our two youngest kids currently attend The Playschool. Working in the office has been the perfect fit for me. I love organizing, planning, and a good spreadsheet. This job has just enough of that along with lots of time spent with preschoolers that make me laugh, families that are a beautiful representation of our community, and working alongside wonderful women who inspire me!
My name is Gail and I am SOOO happy to be here and join our beautiful staff and community here at The Playschool.
I grew up in sunny Southern California and started my freezing yet beautiful Alaska life here in 2007 at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. I have two kids, one elementary and one in middle school, and they are simply growing too fast. Our family has been attending St. Mary’s Playschool since the 1990s! I started as a Playschool parent helper with Ms. Rachel years ago and have missed it so much I became a substitute teacher just a few years later. Teaching is an absolute work of heart and I can’t wait to share this precious time with all of you!
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The Playschool at St. Mary’s honors children and engages families of all faith traditions, race, and national origins. As the first preschool established in Anchorage, we are pioneers of PLAY and offer three to five year olds a play-based, creative, and innovative curriculum.
2222 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507