Meet Our Staff

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Suzanne Mayer: School Teacher

Suzanne Mayer, also known as “Ms. Suzanne”, is the mother of two beautiful, intelligent young ladies. She has over 20 years of experience working with children. Over the last eight years, she has been a teacher at both Zion Lutheran Church and School and Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church and School. Suzanne has had the privilege of teaching as the lead Preschool teacher at Divine Shepherd since the preschool began. Suzanne currently serves as our center Director and loves to be in each classroom as much as possible.

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Joni Rohrbauck: Lead 3-4 yr Preschool Teacher

Joni is our lead teacher for the 3-4-year-old preschool class (the "Penguin" room). She started teaching at Divine Shepherd Preschool in 2014 and, prior to that, taught at Peace Lutheran Preschool in Rapid City. Joni has an Associate’s Degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen.  She is married with two children.

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Katie Andreasen: Mobile Lead/Lead 1-2 yr Room Teacher

Katie Andreasen is our Mobile Lead and the main teacher in the “Duckling” room. Having grown up in a home daycare that her mom ran, she has many years of helping children and babysitting. In fourth grade, she knew she wanted to be a teacher! Katie completed three years of college in Elementary Education at MSU. She lives in Rapid City with her husband and two boys. She enjoys designing floral arrangements, watching her boys play baseball, and going camping as a family. Katie loves to teach children and watch their magic “ah ha” moments, that only they can show when they truly understand something!

 

Mari Garcia: Lead Infant Room Teacher

Mari Garcia was born and raised in Sturgis, South Dakota where she began her passion for working with young children. She married her husband, Jason, in 2004 and they have two children: Sebastian (age 12) and Liliana (age 10). Mari worked professionally with young children for ten years before she became a stay-at-home mom. She has had the pleasure of working at Divine Shepherd Lutheran School for the past year and has truly enjoyed filling her arms and heart with the joy only little ones can bring.  She looks forward to getting to know each family within the center!

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Natali Markworth: Infant Room Teacher

Natali Markworth is our bilingual teacher at Divine Shepherd Lutheran School and she works primarily in the Infant room. Natali has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre through Briar Cliff University. She has been teaching children for the past six years through programs involving Spanish, music, acting, dance, as well as providing advanced care for special needs children. Natali lives in Rapid City with her super interesting, and totally not boring, husband and son, who are both named Jeffrey!

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Melissa Peck: Infant Room Teacher

Melissa Peck, also known in the center as “Ms. Mel,” just recently started as a teacher at Divine Shepherd Lutheran School. She has a military background and has worked in childcare for many years prior to starting at the center. Mel lives in Black Hawk with her husband and three school-age children. They like to go swimming, ride bikes, and recently built a fire pit to enjoy S’mores!

 

Carol Ruggles: 2-3 yr Room Teacher

Carol Ruggles is our main teacher in the “Frogs” classroom. She has over 15 years of experience directing programs and working with children. She comes from a family of 12 siblings. Carol has four grown kids and two grandkids that keep her busy!

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Christy Dye: Lead 4 yr - Kindergarten Ready Preschool Teacher 

Christy Dye is the lead preschool teacher in the four- and five-year-old classroom (the "Owl" room). She has a degree from Missouri State University and 15 years of experience working with students with special needs from kindergarten to high school age. Christy earned her Child Development Accreditation in 2017 with an emphasis in preschool. This year will be her third year teaching this age of students.

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Kathy Espinosa: Preschool Room Teacher

Kathy Espinosa is working in her first daycare position.  She worked in fast food for 26 years with a little bit of childcare! She has three kids and two grandkids and has lived in Black Hawk since 2002. She loves the Black Hills area!

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Jillian Mayer: Part-Time Teacher

Jillian Mayer is a junior at Sturgis Brown High School and works at the center part-time during the school year and summer! Her mom ran a home daycare when Jillian was a child and she has volunteered at Zion Lutheran School for their summer daycare program. Jillian has always loved working with kids and spends most of her free time doing anything art-related!

 

Ashley Hahn: Part-Time Teacher

Ashley Hahn is in her fourth year of college at Black Hills State University, working towards a degree in English and Communication Studies. Ashley worked as a nanny for about five years before joining us at Divine Shepherd Lutheran School.

 

 

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