Teacher – Juli Balestrieri

Ms. Juli has been teaching preschool for over 20 years and has been teaching at FUMCN co-op preschool since 2000. She has a degree in early childhood development from Schoolcraft College with 100’s of hours of continuing education in early childhood. Plus, Ms. Juli leads workshops for other early childhood teachers. She loves to understand how children learn and create activities that will enhance their development. Ms. Juli feels that early childhood education creates an important foundation for future learning. She lives in Belleville where she loves to garden and read.

Assistant Teacher-Mary Page

Ms. Mary has been teaching at FUMCN co-op preschool since January of 2008. She attended CMU for under graduate and graduate school. She holds a major in psychology, a minor in child development, a masters in psychology, and a specialist degree in school psychology. Ms. Mary worked as school psychologist for 12 years. Her areas of interest are child development, parent education, assessment, early literacy. Ms. Mary believes strongly in early-on education, prevention and intervention for academic success. She also believes that for preschoolers, a play-based format is the best way to achieve this goal. Both of Ms. Mary’s daughters attended FUMCN. She loves to read, bike, golf, kayak, and spend time with family and friends.

Assistant Teacher – Lisa Hirsch

Ms. Lisa has been an assistant teacher with FUMCN since 2010. Prior to staying home full time with her 3 children, Ms. Lisa worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 10 years. Most recently, she worked with children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental or neurological disabilities. She continues to be particularly interested in social communication and the development of literacy skills (pre-reading) in young children. All 3 of Ms. Lisa’s children attended FUMCN with her youngest participating in the Young Fives program prior to her becoming a teacher here. The strong emphasis on learning through play and discovery, as well as the community atmosphere of FUMCN, in Ms. Lisa’s opinion, make it an ideal place to work. When she is not working, Ms. Lisa enjoys walking, reading, cooking, camping and being with her family and friends.

Assistant Teacher- Connie Powers

I joined FUMCN in the fall of 2016 as an assistant teacher and I have loved being part of this warm and loving community. A long time ago I graduated from Beloit College, Beloit Wisconsin with a BA in History and certification in elementary education. After graduating from college I attended the University of Notre Dame Law School and graduated with a juris doctorate degree. I practiced law for about twenty years, then we started our family. Since the children have entered our lives, I have worked in education at all grade levels. I was an assistant kindergarten teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School for five years, I substitute taught in the Ann Arbor Public Schools,and I was a lunch room supervisor/playground assistant at Emerson School in Ann Arbor.. Along with my responsibilities at FUMCN, I am also a teaching assistant at Wolverine Pathways, a University of Michigan program providing unique learning experiences for middle and high school students. When I am outside of the classroom I enjoy reading, writing and singing.