Meet the Teachers
Welcome to YMCA Preschool! Our teachers come from a variety of backgrounds: experiences in other preschools, teaching elementary and special education classes, transitioning from parenting, and various other degrees into becoming preschool teachers. Between all of them, there are decades of knowledge that is shared and passed on between the classrooms in our programs.
One thing they all have in common is that they are passionate about teaching young children and collectively care so much about early childhood development and each child that passes through our programs. Not only are we here for the children, but for families and parents as well.
Whether this is your first preschool experience, your last, or somewhere in between, we are here to address the needs that are unique to each individual child. As educators, we know that all children grow and learn differently, and we respect and embrace that growth in each of our programs. Thank you for letting us be a part of your experience!
My name is Akiko Shiroto, and this is my eleventh year living in Bloomington since moving from Japan. I have two kids and a husband, and I love cooking, traveling, and exploring new places with my kids around Bloomington. I love to help our students make new friends, learn new skills, and have a lot of fun at the Y.
Hello, my name is Amanda Hennessee. I was born and raised in Carroll County, Maryland. I just recently moved to Bloomington about three months ago with my spouse, Sam, who works at IU!
I have been working with children for the past eight years, from being a counselor to being a nanny. When I am not teaching preschool, I love to snuggle my two kittens, Bowery and Schiller. I also love to explore nature and catch sunsets. I am so excited to be teaching this year, and I can’t wait to see the children laugh and play while learning.
Hi, my name is Dani Raymond! My husband and I moved to Bloomington from Brooklyn, NY two years ago. We made sure to be a part of the YMCA community right away—we knew it would be a great place for our two little girls to grow up!
I have a degree in Elementary Education and taught for seven years in Brooklyn before working at the Y. I love working with pre-k aged kids; we have so much fun and learn so much through play and working together.
My name is Nao Forney, and this is my second year of teaching at the Southeast Y Preschool. It was always my childhood dream to be a preschool teacher. I just love to see how two years old start talking and interacting with others and learn so much throughout the school year.
I am originally from Japan, but I have been living in Bloomington since 2013. I am a mother of three; I have two daughters and a son. My husband is from Bloomington, so I have family and friends in town, which prevents me from feeling homesick! When I'm not working as a preschool teacher, I enjoy baking, gardening, and crocheting.
My name is Paula Burt. I am from Louisville, KY, but I have been living in Bloomington with my husband Ken for 25 years. I have two children, Alex and Ali, who are in college.
I have been teaching preschool for 15 years, and this is my fifth year teaching the toddler class at the YMCA. What I enjoy most about working with toddlers: watching them grow and develop physically, verbally, and socially throughout the school year... and of course that they are a ton of fun!
My name is Sarah Street and I’m a junior at IU studying Elementary Education. I love working with preschoolers because I love to see how quickly they change and learn. Watching them explore the world and learn new things is such an amazing experience! When I’m not at work or doing homework, I love to paint and spend time with my dog, Nicky, and my fiancé, Jacob.
My name is Valerie Winiger, and I am a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington with a B.S. degree in Psychology. My hobbies are exercising, baking, and crafting, and I enjoy spending time with my husband and two young boys. I am happy to be a part of the YMCA Preschool program because of my son’s experience here two years ago; he still raves about it!