Meet Our Preschool Team
All members of our teaching staff are life-long learners and have a passion for teaching preschoolers! Our full-time teachers hold a Bachelor's Degree or higher in education. Teachers attend regular trainings on best practices in the field of Early Childhood Education.
My name is Breanna Cleeves and I am the Director of the Little Comets Preschool Programs. Preschool is such an exciting, impressionable time in a child’s life. It is a special time when children develop a love for learning. I am always amazed at the developments that occur over the school year within each child. Watching our students grow is a favorite part of my job! They are not only learning letters, numbers, and how to write, but are also developing positive attitudes toward independence, exploration, cooperation, motivation, and creativity. I feel very fortunate to be working amongst a group of supportive, inspiring, early childhood professionals. What an amazing team I have!
In 2008, I graduated from Spring Arbor University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I then obtained my Master’s Degree in Instruction and Curriculum in Early Childhood Education from Grand Valley State University. Prior to re-opening Holbrook, I enjoyed teaching preschool in Atlanta and in the Lansing area. I also taught full-day Kindergarten for four years. I love that our program has grown and expanded over the years, creating a need for our Delta Mills location in West Lansing! When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, boating, shopping, and down-hill skiing. I have a passion for interior design and enjoy decorating and re-decorating my home in Grand Ledge. My husband and I have two beautiful children who bring so much joy to our lives!
Hello! My name is Devon Hampton and I am thrilled to be the Assistant Director of Neff Early Childhood Center! I started out as an afternoon Teacher's Assistant during the 2015-16 school year and since then have enjoyed my role as the Billing Specialist for all of our Little Comets Preschool families. Interacting with preschool children is such a joy for me and I look forward each day to watching them make new discoveries in such a fun and caring environment!
I am a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University near Chicago, where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. I devoted my entire Social Work career to working with children, with eight consecutive years spent as a youth counselor in Michigan's only adoption preservation program. I also worked for two years as a Child & Family Case Manager for Northern Lakes Community Mental Health in the northern Michigan area.
I am happily married to my husband, Steve, and we are long-time residents of the Grand Ledge community. In my free time I enjoy cooking, shopping, reading, traveling, taking care of our animals, and spending time with family and friends.
I encourage you to stop by the office anytime just to say hello or to ask any questions that you may have. I look forward to an exciting school year with you!
Hello! My name is Sara Larson and I am a Lead Preschool Teacher at Neff Early Childhood Center. As a graduate of Grand Ledge Public Schools, I am proud to be a part of such an innovative and supportive school system. I believe that all children have the right to learn, and I am passionate about finding ways to reach each child. After graduating from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Language Arts, I was so excited to work in the Early Childhood field. This is my sixth-year teaching in the Little Comets Preschool Program. Before teaching three/four-year-olds at Holbrook, I taught two-year-olds in our Young Preschool Room. I absolutely adore working with Grand Ledge’s littlest learners. I have a son who attends Beagle Middle School in Grand Ledge. When we are not in school, you may find us at the Grand Ledge Library, eating ice cream at Corner Cone or feeding the ducks at the Island Park. As a teacher and as a mother, I know the importance of family involvement in a child’s education. I hope all of our classroom family members feel like an important part of our learning community. We welcome you to participate in your child’s early development.
Hello! My name is Emily Hanje and I am a full day Lead Teacher for the Two’s Classroom at Neff Early Childhood Center. I grew up in St. Johns, Michigan and went to St. Johns High School, graduating in 2011. I then went to Saginaw Valley State University and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater in 2015. I also minored in Music and Creative Writing. During college, I worked for Spring Hill Day Camps as a Media Director. Through both of my summers there I discovered my love for teaching young children, and knew I wanted to pursue a career in education. After that, I earned my Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate online from Care Courses in 2018. Throughout my time after college, I have worked at several Early Learning Centers in and around St. Johns, both as an Infant Lead Teacher and Toddler Assistant Teacher. I began working for Grand Ledge Public Schools in 2019 as a Teacher Assistant at Holbrook Early Childhood Center. I began teaching in the Two’s class in the Fall of 2020. I have always loved watching young children discover the world around them and learn new things. I live with my husband in Grand Ledge, and we enjoy spending time with our family whether at the lake or at home, walking around Grand Ledge, and playing scrabble together. Outside of teaching, I love reading, photography, writing, singing, enjoying and supporting live theater/music, and being outside and exploring nature. I am so excited to be your child’s teacher and to watch them learn and grow throughout the year!
Hello! My name is Joy Marshall, and I am the Lead Teacher for the Little Comets Half-Day Preschool here at Neff Early Childhood Center. I hold a BA in Child Development and Elementary Education and an MA in Child Development with an emphasis on Curriculum – both from Michigan State University. I retired from my elementary teaching position with Grand Ledge Public School in 2017. I taught Kindergarten and 2nd Grade at Delta Center Elementary for fourteen years. I also taught Head Start, State-Funded Preschool, and Kindergarten for Beecher Community Schools in Flint, MI.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy reading, kayaking, and ‘glamping’ with my husband, Tim. Our children, Marlaina and Lillian, are both grown and are off making their own lives. Marlaina is a Senior Packaging Engineer with Kimberly Clark in Wisconsin and Lillian is an awesome Kindergarten teacher at Charlotte Public Schools.
I knew I would continue teaching after retirement, but I had no idea just how fortunate I would become. I am so happy to have joined the Little Comets Program – nurturing and guiding children as they learn all about the basics of friendship and school!
Hello! My name is Allie Smith and I am very excited to be a part of the Little Comets Preschool teaching team as a Lead Preschool Teacher! I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning with a Minor in Outdoor and Environmental Education. Prior to joining the team, I student taught at Central Michigan University’s Child Development Lab in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. After Student teaching, I then was an Associate Teacher in a Great Start Readiness Preschool Classroom in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. From there I moved back to my hometown and was a Lead Preschool Teacher at a childcare center in Dewitt, Michigan. Every preschool I have been a part of has helped me to grow as a teacher and I am excited to continue learning along with the children in my class. When I am not teaching, I love to be outdoors with family and friends. Camping, hiking, kayaking, and exercising outside are just a few things that I love to do. I am excited to begin working with my new group of children and watching them grow throughout the school year!
My name is Ciarah Fech and I am a Lead Teacher in the Two’s Room at Neff Early Childhood Center. I am a Grand Ledge graduate and so excited to be part of the Little Comets Program! I have over ten years of experience working in various local in-home and center-based programs as an early childhood care provider and educator. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Child and Family Development from Western Michigan University. While I was living in Kalamazoo, I spent my time working at an Early Childcare Center that emphasized a Play-Based Creative Curriculum and a Montessori Campus Area. I also interned at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, creating and facilitating their weekly Preschool Explorers Program and Jr. Nat’s Spring Break Camp curriculum. After graduation, I moved back to Grand Ledge and began working as a Lead Preschool Teacher at Looking Glass Child Development Center’s GL location. I became a member of this awesome team in February 2021. Most of my free time is spent outside and with my family. My best friends are my niece Lennox, and my cat Bella. In the summer I go to my cottage on Higgins Lake nearly every weekend, and up to my cabin on Drummond Island as often as possible. I love fishing, kayaking, trail riding, rock finding and all things nature. My first six months as a Two’s teacher in the Little Comets Program has been an amazing experience. I am thrilled to be part of this wonderful educational community and I cannot wait to see what the 2021-2022 school year brings!