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About Us

Teachers and Staff

Wendy Pritchard

Open Arms Director

Wendy has been our Open Arms Director since the day we opened our doors. In fact, her two boys were the first children in our program. She has over 20 years of experience managing childcare facilities. She keeps our children safe, our parents informed, and our teachers up to date.

Natalie Kryjanovskaia

Lead Teacher, Baby Rosebuds

Natalie has been with us since the first year we opened Open Arms. She is our original baby teacher. She finds great joy in helping the little babies and their families as they begin their journey at Open Arms. She loves to play, rock, sing and love on our little ones. She also appreciates being able to help our new moms and dads as they navigate the waters of being first time parents, or second, third or fourth. Natalie enjoys being mom to her adult daughter.

Brianna Rice

Lead Teacher, Baby Begonias

Brianna is starting her first year at Open Arms. She holds a bachelor's degree from Concordia University (St. Paul, MN), and is the mother to Carter, who is in the Wildflower class. She considers herself very blessed to have discovered such a passion in the Early Childhood Education field, and is certain she will be a lifelong advocate for children and families.

Carol Endres

Lead Teacher, Toddler Tulips

Carol has been with us since the day Open Arms opened its doors. She has 15 years of experience in education. The halls are filled with her singing as she transitions her class from activity to activity with a song. Carol is mom to three and the proud grandma of one.

Jess Dinkelman

Lead Teacher, Tiger Lily 2's

Jess has been a part of Open Arms for a year and a half, and this is her first year as a lead teacher. She loves incorporating many different learning styles into play and activities and hopes to ignite a love of learning and discovery in all young minds. She is most enthusiastic to have this opportunity to share the Word of God with such young ears and hearts. Jess is a graduate of Concordia University (Chicago) with a degree in education.

Mary Beth Peterson

Lead Teacher, Daisy 3's

Mary Beth has been teaching in the field of early childhood for 17 years. Her original degree was in Medical technology and after 15 years of researching diseases, she received her certification in early childhood education. Her passion for discovery is evident in the way she provides opportunities for her class to learn with their hands, eyes, and ears. She is a strong advocate for learning through play. She is the proud mom to Will, who is a freshman at the University of Illinois.

Megan Gerken

Lead Teacher, Sunflower 4's

Megan is starting her 2nd year as a lead teacher. She is a graduate of Illinois State University. After spending some time in St. Louis, she moved home to the Chicago area. Her first position at Open Arms was in the Toddler room as Ms. Carol's assistant. She believes children learn best when given the opportunity to explore their environment.

April Driscoll

Wildflower 5's

April has been teaching for ten years, most recently as a fourth grade teacher at a nearby private school. This is her first year at Open Arms. She received her B.A. in elementary education from Northeastern Illinois University and her Masters in Reading from Concordia University. April has been married just over a year and lives with her husband in Chicago. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, and hanging out with her two nephews.

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