The UUM Preschool teaching staff is a wonderful group of people who meet or exceed all educational requirements with backgrounds in education, art, theater, and French. All of our teachers were hired out of the parent population after their children attended UUMPS, giving us chance to really get to know them before they joined the staff. UUM Preschool has very little staff turnover, with current teacher tenures ranging from 7 to 29 years.
The school supports professional development by having two in-service days during the school year as well as by purchasing current preschool education books for the staff to read and share. In addition, fees for workshops and conferences are paid by UUMPS.
Katie Abbott, Sunshine Room Teacher
Katie Abbott joined the UUM Preschool staff in 2007; she teaches three- and four-year-olds in the Sunshine Room. She grew up in Park Hills, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. After earning a degree in art at Kenyon College, she taught photography at a girls' boarding school in Richmond, Virginia. She went on to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where she earned her master’s degree in counseling, and then worked for a number of years as a school counselor in Virginia at both the high school and elementary school levels. Katie moved to St. Louis in 2001, and her younger boys both attended UUMPS. Katie and her husband, Andy, also an educator, are the parents of three children. Katie’s hobbies are reading, gardening, and photography, and she spends a great deal of time watching her children play sports.
Stephanie Belongie, Balloon Room Teacher
Stephanie Belongie joined the UUM Preschool staff in 2015; she teaches two- and three-year-olds in the Balloon Room. She graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in English and earned her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She practiced law in Illinois and Missouri before she and her husband, Shaun, settled in St. Louis. Stephanie became interested in children’s education while acting as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care in Cook County, IL. After spending several years at home with her two children (both UUMPS graduates), she began substitute teaching at UUM Preschool and fell in love with UUM a second time. Her favorite classroom activities include reading books in funny voices, making messy art projects, and having the children engage in dramatic play. Outside of school, she is an old-home aficionado and HGTV addict—she has never passed an open house without walking in. Her other favorite things are coffee, great books, downhill skiing, and eating out.
Amy Cavato, Super Star Room Teacher
Amy Cavato enthusiastically joined the UUM Preschool team in 2009; she teaches in the four- and five-year-old classroom. She attended John Carroll University, where she earned a B.A. in elementary education. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education and is a certified reading specialist. Amy has taught kindergarten and primary grades as well as assisting and substituting at the preschool level. Teaching children has always been her passion and she loves working with UUMPS families. Amy is married and has two children, who both are both graduates of UUMPS.
Annie Erker, Super Star Room Teacher
Annie Erker first joined the UUM Preschool team in 2000 after graduating from Marquette University, where where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education. She taught in the Super Star Room for one year while she completed the necessary requirements for her Missouri Teaching Certification. She then taught in the School District of University City as a Title I Math Specialist and a third grade teacher. After earning her Masters in Reading from Webster University, she spent the last five of her 10 years in U-City as a reading specialist. After spending three years at home with her children, Annie was very excited to go back to the classroom once again as a Super Star teacher! Annie and her husband are the parents of four children, all of whom have attended UUMPS. Outside of school, Annie loves spending time with family and friends, reading books with her children, going to concerts, planning parties, and going to the gym.
Sharyn Koob, Sunshine Room Teacher
Sharyn Koob has been teaching at UUM Preschool since 1992. She is married with three daughters and seven grandchildren. She enjoys spending lots of time with her family and taking advantage of all that the University City urban area has to offer.
Carolyn Glickert, Teaching Assistant
Carolyn Glickert has been with UUM Preschool as a teaching assistant since the fall of 1999. She enjoys spending time in every classroom and getting to know all of the kids. She is married and has two children, both UUMPS alumni. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, cooking, and going to the gym.
Amy Johnson, Rainbow Room Teacher
Amy Johnson has been substitute teaching at UUMPS since 2014 and started working in the Monday, Wednesday, Friday Rainbow Room in 2017. Amy attended the University of Kansas and Fontbonne University where she earned her BS in Special Education and Elementary Education. Amy has worked previously for the Special School District of St. Louis and The International School of Amsterdam. Amy enjoys being outside, playing tennis, reading and traveling with her husband and their four children - all of whom are UUMPS alumni!
Beth Lowe, Super Star Room and Tiny Twos Room Teacher
Beth Lowe joined the UUM Preschool staff in 2015. She teaches in the four- and five-year-old classroom (Super Stars) on Fridays; she also teaches the Tiny Twos class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Beth graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia with a degree in psychology. She earned her teaching certification from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and her Masters in Arts for teaching mathematics at Webster University. She taught math at Parkway South High School for nine years. Beth is married and has three children who are graduates of UUMPS.
Holly Seitz Marchant, Music and Movement Teacher
Holly Seitz Marchant is a dance artist, performer, and educator who has been sharing the joy, knowledge, and skill of movement with people of all ages in St. Louis since 2004. In addition to teaching music and movement at UUM Preschool, Holly is an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University, Maryville University, and Washington University. Holly was born and raised in Montana, where her love of nature, family, and dancing grew. She earned an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona in dance performance and choreography and a B.A. in English literature from Montana State. She is also a UUMPS mom and wife of David Marchant.
Pam Schmidt, UUM Preschool Director
Pam Schmidt started her relationship with UUM Preschool in 1983, when she enrolled her first child in the program. When her second child left UUMPS for kindergarten, she joined the teaching staff. She enjoyed 12 years working in the three- and four-year-old program, until 2000, when she became the UUMPS Director. She feels that her experience as both a parent and a teacher as well a degree in psychology have helped her succeed in that position. Away from UUMPS, Pam loves spending time with her husband, children, gardening, and traveling to Sweden to see her grandchildren.
Becky Shostak, Balloon Room Teacher
Becky Shostak has been a teacher in the two- and three-year-old classroom since 2007. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in speech pathology and a minor in child studies. Upon completing her teaching certification from Central Methodist College, she spent six years teaching kindergarten. After spending five years at home with her children, she returned to teaching in the UUMPS Balloon Room. Becky and her husband, Elliott, who is a school administrator in University City, have two sons, Benjamin and Aidan. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her many siblings, running and playing volleyball, as well as becoming a reluctant vegetable gardener and snake owner at the insistence of her two sons.
Kristin Soifer, Tiny Twos and Rainbow Room Teacher
Kristin Soifer has been teaching at UUM Preschool since the fall of 2001. She started in the three-day three- and four-year-old class (the Rainbow Room), and eventually added the Tiny Twos class and the French program to her schedule. Before UUMPS, Kristin went to Washington University, graduating with a B.A. in French and education; from there she went on to teach French at Crossroads School for eight years. (No, there really is not that much difference between high school and preschool!) When not at UUMPS, Kristin is busy volunteering at University City High School, singing in the choir and chairing the altar guild at her church, and knitting. She lives in University City with her husband and two daughters (both UUMPS alums) and their guinea pig.
Mary Kate Stechschulte, Sunshine Room Teacher
Mary Kate Stechschulte has been substituting in various rooms at UUM Preschool for the last four years and began teaching in the Sunshine Room in 2014. She studied at the University of Kansas City, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts. Mary Kate was raised in University City. She and her husband have two children, Mia Louise and Sam.
Lisa Sweeney, Tiny Two's Teacher
Lisa Sweeney joined the UUMPS staff in 2017 as one of the Tiny 2's teachers. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She taught for six years before staying home to raise her children. Lisa and her husband have two sons and two daughters who have all had wonderful learning experiences at UUMPS. She loves living in UCity, hanging out with friends and family, walking and baking. She's thrilled to be a teacher at UUMPS!
Stacie Zink-Duda, Super Star Room Teacher
Stacie Zink-Duda joined the UUM Preschool staff in 2002 and spends most of her time teaching in the Super Star Room, teaching science and at Lunch Bunch. She has a B.A. from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in child clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She has four children, who all went to UUMPS and loved it. Stacie loves teaching the four- and five-year-olds new things and getting them ready to excel in kindergarten.