Staff Bios

Nice to meet you!

Infant Room 6 weeks - 12 months

Emily Tocco

Emily moved to Michigan in January of 2013 and began working for GPPSS Child Development and Preschool Program as a Lead Teacher in November 2013. She has a BA in Applied Design from San Diego State University and has continued her education by studying early child development, with an emphasis in infant and toddlers. She currently works as Head Teacher of the Infant Room and loves working with art and music with her class.

Toddler One 12 months - 24 months

Shameka Henderson

Shameka began working with the GPPSS Child Development and Preschool Program, in September 2010. She started as a preschool caregiver and is now the Co-Head Teacher for our youngest toddlers. She has an AAS in Early Childhood Education from Oakland Community College. She is currently working on her BS in Behavioral Science from The University of Michigan-Dearborn.


Elizabeth Alloush
Elizabeth truly loves working with children. She feels fortunate to be in a profession where she is allowed to guide and observe children at such a fun and developmental stage in their lives. She earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2013, and has over 4 years of experience with Toddlers and Preschool.

Toddler Two Room 24-36 months

Amy Burrus

Amy attends Baker College and is completing her bachelors degree in early childhood education. She has always loved working with children. She was a long time nanny for two separate families in the area. Her experience ranges from 6 months old to school age children.


Anastasia Havrelko

Anastasia (Stacy) has 20 years of experience working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children. She has been everything from a teacher, director of a child care center and even worked in the corporate office. She enjoys watching and helping children learn and reach their greatest potential. At home she has 2 children and a wonderful husband of almost 20 years. Her hobbies include photography and cake decorating. She loves to capture the moment and to create a special, unique, one of a kind cakes for others.

Preschool Prep Room 2 1/2 - Young 3's

Stephanie Kahn

Stephanie graduated from Western Michigan University in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree of Science in Elementary Education with a ZS endorsement in early childhood. Her experience includes early childhood special education, preschool and grades K-2. She grew up in Holly, Michigan and has recently relocated to Royal Oak with her pug, Fiona. Stephanie's goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment that encourages exploration and discovery.

Preschool 3-4yrs

Nephateria Gill

Neph has been with GPPSS Preschool since 2012. Overall, she has been in the early childhood field for the past 6 years. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and early childhood at Madonna University. She loves to apply everything she is learning at school in her classroom.


Ashley Ratusznik

Ashley graduated Wayne State University with her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. Her focus was in graphic design, taking classes in education as well. She frequently practices all types of art and photography, and loves bringing that into the classroom. Ashley has been working with children for over seven years. She has coached elementary and high school athletics, nannies, and has observed over five different districts in art education. Outside of school, she loves camping, photography, and relaxing with friends and family.

Pre-K (Barnes) 4-5yrs


Stephanie Stepaniak

Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University in 2011; she majored in elementary education, and minored in Group Social Studies with an emphasis on History. She has substituted since 2009 and has worked in many districts in both South East, and West Michigan. She enjoys working with students of all elementary ages, and plans to receive a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Psychology in the near future.


Elizabeth Czerniawski

Beta graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Michigan State University in 2013. She majored in elementary education and minored in Language Arts. She student taught in both Lansing and Detroit Public Schools before coming to Barnes. She is currently working on finishing her Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum and is thinking about going into Speech Pathology.

Pre-K (Trombly) 4-5yrs

Jessica Markie

Jessica Markie joined the Pre-K Team at Trombly Elementary School in the fall of 2014. Previously, she served as a Preschool and Infant teacher with GPPSS at the Barnes location. She began her career working with children at a local child care center at the age of fifteen as a teacher’s assistant. She graduated in May of 2011 from Macomb Community College with an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. She lives in the city of Saint Clair Shores with her husband, Mike, and their dog, Diamond.


Shelby Kubbe

Shelby is a recent graduate from Central Michigan University. She has her bachelor degree in Early Childhood Development. She has joined our team from northeastern Michigan and has recently been able to call Grosse Pointe home. She has experience with children birth to 5 years old.

Program Director

Sara Meier-Child Development & Preschool Program Director

Sara joined the Grosse Pointe Public School System Child Development & Preschool Program in 2010. She has 15 years of experience in the early childhood field. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services from Michigan State University. She lives with her husband and two children in Grosse Pointe area. Both of her children have been part of the GPPSS Child Development & Preschool program from the start!


Jill Kloster-Child Development & Preschool Program Assistant Director

Jill joined the district in 2012, to help launch the Infant and Toddler Child Development component of our preschool program. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Rochester College and spent 8 years working in the classroom with children. In 2014, she started working as Assistant Director and enjoys partnering with families during the earliest years of learning. Outside of school, she enjoys bike riding, reading and spending time with friends.