Meet the Team

Dedicated & Certified

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Kristi Olterman

Director

I have proudly served as the director of Mt. Zion UMC Preschool since 2010. Prior to that time, I taught preschool for 6 years and at the elementary school level for 6 years, as well. I attended Furman University where I received a degree in Early Childhood Education, and then Oglethorpe University where I earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education. I have been married to my husband, Rob, for 25 years and together we are in the throes of raising two awesome boys, Nathan (20), who is attending Clemson University, and Cameron (17), who is a senior in high school.  I am very proud to lead such an incredibly qualified staff and the fantastic families of Mt. Zion Preschool, the loving school in the heart of East Cobb!

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Lory Pruitt

Assistant Director

I have been at Mt. Zion UMC preschool, the best school in East Cobb, since 2008.  The first two years, I was the Resource Manager and then became the Assistant Director in 2010.   I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a teaching degree in grades Pre-K through 8.  I met my wonderful husband there, and we have three children.  My daughter Kelsey graduated from UGA and is now living in Arlington, VA.  My son Tyler is a senior at Auburn (total house divided!) and my son Brandon is a Senior at Pope High School.  I am so blessed to be part of this wonderful Mt. Zion Preschool family.  Come join us because you will love it, too!!!

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Allyson Smart

Teacher

I am a teacher of  the  Monday- Thursday 3 year olds.  I have been a preschool teacher for over ten years, and I love it! They are such a fun group and I love helping them navigate new friendships and finding a love of school.

My background includes a Child Development degree from Florida State, and a Master's degree in Media Technology from Georgia State. When I'm not playing at Mt. Zion, I'm busy with my family including two children who are in middle and high schools, We love to travel to theme parks in Florida any chance we get.

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Ashley Rager

Teacher

I am very excited to be teaching the T/TH  24 month class this year.   I received my Elementary Education degree from Indiana University in 2003.   After graduation I moved to Atlanta and taught elementary for 10 years in Gwinnett County.   My husband and I were married in 2005 and have two children, Jack and Caroline.   Jack attends Timber Ridge Elementary and Caroline is enrolled at Mt. Zion.   In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.  I look forward to a great year!

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Bekah O'Toole Crosby

Teacher

This my first year at teaching at Mt. Zion and I will be assisting with Music specials. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and have taken various music appreciation courses. I find a true passion in combining arts and education. I look forward to creating and having fun with the children!

I enjoy performing, hiking with my husband, reading and hanging out at the house with our cat, Lyra.

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Carley Rex

Teacher

I grew up in Roswell and I’m so happy to have settled back in East Cobb. I received my undergraduate in education from Georgia College and my masters degree in reading instruction from West Georgia. Prior to taking a short time off to be with my kids I taught elementary. This will be my third year at Mt. Zion. I have three busy boys! My oldest is a Mt. Zion grad and will be going into first grade. My other two will be here at preschool in the threes and 12 month classes. I’m looking forward to a fun, busy year full of learning and growing!

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Catherine Sands

Teacher

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Christine Fritsch

Teacher

Christine was born and raised in New York and moved to Marietta, Georgia with her husband David in 1991. They have two children. Christine has a degree in Biological/Chemical sciences and has been a part of the Mt. Zion family since 2004 when her son attended the program. Since being a parent of a Mt. Zion preschooler, Christine has been a substitute teacher, an assistant classroom teacher and continues as the lead science teacher which she began in 2006. Christine is extremely proud of the entire preschool program at Mt. Zion and looks forward to each new day with everyone. Christine enjoys sharing her love of science and working to enhance the outdoor classroom area known as the “Gathering Place”. Christine and her family are members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

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Christy Luttrell

Teacher

I am excited to be your lead teacher for the 4's Monday- Friday class. Mt. Zion is a great learning experience as we were fortunate to have two children recently graduate from here.

My past experience has included being a kindergarten/ first grade teacher, and elementary school counselor.

My educational background includes being an alumni of Emory University, Primary/Elementary education from Rollins College, and  a Masters in School Counseling from Stetson University. 

On a personal level, I like being outdoors,walking, beach activities, reading and being with my family and friends.

Looking forward to a great year!

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Cindy Nekrasas

Teacher

I teach the 4 day 4's class. I have taught at Mt Zion for 10 years, and have worked with Maddy Devine the entire time!  

Prior to the birth of my own children, I taught K-2 at the in the International School in Vilnius, Lithuania. I hold a masters in Elementary Ed from the College of NJ. 

I have been married for 20 years and have two children (Grace and Dylan.) I enjoy knitting, reading and running around after two teenagers! 

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Coach CJ Whyte

Teacher

I am the lead teacher for Movement and Music.  I plan to bring a ton of energy to the class through creative activities and engaging music with one simple goal: Fun.  I have been happily married since 2007 and we have two amazing children, Ford and Harper.   

In my free time, I like to take family vacations, exercise, cook, paint, play bass and spend time with my family.

Remember: Seven Days without Exercise Makes One Weak.

Coach Whyte

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Elizabeth Ellis

Teacher

I have been a fours teacher at Mt. Zion Preschool since 2005. Prior to teaching at Mt. Zion, I taught 2nd grade and 3 & 4 year olds at other area schools. I received a Bachelor Degree in Business/Marketing from Mercer University, and then a post baccalaureate certification in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University. I am married with 3 children and live in the East Cobb area. 

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Elizabeth Miller

Teacher

I’m very excited to be joining Coach CJ and the Mt Zion Preschool team as an assistant in the Movement class this year.  I have been happily married for 8 years to my husband David, have two children (5 and 3) and a labradoodle, Sawyer. Both of my children have attended Mt Zion and we have fallen in love with the school. 

Previously, I have worked in various roles of Children’s Ministry before staying home with my children.

In my free time I enjoy playing tennis, going to the beach, traveling and spending time with my family! I am looking forward to a fun school year.

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Erica Brinson

Teacher

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Gabriella Boyle

Teacher

I am the lead teacher for our Young Fives Program. This will be my fourteenth  year at Mt. Zion UMC Preschool. I learned about the preschool while my youngest son attended, fell in love and have been here ever since! I treasure the journey that I get to take with these wonderful young students year after year. I'm married to a great man for thirty-five years and we have three fantastic adult children and three dogs, a cat and a turtle..

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Hannah Slocum

Teacher

I am so excited to join the Mt. Zion team! I am an East Cobb native and received my teaching degree from Kennesaw State. I have 4 years experience in primary grades at a local East Cobb school prior to staying home with my kids. I have 2 children at Mt. Zion and we have fallen in love with our sweet school. During my free time I enjoy reading, exercising and going to the beach with my family.

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Holly Hugh

Teacher

This is my first year on staff at Mt Zion, but my 8th year as a Mt Zion parent! I am so excited to be assisting Ms Kay in the 18-24 month class. I grew up in Cobb County, and I've been back in the area since 2008. My wonderful husband and I have 4 awesome kids (two of whom are Mt Zion alumni, and our youngest is still here in the 4's class!) We love to travel as a family, and spend lots of time together--usually at soccer games, lacrosse games, and dance recitals! When I have a few minutes to spare, I enjoying crafting, and learning new things about the world.

  

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Jennifer Kolb

Teacher

I am a Georgia native. I grew up in Sandy Springs and went to Lovett High School.  I graduated from Elon College in North Carolina where I met my husband Stephen when I was 19 years old !  We moved back to Marietta after school and were married in 2000.  I worked in TV production and then as a photographer before starting my toughest job ever, Mom to 3 kids!  Ryan and Katie are 9 year old twins and Stephen will be 15 in October.   I am really looking forward to my first year at Mt. Zion.

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Julie Taylor

Teacher

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Kathryn Muraoka

Teacher

I am delighted to serve as the Assistant Science Teacher this year! I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. I love how God's design is displayed in the beauty of nature and through the laws of science. I feel privileged to share my love of God and science with your children.  
My husband Ken and I live in East Cobb with our two children, who both attended preschool here at Mt. Zion. I have so many happy memories at Mt. Zion Preschool and can’t wait to make more!  

 “O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world!" Psalms

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Kay Morgan

Teacher

Both of our children attended Mt. Zion Preschool. I fell in love with the preschool and started working as an assistant in 2011. I have a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) . I am the lead teacher in the 18-24 year old class "Little Bears", and the lead in the MWF three year old class "Happy Hippos". I have been happily married since 2003. We have two children, a daughter, and a son. We enjoy music, traveling, and spending time with family.

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. We at Mt. Zion love them too.

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Latta Patel

Teacher

This is my first year at Mt. Zion, I'm going to be assisting in movement. My younger daughter Saira is currently enrolled at Mt. Zion. I have subbed at Mt.Zion many times and love working with kids. I have completed the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. I am happily married since 2008 and we have two amazing girls Peher, Saira and an adorable fur baby Hobbes.

In my free time I like to take family trips to the beach, read books, exercise, and spend time with friends and family... 

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Laura Dietrich

Teacher

This is my second year at Mt. Zion. My twins, Wes and Maxine, went to school here for three years and are now in kindergarten at Mt. Bethel elementary. I have a Master's Degree in Higher Education from Illinois State University and have worked in various roles in the Children's MinistryMy husband and I have been living in the East Cobb area for 8 years.  We love spending time at the pool, outdoors, and with our dog, Beefcake.  I'm so excited to continue with the MZ team!

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Lauren Spears

Teacher

I am excited to be a part of the Mt. Zion team! I graduated from the University of Florida and now live in Marietta. My husband and I have two wonderful boys who attend school here at Mt. Zion. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing outside, running, and crafting. I look forward to a wonderful year!

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Luba Abounassar

Teacher

I have been a 12-18 month assistant teacher at Mt.Zion Preschool  since 2015 and a 2 years old assistant teacher since 2018. Taking great care of small children is my biggest passion.

I live with my husband of 21 years in Roswell and we have three sons. I hold a master degree in early childhood education and have taught in elementary schools in Europe for 4years.

My hobbies are healthy cooking and baking,hiking and reading.

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Marisa Carter

Teacher

I am the lead teacher in the 4 day 4's class. Born and raised in Georgia, I received my Early Childhood degree from Georgia College. I began my teaching career in grades

kindergarten and first for 8 years. I have been at Mt. Zion since 2011. Teaching is my passion and I love Mt. Zion!

I am married to my high school sweetheart (Rob) with two boys ages 18 and 21 ( Mason and Hudson) and 2 dogs (Hank and Bo). When I am not in the classroom I love spending time with family and friends at our lake home, love reading, going to the movies, watching my boys play sports, and cheering on Auburn football.

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Marlene Asensio

Teacher

I taught at Mt Zion from 2004 to 2015 and am so excited to be returning as an Assistant Teacher for the 4-year old class. I have also taught Spanish in After School Programs at different East Cobb elementary schools. I have a degree in Marketing from Georgia State. I am from Panama. I have been married for 30 years and have three children Melissa, Cristina and Charlie. I love to spend time with my family and going to the beach. 

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Missy Ayele

Teacher

I have been a member of the Mt. Zion staff since 2006. I have worked with in the fours class throughout that time. I was born in Ethiopia, but moved to the United States in 1992. I have two wonderful children, Mathew and Elaine. In my spare time I love catching up with them and spending time together. 

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Monica Aldrete

Teacher

I am really excited to start at MT Zion preschool, this year I’ll be assisting in specials. I have been subbing at MT Zion preschool for some time now.

I was born and raised in Cuernavaca, México. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from "Tecnológico de Monterrey" in México. In 2008 my family and I moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil where I had the opportunity to learn Portuguese. My husband’s job brought us to the United States in 2010. Since then I have been working as a Spanish and substitute teacher  in different schools. I have two girls and now that they are older, I'm very happy to join MT. Zion preschool as a regular assistant in Specials classes.

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Paige Schuckmann

Teacher

I am very excited to be teaching the MWF 24 month class this year. I have a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati.
My husband and I have been married since 2007 and we have two great kids, Avery and Reid. We moved to Atlanta from Cincinnati in 2014. Both of my children have attended Mt. Zion and my son will be enrolled in the 4's class this year. In my free time I enjoy cooking, continuing to explore Atlanta, and spending time with my friends and family.

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Rachel Mahyari

Teacher

I am so excited to be joining the Mt. Zion Preschool team as an assistant teacher with Christy Luttrell's 4-5s class.  My youngest daughter started in the 18 month class and I have loved watching her blossom and grow at Mt. Zion, I also had the opportunity to come in as a substitute in several classes over the years and it was such a joy to be with the kids.

I am a native to Georgia and graduated from Georgia College & State University with a degree in Marketing.  I have lived in East Cobb for 8 years with my husband Sean and our two wonderful daughters, Darya and Layla, both of our girls will attend Timber Ridge Elementary.  A few of my favorite things to do in my free time are exercising, cooking, traveling and finding a great book to read.  I am looking forward to an amazing school year.

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Reneé Willson

Teacher

I am excited to join Mt. Zion UMC Preschool as an assistant teacher in the 4's class, with Cindy Nekrasas! I met my husband in 2004, and we have been blessed with a 5-year-old daughter. We also have a beloved 5-year-old Beagle. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education with an ESOL Endorsement from Georgia State University. I was a 3rd grade teacher in DeKalb County. I have also been an ESL teacher in Mexico, and the U.S. I love to be outside with my family, enjoying nature!

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Shelly Overton

Teacher

This will be my fifth year working with the Young Fives.  I love all the different personalities in the classroom.  They make me laugh everyday.  Watching them grow and become more confident and independent is the best part of my job. 

At the University of Kentucky, I majored in Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and minored in Psychology.  I worked at Kentucky Educational Television before taking the new job as Mom to twin daughters.  We moved to Georgia in 1996.  My husband and I enjoy playing tennis, traveling and visiting our daughters.  

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Susan Kaye

Teacher

I am the lead teacher for the 2 1/2yro classes. I have been teaching at Mt. Zion since 2007. I have a degree in teaching. I love sharing my excitement of books and crafts with my students! I have loved Mt. Zion Preschool since both of my children went to the school.
 

I have a wonderful husband, Rod and 2 amazing children, Amelia and Justin. We are members of Mt. Zion church. I love doing crafts, exercising, going for walks and spending time with family.

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Suzanne Viera

Teacher

I am the Spanish teacher. I was born in Venezuela. I got married in 1990 and we moved to the United States to pursue a Masters degree in Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech.  I have two children, Juan and Susy. I started working at Mt Zion in January 2003. I began as an assistant teacher and, after a few years I started the Spanish program at the preschool.   I also teach Spanish in the after school programs in some of the public schools in East Cobb. I love teaching Spanish! I also enjoy spending my time with family and friends.

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Yoko Calhoun

Teacher

 I came to the U.S. from Japan in 1983, was married in 1994, and we are now blessed with 2 children, 20 and 17.  We have an 8 year old dog, Claire, and a 10 year old cat, Ton.  I have been here at Mt. Zion Preschool for 14 years now and I LOVE NATURE!