Lil' Hawk Prep Staff
Shannon Ashman- Program Director
Hello! My name is Shannon Ashman and I have 25+ years of experience working with school age, preschoolers, toddlers and infants. I have worked for Woodward-Granger for the last 12 years. I have a Masters Degree in School Administration as well as a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and endorsements in Reading, Special Education and Athletic Coaching.
As a mother of 3, I truly understand the feelings associated leaving your child with someone else during the day. I have a deep passion for children and their families and love getting to know the children and all of their different personalities. I also love watching children catch on to new concepts and I believe a child’s education is the most valuable asset in the world. I am very lucky to be a part of such a great group of teachers.
Angel Avery- Teacher & Nicki Epley - Classroom Associate
Hello! My name is Angel Avery. I am one of the preschool teachers at The Early Learning Center. This is my 18h year of teaching in an early childhood classroom and I find this age group absolutely fascinating. As an educator, I want to share that although children may only represent a small percentage of our population, they are 100 percent of our nation’s future. I believe young children learn best when they are active and when they make decisions about their learning. Each child should have the opportunity to experience a classroom environment that promotes their positive growth and development, and teaches them how to contribute to their community. I welcome the opportunity to play such an important role in a child’s life. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education from The University of Central Missouri. I am certified to teach Pre-kindergarten through third grade Regular and Special Education. My years of teaching have included teaching preschool, kindergarten and first grade students.
During my spare time, I enjoy opportunities to work within the community that I reside in. Some of the activities that I have enjoyed in the past include tutoring elementary students, mentoring mothers of young children and providing musical opportunities for children and their families. I also enjoy reading literature about best practices in education and checking out Pinterest.
Hello! My name is Nicki Epley. This is my 4th year at the ELC! I have previously worked at other preschools and have always loved working with children. My fiance' and I live in Granger with our 3 kids. My 2 oldest are in elementary and my youngest is a sweet 1 year old!
Kristi Bilbrey- Teacher & Jennifer Manning- Classroom Associate
Hello! My name is Kristi Bilbrey and I have worked for Woodward-Granger for 15 years. I have taught special education, Kindergarten, 3 year old preschool and currently teach in our 4 year old program. I have an Elementary Education degree from Mount Mercy with endorsements in Early Childhood, Language Arts, Reading and Special Education. I truly believe I have found my calling in early childhood education and work with a wonderful group of educators at the ELC. Learning for young children is a process of investigation, experimentation, and imagination. I believe that childhood should be about the process of learning and I am very blessed to be able to live out my philosophy in the classroom every day!
My husband Adam and I, live in Polk City with our two pups, CJ and Barkley. There is NEVER a dull moment in our house!
Hello! My name is Jennifer Manning and I have worked for Woodward-Granger for 9 years. Previous to working at WG, I operated an in home daycare for 7 years and also worked with adults and children with special needs for 5 years. I have completed Autism Training as well as Technology Training for Early Childhood. I have also completed Paraeducator and Paraeducator Generalist II certification. I live in Granger and am married with 3 children. My two oldest graduated in 2015 and 2018 and my last one is a junior at Woodward-Granger.
Erika Leuenberger- Teacher & Jodi Drake- Classroom Associate
Hi! I'm Erika Leuenberger and this is my 8th year of teaching and my fourth year at Woodward Granger as a teacher, and my 9th year of being a Woodward Granger mom! I am currently working on my Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. I have taught preschool in Peoria, IL and in Des Moines. My husband, Johnny, and I have three busy kids (Danika, Walter, and Joanna), a dog, a turtle, and 2 parakeets. When I do have a few moments of spare time, I am gardening, crocheting, or making cookies.
Hi! I'm Jodi Drake and this is my 4th year working at Woodward-Granger Schools in the preschool. I have a B.A. in Business Communications and CDA certification for early childhood. My husband Paul and I have 3 kids- Emma, Paden and Chandler who attend school in the district.
Amanda Masker- Teacher & Kim Hansen- Classroom Associate
Hello! My name is Amanda Masker. This is currently my 13th year teaching preschool and my seventh in the district. I have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. I have two children who attend the Woodward-Granger School District and participated in the preschool program here as well.
Hello! My name is Kim Hansen and I have worked for Woodward-Granger for 9 years. I have a B.A. in Management Information Systems and Finance and worked in the insurance industry. Since coming to WG, I have completed para educator training with an Early Childhood concentration. I live in the district with my husband and 4 children.
We are proud of the remarkable teachers that work at W-G! Each one of them has a deep commitment to each child’s growth and well-being. All of the Lil’ Hawk Prep staff are certified in CPR and First Aid as well as other areas that specifically pertain to the needs of our students. Our staff brings a depth of knowledge and experience to our students every day. Their dedication to our program is exemplified through the longevity of their involvement.
"Touching hearts, and building minds.”