Jennifer Lightcap Toddler Teacher
Toddler Teacher

Jennifer Lightcap

Jennifer has taught in all of Overfield’s classes except for Primary during her long tenure here, but she’s been a fixture in the toddler classroom since she returned from a break while her children were young. “This place is dear to my heart for many reasons.” Jennifer graduated in 1993 from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Child and Family Studies. She earned a Pre-K teaching certificate there in 1994 and a Master of Education Degree from Wright State University in 2007. She and her husband Chris have three children, Nick, Nathan and Hailey, all Overfield alumni.

Heather Oelker Toddler Teacher
Toddler Teacher

Heather Oelker

Heather Oelker has an M.A. in innovative early childhood education from the University of Colorado-Denver which focuses on the Reggio Emilia philosophy and approach to education. She first discovered Reggio when her son attended a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool in Michigan. Upon reading The Hundred Languages poem posted on the wall in the classroom she was hooked and aspired to make this her life’s work. Heather sees herself as an advocate for our youngest citizens, believing in their rights as competent, capable children. Heather is married and lives in Urbana, Ohio with her husband Jeff and three sons Nathan, Oliver and Charlie, and her dog, Buddy.

Carla Briggs South Side Teacher
South Side Teacher, Music Leader, and Librarian

Carla Briggs

Carla has a song and a book for almost any situation that arises, and she’s been sharing her love of classic songs and literature with us since 2003. “Children are my favorite people,” she says. “They’re phenomenal thinkers.” Carla studied education at Bowling Green University in the early 1970s. She went on to teach at a Waldorf-inspired school in California and worked for many years as a librarian in Russia, Ohio. Carla and her husband David live in Piqua and have four children, a daughter & son-in-law, and two grandsons.

Beth Beane North Side Teacher
South Side Teacher

Beth Beane

Beth’s love of adventure is a big part of what brought her to Overfield. An avid traveler and musician, Beth has spent her entire career working with young children in the U.S. and overseas. After earning a B.A. in early childhood education from Miami University, she worked for many years with families of children with special needs aged birth to three at Riverside of Miami County, Board of MRDD. Beth then spent a year in Indonesia teaching preschool and managing the infant toddler-program at Semarang International School before joining us as a teacher at Overfield in the spring of 2012. She also gives piano lessons to dozens of children.

Hailey Stewart North Side Teacher
South Side Teacher

Hailey Stewart

Hailey has a background in environmental studies with a B.S. from the University of Dayton. She has a love for synthesizing arts and the natural world. Through this harmony, she enjoys fostering an environment which facilitates children’s innate curiosity and discovery of their unique languages. Hailey enjoys being outside, exploring different art mediums, and spending time with her family.

Mary Gordon South Side Teacher
South Side Teacher

Mary Gordon

Mary started at The Overfield School for the 23-24 school year. She earned a B.S. in journalism at Ohio University and worked her way through several newsrooms in Dayton and Columbus for nine years before discovering her love of outdoor education. She worked at a nature-based preschool in Beavercreek for eight years as a cook, toddler aide, school-age teacher, and assistant director. Mary, her husband, and 9-year-old daughter all enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, birdwatching, and working/playing in their garden.

Nancy Hargrove North Side Teacher
North Side Teacher

Nancy Hargrove

Nancy graduated from The University of Georgia with a B.F.A in art/interior design. Prior to joining the Overfield faculty,  she was the Youth Services Manager at the Troy Library working with youth from birth-17 years old and their families. Nancy enjoys watching young children experience life and helping them along their journey to become lifelong learners. When moving from Atlanta to Troy in 1994, she was introduced to Overfield by her real estate agent. The beautiful campus and the Reggio philosophy resonated with our family. She has three adult children, all of whom are alumni of Overfield. While her children were enrolled at Overfield, she was instrumental in forming the Parent Association (the precursor to Overfield Family Partnership) serving as the president. She also served on the Overfield Board of Trustees for many years. Nancy’s daughter, Hannah, has worked as a summer camp counselor and a caregiver during OFP meetings. 

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She likes to travel, play MahJong and read. She also enjoys watching college football, especially the Georgia Bulldogs, and Atlanta Braves baseball. Among her many treasured memories at Overfield is the day her fiance, Todd Miller, proposed to her at the main entrance of the school with our six children present, five of whom are Overfield alums!

Ashley Reed North Side Teacher
North Side Teacher

Ashley Reed

Ashley Reed is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.S. in early childhood education and a M.S. in family studies with a concentration in child life. Prior to starting at Overfield in 2020, Ashley worked in Reggio-inspired programs as a student teacher at the Child Development Center in Athens, Ohio and as a teacher at Cortland Preschool in Chicago, Illinois. This is where she fell in love with the philosophy of Reggio by witnessing the rich connections to oneself, other people and the world as a whole. 

Ashley lives in Troy, Ohio with her family and her daughter attends The Overfield School. She loves camping, playing tennis, gardening and baking outside of school. She loves Overfield and is honored to care for the children and families that come into this community of learners.

North Side Teacher

Helen O’Neal

Helen O’Neal loves teaching preschool and being part of the Overfield community. She holds a Bachelor of Science in anthropology from Loyola University Chicago and began her teaching career abroad in Guatemala. Helen is drawn to the Overfield legacy of dedication to community and care for children. She is a Troy, Ohio native, living here with her son Robi.

Betsy Bernett North Side Teacher
North Side Teacher

Betsy Bernett

Betsy Bernett has a Bachelor of Arts degree in German and a Bachelor of Science degree in foreign language education from the University of Dayton.   Throughout her fourteen years in the education field, she has had various roles; she taught middle school and high school German and kindergarten before turning her focus to early childhood education.  She worked as an education coordinator and director of a local childcare center most recently.  She is very excited to be part of the Overfield family as a teacher and parent.  She has two wonderful daughters with her husband, Greg, and their youngest is now an Overfield student!  She was drawn to Overfield because of the focus on the child and letting learning happen through them and at their pace.

Laura Daehnke Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten Teacher

Laura Daehnke

Laura has taught all but the youngest students at Overfield, working in every classroom except Toddlers, and moving to Kindergarten in 2012. She has often supported her students here in design-build projects, one of which resulted in the construction of the wooden train on our playground. Laura earned a B.A. in early childhood education at the University of Toledo, and came soon after to Overfield, where she has taught ever since. During that time, she had the pleasure of teaching all three of her own children, all of whom are Overfield alumni. “It’s like no place else,” Laura says.

Heather Shaffer Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten Teacher

Heather Shaffer

Heather Shaffer is a 1993 graduate of Wright State University with a B.S. in elementary education and natural science concentration. She has been an educator for nearly 30 years-several of those in the public schools, then as a teacher and Director of Education for Sylvan Learning, a leading supplemental education company.  

Heather says that she loves everything about Overfield and can’t imagine a better learning environment than what is offered here.  The focus on nature and art are really what drew her in and sparked her interest in Overfield.  She loves seeing children get excited about learning and following their own interests.   

Heather has been married to her husband Bob, since 1995.  They have two grown daughters, both of whom are married.  They also have four wonderful grandchildren that keep them busy.  In her free time, she loves to swim, read, put together jigsaw puzzles, and spend time with family and friends.

Primary Teacher

Amy Larson

Amy Larson was born and raised in Ottawa, Ohio. She grew up loving children’s books, nature, and babysitting. Due to her love of these things, she decided to attend the University of Findlay to become a teacher. Amy Larson graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. While her husband served in the USAF, she spent six years teaching in South Georgia. She is now back in Ohio and teaching Primary children at Overfield. 

Amy currently lives in Troy, Ohio with her husband of 10 years, Matt, her son, Braxton, who is an Overfield student, and her two fur babies; Pickles and Maya. Amy feels grateful to teach at Overfield because it allows her to celebrate and teach each individual child in a unique way. She gets to have fun with the kids while singing, dancing, exploring, and learning from one another. Amy also enjoys the closeness of the Overfield Community. When she is not at Overfield, you can find her reading a book, kayaking, camping, or playing her guitar.

Katie Hammaker Primary Teacher
Primary Teacher

Katie Hammaker

Katie Simmerman is originally from Versailles, Ohio and is a graduate of Versailles High School.  She also attended and graduated from Wright State University’s Lake Campus with her Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education and has begun her Masters in Education at Cedarville University.  Katie has always wanted to work with children since  high school when she was part of a program called Future Teachers of America.  She has taken an interest in the outdoors and outdoor education, and wondered what it would be like to have a position that fostered her love of the outdoors with the desire to work with children, and found that Overfield is the perfect fit for both of these!

Katie and her husband, Chase, like to go on hiking adventures, climbing adventures, and to experience new experiences together. She also loves to listen to music, read, and journal.

Naturalist

Robin Ramsey

During High School Robin worked for Centerville Washington Park District as a nature counselor during the summer and winter months. In college she became very interested in archeology and even studied abroad in Peru. Robin worked for a few years for an archaeology firm, but wanted to get back to working with today’s youth and inspiring them to explore and love nature. She got a job at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and worked as a science and cultural educator for 15 years. However, spending time with children and their families for a few minutes was not enough for her; she wanted to really connect with families! When Robin heard about Overfield, she knew it would be a great place for her. 

One morning Robin was on an adventure with a few nature detectives from the South Side and they saw a deer. One detective said while gazing at the deer, “I cannot believe I saw a deer!” and sighed. That beautiful moment is exactly why Robin loves working with children and nature.   

Robin’s husband, Erik, daughter, Cora, and her love to spend time outside going on adventures, crafting, antiquing and thrifting, playing board games, and loving on their sweet pets.  As soon as Robin got the position as Naturalist at Overfield, she knew she had to bring her daughter along. Cora calls this the “Best school EVER!”

Elizabeth Perry Atelierista
Atelierista

Elizabeth Perry

Elizabeth was drawn to teach at Overfield in 2009 by the value it places on art and nature as integral parts of learning. As Atelierista, a.k.a., Studio Artist, she loves getting to work with all ages and to see them grow from Toddlers through Second Grade. She earned a B.A. in art at Williams College, and a Masters in landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Elizabeth has loved Overfield since she attended the school herself in its original Overfield Tavern location. As a student there, she loved playing outside, hammering at the workbench and climbing into the loft to look at books, pastimes that she still enjoys in slightly varied forms to this day. She lives with her husband, Wayne and their daughters, Grace and Lauren, both Overfield alums.

Stephany Deeter Before Care Staff Support
Extended Care Teacher

Stephany Deeter

Stephany joined our staff in 2013. She wears many hats, working with families as office support and with children during Before Care and Lunch Bunch. In each of these roles, Stephany maintains a warm and welcoming presence. “I feel very blessed and honored to have the opportunity to work here with the children and staff,” she says. A nature lover, she enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, camping and attending various county and state fairs. She and her husband, Roger, have two grown daughters, Christina and Jessica, and three young grandsons and a granddaughter with whom they love spending time.

Carla Brogden Extended Care
Extended Care Teacher

Carla Brogden

Carla Brogden has been at the Overfield School since the 2015-16 school year.  She has an M.A. from Wheaton Grad School and a B.S. from Houghton University.  Carla has a diverse background and varied interests.  She has worked with the Dreambuilders Group/Clubhouse for 30 years, and is the Founder and Executive Director for the Darke County Youth For Christ, now YFC Miami Valley.  She works with both teens and seniors in the fields of health and caregiving.

Carla is the parent of an Overfield alumna, and friend of many alumni Overfield parents and children.  Her enthusiasm for the Reggio approach and a desire to mentor young children drew her to Overfield, where she enjoys observing and supporting them as they interact with the natural environment, music and art–allowing for creativity, investigation, and imagination to flourish.  

Spending time with her young grandchild who loves the outdoors, painting, and music, is a big part of her personal life.  Her other time is spent with her horse trail riding, playing at liberty, attending events to improve her horsemanship, reading about natural horsemanship as well as reading biographies and historical novels.  Her rescue dog and cat also enjoy her attention.

Lauren Spiers Extended Care
Extended Care Teacher

Lauren Spiers

Lauren has a Child Development Associate credential through University of Cincinnati.  Early childhood is something she’s always been interested in.  She loves how the Reggio philosophy emphasizes the children’s curiosity, and how the children are wondering about their surroundings and experiences–all while we as teachers are wondering with them. Reggio is a community and you can see that clearly with Overfield.

Lauren has two dogs named Maylin and Bretagne. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has four nephews and five nieces plus two great nephews. In her free time she is active with Girl Scouts and teaches kids ages five to eighteen archery, rock climbing, high challenge course, low challenge course, paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and outdoor survival skills.

Extended Care Teacher

Brooke Croxdale

Brooke is currently attending school to get her associates in early childhood education with the main focus being nature-based learning.  She believes all kids are born with a love of learning and appreciates that at Overfield, we ignite that love and support it daily. Brooke was drawn to the emphasis on time spent in nature, which she feels is great for both children’s and teachers’ health and creativity. 

Brooke has two boys ages three and six.  She enjoys spending time with them, riding bikes, hiking, and having slow days at home. She also enjoys gardening and reading in her free time.

Alina Whittaker Office Manager
Office Manager

Alina Whitaker

Alina is the Office Manager at Overfield and has been part of the team since January 2021. She has a background in child social work and was drawn to the school as a way to work with children. The Reggio approach to education, the campus and the importance placed on nature was a huge draw to her when looking for the best fit for both her and her family. Alina grew up in a very outdoorsy family and knew she wanted to instill that love of nature and exploration in her children. 

Alina has two young children of her own and her youngest is an Overfield student. Along with her children, she lives with her husband and their various and ever changing animals. When she is not at Overfield you can catch her hiking or biking with her family, crocheting, or working in her garden

Erin Johnston Finance Lead
Finance Lead

Erin Johnston

Erin brings her experience and perspective as the former Treasurer of the Board of Trustees (2009 – 2015) to her role as Finance Lead of the school. She was hired in her full time role as part of the Leadership Team in August 2015. As a CPA who formerly practiced in public accounting, she brings a strong sense of professionalism and business knowledge to ensure the administrative side of Overfield is strong and sustainable.  Erin has a B.A. in psychology from The University of Dayton and a Masters in accountancy from Wright State University. She and her husband, TJ, have two children, both of whom are Overfield alumni.

Beth Poronsky Program Lead
Program Lead

Beth Poronsky

Beth Poronsky works as the school’s Program Lead, after spending much of her career in environmental education, including 11 years as Overfield’s naturalist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Marquette University, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching in biological science from Miami University. The Reggio Emilia philosophy drew her in immediately, and the close relationships that are a hallmark of Overfield have kept her a part of the school since 2002. She has always been involved in education in some capacity, and found that Overfield provides the perfect place to study the intersection of nature, art, and education, and to lead others in exploring these fields. Beth loves reading, traveling, music, theater, spending time in nature, and is an avid sports fan.  She and her husband Steve have three alumni children, Liam, Gavin, and Helaina.

“Childhood is the most glorious time in life.”

– Julia Hobart, Founder of The Overfield School

Interested in enrolling your child at the Overfield School?