Meet our Teachers

Alissa Garrett, Lead Teacher, PBS Coach

Alissa is a Lawrence native who has been working in childcare for 11 years. She has been teaching at Positive Bright Start Preschool since 2016. She has worked with children ages 6 weeks to school age, but has found her home in the Pre-K classroom.  Alissa has completed Positive Behavior Support Training through Positive Bright Start and loves the way PBS allows the children in her classroom to work through their emotions in an individualized way.  She has a heart for working in an under-served community and enjoys the partnerships PBS has with community outreach centers such as Success by Six/United Way and The Sunrise Project.  Alissa is always searching for classes and training's to participate in to further her education in Early Childhood and Child Development.


Amanda Morris, Program Director, Lakeview

Amanda is a Lawrence native who has been working in early childhood education since 2013.  She has worked in area programs with kids ranging from infants to 12 year olds.  Amanda knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher and began her education at Johnson County Community College in Elementary Education.  After spending just a little time in an Early Childhood classroom, Amanda realized that toddlers are her very favorite!  “At the toddlers level,” says Amanda, “I think the most important thing a child needs to get from any care setting is the development of social and emotional skills.  PBS is has a great program to help children learn and grow in those areas.”  Amanda worked at DCCCA’s childcare center before it closed and she began working for Positive Bright Start, and she is excited to be back in her old classrooms in our partnership with DCCCA to open three new classrooms at Positive Bright Start at Lakeview. 


Billy Miera, Teacher


Bea Jackson, Teacher


Elise Gutierrez, Teacher

Elise Gutierrez is an Assistant Teacher with the toddlers in the Bobcats room. Her first experiences in childcare were caring for her  four younger siblings. She has seven years of experience as a babysitter and caretaker for children with severe trauma and disabilities, but no prior teaching or daycare experience.

She originally wanted this to be a temporary job to start her on the way to elementary school teaching, but fell in love with PBS and the 1-5 age group on day one! Elise feels like she gets to be a part of something truly good by teaching here. Her goal is to be the type of adult and teacher that she needed as a kid.

Gwen Pennewell, Program Director, Edgewood Meadowlarks

Gwen has  been working in early childhood education since 2004, starting out volunteering for a high school credit in child development. Discovering then her love for the early childhood classroom, after graduation, Gwen became a classroom aide.  Since, Gwen has taken over 130 hours to learning new ways to understand childhood development and social emotional development. She feels passionate that all children should be loved, supported, and cheered for, even when they don’t have the language to express it.

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Margaret Grove, Program Director, Edgewood Sunflowers

Margaret is co-lead teacher in the PreK .  She’s excited to be a part of Positive Bright Start! Originally from Pennsylvania, Margaret, or Meg, found her passion for early childhood and teaching while working as a day camp counselor in high school.  Meg has been working in childcare and pursuing her degree here in Kansas for the last 4 years, and hopes to continue expanding her knowledge. Meg’s hobbies include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, drinking coffee, and reading.

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Rebecca Miller, Teacher


Shay Fox, Teacher


Valeria Lobitz, Teacher

photos provided by Aaron Paden: