• CDL Staff
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Faculty in the CDL have a unique and challenging role. Within each classroom there are always at least two levels of learners; college students and young children. CDL faculty must work to scaffold the learning of each individual. Staffing of faculty in the classroom has been planned with this in mind. Each classroom contains a Master Teacher, a Bachelor-level Head Teacher and an Assistant Teacher who work together to meet the diverse needs of the classroom.

The role of the Master Teacher is to plan and implement effective and appropriate learning experiences for the college students enrolled in CYAF 497A. These experiences include classroom teaching experiences, reflection activities, documentation work and the like. The Master Teacher also ensures that experiences appropriate for other students assigned to the classroom (CYAF 270, 374, 385, etc.) are met. Experiences for these students are planned by the course instructor but carried out in the classroom. The Master Teacher works with the Head Teacher and Assistant Teacher to determine effective ways to provide these students appropriate feedback and coaching in order to meet course goals. Although the Master Teacher is primary responsible for college students, the master Teacher, Head Teacher and Assistant Teacher will work together to ensure the overall safety, function and smooth operation of the classroom.

The role of the Head Teacher and Assistant Teacher is primarily to ensure smooth operation of the classroom and guarantee the needs of the children are effectively met. The Head Teacher and Assistant Teacher also serves as model for college students by planning, implementing and evaluating activities/experiences for children, developing PACT (Parents and Children Together) events, developing groupings for children, approving newsletters and other methods of parent-school communication and the like. The teaching team also provides on-the-spot coaching for students when appropriate.

Jenny Leeper Miller

Jennifer Leeper Miller, M.S.CHILD DEVELOPMENT FACULTY IN THE CHILD, YOUTH, AND FAMILY STUDIES DEPARTMENT,
DIRECTOR AT RUTH STAPLES CHILD DEVELOPMENT LABORATORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN.
2004-PRESENT.

I am the Director of the lab school. I focus on meeting theneeds of our families, children, students, and staff. As the director of the lab school I maintain all required records for Nebraska licensing and NAEYC accreditation. It is a goal of mine to continue to build public relations and create professional opportunities for the staff members and students to disseminate action research taking place in our daily lives in the classroom. I encourage our families at the lab school to have an active role in their child’s learning experiences.

I have studied and observed early childhood in Italy, Scotland, and China. I am thankful for these experiences and am inspired by various cultural views of Early Childhood Education. In spring of 2014, I was awarded the Terri Lynne Lokof/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award. I enjoy family time outside fishing, walking, exploring with my husband and three children, Leo, Ruby, and Dexter, who are all Ruth Staples Alumni children!

Mollie Von Kampen

Mollie von KampenCHILD DEVELOPMENT FACULTY IN THE CHILD, YOUTH, AND FAMILY STUDIES DEPARTMENT,
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR AND MASTER TEACHER IN THE BLUESTEM CLASSROOM.
2013-PRESENT.

I have called Ruth Staples home for many years. I completed my undergraduate work at the lab and was also a graduate assistant here as well. My undergraduate degree is in Inclusive early childhood education and my master’s degree is in child development and early childhood education. Both are from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I have been in the field teaching both toddlers and preschoolers for ten years both here in Nebraska and also in Kansas. I have also worked as a master teacher at Educare of Lincoln.

Iam originally from Seward Nebraska, so Lincoln has always felt like home to me. I met my wonderfully talented husband, David, when we were in high school and we were married 6 years later. We added our daughter, Gretta, to our family in 2013, followed by our second daughter, Willa, in 2017. In our spare time we love spending time with friends and family and cheering on the Detroit Tigers. We also have a fun, rambunctious dog, Luna who constantly makes us laugh.

I feel so blessed to be a part of children’slearning here at the lab. Spending time in the outdoor classroom is my favorite part of our day. Watching the children explore and connect with nature is such an extraordinary experience. Every day is new and exciting when we head outdoors and I love going on that journey with them.

Eric Unrau

Eric UnrauCHILD DEVELOPMENT FACULTY IN THE CHILD, YOUTH, AND FAMILY STUDIES DEPARTMENT,
CURRICULUM TEACHER AT THE MALONE CENTER.
2011-Present

I was born in Freeman South Dakota where I was a “preacher’s kid.” We moved to Lincoln when I was five years! I went to Southeast Community College where I received an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and graduated with Distinction. I worked at the SCC ECE Center for 20 years before moving to the Ruth Staples Child Development Lab School in 2011 where I taught in the Goldenrod Classroom serving children and families, training preservice students and working in a state of the art indoor and outdoor classrooms.I have two children, Nicholas and Taytum and I have an older brother Kent who lives in Italy with his wife Waltraud. I love doing anything in the great outdoors; traveling, mountain biking, camping, climbing, backpacking, skiing,(you get the idea) with my family and listening to music both recorded and live.

I have been a teacher of early childhood education for 27 years. I value the role of the child in the learning process and prioritize building relationships with the children and families in any classroom! My favorite experiences in the teaching role are exploring outside with children and seeing the world through their lens of awe and wonder about the world around them. In 2015 I was awarded the Terri Lynne Lokof/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award.

I currently am teaching at The Malone in partnership with the CYAF Department where the early childhood classroom is operated on the belief that children learn through play. The Early Achievers Academy utilizes a curriculum that includes individualization and emphasizes the use of positive guidance. Classroom experiences support the development of problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning skills. My goal is to assist children in learning competent and appropriate social emotional behaviors as part of our classroom community. Children’s development and learning is guided by ongoing developmental assessment data.

Chelsea Brisbin

Chelsea Brisbin, B.S.CHILD DEVELOPMENT FACULTY IN THE CHILD, YOUTH, AND FAMILY STUDIES DEPARTMENT,
HEAD TEACHER IN THE BLUESTEM CLASSROOM.

I come from a large unique family from Grand Island, NE but have lived here in Lincoln since I came here for college. I am lucky enough to have been a former Ruth Staples Student teacher, I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016 with a dual Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development. Working with Ruth Staples as a student teacher is where I found my passion for Early Childhood! I began my career at Ruth Staples in January 2019, after working as a Lead Teacher with the Early Head Start program for several years.

My family, husband Jeff and son Braden and dog Ollie, love spending time outdoors as much as possible. We spend a lot of time camping, playing in our neighborhood and exploring new places. We also love to visit both of our families in Grand Island or having them come visit us here!

I am so excited to be a part of the Ruth Staples team! I love being able to work on building such strong relationships with the children as well as the families. I defiantly feel lucky to be apart of this wonderful program where children are in control of their learning and I get to be their guide to experiences!

Amanda Francis

Amanda FrancisASSISTANT TEACHER IN BLUESTEM CLASSROOM
AUGUST 2020 - PRESENT

I have lived in Lincoln for most of my life. I attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and had practicums and student taught at Ruth Staples. After graduation I moved abroad where I nannied and traveled for a little over a year. I have found my way back to the Ruth Staples family as an assistant teacher in the Bluestem classroom!

I love being part of the team here and absolutely love the children and families that I get to work with. The best part of this job is being able to watch the children learn and grow. I love cheering them on as they become more and more independent.

Megan Snethen

Megan SnethenLEAD TEACHER IN THE GOLDENROD CLASSROOM
AUGUST 2020 - PRESENT

I have held many roles at Ruth Staples including practicum student, student teacher, Graduate Assistant, and now Lead Teacher! I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016, majoring in Inclusive Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 3), and am currently a Master’s student majoring in Child Development/Early Childhood Education. Preschool-age children hold a special place in my heart, and I have taught that age group since 2016.

I was born and bred in Lincoln, NE and have rooted for the Huskers ever since I can remember! I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, especially outdoors. My husband, Lucas, is from a small farming town that we visit with our pup, Sutton, and cat, Morgan, as often as we can!

I love teaching at Ruth Staples because of the experiences we are able to provide to each child. We utilize every part of our school’s perimeter, plus all that East Campus has to offer, to encourage self-discovery and child-initiated investigations and to provide children with a strong connection to nature.