2019-2020 School Year Staff


Beth Drummond Casey

Executive Director

Kelly Applefeld

Director of Administration

Beth grew up in western Massachusetts. She attended Smith College where she majored in music. Since discovering her passion for education, Beth has taught and been an administrator at Gilman, Roland Park Country School, and  Park School of Baltimore. She later co-founded the Middle Grades Partnership, a nonprofit focused on bringing public and private school students and teachers together through summer and after-school programming. Beth is a self-professed “teaching and learning geek” whose mind is always on the art and science of education. In her free time, Beth enjoys singing, a good novel, time outside and time with her family. She says she loves being part of a support network that allows the parents of young children to live and work in Baltimore.    

A Baltimore native and BHN alum, Kelly’s work as administrative director and strong ties to the school make her the glue holding BHN together. Her station is the front office but she can be found all over the school, keeping an eye out for everyone. While working for the Baltimore Opera Company, she earned a degree in psychology from Goucher College.  Kelly worked five year as a nanny before becoming a mother herself. She returned to BHN as a parent when her daughter began preschool, but quickly found herself in the classroom. After three and a half years of teaching, Kelly became an administrator. Now both of her children are BHN alums. Kelly enjoys art, photography, baking and spending time with her kids.

Leigh Hibler

Director of Finance

Leigh grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she attended Virginia Commonwealth University to study marketing and English, and then the University of Richmond where she earned her MBA. After college she worked for the coal industry where she worked in marketing and, in her words, “selling coal to Santa Claus.” Leigh’s acquaintance with BHN began well before her time as the financial administrator. Both her sons are alumni and she served on the board of directors when BHN purchased its current building. When she isn’t crunching the numbers in the front office or keeping up with her boys, Leigh enjoys soccer, spending time outdoors, or just relaxing with a good book. Leigh describes the continued appeal of BHN as a “magnetic pull” that has kept her close to the community over the years.

Elsa Agaton Castañeda

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Elsa’s career has taken her near and far but she grew up on a farm in La Dorada, Colombia. She worked as a pediatric dentist in Colombia for 28 years before moving to the United States. Before coming to work at BHN, she worked at a dental clinic in Pueblo, Colorado, then a Presbyterian preschool in Houston, Texas. At the preschool in Houston, Elsa discovered she loved working with kids, not just cleaning their teeth. Now retired from dentistry, Elsa loves teaching the students of BHN Spanish and sharing her Colombian culture. She still reads books on pediatric dentistry in her spare time, and enjoys exercising outdoors or at the gym, swimming, watching movies, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and granddaughter. 

Sari Bowers

Redbird Pre-k teacher

Sari Bowers in a seasoned educator who grew up in Baltimore but has lived in Texas, Germany, and South Korea. While living in South Korea, Sari also taught English. Sari earned her Bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in Communications, theatre-film and video, from Guilford College and was afterwards drawn to work helping others. She has taught children with special needs at Kennedy Krieger, taught English as a second language, and worked in elder care and child care. Outside the classroom, Sari is a mother, animal lover, and world traveler. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, painting by the numbers, and reading novels. Her experience teaching children with special needs and students of varied cultures has taught her that all people learn in their own unique way, an invaluable perspective she is excited to bring to Bolton Hill Nursery.

Jacklyn Deacon

Redbird Pre-K teacher

All-school Spanish teacher

Originally from Long Island, Jackie is BHN’s foremost linguist. She studied Language and Culture at SUNY Purchase, focusing on Spanish and Italian. She then earned her Masters in Applied Linguistics at NYU. Applying her expertise in language acquisition, Jackie has worked as a teacher and cultural ambassador at a bilingual kindergarten in Madrid and as coordinator at a language methodology center in Barcelona. She is now the leader of the Spanish-infused program at BHN, applying the philosophy of play-based learning to language acquisition. Jackie also enjoys writing, painting, gardening, and composing multilingual experimental music. She is also studying Portuguese, a fifth language for her repertoire, which includes Spanish, Italian, Galician, and American Sign Language. 


Laura Fitzpatrick

Bluebird 2s teacher

Laura grew up in Connecticut and attended the Massachusetts College of Art where she studied arts education. Returning to Connecticut after college, Laura taught in a two-year-olds classroom for 14 years. After a few visits, she moved to Baltimore late in 2016 and joined the BHN staff, already a seasoned educator. When she isn’t at BHN she enjoys painting, making arts and crafts of all kinds, and playing the guitar. Her musical side shines in the classroom as well and she loves singing with the kids. Laura especially enjoys working with the twos because they are curious and they always make her laugh.

Najmeh Khoramshahi

Bluebird 2s teacher

Najmeh grew up in Iran and immigrated to the United States in 2004. She has worked with children for fifteen years. She worked at Bolton Hill nursery for two years before moving to Florida, where she worked in child care at a Naples community hospital. She happily returned to BHN in 2014 after moving back to Baltimore to be closer to her family. In her free time, Najmeh likes to read, watch movies, go for walks, and most of all spend quality time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She loves the team spirit and supportive community of BHN and takes pride in the experience she brings to the school, as well as her intercontinental perspective.


Beth Kurtz

Redbird Pre-K teacher

Beth has recently returned to BHN, having been a teacher here years ago. She is a native of Florida and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at Florida State University. After college she worked as a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator and then re-focused her career, becoming an in-home caregiver when her children were young. She also had many rewarding years substitute teaching for public schools while raising her family in Orlando. She is happy to once again live closer to her grown children, two of whom now live here Baltimore. Outside the classroom, Beth can be found painting, reading, and exploring the world near and far, sketchpad and camera in hand. Spending time with little ones, as always, is her joy.

Kristen Schmitz

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Kristen grew up in Savannah, Georgia, helping care for the many young children in her extended family. She attended the University of Georgia where she majored in Special Education. Taking her talents to the west coast, she moved to southern California where she worked as a preschool special educator. Kristen later moved to Maryland and moved up to kindergarten special-ed in Baltimore County Public Schools. She took a break from the classroom to raise children of her own, but returned to teaching in 2015. She has been a BHN parent, teacher, and board member. Kristen is conscientious, organized, and brings to BHN her years of experience as an educator and parent. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys trips to the beach, or just relaxing at home with her dog Hazel.

Julie Sutula

Redbird Pre-K teacher

A native of Cambridge Massachusetts, Julie studied hospitality administration at Boston University before heading to the French Culinary Institute in New York City where she became a certified pastry chef. She spent ten years working as a pastry chef in restaurants all over the country. She also taught cooking classes to children and adults and discovered her favorite students were children. She left the kitchen for BHN, where she shares her passion for great food with her students. Julie still makes pastries at home, and spends much of her time playing her two dogs or cheering on the Orioles from the stands. She likes to work with the threes, saying that’s the age where kids start to become more independent.

Brad Wright

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Brad grew up first in New Mexico, then in New Jersey, but has spent most of time in and around Baltimore since attending Goucher College. He majored in English Literature and Secondary Education. He taught Language Arts to 11th graders for three years but has also been a busboy, copywriter, pet sitter, and a driver for a summer camp. When he isn't working at BHN or elsewhere he can be found strolling through the great outdoors, enjoying live music, reading his way through stacks of unread books, watching old movies, or practicing the air guitar. Brad found BHN through some great friends who work there and is thrilled to make the acquaintance of the whole community.

Becky Bauer

Bluebird 2s teacher

Becky grew up just outside of Chicago before attending Goucher College, where she majored in studio art and communications with a concentration in photography. She has worked with kids her whole life, at schools, summer camps, and as a babysitter. She has also worked as a portrait photographer. Becky is a true gourmet and loves to cook for her friends and try new foods and new restaurants around Baltimore. She lives with her husband and two cats, Moe and Max. She can often be found around BHN singing a song and sipping her coffee. Becky says she loves working with the twos because they’re at such a formative age and because they “rock n’ roll!” 

Cheyenne Brown

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Born and raised in Waldorf, Maryland, Cheyenne began at BHN in 2009 as a volunteer with MICA’s community arts program. She studied arts education at MICA and the eye-catching artwork she creates with her students can be found all over the building. She also channels her love of arts and crafts into her free time, whether she’s drawing portraits, knitting, or making jewelry. She also teaches a cardio dance class at the YMCA on the weekends, but still has the energy for dance parties with her students at BHN. Having been a member of the BHN family since 2009, she has worked with every age group, which has given her the unique opportunity to see her students grow over time.

Suzie Dugan

Redbird Pre-K teacher

Suzie is returning to Bolton Hill Nursery, having taught here for three years several years ago. Her career-long focus has been to build compassionate, joyful, investigative, and collaborative classroom cultures with children. She believes strongly that children are scientists, explorers, and humans! Community meetings, student choice and learning for fun are staples in her classroom. Suzie has been an educator for eight years, with experience in children’s museums and elementary schools. She recently received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Suzie enjoys writing and playing and performing music.

Tennille Jackson

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Tennille comes to us from Pocomoke City, “The Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore.” Though she attended cosmetology school, Tennille’s passion lies in helping rather than hair. She has worked with kids since she was 17. Her extensive experience has taken her from schools to day cares to residential facilities. Her infectious smile and sharp sense of humor is invaluable at BHN, where she brightens the days of kids and grownups alike. Tennille is at home onstage as well as the classroom, whether as a stand-up comedian or a karaoke star, but nowadays dedicates most of her time outside of BHN to her daughter. 

Kara Krueger

Redbird Pre-K teacher

A Maryland native, Kara attended MICA where she majored in photography, followed by a Master’s in Teaching Art Education. As a student teacher, Kara found herself teaching elementary schoolers and high schoolers, but found the most satisfaction working with younger students. After her Master’s program, she came to work at BHN, where she shares her sense of wonder with young children. Kara has been described as having a limitless source of love for her students, and in turn she has come to think of the BHN as a second family. Outside BHN, she is an avid traveler and enjoys snowboarding in the winter, wakeboarding in the summer, and spending time with friends and family year round.

Rachel Richardson

Bluebird 2s teacher

Rachel Richardson grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, attended Hamilton College in New York, and received her Master’s in Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She has taught creative writing to senior citizens and seventh-graders, as well as composition, humanities, and academic literacy to community college students. She is a writer, dog-lover, and fan of all things small, especially people. She and her partner, a brewer for Union Craft Brewing, and her dogs, Pinto James and Lucy Beth, are happy to call Hampden home.  

Allison Stewart

Yellowbird 3s teacher

Allison grew up right here in Baltimore but went to Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a BA in Vocal Performance, as well as studied Spanish and Women’s Studies. She then earned an MFA in Recording Arts from Middle Tennessee State. Allison’s experience as an educator is varied, having taught music and Spanish, mostly to preschoolers. Before BHN, she taught at the Young School and the McDonogh School, her alma mater. When not at BHN, Allison applies her musical abilities on both sides of the microphone, singing, running her own production company, and recording her podcast. Of all the places she has taught, Allison says BHN stands out due in part to its small size, which she says allows the staff to personally meet the unique needs of families.    

Corinne Wilson

Bluebird 2s teacher

Corinne is a Baltimore native and an alum of Baltimore School for the Arts where she studied theater production. She stayed nearby for college, attending Goucher to major in Biology. She began her teaching career as an after school and substitute teacher at a Montessori school in Syracuse, New York. Falling in love with the Montessori Method, Corinne returned to Maryland to earn her Master’s in Education and Montessori certification in primary education at Loyola. When she isn’t at BHN, Corinne enjoys biking, gardening, travel, and rock climbing. She is also a stickler for reducing waste, and helps keep BHN clean and green. Corinne’s training as a Montessori educator adds a unique perspective to BHN’s student-centered program.

Hannah Hutchens

Office Assistant

Hannah grew up in Greenville, North Carolina, where she attended East Carolina University, majoring in Psychology. She began working with children during college when she worked part time at a nursery. After college she joined the Episcopal Service Corps, which led her to Baltimore for a job at the Project PLASE homeless shelter. She is now the Director of Youth and Community Engagement at Memorial Episcopal Church, where she works with Baltimore City students from kindergarten to sixth grade. When she isn’t there or at BHN greeting parents in the afternoon, Hannah enjoys playing with her cat Leo, reading novels, and watching the TV shows based on those novels.

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