UW-Whitewater Children's Center Director
I have lived in Whitewater since I transferred here as an undergraduate student. I am an alumnus of UWW and hold both a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I worked for 10+ years as a Kindergarten teacher in various elementary schools. I began working at UWW as a part-time instructor and supervisor of Student Teachers in the Early Childhood Education program. In 2013, I was offered the position at the Children's Center as Interim Director. In January 2016, I became the full time Director. Working with young children and families brings me professional challenge, joy, and a great deal of reward.
My favorite activities involve attending my children's activities: soccer games, baseball games, bowling league, band concerts, and much more. We love being a part of the Whitewater community!
In my spare time, I enjoy taking walks with my dog, reading, and traveling.
Hi my name is Peggy Lean. I am the Program Associate at the Children's Center. I live in Palmyra with my Husband and 3 beautiful girls, Samantha, Sydney, and Sophia. I graduated from Waukesha Technical College with a degree in Office Management / Data Entry.
I have worked at the Children's Center since January 2004. Most days I can be found in the office at 1006 Roseman. At times you can also find me helping out in the Classrooms.
When I am away from the Children's Center I am usually with my 3 very active girls. They are all involved in sports (soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball) and farm life. We raise, show and sell beef cattle at the Jefferson County Fair, and have 3 horses that we show and ride. When we are not playing sports and with the animals, I love traveling.
Hummingbird Room (Infants)
Hi my name is Jennalee Johnson. I am excited to be back on the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater campus. I completed my undergraduate work here in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In 2011 I began teaching in a 4K classroom and quickly realized that Early Childhood was where I was meant to teach. During the summer of 2013 I came back to UW-W to complete graduate work to obtain an add-on Early Childhood Licensure. I have taught 4K for the past six years in various settings including University Avenue Discovery Center, Madison College and Wisconsin Heights School District. My family and I recently bought our first home; relocating us to Edgerton, Wisconsin. I am looking forward to contributing my passion for Early Childhood Education to the awesome staff, families, and children at the Children's Center, as well as, the greater UW-W community. If you see me out and about please say hello!
Robin Room (Toddlers)
Hello! I'm Breanne Karn and I am the Toddler teacher at UW-Whitewater Children's Center. I have worked at the center since January 2015. I taught in the preschool room in the spring of 2015, then looped up to the 4K room for the 2015-2016 academic year. I will continue to loop with my group of infants from last year as they move into the Robin Room this fall.
In December 2013 I completed my undergrad in Early Childhood Special Education. After completing my student teaching I worked at a private preschool where I taught 2-3 year olds until I was hired at the UWW Children's Center. I grew up in Belleville WI, which is about a half hour south of Madison with my parents and my sister Jessica. I enjoy going to concerts and the comedy club on my free time, along with watching football, spending time outdoors, and visiting friends and family.
Mallard Room (Young Preschoolers)
Hello! I'm Elizabeth Backes and I teach in the Young Preschool Room. I have worked at the Children's Center since 2003.
As I worked on my undergraduate program in Early Childhood-Middle Childhood, I worked as a TA until I graduated in spring 2007. In the fall, I was then hired on as a core staff member. Since graduation I have completed an Infant/Toddler Credential.
I recently completed a Master's Degree in Child Development with a specialization in Infancy at the Erikson Institute. In my spare time, I attend many hockey and baseball games, read, garden, and cook.
Owl Room (Older Preschoolers)
My name is Chelsea Newman and I am the Young Preschool teacher here at UW-Whitewater Children's Center. I have 5 years teaching experience at the Children's Center, first starting as a teaching assistant in January 2009 and then as a Mentor Teaching Assistant in 2012. I took a semester off to complete my student teaching placement in Stoughton WI in a first grade classroom during Spring 2013.
I have also worked as a nanny, tutor, fitness games summer school teacher, and a Sunday school teacher. While attending UW-Whitewater I worked hard to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher! In May 2013, I graduated with my Bachelors in Education (grades 1-8) and a minor in Special Education.
I was born and raised in Verona WI, which is about 15 minutes from the west side of Madison. I am the middle child to an older brother and younger sister. Besides loving to teach and spending time with children I love to stay active. Two of my favorite sports to play are volleyball and softball. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends, making crafts, reading, being outdoors, watching sports (Packers, Brewers, and Badgers) and snuggling with my cat Jack.
Crane Room (4K)
My name is Jenna Kenny and I am the Preschool teacher at UW-Whitewater Children's Center.
I graduated in December 2013 from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Early Childhood (Birth-8 years) and Special Education. I have previously worked at the Children's Center, while I was a student, as a mentor teaching assistant in the toddler and preschool classrooms.
I also worked as a day camp counselor for one summer in Dixon, IL. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, swimming, shopping and baking cupcakes.