Hi! My name is Ruby Smith. The more you know someone the more comfortable you feel with them so I wanted to tell you a little about myself. My husband Gene and I live in Savannah Mo. We’ve been married for almost 43 years and have 4 grown children and 6 grandchildren. I’ve been working as an early childhood special education teacher for the Children’s Program at UCP for 23 years and really enjoy it. Gene and I are very busy with church activities and grand kid activities. In my spare time I enjoy reading, swimming and hanging out with family. I love to go to the zoo, science centers and museums. I’m so happy to welcome your child to our preschool. It’s going to be a great year.
Hi, I am Ashley Rever and this will be my first year at UCP! I’m excited to join the team. I have my B.S. in Psychology, as well as 5 years in the teaching field. I’ve been married to my husband for 2 years and we have a beautiful 6 month old daughter. I also love to travel, shop, and sometimes just sit at home and read a good book. I can’t wait to meet and get to know all of you!
Hi parents, my name is Lynn Owen and I have worked here at UCP for 14 years. I am Ms. Ashley and Ms. Ruby’s classroom aide. One of the greatest assets we have here is parent involvement. Without your encouragement and support our job would be a lot harder. Thank you for everything you do. I have been married 40 years and I have 7 grandkids, 4 who have attended UCP preschool. In my spare time I enjoy being outside in nature and reading.
My name is Cindy Kimsey and I am starting my 11th year with UCP and have been a lead teacher for 8 years. I have been working in early childhood for 26 years and have taught preschool for 22 years. This October my husband and I will be married 24 years. We have two children… Hagen who is 18 and will be attending his freshman year at Missouri Western State University and Emily who just turned 15 and will be attending St. Joseph Christian School. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. As a family we enjoy cooking, camping and spending time together. My husband and I are also involved with our youth group and I enjoy working with him and our youth throughout the week! I also work part time as the Director of the Before and After Care program and Coordinator of the A+ Program at St. Joseph Christian School. I am also currently enrolled to take classes this Fall….WHEW! And with all that said, I am looking forward to an exciting and busy year!
Hi, I am Rhonda Barrett. My husband, Kenny and I have been married for 14 years and have two daughters. We moved to St. Joseph area a little over 5 years ago. I enjoy many things in life from spending time with family and friends to reading, baking and traveling. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and this is my second year teaching at UCP in the Early Learning Classroom. I enjoy getting to know the children and watching them explore, learn and grow throughout the year. I look forward to meeting each family and having the opportunity to be a part of their school family.
Hello. I’m Jenny Jones. I teach three year olds here at UCP and am now starting my 15th year! I love teaching and believe with my whole heart that the foundations built in preschool shape children for their entire life. My goal is to fill our classroom with interesting experiences that inspire exploration and cultivate a love of learning. I believe that child-directed play in a collaborative and wonder-filled environment is the key to that learning. I received a BS in Psychology from Cumberland College in Kentucky before attending seminary in Kansas City. That’s where I met my husband and soon after moved to St. Joseph. We have called St. Joe home for 17 years and are raising two girls who are ten and three. When I am not at UCP I am an unashamed homebody. I can be found sewing, embroidering, painting, making dolls, and baking pie with my girls. If there is a creative idea to explore, I probably have the supplies for it!
My name is Alicia Roberts. I’ve worked at UCP for the last 4 years. I graduated from Lafayette High School, and then attended Missouri Western for a year before deciding to start a family. My husband Kris and I have been married for 20 years. We have 3 boys, Jaxson 18, Carter 15, and Pierce 12. As a family we love to travel, our favorite spots usually include a beach. I’m excited to start a new school year and get to know you and your family.
Hello, I’m Kimberly Cordonnier. This will be my 8th year teaching at UCP and I couldn’t be happier! I have many years of experience working with children and have my degree in Child and Family Development from Missouri State University. My husband Chris and I live in St. Joseph with our two daughters; Kinsley and Brynlee. I love attending sports and dance events for my children. They take up most of my free time, but I love it! I enjoy volunteering at my daughter’s school and being part of the Oak Grove PTA board. I look forward to getting to know each child and all their families throughout the year!
Minnie Bray, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCS-S, completed her Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Central Missouri in 2002. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA and is a licensed speech-language pathologist in Missouri. Through extensive course work and experiences, she became a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders in 2012. Minnie worked in a public school for one year before joining the therapy team at UCP of NW MO in 2003. She brought with her extensive knowledge of the IEP process and a desire to work closely with families and young children. She is passionate about connecting with each child and family and engaging in a manner that supports their individual needs. She works closely with parents, teachers, and therapists from other disciplines to make therapy as effective as possible. Minnie provides speech-language and feeding therapy to children in Early Intervention (Missouri First Steps), UCP’s preschool classrooms, and out-patient services. Minnie has a history of working with children with a history of developmental delays, prematurity, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hearing impairment, apraxia, phonological processing disorder, cleft palate, dysphagia, and feeding disorder. Minnie has conducted numerous presentations for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City addressing parents and professionals regarding speech and language development and therapy strategies specific to children with Down syndrome. She is able to share information from the perspective of an SLP and as a parent of a child with Down syndrome. She guest lectures for dysphagia courses at the University of Central Missouri. She has also participated in a number of presentations in the St. Joseph area for parents and childcare providers regarding speech-language development and strategies to support communication development. In her free time, Minnie enjoys time with her husband and three children on their farm. Her children keep her busy exploring the farm, playing youth sports, participating in Special Olympics, swimming, horseback riding, reading books, and playing games.
Robin Kellogg-Norton, a mother and grandmother of all boys, is a St. Joseph Missouri native whose family has a long history of building and giving back to our community. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Robin has been providing speech therapy services for young children and their families for 38 years. Passionate about early intervention, the past 28 years have been with UCP of NWMO. Robin’s commitment to building family capacity and experience with multiple medical and health conditions make her a highly sought after provider. Grateful for the amazing children, families and team members she has loved and learned from over the years, she values her relationships and interactions the most. In her off time, you will find Robin enjoying good eats and conversation with family and friends around town, or at the lake, jet-skiing with her grandsons.
Marsha Ingersoll, physical therapist, has provided physical therapy in our community since 1975. In 1980, she began providing pediatric physical therapy at United Cerebral Palsy of NW MO. This has evolved from consultation to the program to providing direct service in the classroom to outpatients and in homes. From 1985 until 2014 she provided therapy to school aged children in her home school district. Marsha has a special interest if assisting families in obtaining therapeutic equipment and orthotics that will assist in the care of and promote independence in their child. She enjoys working with families and children in their home to incorporate large motor activities of daily living and play. Marsha has experience with a variety of developmental disabilities which include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalous, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. Marsha enjoys spending time at the lake with her friends and family, especially her three year old grandson, Eddie.
Dixie Hollars, PTA, is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in Missouri. She graduated from Missouri Western State University in 2005 with an Associate in Physical Therapy Assisting. She also earned her Bachelors in Health and Exercise Science in 2013. Dixie has been working with pediatrics for 11 years, beginning her journey in Maryville Co-Op before coming to United Cerebral Palsy in 2007. She works closely with UCP’s pediatric Physical Therapist to ensure the best treatment for each individual child and their families. Dixie’s passion has always been working with pediatrics, embracing their strengths and weaknesses and helping them achieve their full physical potential. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her three children and husband at the softball fields, lake, or just at home.
Dusty Bench is a licensed Occupational Therapist. She graduated from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia in May of 2002. She began her career working with pediatric population in an outpatient pediatric clinic in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Dusty moved to Missouri in August of 2005 and contracted with 2 different State Schools in South Missouri and contracted with 2 rural school districts in North Missouri. She interviewed for the OT position at UCP and began her journey with UCP in October 2005. Throughout her journey, she has worked with children ages birth to 21 and their families along with other providers who have helped educate her in different therapy techniques and family dynamics. Dusty currently works with children ages birth to 5 with varying diagnoses. She enjoys building relationships with the children and their families and becoming part of their families. This allows her to provide education and strategies to the families to help the children reach their developmental milestones. In her spare time, Dusty enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.
Gretchen McQueen is a special instructor with UCP. She is a graduate from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. She was drawn to working with children early on as a young babysitter. Her passion for working with children continued throughout her college career as she spent some time volunteering with Camp Quality, a camp for kids afflicted with cancer, preschool/daycare between her classes, and she spent a couple of months as a nanny in Massachusetts. She graduated in 1998 and began working at UCP as a teacher’s assistant. After having her first son in 2001, she had the opportuntity to leave the classroom to do special instruction with children birth to three in Nodaway County and the surrounding area. While maintaining her work as a special instructor, she returned to the UCP classroom for a short while as a paraprofessional, and also temporarily spent some time with UCP’s Supported Employment department testing clients as a pre-screening for job coaching. In Gretchen’s spare time, she enjoys being a mother to 6 boys, ranging in age from 16 to 1. Gretchen and her husband enjoy supporting their boys in all their school/sporting activities and being involved in their community. Gretchen enjoys taking pictures, writing, and reading to learn about new things. After 19 years with UCP, she still loves helping children and supporting their families.
Hello, my name is Heather Weddle and welcome to UCP! I hope your experience here is as great as mine has been. As a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in child development and family studies, I was delighted to join UCP in January of 2001 as the director of their Children’s Program. UCP has supported my passion of building and providing a community where children and families thrive, both on site and through other community initiatives. When I am not working within the community, my family and I can be found enjoying it through the library, Starbucks, walking the parkway or searching for the latest and greatest local culinary find. I can’t wait to meet your family, provide a tour of our program, introduce you to our fantastic team and catch you out and about in our community.
My name is Jenn Percell. I serve as the Children’s Program Administrative Assistant. After four years at UCP, I love it more than ever! My career background as an Interpreter of Signed Language made UCP a natural transition to the paperwork side of Disability Services. My husband Keith and I moved to St. Joseph eight years ago after four years of mission work in Quebec, Canada. He ministers now with the East Hills Church of Christ. We have three grown children, two great children-in-law, three grandchildren and a fourth on the way. I spend my free time reading, wood working, and hiking. My office is in the middle of the classroom hall and I love to have parents stop in to ask questions or say hi any time of day!