Michelle Pearson, SEED Director
Rachel Blair, SEED Assistant Director
Michelle was born in Lansing, Michigan, but has lived in Aiken for most of her life. She and her husband, Barry, have three married children and eight grandchildren. To her, the best aspect of being the Director is watching the children laugh and learn while sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them. She has been on the staff at St. John's since 1995.
Rachel has been a long time member of St. John’s. She was born and raised in Aiken and is an alumni of the University of South Carolina Aiken where she received her Bachelors in Business Administration. Rachel has two daughters who have both attended and completed the SEED program here at St. John’s. Rachel and her husband, Dusty, love watching their girls grow their faith and love for Jesus Christ through the children’s ministry here at St. John’s.
Mrs. Nikki Ellis, 5k Teacher
Mrs. Tara Preston, 5k Teacher
Nikki Ellis is starting her third year teaching 5K at St. John's SEED! She feels very blessed to be doing what she loves in such a warm and inviting environment. Nikki has taught 5K for 12 years, in both a charter school and public school. She is married to her college sweetheart, Brad, and they have 2 beautiful children, Ford (7) and Audrey Reese (4.5). She is so excited to get to teach with Mrs. Preston this year and they are going to have so much fun!
Tara Preston is going on to her second year of teaching Kindergarten for St. John’s SEED and is SO excited. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington in 2014 and taught 3K there before moving to South Carolina. She now lives in Jackson, SC with her husband, Alex, their three girls, Eleanor (5), Charlotte (3), Vivienne (2), and goldendoodle, Teddy. Tara is looking forward to a great year teaching alongside Mrs. Ellis!
Mrs. Melissa Patterson, 4/5 Day Teacher
Mrs. Elaine Ray, Classroom Aide
Melissa was born in Indianapolis, IN but has spent most of her life in North Carolina. She moved to Aiken 7 years ago. Melissa has been married to Tommy for 20 years and they have 3 children, Zachary, Connor and Emory. This is her second year teaching at St. John's. She loves watching the children learn, grow and explore!
Elaine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Penn State. She and her husband, Joel, have one daughter and two sons. On the staff at St. John's since 1998, she continues to enjoy watching the children learn and grow and can't imagine a better place to be.
Mrs. Ashleigh Whittle, 5 Day Teacher
Mrs. Anna Macdonald, Classroom Aide
Ashleigh lives on a farm in New Holland. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Chris. They have 2 children, Madee (12) who loves to playing soccer, and Noah (9) who loves fishing, farming and anything outside. She teaches Sunday School and is the Youth Group leader at Sharon Crossroads UMC in Swansea where her Momma grew up. On the weekends, when she is not cheering on the sideline at a soccer field, she loves to garden and spend time with her family and outdoors. Ashleigh loves to teach because she enjoys seeing a child’s eyes light up when they master a new task for the first time. She believes teaching is a calling, and she loves to serve Him.
Anna is originally from Manchester UK, but has lived in the USA since 1998. She has two children, ages 15 and 13, and a wonderful husband who is a chef! This is her fourth year as a 4K aide here at St John’s and she feels so blessed to be part of this fabulous SEED program. In Anna’s spare time, she loves working in her yard and all things equestrian!
Mrs. Haley Freeman, 3 Day Teacher
Haley graduated from the University of South Carolina Aiken in 2016. Haley and her husband, Chad, have two daughters who attend the SEED program. She enjoys spending time with her family, camping, and teaching. Haley feels blessed to be a part of this program because she is able to do what she loves most, teach young children in a Christ-centered environment.
Mrs. Mary Gail Staubs, 3k Teacher
Mrs. Angela Vandergrift, Classroom Aide
Mary Staubs is the 3K teacher at St. John’s. She has been with the SEED staff since 1991 and enjoys helping children learn through play and interactive skills. She loves seeing God work in their little lives. Mary and her husband and have 4 children and 2 grandchildren. She enjoys the beach, thrift shopping and spending time with her loving family. Mary believes showing Christ’s love through the way we live our lives is the most powerful witness we can have.
Angela was born and raised in the Graniteville area. She currently lives in North Augusta with her husband Scott and two sons Kyle and Nathan. She loves Clemson football, shopping, going to the lake and spending time with her family. Angela has been with St. John’s SEED since 2017. She loves watching the kids learn and grow. Angela also loves the excitement on their faces everyday when they come in the room. She feels so blessed to work here with all the wonderful people at St. John’s.
Seedlings- PreK Prep
Mrs. Natalie Jones, Preschool Prep Teacher
Natalie was born in West Virginia and moved to Aiken in 1990. She previously worked in accounting, but her move to Aiken presented her the opportunity to work in childcare. Natalie has been with St. John’s since 2004 and she has loved every minute of it. She worked as the aide in 5K and is currently the Preschool Prep teacher. Natalie is married with one daughter and three amazing grandchildren, Aaliyah, Christopher and Robert. Her family enjoys taking their camper to the beach and lake for family fun and memories. During her time at St. John’s she has met many great people and families. To Natalie, St. John’s SEED program is a true family.
Ms. Brandi Foster, 2k Teacher
Mrs. Dixie Hardee, 2k Teacher
Brandi was born and raised in Aiken. She and her husband Darren have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Brandi looks forward to all the new and fun things we will learn each year. She has been on staff since 2002.
Dixie was born in Spartanburg and raised in Inman, SC. She Moved to Aiken in 2013. She and her husband Tim have 6 children and 2 grandchildren. She considers it a blessing to be able to come to work and be surrounded by all the smiling faces of Gods miracles.
Mrs. Rae Felix, Pods Teacher
Ms. Mary Younts, Pods Teacher
Rae has been working with babies and toddlers for 23 years. She has been on the SEED staff for 5 years. Caring for these ages, watching them grow and change so rapidly, is still amazing! Rae is originally from Kansas and has lived in Aiken for 31 years. She and her husband have two grown sons, a daughter in love and one grand dog. She and her family enjoy lots of outdoor activities, Atlanta Braves baseball and traveling together.
Mary was born in Florida and came to live in Aiken at age six. Aiken is home sweet home for her. She has three children and five grandchildren. She loves spending time with her family, sewing, and going to the beach (especially Edisto). She feels very blessed to be a part of St. John’s SEED, and loves seeing the infants/toddlers learn and grow.
Mrs. Lisa Langford, Pods Teacher
Lisa was born in Seattle, Washington and moved to Aiken with her parents in 1988. She has been married to Jeff since 1995, and has one daughter and a dog. In her free time she loves to paint, bake goodies, volunteer at the Equine Rescue of Aiken and walk her dog. She has a passion for helping kids learn and grow. Lisa is looking forward to teaching your children this year.
Music & Arts
Patsy Flowers, Music Teacher
Tracy Patchan, Art Teacher
Patsy is an Aikenite having been born, reared, and educated in Aiken. She and her late husband, Neil, worked with the youth of St. John's and Patsy directed the children and youth choirs for many years. Patsy taught 4K for St. John’s preschool for 35+years as well as being the music teacher, which she continues to do. She also is currently the pianist and choir director at St. Paul's UMC. She has one son, Scott, and daughter in law, Summer, and one grandson Bennett (12) and one granddaughter Carly Ann (10) - her most wonderful blessings! One of Patsy's greatest joys is getting to share her love of music with children. "I love children and I love music - it's a perfect fit! I am so blessed."
Tracy was born in Abilene, Texas. Her father served in the Air Force and she spent her childhood years in England. She's lived in Aiken for 30 years. Tracy is the proud mom of two children. She loves teaching art to the children at St. John's SEED and seeing how much they enjoy creating their own works of art.