Meet our Team

JPA staff are friendly, nurturing and fun! Everyone is CPR & first aid certified and has cleared background checks. Lead teachers have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development, Elementary Education, or a related field.


Alethea Jenkins

Alethea Jenkins

Helping children learn about their world and themselves is the most amazing and rewarding thing. I enjoy working with parents to positively influence a child's sense of self worth and accomplishment.

Alethea Jenkins is the founder and director of Jenkins Preschool Academy. She and her husband are proud parents of two adult children. Alethea is a graduate of James Madison University with a BA in Psychology, Graduate of UNC Charlotte with an master’s degree in Counselor Education. In addition she is certified K-12 in school counseling and holds certification as a National Board-Certified Counselor with a specialty in school counseling.

Alethea worked 3 years as a Mental Health Counselor in a school-based program, 7 years as an elementary school counselor, and 4 years as lead preschool teacher before opening Jenkins Preschool Academy in 2008. Alethea was named a Children’s Champion Honoree by the New Hanover County Smart Start program in 2021.

Ryan Elizabeth Pape

Meredith Olski

Meredith Olski joined JPA in the spring of 2023 as the lead 2 year class teacher.  Meredith earned her BS in Early Childhood Education from Mount Olive University.  She is married and has teenage twins as well as a Yorkie puppy named Otter. Meredith is a volunteer with the twins’ Scouts BSA troops, and in her spare time you will find her in the garden or watching the stars. Ms. Meredith is thrilled to be working with young children again after staying home to raise her own.

Karin Youngquist

Karin Youngquist

Karin teaches the three year old classes at JPA. She grew up in Sweden, and moved to the U.S. to attend and graduate from Elmhurst College, IL. She stayed in the U.S. and is married with three children and her two youngest both attended JPA for preschool. Karin's oldest child is on the autism spectrum and all three children have given her a unique insight to child development, typical and atypical alike. Karin believes that watching children explore and interact with the world is an amazing privilege, and that the opportunity to help them discover new ways of learning through play is an incredibly rewarding job.

Cathy Richard

Cathy Richard

Cathy Richard is the Pre-K teacher at JPA. She has a BS in Education from Ohio State University. Cathy has 10 plus years of experience teaching 3-5 year old children in a variety of settings. She has two grown children and two grandchildren, ages 6 and 8. When Cathy is not in the classroom, she is on the tennis court, at the beach, or visiting her grandchildren in Raleigh!

Whitney Strong

Whitney Strong

Whitney Strong is a teacher assistant who joined JPA in 2021. She is married with one daughter. She was a Veterinary Technician prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom and has a passion for children and animals. Whitney enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.

Savannah Batchelder

Savannah Batchelder

Savannah Batchelder is a teacher assistant at JPA. Savannah has her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also completed a course in “Inspiring Lessons in Preschool”. She has her Yoga teaching certification, and she created videos of yoga poses for our preschool teachers to use in conjunction with themed lessons. Savannah is married with two children. She has been actively involved with JPA since 2017 and subbed regularly in the 4’s classroom at the end of the 2021 school year. When she is not at the preschool, you can find her gardening and playing with her dog and her 18 chickens. She enjoys boating, the beach and anything outdoors.

Sarah Diller

Sarah Diller

Sarah Diller has lived in Wilmington for 15+ years. She is married with 3 school age children all of whom attended JPA. After being a stay-at-home mom for many years, she joined JPA in 2021 as the 3's Teacher's Assistant, and is currently the 4's Teacher's Assistant. Sarah has a BA from Sweet Briar College in Virginia. She volunteers for Girl Scouts and co-leads a troop. She enjoys crochet, arts and crafts, gardening, and baking.

FORBES

FORBES

Meet FORBES! She is a fully trained, insured, and certified Facility Dog from paws4people, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering people to utilize Assistance Dogs to transform their lives. She has been custom trained to work with Ms. Alethea in the classrooms of Jenkins Preschool Academy every day. She encourages and supports multiple developmental skills that we teach at the preschool by being involved in many hands-on learning activities. FORBES also provides many opportunities for social/emotional skill development as the children learn to care for her and learn about the role of Assistance and Facility Dogs in our community.

Please take a moment to support paws4people at FORBES' donation page! Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help change the lives of so many!

You can also keep up with FORBES on her Instagram page preschoolpup_jpa!

COLLIER

COLLIER

In every heart she touched a chord,
With every wag, she spread accord.
In classrooms bright, and halls so wide,
She walked with grace, by each child's side.

With gentle eyes, and tender care,
She soothed the souls of those in despair.
Through trials faced, and joys unfurled,
She lit the way for a brighter world.

Though now she rests beneath the sky,
Her legacy will never die.
In every smile, in every tear,
COLLIER's spirit lingers near.

In loving memory of Facility Dog COLLIER 2017-2023