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, owner, and director of JPA, has been married for 28 years. She and her husband are proud parents of two adult children. She is a graduate of James Madison University with a BA in Psychology, Graduate of UNC Charlotte with an master’s degree in Counselor Education. Alethea 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

Ryan Elizabeth Pape

Mrs. Ryan Elizabeth Pape joined the JPA team in 2019 as an assistant teacher in the 2’s room and has since taken over the lead teacher position for the 2's. She has a degree in Social Work with a minor in Communications Psychology from West Virginia University. Ryan has worked as both a children’s advocate in a domestic violence shelter and as a medical social worker in the geriatric field.

Mrs. Ryan loves working with preschoolers and you can also find her volunteering at her children’s schools or with the large breed dog rescue she helps run. Ryan and her husband have 3 young boys who are their world!

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.

Gemma Collins-McManus

Gemma Collins-McManus

Gemma Collins-McManus is the preK teacher at JPA. She has been married for 31 years, and she and her husband have three adult children. Gemma earned her degrees from Eastern University in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, and a concentration in psychology. She was Director of Topsail Presbyterian Preschool for several years and recently taught kindergarten and first grade at Coastal Preparatory School. Gemma joined the JPA staff in the fall of 2020.

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.

Madeline McCrary

Madeline McCrary

Madeline McCrary joined JPA in 2019 as a teacher assistant. She has an Associates in Early Childhood Education and Associates in General Education from Cape Fear Community College. When she is not teaching she enjoys volunteering at her son’s school and volunteering with the children’s ministry at her church. She lives in Wrightsville Beach with her husband and son. She enjoys spending time with her family, the beach, hiking, and the outdoors.

COLLIER

COLLIER

Meet COLLIER! 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. COLLIER 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 COLLIER's donation page! Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help change the lives of so many!

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