We teach primarily by observing, questioning, guiding, and embracing children’s play.
Lincoln Nursery School has a faculty of unusual depth and experience. Our teachers embrace professional growth through a spirit of inquiry and collegiality. We are inspired by current best practices in early childhood education, as well as our collaborative community. We find that our work as teachers is enhanced by the transparency of our cooperative environment: we both support and learn from parent partners.
We employ a team of teachers who demonstrate incredible energy, creativity, professionalism and warmth.
Each class has two teachers. Mark Weltner (Studio Blue) teaches music and movement to each class once each week, and a liason from the deCordova Learning and Engagement team works with children in small groups on a regular basis. Nancy Fincke, the school’s director, leads our staff.
Nancy Fincke, Director
Nancy has been passionately leading LNS since 1995.
Nancy has been in the field of early childhood education for over twenty-two years. She has a Masters in Human Service Administration from Lesley University. Nancy began as an occupational therapist in an inclusive preschool and was then inspired to become a director after her own family’s experience at a parent cooperative nursery school. Nancy’s education prepared her to understand child development and programming/activities that foster independence in living and expression.
She recognizes that her role as a director is to help build community among the children, parents, and teachers, with the goal that everyone experiences a sense of well-being and democracy. She believes that the highest quality of early childhood education is offered when teachers are supported in their professional development, maintain collegial dialogue, while developing relationships with parents, the deCordova staff, and the greater community. Nancy encourages everyone to listen to the children, discover their interests, offer experiences and materials, value each other and have fun.
Nancy has deep gratitude for our amazing Lincoln Nursery School community. The daily sounds of children’s voices, the commitment of her colleagues/teachers, the parents’ support, and the alumni who stay in touch are continued reasons for her appreciation.
Mark Weltner, Co-Lead Teacher and Music & Movement Teacher
Mark has been in the field of early childhood education since 2002. In addition to his work in Studio Blue, Mark is also the music and movement teacher for all age groups at LNS. Volunteering to run a music program at his daughter’s nursery school inspired him to teach music and movement at preschools in the area. One thing led to another, and soon he became a teacher at LNS. Mark joyfully embraces the myriad ways that children express themselves – each day brings an explosion of ideas! When explored and shared, these ideas enrich the whole community.
Diane Greeley, Co-Lead Teacher
In 2000, Diane began teaching preschool in Newton after falling in love with the school while her daughter was enrolled there. She taught four- and five-year-olds as well as being an assistant director. Diane is talented at implementing an emergent curriculum, inspired by the Reggio approach. She absolutely loves to observe children in their play while developing curriculum based on the interests of the children in her classroom. Diane was able to visit Lincoln Nursery School when her young cousins attended the LNS Pilot Program at the deCordova and she is delighted to be a part of the wonderful community at LNS as a Studio Blue co-teacher. She also volunteers as a Wish Granter with the Make A Wish Foundation, and at Horizons for Homeless Children.
Alice Edwards, Co-Lead Teacher
Alice has been in the field of early childhood education since 1997. She is a mother of two, and through her children, has had the opportunity to volunteer in a variety of child-centered activities and environments. Alice’s fascination with the early childhood field began when her daughter started preschool. She retrained to become an educator, taking her life experiences and translating them to serve the classroom. Alice has lived in England, France, Switzerland, the Ivory Coast, Scotland, and Indiana, prior to moving to Lincoln. While in the Ivory Coast, she also volunteered at an orphanage. Her experience with changing environments often enables her to understand the difficulty children can have with transitions and help them overcome these hurdles. Alice truly enjoys being a part of the children’s lives, understanding that it is important to treat them with respect. Each child has something of value to add to the group, which, through her role as teacher, can be fostered and brought, in the child’s own way, to the fore.
Sue Higson, Co-Lead Teacher
Sue has been in the field of early childhood education since 2000. After a few years in the corporate world left her yearning for more, she returned to school to become certified as an educator. She then opened a daycare and ran it for eight years before deciding to stay at home with her three children. She returned to work when her youngest son began middle school. Looking back and taking the time to self-reflect, Sue realizes that one thing that’s helped her in the field is her ability to listen and the desire to get to know the children in her care as well as their families. She is interested in learning not only the “big issues,” but also the small details that may seem insignificant to many, but which make each child unique. Sue firmly believes in the idea that even very young children are capable of so many things when given the right opportunity and environment.
Wendy Klix, Co-Lead Teacher
Wendy has been in the field of early childhood education for nearly twenty years. She was introduced to the schools of Reggio Emilia early on in her teaching and studies. While starting her own family, Wendy took the time away to start a family daycare. She yearned to be back in the classroom, working alongside colleagues who shared her passion for teaching. So after five years at home with her children, she returned to a school setting. Working in a cooperative preschool, she is inspired by the daily connections she makes with families while in the midst of a close-knit, supportive community. Wendy brings her love for the outdoors and all its inhabitants to the classroom. With the natural surroundings of the school, she is attentive to providing children experiences of all kinds with natural objects, turning their attention to the various calls of birds, and introducing them to the kindness of bugs. She carries with her a large treasury of wonderful memories, knowing that even the most challenging experiences make long lasting, positive, impressions on the lives of young children.
DJ Mitchell, Co-Lead Teacher
DJ began her career in education in 1999 upon graduating from Boston College with a masters in elementary education. She then hopped around the country teaching 3rd and 4th grade in a variety of school settings, until finally arriving home in Lincoln to grow her own family. DJ’s experience at Lincoln Nursery School began with her daughters’ enrollment at LNS, totaling six years. During those years DJ parent helped, held board positions, and led the school as president of the board for two years. DJ’s passion for nature and her willingness to slow down and connect with young children and families made her feel right at home at LNS. So it seemed only natural that after her girls aged out, DJ returned to LNS on her own as a co-teacher. She feels incredibly lucky to call this warm, thoughtful community her home away from home!
Karen grew up on a farm in Northern England, not cut out to be a farmer, after college and a business degree, she moved to London to work at the BBC. As exciting as life in London was, Karen had the travel bug and headed to the US for the first time to work on a summer camp, travel and see the Grand Canyon. Fast forward a few years and she decided maybe she should heed the advice people had been giving her for years ‘you should be a teacher’ and went back to school to do just that. After teaching in a mixed grade class in the UK (K,1 & 2) Karen moved to the US permanently and taught pre-school in Brookline until the birth of her daughter Maya. Maya, Jeff and Karen spent three very happy years at LNS. After Maya moved on to the Lincoln School Karen began her career at LNS. First working in the Purple Class at the Old Stone Church, before assisting in the pilot class at deCordova and then moving to Extended Day where she worked with Kjerstin for the past several years. Karen will be teaching Extended Day in Studio Purple this year.
Lauri Bounty, Co-Lead Teacher
Lauri has been in the field of early childhood education for over twenty years. Over the course of her experience, she has also raised two girls and taught tennis to young children. Lauri always knew that she wanted to teach. Listening to children inspires her, and Lauri’s love of the visual languages enables her understanding of their importance in children’s communication. She feels privileged to be a part of a growing and vibrant learning community where everyone works to better themselves and their practices. Her experience has taught her that when a class comes together around a common cause or idea, it can bring together an entire community while meeting everyone at different levels.
Emily Yaffe, Co-Lead Teacher
Emily has been in the field of early childhood education since 2006. She joins LNS after graduating from the Tufts MA program in Child Studies and Human Development, in which she spent two years studying teachers and children as participants in democratic learning communities, exploring what citizenship can look like in the everyday moments of classroom life. Emily is delighted to be a part of the LNS community, always grateful for the energy and inspiration working with children, families, and teachers brings!