About Rachel Lessard - Our Director

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Sarah Refson 

Executive Director

Sarah Refson grew up in New York, received her Bachelor’s of Arts and teacher’s cerficiate from Baitchana Teaching school in Israel and her Master’s degree in early childhood education from MJI. She taught at Rambam Day School in New York for eight years and was director of Lower School for two years. She now lives in Charleston, SC and is Co-Director of the Center for Jewish Life with her husband Yossi and is ably assisted by her four children. She has been the Judaic Director for the Preschool of the Arts for the past four years. In her free time, she can be found binge watching old episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Amanda Keller

Explorer Co-Teacher

Amanda Keller studied Psychology and Theatre at York University and Players Academy in her hometown of Toronto, Canada. After school she spent two years touring southern Ontario with the educational theatre company, Big Kid Entertainment. She then moved to Shanghai, China where she taught preschool and kindergarten. While in Shanghai, Amanda also taught Drama and directed various shows for children for the Oh Culture Development Company. All of this inspired her to further pursue education which led her to obtain her Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Sunderland University. Outside of education Amanda has worked as a performer in Canada, China and the US in numerous theatrical productions, films, and voice overs. She recently has had the pleasure of performing in productions with What If Productions, Footlight Players, 5th Wall Theatre, and StoryTree Children’s Theatre here in Charleston. Amanda’s other hobbies include cooking, crafting, and spending time in nature with her family.

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Jenni Beal

Curriculum Director | Adventurer Co-Teacher

Jenni is excited to be joining The Preschool of the Arts education team. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and childhood studies and is passionate about the psychological benefits of nature and positive impact time in the outdoors can have on human growth and development. Inspired by the forest school movement and the Reggio Emilia approach to inquiry based learning, she went on to become a certified forest kindergarten teacher and master naturalist. Her teaching style encourages children to learn through direct experience with nature and engage them in quality activities which stimulate their innate curiosity about the world. In her spare time you can find her outside! She enjoys gardening, fishing, and finding seashells on the beach. She is thrilled to be at The Preschool of the Arts where she can share her enthusiasm for nature with young learners (or tiny scientists) as they explore this big beautiful world we call home. Jenni can be reached at jenni@potachs.com.

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Allison Philips

Adventurer Co-Teacher

Allison Phillips is excited to join the Preschool of the Arts Charleston teaching team. She is an early childhood educator hailing from Florida. She moved to Charleston after earning her Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University. Allison is passionate about play-based and outdoor learning and has years of experience working with children as a preschool teacher. Most recently, Allison taught at Loblolly Forest school. Allison loves baking, hiking, kayaking, and reading. She can often be found volunteering with MUSC Children’s Hospital and exploring the outdoors whenever possible.

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Avery Euart

Atelierista

Avery Euart was born and raised in Athens, Ohio and attended College of Charleston where she studied Political Science/International Affairs. After traveling extensively after college, she realized the most fundamental way for her to serve others is through education. She attended Teachers College, Columbia University in NYC to acquire her Masters in Early Childhood Education. From there, she moved back to Charleston and settled down where she has since worked in private and public schools in various roles as well as teaching art/art history in numerous capacities to young children. Currently, she teaches early childhood education at the College of Charleston. She has always had a passion for encouraging young children to express themselves through artistic works while always considering it’s about the process not the product! She looks forward to working with your children and hopefully assisting in sparking a love for creative expression!

Rachel Lessard, Director of Preschool of the Arts charleston

Susie Tecklenburg

Administrative Director

Susie Tecklenburg is the administrative director at the Preschool of the Arts and lives in Charleston with her husband, Kyle, and two young daughters. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a Corporate Communication degree and has since been working toward perfecting the art of digital marketing and website design while tackling various administrative duties along the way. Susie started her professional career with the Palmetto Group in a sales and marketing role. She then moved on to Handsome Properties where her duties ranged from digital marketing, to event planning and management of the company’s CRM. Most recently Susie held a Universal Banking position with a local bank where she assisted with loan production and processing. In her free time, Susie enjoys singing along to her daughters’ favorite song, Wheels on the Bus, and being challenged to several toddler dance-offs per day.

A Message from Our Director

My experience has taught me that all children have an intrinsic desire to explore. Children are capable and competent learners. They thrive when given the tools and support to explore and discover as they learn.

I was thrilled to relocate to the Lowcountry this year and begin our Preschool of the Arts program based on the Reggio Emilia approach. We have built a school that provides a natural, organic, and art-filled environment where children learn through an enriching, multi-sensory approach.

When you visit us, you will hear open-ended discussions and see long-term projects at various stages of development. Projects, relevant to the child’s life experiences, are planned, yet responsive to individual needs and environmental happenings.

Our children’s ideas and questions are honored and valued as part of our learning process — a guided process of building meaningful understandings. We will share with you how we document children’s work in progress, which is an important tool for building these understandings.

It is both humbling and exciting to witness how children develop within the environment we provide at Preschool of the Arts. I welcome you to come visit us so you can see for yourself!

Executive Director

A Message from
Our Director

My experience has taught me that all children have an intrinsic desire to explore. Children are capable and competent learners. They thrive when given the tools and support to explore and discover as they learn.

I was thrilled to relocate to the lowcountry this year and begin our Preschool of the Arts program based on the Reggio Emilia Approach. We have built a school that provides a natural, organic, and art-filled environment where children learn through an enriching, multi-sensory approach.

When you visit us, you will hear open-ended discussions and see long-term projects at various stages of development. Projects are planned, yet responsive to individual needs and environmental happenings. Our projects are relevant to the child’s life experiences.

Our children’s ideas and questions are honored and valued as part of our learning process — a guided process of building meaningful understandings. We will show you how we document children’s work in progress, which is an important tool for building these understandings.

It is both humbling and exciting to witness how children develop within the environment we provide at Preschool of the Arts. I welcome you to come visit us so you can see for yourself!

Executive Director

Our children’s ideas and questions are
honored and valued as part of our learning
process — a guided process of building
meaningful understandings. We will show
you how we document children’s work in
progress, which is an important tool
for building these understandings.

Our children’s ideas and questions are honored and valued as part of our learning process — a guided process of building meaningful understandings. We will show you how we document children’s work in progress, which is an important tool for building these understandings.

477 Mathis Ferry Road • Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 • 843-884-2323