Wee Care Children's Enrichment Program, Inc.

School Leadership and Staff

Laurie Harrell

Executive Director and Lead Teacher

Before founding Wee Care, Laurie taught in the Wake County Public School System for seven years, including three years as a first-grade teacher at Hunter Elementary. While at Hunter she served as a member of the Student Support Team, which identifies and supports at-risk children. For three years she served as the lead teacher for a class of two-year olds at nationally-accredited Hayes Barton United Methodist Preschool, and in the summers created and ran a camp for preschool-age children. A member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, Laurie organized the church’s Vacation Bible School summer program, which served more than 250 children, and serves as the church’s coordinator of elementary-age activities. Laurie holds a B.S. in psychology from N.C. State University and a teaching certificate from Meredith College.

Ellen Safrit

Administrator and Teacher Assistant

In addition to her role with Wee Care, Ellen served as the Director of Children's Ministries at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church for eight years. Her responsibilities included managing the department's budget of more than $50,000; selecting Sunday School curricula and training Sunday School teachers; publishing a monthly newsletter; planning meals and activities for preschool and elementary-age children; and providing weekly children's sermons. Ellen also worked as an Employment Administrator for Sprint Mid-Atlantic Telecom, where she hired and trained technical staff. She hold a B.A. in Industrial Relations from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Mary Kay Stephenson

Teacher Assistant

Mary Kay graduated from Meredith College with a BS Degree in Business
Administration and Communications. She has three grown children and has taught preschool Sunday School and been a leader in the JOY Class at HBUMC. Before joining Wee Care, Mary Kay was a first grade and intervention Instructional Assistant at JY Joyner Elementary School. She enjoys working with young children and especially loves watching them grow and sharing in their excitement when they do something on their own.

Joanie Peterson

Lead Teacher

Joanie graduated from UNCG with a degree in Human Development & Family Studies with a licensure in ages birth – kindergarten. Joanie has over ten years’ experience in education and was teaching preschool when the Pandemic began. Joanie and Laurie Harrell share a long history, having both grown up as active members of their community in Goldsboro, NC. “I am a nurturer at heart and have really missed being with preschool children and their families. I know that providing young children with a good foundation will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Board of Directors

John Thomas - Chair

Retired Educational Consultant

Tiffany Brown - Secretary

Senior Sales Enablement Program Manager - AWS

Jeff Hendrick - Treasurer

Raleigh Market Executive - Dogwood State Bank

Jane Hemingway

Childhood Educator

Alison Eckstein

Trade Show & Events Specialist

Allison Crumpler

Speech Language Pathologist, M.A. CCC-SLP

Niezle Scott

Project Manager - Varonis Systems

Brian McCracken

Attorney - Wyrick Robbins

Mike Fields

COO - The Strategic Group

Kerry Ruggieri

Owner - Club Pilates/Aligned Fitness Holdings

Brittany Jarrett

School Programs Adminstrator