Mary Bethune Academy is proud of our caring and qualified teachers who engage children actively in learning. Only individuals who exhibit a true love for children and who are patient and understanding are employed by our school. Turnover is minimal among our staff, which gives children a strong sense of security and “family.”

All of our child care staff is required to participate in training and receive a minimum of 20 credit hours in Early Childhood Education annually. All of our teachers are encouraged and supported in continuing their education.

Prior to employment, each staff member was carefully evaluated to ensure a good match with our program mission. This process includes an in-depth interview with the administrators, reference checks, classroom observations and a criminal background check through the Virginia Department of Social Services.

We are proud of our teachers and encourage our parents to never hesitate to approach them if they have any concerns or questions. Open communication is critically important and we welcome the opportunity to help you help your child!

Mary York

Director of Facilities, Staffing, Programs
and Senior Lead Teacher

Mary York graduated from Triton College in Illinois in 1994 with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is married, and is a mother of two sons and a step daughter, and a grandmother to five grandsons. Mrs. York has been with Mary Bethune since September of 1994. 

Karen Fitzgerald

Director of Office Operations

Karen Fitzgerald graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Fine Arts. She has had over 20 years of administrative experience, six of which have been in a school & childcare setting. She is married and has two young children. Karen has been at Mary Bethune Academy since March 2019.

Emily Pless

 Lead Teacher – The Peeps

Emily Pless graduated from Liberty University in 2016 with a degree in Health Promotion. She is a Lynchburg native and has had over eight years of experience working with children in a variety of age groups at both Thomas Road Baptist Church and Camp Bethel. Emily has been at Mary Bethune Academy since June 2019.

Alexis Snipes

Teacher’s Aide

Alexis Snipes is a graduate of South Davidson High School in North Carolina, where she is originally from. She has over three years of childcare experience working with children in a variety of age groups. Alexis joined our MBA family in June 2021.

Teresa Jones

Teacher’s Aide

Teresa Jones graduated from E. C. Glass High School. She has two children and four grandchildren, two of which attended MBA. She previously worked for Lynchburg City School for eight years and, before that, she worked in the administrative field for almost 15 years. Mrs. Jones has been at MBA since June 2012.

Joy Miller

Lead Teacher – The Sandpipers

Joy Miller graduated from E.C. Glass in 2003. She is a Lynchburg resident, and has three children. She has a strong passion for Mary Bethune Academy – she sent two of her children here, and now works here. Miss Miller has been with MBA since May of 2015.

Hollis Moore

Teacher’s Aide

Hollis Moore graduated from E.C. Glass in 1989, and Central Virginia Community College in 2012 with Child Care Certification. She has over five years of childcare experience. Mrs. Moore has been married since 2007, and is a Lynchburg resident. Mrs. Moore has been with Mary Bethune Academy since June of 2011.

MacKenzie Brown

Teacher’s Aide

MacKenzie Brown is a graduate of E.C. Glass High School. She has had over seven years experience in child care, having worked at the local YMCA prior to joining MBA in 2018. MacKenzie enjoys working with children of all ages, helping them to learn and grow! 

Joyce Jefferson

Lead Teacher – The Nest

Joyce Jefferson is a graduate of Dunbar High School and has a diploma in Child Day Care Management. She has worked with children all of her adult life and previously operated her own home day care. She has worked with all ages throughout her career and loves her current role in our Infant Room, where she provides loving care for MBA’s littlest learners. Joyce has been at Mary Bethune Academy since July 2018.

Carol McNeil

Teacher’s Aide

Carol McNeil graduated from E.C. Glass, and got her Bachelor’s Degree at Phillips Business College. She has over fourteen years experience at various daycares. Mrs. McNeil has been with Mary Bethune Academy since August 2014.