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 Education.

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.

Mina Holmes

Assistant Teacher

Mina Holmes has lived in Lynchburg all of her life, and is a graduate of E.C. Glass High School. She always loved working with children and has a passion for childcare. She joined our MBA family in October 2021 and has loved being an assistant in the Peeps Classroom. 

Teresa Jones

Assistant Teacher

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.

Alexis Snipes

Lead Teacher – The Sandpipers

Alexis Snipes is a graduate of South Davidson High School in North Carolina, where she is originally from. She has over four years of childcare experience working with children in a variety of age groups, and loves working with all of them! She started at MBA in June 2021 as the Teacher Assistant in the Sandpipers Class, and transitioned to Lead Teacher in 2022. 

Hollis Moore

Assistant Teacher

Hollis Moore is a graduate of E.C. Glass High School and received her Child Care Certification from Central Virginia Community College. She has worked in all of our classrooms as both a Lead and Assistant Teacher, and recently joined the Sandpipers Classroom. She loves working with all ages and helping our children learn and grow. She has been with Mary Bethune Academy since June of 2011.

Brianna Moore

Assistant Teacher

Brianna Moore graduated from Amherst County High School and continues to live in the area with her three children.  Brianna became a part of MBA in August 2022, when she joined the Peeps Classroom, making a great team with Ms. Emily and Ms. Mina. She loves working with children, particularly the young learners in her classroom, helping to provide guidance and patience as they continue 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

Kitchen Aide/Assistant Teacher

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 throughout the area. Ms. Carol does an excellent job in the kitchen helping prepare delicious meals and treats for all of our children. She has been with Mary Bethune Academy since August 2014.

Valerie Long

Assistant Teacher

Valerie Long is a graduate of Dunbar High School and Life Bible College East in Christiansburg. Since then she has worked in a variety of different jobs, helping children from infants to teenagers and young adults. Mrs. Valerie joined MBA in October 2021 and has helped out all in all of our classrooms. She spends most of her time in the Owls Classroom and loves helping prepare these young learners for Kindergarten and beyond.