The Kalamazoo Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create relationships and experiences that welcome and inspire people to discover, enjoy, value, and care for nature. Because we value the strength diversity brings to the workplace, KNC is committed to the recruitment, retention, and development of a workforce that reflects the society in which we live.

Learn more about our Nature’s Way Preschool staff below; teachers are listed by classroom.

Holly and Lindsey2 day South Classroom
Tuesday/Thursday
8:45 am & 12:45 pm

Holly Morris
Holly had been a teacher at Nature’s Way since 2006.  She has a BS in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from WMU.  She loves exploring nature with young children, especially her daughter Wren, age 5.  In her spare time, she also enjoys music with her husband in a few local bands:  Tambourina , Overly Polite Tornados, and Glowfriends.

Lindsey Homan
Lindsey comes to NWP with over 15 years experience with young children and their families.  She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education with teacher licensure from National Louis University as well as a Master of Education from the Erikson Institute.  When not at school, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her son Teddy (a NWP student), Katie (age 1) and their very spoiled Rottweiler Sophie, attending library story times, and the dog beach.

Shannon and Laura2 day North Classroom
Tuesday/Thursday
8:30 am & 12:30 pm

Shannon McLeese
Shannon joined the Nature’s Way team in 2016.  She has a BS in Zoology from MSU and an Early Childhood/Elementary teaching certification.  She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching through Miami University.  Shannon has worked as a zoo educator at Binder Park School and taught kindergarten in Texas.  She loves working with young children and sharing her enthusiasm for animals, nature, and the outdoors with her students.  Shannon is the NWP Parent Green Team coordinator and is passionate about promoting conservation values.

Laura Donders
Laura is starting her 1st year with NWP having recently returned to Kalamazoo after teaching Environmental Education in Seattle, WA for 3 years. She has a BS in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University and has been teaching students from age 5 to 45 years old in various roles for the past 6 years. Laura approaches education with a strong belief in student-lead, experiential learning and a commitment to fostering a connection to nature for all.

VanAllen Morris 3 day South Classroom
Monday/Wednesday/Friday
8:45 am & 12:45 pm

Michele VanAllen
Michele has been a preschool teacher, a reading tutor, and has volunteered at NWP and KNC for several years in a variety of programs, including serving as a KNC Board Member.  She has a BS in Environmental Science from MSU, a Master of Environmental Science, and a Master of Education from WMU.  She has been married to Erik for 28 years and they have two girls, Kara, who lives and works in Boston, and Mia, a student at MSU.  She has a dog named Daisy and a cat named Ozma.

Holly Morris
Holly has been a teacher at Nature’s Way since 2006.  She has a BS in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from WMU.  She loves exploring nature with young children, especially her daughter Wren, age 5.  In her spare time, she also enjoys music with her husband in a few local bands:  Tambourina , Overly Polite Tornados, and Glowfriends.

Kaitlin and Shannon3 day North Classroom
Monday/Wednesday/Friday
8:30 am & 12:30 pm

Kaitlin Lindahl
Kaitlin joined the NWP team in 2019.  She has a BS in Biology from GVSU and recently completed her Master of Arts in Environmental Education with Concordia University. She comes to us from the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery where she has been a Natural Resource Educator for 6 years. She has been a substitute teacher in several local school districts and was an assistant preschool teacher for 2 years. In her spare time she loves to go cross-country skiing with her husband, hiking, kayaking, dancing and playing hockey.  She is a new mom to Rory, born in 2021.

Shannon McLeese
Shannon joined the Nature’s Way team in 2016.  She has a BS in Zoology from MSU and an Early Childhood/Elementary teaching certification.  She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching through Miami University.  Shannon has worked as a zoo educator at Binder Park School and taught kindergarten in Texas.  She loves working with young children and sharing her enthusiasm for animals, nature, and the outdoors with her students.  Shannon is the NWP Parent Green Team coordinator and is passionate about promoting conservation values.

Heather Goetzinger

Heather Parker Goetzinger
Preschool Director

Heather became director of Nature’s Way Preschool in 2011.  She has a BS in Early Childhood Education from MSU and a Master of Education from GVSU.  She has been a Young Fives teacher and a Headstart Director.  Her children, Paige (a student at MSU), Ella (a student at NMU) and Spencer (14) are all proud alumni of Nature’s Way Preschool.  She and her husband Nick, a teacher in Mattawan, spend their free time hiking and mountain biking.  Her love for NWP began as a parent and continues as an educator, experiencing the power of nature play every day.