Who We Are

Christ United Methodist Church was one of the earliest community institutions in neighborhood of Southern Village, which was developed in the 1990s. The church soon recognized the need for a Christian preschool in the community, and planning began in 1998. Christ Church Preschool opened in August 1999 with an enrollment of 22 children. In less than a decade, it grew to capacity enrollment of 74 children, and is highly regarded, not only by the families whose children began their education here but also by local kindergarten teachers, who recognize how well-prepared our children are for elementary school.

PRESCHOOL director

Debbie Arena, Christ Church Preschool Director, has been a key part of the preschool since before it opened. In 1998, as the church was being built, she served as an education consultant to the study committee. Since the school opened its doors in 1999, she has been the director. Having worked with preschool and elementary aged children since 1981, Debbie is, and has been, active in the local school community. She holds a current North Carolina teaching certificate; is a member of the Durham – Orange Preschool Association and the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC); has served on the school board of University United Methodist Preschool; and has taught Sunday school and directed vacation bible school at University United Methodist Church, where she is a member. Debbie and her husband, Scott, have two children and a grandchild.

Green Frog Teachers (2-year olds)

Julie Ayscue (lead teacher) has an early childhood associates degree, and has worked with two-year-olds for many years. Julie has been the Green Frogs teacher at CCP for 10 years! She and her husband, Cliff, have two children; Stephen and Jordan. Stephen attends college at Appalachian State University, and Jordan is in 10th grade and an avid volleyball lover. They have lived in the Saxapahaw area since 2003. Julie loves spending time with her family and friends. They enjoy playing volleyball, kickball, tennis, swimming, and having cook-outs with their neighborhood families. She enjoys her part-time schedule at Christ Church Preschool, as it allows her time to be available to her own children and school activities. 


Linda Miles and her husband David have lived in Chapel Hill since 1982. Linda is certified in early childhood education and administration and has raised three children of her own. Daughter Alexis now lives in South Carolina with a family of her own. Daughter Gabrielle graduated from Campbell University law school and now lives in Durham with a family of her own. Son Lucas is a graduate of North Carolina State University and now lives and works in Chapel Hill with a family of his own. Besides her own children, Linda has spent the past thirteen years caring for other children in her home - a few of them are graduates of Christ Church Preschool. Linda now enjoys spending time with her many grandchildren and a sometimes quiet home.

red ladybug Teachers (3-year olds)

Sarah Vanolinda (lead teacher) moved from England to Chapel Hill in 2012 with her husband, Pete. They are parents to Daniel, who is on the autistic spectrum and a movie expert; Joe, a computer whiz; and Sam, who is sports mad! Sarah has a degree in child development, and worked in the English school system for many years. Her particular focus has been working to support young children’s emotional and social needs in the school setting, and she has worked extensively with children with special needs and their families. When not walking her two rescue dogs, Finn and Sweet-Pea, on the beautiful North Carolina trails, Sarah enjoys indulging in all things British, such as drinking lots of hot tea!


Amber Boyer and her husband, Clay, have lived in downtown Pittsboro since 2004. They have 2 children, Jacob and Nora, and a dog, Snowy.  Both Jacob and Nora are Christ Church Preschool graduates. Amber has a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a serious Tarheels basketball fan.  After being in many roles at Christ Church Preschool, including class parent, board member and substitute teacher, she is thrilled to now be an assistant teacher! Amber loves going to her kids sporting events, spending time at the beach, cooking, gardening, reading and cheering on the Boston Red Sox (when it's not basketball season!) 

blue whale Teachers (4-year olds)

Linda Laubscher (lead teacher) and her husband, Dave, have lived in the Triangle since 1995. Linda has a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY College at Potsdam in both computer science and math, and has earned a North Carolina Early Childhood Credential. Linda spent her first 2 years at CCP as an assistant in the Blue Whale classroom before moving into the lead position in 2012.  Prior to that, she was a second grade teacher’s assistant at McDougle Elementary for 7 years and taught 4 year olds at Resurrection Lutheran Preschool in Cary. She has two grown children, Kevin and Kristen, who both graduated from Penn State.  When Linda is not working and playing with her Blue Whale friends, she enjoys spending time with family, eating out, traveling, watching movies and walking.

Missy O’Connor and her husband Mike moved to Chapel Hill from Northern Virginia. They have three children. Reegan, Mitchell and Graden (a Christ Church Preschool graduate). Missy graduated from Georgetown University and worked for a non-profit that helps older individuals find employment. After Reegan was born, she took time off to stay home with her children and actively volunteered in many roles at her children's schools. She has been an assistant teacher at CCP since 2010. If you ask her children, Missy’s interests include driving to various soccer fields and cross country trails throughout North Carolina, walking their dog, playing board games, spending family time at the beach and miraculously finding every item her children misplace. 

yellow duck Teachers (4-year olds)

Susan Walton (lead teacher) and her husband Jeff have lived in Chapel Hill since 1999 and are both originally from Durham. They have two boys, Nick, a student at UNC Wilmington, and Zack, a student at Appalachian State in Boone. Susan graduated from Meredith College with a degree in Early Childhood Development and a teaching certificate K-5. She taught kindergarten and preschool for six years in the Durham Public Schools and Westminster Kindergarten. She assisted in kindergarten and second grade for five years at McDougle Elementary, and has been the lead teacher in the Yellow Duck's class since 2008! She loves working with 4 and 5 year olds, spending time outdoors, gardening, and walking with her dog, Maggie.

Sue Krebs and her husband, Tom, live in a rural area of Chatham County with their three children. All three are Christ Church Preschool graduates. Sue graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a degree in English and then spent ten years working in soup kitchens and emergency shelters before taking time at home with her children. Outside of preschool she enjoys baking, working in the garden and photography. 

bookKeeper & office assistant

Melissa Parker and her husband, Jared, grew up in the Triangle and have recently moved back to the area from Lake Wylie, South Carolina. They have two boys: Drew who is a sports fanatic and especially loves to play basketball and Sam who loves all things Star Wars. After staying home a couple of years with both boys after they were born, Melissa taught as lead teacher for Pre-K at River Hills Community Church preschool for six years, and was the Spanish teacher for the 2’s, 3’s and Pre-K for seven years. She enjoys finding new restaurants and spends her free time with her two rescue dogs (Jeter and Bear), hiking trails with her family, and reading on her screened porch.


Christ Church Preschool

800 Market Street - Southern Village
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

919-969-1690 darena@christmethodist.org