Our Staff

Rose Volponi
Executive Director

Rose has worked at Durham Community Preschool for the past six years. She started out teaching in the toddler room for a year then taught the preschoolers for three years. Previously, she was a stay-at-home mom – organizing playgroups and fantasizing about the next great craft. She understands what it is like to be a parent enrolling a child in school for the first time. She is the parent of two elementary-age children who are also DCP alumnae. She LOVES working with the DCP community and would love to welcome your family to our school!

“I want every child to have the best possible “first” experience of school.”


Laurie Mothershed 
Lead Leap Frogs teacher

This is Laurie’s third year at DCP and she is thrilled to be returning. She has over seven years of experience as a preschool lead teacher for 3 and 4 year olds. She appreciates DCP as a small, close-knit preschool that emphasizes the academic, social and cognitive development of young children. She is excited to work with DCP’s preschool curriculum to ease the transition for little ones into kindergarten. She focuses on providing continuity for our returning preschoolers as well as creating an excellent program for all of our new students.

Laurie received her BA in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College in South Carolina. She graduated Cum Laude, is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta – National Honor Sorority, and is a recipient of Order of the Purple Seal for academic achievement. Laurie is the mother of three school-aged children and lives in Durham.

HOBBIES: reading, walking, cooking for her family and caring for her family pets!

“It is impossible to teach preschoolers and not grow close to them as well as their families. I feel blessed and privileged to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with your little ones.”

Louis Landry

Assistant Leap Frog teacher

A professional musician with over a decade of experience performing and teaching, Louis realized he enjoyed working with children when he first started teaching private music lessons. He loves that in working with kids, he is able to remember that period in his life when he was always exploring, letting go of old ideas and welcoming the new. He will be working with DCP’s oldest mites, the Leap Frogs, and will be sure to incorporate music into the classroom.

HOBBIES: Hiking and traveling with his wife and dog.

In researching this job, he read a little background on the Methodist Church and really liked this particular quote. “In essentials, equality; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Amy May

Lead Pollywog teacher

Amy has always known she wanted to work with kids, and she was quick to major in early elementary education while in college. Since then she has had three children, and become a foster mother to others. She first moved to Durham as a teen, and was thrilled to come back when her husband, a minister, was completing graduate school. After a brief absence, his work once again brought them back last year, and they hope to make Durham their home as long as possible. She has worked with children for years, and is excited about her first year at DCP When it comes to teaching children, she sees it as an “adventure.” Their insatiable curiosity, refreshing honesty and profound sense of wonder remind her of the simple joys in life. She will be teaching the Pollywogs this year.

HOBBIES: Baking, gardening, and camping

Choose joy, be a peacemaker, and love others!”

Aura LaBarre
Lead Tadpole teacher

Aura has worked with DCP for three years. For five years prior to DCP she taught gardening to students in preschool through middle school and at one point was an education coordinator for young aspiring bio-dynamic farmers. She doesn’t mind the tiny messy hands and faces that come with introducing kids to gardens or helping them create play forts and fairy houses. She likes to get her hands dirty too! She gets joy from facilitating children’s learning and discovery of new things.

Aura, a mother of two,  has a BA in ecological agriculture and is slowly working her way through a degree in elementary education.

HOBBIES: Aura’s favorite animal is the pelican. On a rainy day, you make catch her taking a drizzly walk through the woods to later enjoy a hot cup of tea and a good book. After a hard day, getting hugs from her family puts a smile on her face.

“Preschoolers offer me a lightness of being by continually reminding me the world is our classroom.”

Joy Watts 
Tadpole assistant teacher

Joy Watts joined the DCP team this year, taking on the busy role of assistant in the Tadpole classroom where she can’t get enough of the little “free spirits” who keep her on her toes all morning. The native New Yorker moved to Durham nearly a decade ago from the West Coast after accepting a position as an acute care nurse at UNC hospital. She has family in the area, and calls her adult twin daughters and four grandchildren the “loves of her life.” When she isn’t taking care of 2-year-olds at DCP, she can be found volunteering at the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Carolina Theater, and the Durham Visitor’s Bureau.

HOBBIES: Gardening, crocheting, and sewing

For me children represent all that is honest, pure and innocent. The little ones, especially the 2-3 year olds, are such free spirits. I love their imaginative, creative and spontaneous nature – something that I think many adults have lost. I thoroughly enjoy being in their presence.”

Betsy Ferny

Lily Pad Lagoon Co-teacher

Betsy thought she would wind up teaching mathematics at the graduate school level, but when she realized she did not want to focus her career entirely on numbers, she began spending time tutoring and teaching various ages groups until she found her favorite: toddlers and twos. Her son is in that age group right now! Originally from outside Seattle, she and her husband came to Durham about 10 years ago for graduate school and never left. When she knew she wanted to work with little ones, she wasted no time in earning a child development certificate and began working in a local five-star facility. She will be working with DCP’s youngest in the Lily Pad Lagoon.

HOBBIES: Baking, photography and sewing

For her, “The look of wonder when they see something new, the feeling of accomplishment they get from things we take for granted, and all the love they have for the world,” is what makes teaching children so special. “Also, the hugs are pretty awesome.”

Tonya Miller

Lily Pad Lagoon Co-teacher

Tonya was born and raised in Durham, and in turn has raised her own family in the Bull City. With her children nearing grown (one in college, the other a young teen) she is beyond excited to be spending time with DCP’s littlest ones in the Lily Pad Lagoon. Her career working with children began 20 years ago, and she has been responsible for every age group imaginable. Along the way she has learned to really appreciate the honesty children bring to life, and she loves the way their little faces light up when they learn something new.

HOBBIES: Watching her children play sports, the beach, and pedicures

As I have gotten older I TRY to pick my battles and say, ‘Will this matter tomorrow?’ If not, let it go. Hakuna Matata.”