Meet the Team

Alpine's Dedicated Teachers & Staff


Cathy Hammond

Founder & Director

I have been teaching since I was six years old when I sat in the back seat on the way up north and drilled my little sister with spelling words. After getting my BA in English from Northwestern in Evanston and my MA in Teaching from Wayne State, I found my way to education. In the beginning, I taught GED and computer classes, and later I taught French, English, and English as a Second Language in the Bloomfield Hills and Rochester school districts. In 1995, I founded Alpine Academy, and in 2005, I founded Eagle Creek Academy, a private school for children in preschool to 5th grade. I have loved every minute of my time in education. I believe teaching and learning are the most important jobs in the world. One of my favorite pastimes is eating lunch with the teachers, talking about what we are doing right and what we can do next. I am very impressed with our talented and energetic staff, and I know you will be, too.


Caroline Ford

Program Manager

I have been around teachers my whole life. My dad was an English professor at Central Michigan University, and my mom taught 2nd grade at an elementary school in Mt. Pleasant. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I have always felt well suited to younger children because I like the way they perceive and react to the world. I received my bachelor’s degree in Child Development from CMU, and I have been working with young children ever since. I have been a preschool teacher, an Education Coordinator and an Assistant Director at several local childcare centers. I enjoy reading books and spending time with my husband and adult daughter. I look forward to getting to know you and your children. Please stop in and say hello!


Melissa Brown

Business Director

​Before coming to Alpine in 2016, I spent seventeen years working for and managing small businesses. I started out developing a small custom printing business while I was in college. After graduating from MSU, I ventured to Chicago to work in merchandising and project management. A few years later, I moved back to Michigan to be closer to my family and happened to meet the love of my life, Scott, whom I married at our favorite spot up north. At Alpine, my focus is on accounting and business management. I truly believe that when you continue to learn and push yourself, endless opportunities will present themselves.


Zoe Wagner


I was born in England and raised in many countries including India, Germany, and the USA. As a little girl, I always had a library in my bedroom. Every day, I had tea parties and read stories to my stuffed animals. Now, I get to live my dream of being a preschool teacher! Before coming to Alpine in 2018, I spent several years with two- and three-year-old children at KidderKlub. I also subbed and volunteered for over ten years. I appreciate how children can learn, play, be creative, and have fun all at the same time. I graduated from Oakland University with an degree in English literature, which as a reading enthusiast was perfect for me! I also love to garden and spend time with my husband and adult children.


Zina Fenwick


​After completing my MBA in Finance at Osmania University and working in the corporate world for ten years, I joined my sister in opening a playschool. Managing and teaching there was the best decision I had made. In 2019, I found my way to Eagle Creek and Alpine. Now I am at Alpine every day and enjoying every minute. I believe each child is talented and unique in his or her own way, and it is upon us as teachers to bring out the best in them. Please stop by to visit. I'd love to get to know you and your little one.


Savanna Stuer


While growing up and volunteering in classrooms after school, I decided to become an early childhood teacher. There is nothing better than nurturing children as they grow and learn. My favorite is when I find ways to make kids excited to come to school. Before starting at Alpine in 2021, I got my associates degree in early childhood, and I worked with toddlers for two years at a childcare center in Lake Orion. Toddlers hold a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to make memories with your children!


Diana Hay


Hi! I've been teaching since 2011. One of my goals is to get to know you and your family. This guides me as I help your children develop. I grew up right around the corner in Oxford. I have lived in and traveled to many places, including Colorado, California, and England. I got my BA from Eastern Michigan University in Social Work, and now I'm working on a BA in Elementary Education from Baker College. I have two boys, Cameron and Lucas, who keep me moving and exploring. I also love Thai food, hiking, camping, and biking. I'm eager to meet you and get started!


Señora Krishna


I grew up in Venezuela which is a Spanish-speaking country on the northern coast of South America. While there, I graduated from law school and practiced family law, protecting children and their rights. During that time, I traveled to the United States for vacations and fell in love with this amazing country. I have had the pleasure of studying and working in Florida, California, and now Michigan. It's hard to believe I've been at Alpine since 2015! When I was growing up, my mother was a teacher. At a very young age, I knew I had inherited her love of teaching, and I am so pleased to be in this profession. I love sharing myself with my little friends at Alpine, and I learn a lot from them, too!


Lori KuyKendall


I've always known I would work with children. Even as a child, I was the neighborhood child psychologist. Long ago, I earned an associate's degree in Early Childhood and spent 8 years with Macomb County Headstart program. Then I earned my bachelor's in Early Childhood at Wayne State and went into K-5 education. Later, I earned another Early Childhood certificate at Fayetteville State University, NC, and spent 5 years teaching pre-k there. Now, I'm back in Michigan and loving my class at Alpine. There is something so authentic about young children. Helping them develop their little selves has become my passion, and I'm eager to meet your child and get started!


Katherine Millush


I was born and raised here in Michigan and went to Rochester College where I received my bachelor's in Early Childhood Education in 2009. Ever since, I've been following my dream to work with children. I love being at Alpine where we keep the children in such small groups and get to know them so well. It's great to be able to help them develop in both big and small ways.


Maria Pop


I was born and raised in Romania, a beautiful European country bordering the Black Sea. While there, I earned my bachelor’s degree in English and Romanian Language and Literature. Since then, the U.S. has become my adoptive country where my husband and I are raising our three children. I love America for its multiculturalism and for the opportunities it offers. My experience in early childhood ranges from birth to school-age. In my spare time, I like taking seminars that help me better understand and educate children. I am a firm believer in play, exploration, nature, and art activities and a dedicated teacher who strives to grow as an individual and establish meaningful relationships with children and their families.


Kayce Vanderbeek


My entire life has been dedicated to the care of children. My first job was babysitting while in 7th grade, and every summer during high school, I took nanny positions which led to my love of childcare and teaching. Later, I opened a state-licensed, in-home daycare. I have also been an art teacher and art coordinator at a Montessori school. I recently moved back to MI from southern California with my husband and son to be closer to our extended family. I look forward to sharing my passion for teaching and art with your family!


Abigail Kemp


I have always liked working with babies and young children. From buttoning their coats to learning their ABC’s, I enjoy watching children's eyes light up when they have mastered new tasks. I received my Bachelor’s degree in December 2020 from Rochester University in Behavioral Science. Currently, I am working on my Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Oakland University. Before Alpine, I was a Registered Behavioral Technician with children that suffer from autism, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. I look forward to helping your children grow and develop self-confidence as they form their own unique character.


Trinity Cislo


I was lucky enough to grow up with siblings ten and thirteen years younger than me. Now, working with kids is what brings me the most joy. I am currently studying Elementary Education and working towards being a K-5 teacher. Recently, I have worked with preschoolers and in K-5 after-care. Helping children develop complex social skills is one of my goals. I like helping them figure out how to play group games and include new friends. I also love introducing fresh academic concepts and watching as they come to new understandings. I especially enjoy when they ask questions because they are so interested in what they are learning. I look forward to being here for your child and you.


Craig Knox

Facility Manager

I have been managing Alpine's campus since 2007. I like keeping the building and grounds in tiptop shape, from the garbage disposals to the air conditioning units. I also own and manage Knox Lawn & Landscape, which is how I originally came to Alpine. Originally from North Branch, I now live in Dryden with my wife and three children. I enjoy snowmobiling, boating, and spending time with family.


Ron Smith


I have been working for Alpine since 2016. It's a great job because I get to tinker with things and help people. I enjoy big projects such as refurbishing old cupboards. I spend my free time working on cars, collecting precious metals, and hanging out with my grandson. If you see me around, please say hello!