About Us

Meet our experienced and dedicated group of teachers and administrators…

Megan Ostwind, Director

Hello! My name is Megan Ostwind. I grew up in Anne Arundel County and have lived in Cape St Claire since 2012 with my husband and our two children. I have a BA in French and worked for Anne Arundel County Public Schools as an ESOL teacher and Spanish interpreter before becoming a stay at home mom. I started as the Art and Spanish teacher at AAW in 2018 before moving into the extended day PreK class with Mrs. Gish. In 2022, I transitioned to the director role. In my spare time, I love to read, spend time on the water, play music, and cook. I love getting to know each and every child and family here at AAW! I’m very grateful to be a part of this awesome school community!

Debbie Barbour, TTh 2’s Assistant Teacher

Hi!  I have been part of Anchors-A-Wee (AAW) since 2016, serving on the AAW Board for 6 years before joining the AAW teaching team.  My work experiences in the field of education range from preschool through college and I absolutely adore working with the youngest AAW students.  In my free time, when I am not wrangling my own four children, I volunteer in the Anne Arundel County Public School system, with the Green Team at Christ Our Anchor Church, and as a troop leader for Girl Scouts of Central MD.  I am a life-time Girl Scout member who loves exploring the great outdoors.  Outside of the classroom, I am often found taking photos (I have my own photography business), being artistic and creative, going on road-trip adventures with my family, and seeking the joy of being alive.

Coree Cornelius, AM 3’s Teacher and PM 3’s Assistant Teacher

Hello! My name is Coree Cornelius. While I’m not from Maryland originally, the Broadneck Peninsula is the place my family decided to call our “forever home” once my husband retired from 25 years of active duty service in the military. Throughout our 12 Navy moves, which brought us to California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Virginia to name just a few of the states where we’ve lived, I worked as a high school and middle school certified special education teacher, and also had the opportunity to work with first grade students.

When our daughter was in preschool and elementary school, I had the privilege of being able to volunteer regularly at her schools. Working with preschool age students is a joy, and watching their excitement as they make friends, learn, sing, dance, create art, and play makes me smile

Jen Deal, MW 2’s and AM 3’s Teacher

Hello, My name is Jen Deal, and I have over 20 years of experience teaching young children. I hold an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and have been a dedicated teacher at AAW since 2014. Being a part of your child’s first school experience brings me immense joy. I grew up on the Broadneck Peninsula, graduated from Broadneck High School, and currently live in Severna Park with my husband and our two sons, Aiden and Alexander, both AAW alumni. I feel truly blessed to have been a stay-at-home mom during their early years. During that time, I was actively engaged in various roles within the community. I served as the craft leader at Broadneck MOPS group, a member of the AAW preschool board, a COA Sunday school teacher, and co-director of COA Vacation Bible School. These experiences have further nurtured my passion for working with children.

In my spare time, I cherish moments with my family and friends. I enjoy traveling, hiking, and scrapbooking.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your child’s educational journey and look forward to creating a nurturing and enriching environment where they can thrive and develop a love for learning.

PJ Gilbert, 3 Day PreK Teacher

I am the mother of three children, two daughters sandwich my son. Watching them grow has been the greatest joy of my life. I grew up in the Midwest and attended Iowa State University where I met my husband. We moved to Arnold in 1998. It didn’t take me long to find Christ Our Anchor and Anchors-A-Wee Preschool. I have been an active Church member for over 20 years and have been working at Anchors-A-Wee since 2009.
My favorite hobby is taking photos….lots of photos! Being a part of your children’s lives brings me great joy and I feel blessed to be part of the Anchors-A-Wee family.

Michele Gish, 3 Day PreK Teacher

Hello, my name is Michele Gish and I am so thankful to be a part of the Anchors-A-Wee team! I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. I graduated from the US Naval Academy and served as an Intelligence Officer. My husband, also a USNA grad, retired from active duty after 30 years and is a professor in the Ocean Engineering Department. We are happy to be back in Maryland and living in Arnold with our two children.

Our youngest, Drew, attended AAW and loved it! I have been so blessed to have started at AAW in 2015 as the Teacher Assistant for the 3 Day PreK class. After further education, I have been the Lead Teacher in the same class since 2021. The children and teachers here bring me such joy and I truly love coming to work! I am thrilled to work with your children and watch them learn and grow!

Kathryn Hurst, TTh 2’s Assistant Teacher

Hello! I am Kathryn Hurst, an assistant teacher in the 2s class. Originally from Ohio, I graduated from Ohio University. The military brought us to Annapolis (my husband is a Marine and instructor at the Naval Academy) and this is, by far, my favorite duty station. I have 3 children, one is in DC, one just entered the Air Force, and my youngest (a former student at AAW) is in elementary school. And they’re all living their best life. In my spare time, I love sports, to read, travel, and just go exploring with my family and friends. I feel so privileged to watch your children grow!

Jen LaHart, TTh 2’s and PM3’s Teacher

Hi, my name is Jen LaHart and I am the mother of three children, all of whom have attended Anchors-A-Wee. I spent nine years as a parent at AAW, and I am so excited to now be a part of the wonderful staff. I love the small, family-like atmosphere of Anchors-A-Wee, and am so grateful for the experiences that the school provided for my kids while they build friendships and learned the skills needed for kindergarten.

I have a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of MD – College Park, and worked as a Psychologist for three years in Anne Arundel County Public Schools before having my children. I am so happy to be back in a school setting working with children. I find it so rewarding to help kids feel good about themselves! I live on the Broadneck Peninsula with my husband and three children. My kids keep me pretty busy with their activities, but when I do have free-time, I enjoy reading, exercising, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

Jill Mahoney, TTh 2’s Teacher and MW 2’s Assistant Teacher

Hello! My name is Jill Mahoney. I grew up in Anne Arundel County and have lived in Arnold since 2003. My first teaching position was in 2001 in Anne Arundel County Schools. I taught for 8 years there until the birth of my second child when I took off to stay at home with my family. I now have a child in high school, one in middle school and the youngest is still in elementary school. When I am not driving my children from activity to activity I enjoy reading, and digging in the garden. I am excited to join the staff at AAW and very excited to have the opportunity of working with the children at AAW.

Ashby McDonald,  5 Day PreK Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Ashby McDonald. I grew up in Richmond, VA, graduated from Bucknell University and have been in the Annapolis area since 1998. I have over 15 years of experience with the preschool setting. While my own two children are in college and grad school now, I fondly remember their preschool days. I absolutely love working with the PreK students at Anchors A Wee.

Beth Perry, 3 Day PreK Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Beth Perry. I’m very excited to be a part of Anchors-A-Wee Preschool. My daughter Alyssa is AAW Alumni. I was a former preschool teacher at Heritage Learning Center in Annapolis for 18 years.  I have experience teaching 2s, 3s, 4s, PreK, and enrichment programs. I love seeing the kids grow through the year and master new adventures.  I truly enjoy art work and glitter. I have been married for over 30 years. I have a daughter, son, and a daughter in law. I am a proud Noni “ grandma “ to my grandson, Jaxson. I’m looking forward to another great year at AAW.

Mattie Stott, 3 Day PreK and AM 3’s Assistant Teacher

Hello, I am Mattie Stott. When my children attended Anchors-A-Wee, I marveled at how they blossomed in the nurturing environment created by the teachers.  Now that they are in school full time, I am so happy to help other young children learn to love school and practice the social and emotional skills used to thrive in the classroom. My professional background is as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a focus on children’s mental health. I strive to create a safe space for all children to experience empathy, kindness and respect. I am truly honored to be a part of your child’s early educational journey.

Ellie Thorne, Art and STEM Teacher

Hello, my name is Ellie Thorne, and I am so excited to teach art at Anchors-A-Wee. I grew up on the Broadneck Peninsula where I met my husband. We have three amazing kids, two boys and a girl that we decided to raise in our hometown. Both my sons attended preschool at Anchor’s-A-Wee, and our daughter will too when she is old enough. Prior to teaching art at Anchors-A-Wee, I taught third and fourth grade at Broadneck Elementary. I have a Master’s Degree in Differentiated Instruction and 13 years experience teaching in the classroom. In addition to teaching art and raising my three kids, I also tutor children in Anne Arundel County. I am very excited to join the Anchor’s-A-Wee family and share my love of art with your children.

Jennifer Weaver, 5 Day PreK Teacher, Senior Staff Designee

Hi, my name is Jen Weaver. I have a degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University and joined the Anchors-A-Wee team in 2015. I live in Arnold with my husband and two daughters. Both of my daughters attended Anchors-A-Wee, so I was thrilled when asked to join the team. While I have previously taught in elementary schools, I enjoy the preschool setting the most! I love coming to work to prepare your children for success in Kindergarten!

Nikki Zdun, MW 2’s Teacher and AM 3’s Assistant Teacher

Hi my name is Nikki Zdun. I have my Associates in Early Childhood Education and have worked in a very wide variety of child care fields. My husband and I have three active boys and have been raising them here on the Broadneck Peninsula. Two of my boys are Anchors-A-Wee graduates. I absolutely fell in love with AAW while my boys attended. When I was offered a position I very eagerly accepted it. It was a big transition since I had been a stay-at-home mom for a little over 12 years but I am absolutely loving working with your littles now!