Our Staff

Sarah McGinty-Director/Assistant Teacher

Mrs. McGinty is in her fourth year of teaching at Messiah. Mrs. McGinty received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She has taught First Grade and Preschool and has substitute taught several grade levels. For 8 years, she enjoyed her time as a stay at home mom. Mrs. McGinty coaches soccer and actively volunteers in her daughters’ classes and for VBS at Messiah Lutheran Church. She also served as Co-President of the Riverdale PTO for three years and is still an active member.

Mrs. McGinty has training in family and community partnerships, nature education, transitions, and the social competence of preschool students.

Mrs. McGinty lives in Rapids City with her husband, Kevin and two daughters, Teagan and Aubrey, both Messiah Lutheran Preschool alumni. Messiah Lutheran Church is their home church. Mrs. McGinty is excited for another year of Preschool!

Leah Saelens- Assistant Director/Lead Teacher

Mrs. Saelens is in her third year of teaching at Messiah Lutheran Preschool  Mrs. Saelens graduated from Western Illinois University Quad Cities Campus in 2015 with a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked as a preschool and daycare teacher in Milan, Illinois while she was attending school.

She feels that a proper preschool education will create a strong foundation for lifelong learning. She also believes that her purpose as a teacher is to create a positive and supportive learning environment for your child.

Mrs. Saelen lives in Coal Valley with her husband Kevin.  She is looking forward to the new year at Messiah!

Julie Prigge – Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Prigge is in her fifth year teaching at Messiah Lutheran Preschool. She had been a substitute at Messiah for four years prior to attaining a permanent position.

Mrs. Prigge received her Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Iowa. Mrs. Prigge has had many opportunities to work with young children during her years of volunteer work at the school and library. She also has been a Girl Scout leader and a coach for several sports teams. Mrs. Prigge is certified in CPR and has also received training in various subject areas such as assessing preschool environments, combating bullying, and enhancing teacher interactions with children.

Mrs. Prigge lives in Port Byron with her husband, Scott and two daughters, Hannah and Sarah, both Messiah Lutheran Preschool alumni. She loves to see first hand the innocence and honesty of preschool children.

Terra Polenske – Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Polenske is in her fourth year of teaching at Messiah Lutheran Preschool. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University. Mrs. Polenske worked at Sacred Heart Pedals daycare and preschool as a teacher’s aide. She has also worked for the past 7 years as a substitute teacher for the Riverdale School District.  She has 3 years experience as a home daycare provider. She is currently the Kindergarten Sunday school teacher at Wildwood Baptist Church and is a volunteer VBS teacher at Wildwood. Mrs. Polenske volunteers in her community and has served as a group leader for a local 4-H group.

Mrs. Polenske is a strong believer in continuing education and has completed  training in the field of early childhood education, including “The Creative Curriculum for Preschool-5th edition”, ECEC (Exploring a Career in Early Childhood) at the Villa Montessori School and is certified in CPR.

Mrs. Polenske has always had a special place in her heart for children and a passion for encouraging their development and education through creative learning.

Mrs. Polenske lives in Port Byron with her husband Shawn, daughters Alexis and Aubrie and son Brecken all graduates of Messiah Lutheran Preschool.