Our Staff

Our Staff is All About Giving Your Child the Care They Need

We, at The Children's Place, are proud of our friendly, caring, nurturing staff.

All full time staff members have received training in early childhood education and development. While the amount of formal education varies, THE STAFF COMBINES FOR OVER 200 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. All full time staff members must receive a minimum of 12 hours of ongoing in-service training in the field of childcare and early childcare education each year by attending classes, workshops, seminars and conferences. Part time employees are typically students at Lincoln colleges and universities majoring in education, psychology and/or human services. The Children's Place is enrolled in Step Up to Quality where they continue to better themselves and the learning environment for each child.

The Children's Place Staff Biographies

Chris Bruner: Director

Chris began her career in child care 41 years ago at The Children's Place after attending UNL. She has been the Director for the past 28 years and prior to that was the toddler teacher and assistant director. As Director, Chris has a keen sense for managing the business aspect of The Children's Place. She is responsible for monitoring Title XX child care assistance for families and works with the Child Care Food Program. Chris has also guided and supported the staff through the Step Up To Quality state rating incentive. where we have received a Step 4 out of five rating. Chris monitors all of the records for children and staff, works to assure that licensing regulations are met and has a passion for organizational details. Under Chris's watchful eye, parents can be assured that all paperwork is handled with the utmost care and respect, and Chris's keen sense of responsibility gives a secure feeling to the families enrolled. Chris loves the honesty of young children, their simple thinking and loving hugs! She enjoys reading fun stories and singing to them and engaging them in conversations. Since those early years are the most impressionable, Chris firmly believes that quality childcare and an early childhood education is an important first step. Chris maintains that an experienced staff can also be a support network to help parents raise their children in these precious early years, and the staff at The Children's Place is dedicated to helping not only the children, but their families as well, in any way they can. Chris strives to foster teamwork with the staff as well as consistency, compassion and love for what they do together. Chris has been an active member of The Nebraska Child Care Director's Association for 28 years. According to Chris, the center's motto sums it up best: "There is no place like home but here." Chris is married and has an adult son. She also has pet Dachshunds.

Kathy Ras: Assistant Director/PreK and School Age Teacher

Kathy has 39 years of experience in child care, all 39 of them at The Children's Place. Kathy is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education and Child Development. She holds her elementary teacher's certificate and has done graduate work in special education. As Assistant Director for the past 27 years, Kathy has assumed a wide range of teaching administrative and managerial responsibilities and duties. Miss Kathy's greatest strength lies in her relational skills. She quickly establishes a good rapport with parents, can easily start conversations with them, making them feel comfortable and welcome. She believes in maintaining positive, effective communication with parents on a day to day basis concerning both their learning activities and their behavior and parents quickly come to rely on her to be friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. She has participated in Rooted in Relationships: The Pyramid Project, Step Up to Quality, has training in CLASS and ITERS AND ECERS. She has encouraged, modeled and fostered a "parents as partners'' attitude in all of the staff. Kathy is also the School-Age (K-5) teacher. When this older group is in school, she co-teaches the 4-5 year old pre kindergarten class. One of the things Kathy loves most about working with children is that each day is a new day, because children are so full of love, don't hold grudges and are excited by everything. She enjoys planning holiday parties and activities and says the ideas are endless! She also loves to hang out with the kids and listen to their stories or "tall-tales''. Kathy loves to listen and help, whether it is with children, their parents or other staff. She strives to be the best person, role model and teacher she can be. Kathy is dedicated to early childhood education because being a teacher has been her dream since she was a little girl. She is continually looking for new activities to keep her program fresh, exciting and educational. Kathy is married to Wade. She has a grown son and as a mother as well as a teacher, realizes even more the importance of quality childcare and the impact it makes on all our lives.

Miss Joy: Preschool Teacher

Joy is a native from Hutchinson, Kansas. Miss Joy has 36 years of experience in the childcare field, with 27 of them at The Children's Place. She attended Hutch Community College in Early Childhood Development and is a full-time preschool teacher with three and young 4-year-olds in the Teddy Bear room. She has participated in Rooted in Relationships: The Pyramid Project, Step Up to Quality, has training in CLASS and ITERS AND ECERS. Joy loves working with children because they give unconditional love and are always forgiving of the mistakes of others, but their hugs are the best! Joy has one grown son.

Miss Connie: Preschool Teacher

Miss Connie is originally from Prague, Nebraska where she grew up on a farm with eight siblings. She graduated from Bishop Neumann High School in Wahoo, Nebraska in 1979 and shortly thereafter she started working at The Children's Place, formerly Mary Moppets, with toddlers in the Happy Face room. She was a Happy Face teacher for 15 years until she got married and moved away to Sioux City, Iowa with her husband, Mark. There she was a stay-at-home mom of 4 and while taking care of her own children, she ran an in-home childcare for 15 more years. In 2016, her husband got a job at the Nebraska Department of Roads, and moved back to Lincoln where Miss Connie once again found herself in the Happy Face room! In 2020 Miss Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since treatments she has remained cancer free. Miss Connie is currently the co-teacher in the Teddy Bear Preschool room with the three and young four -year-olds. She is incredibly grateful for her experiences with children, other parents and the learning tools of Child Care training, classes and Step Up to Quality initiative. She is especially grateful for the shared wisdom of her directors and of her co-teachers, former and present, who have helped her to become an early childhood teacher these past 36 years. To experience, is to know, is to teach...and Miss Connie loves to teach.

Miss Cindy: Preschool Teacher

Ms. Cindy comes to The Children's Place, after working 25 years with special needs students at LPS. She has been a preschool teacher for 6 years. While working at LPS she was trained and certified in ABLLS, Verbal Behavior, Handwriting without Tears, PECS, MANDT, BIST, Pyramid, and has had coursework with the Deaf/Blind Institute as well as many courses with emphasis on the Autism spectrum. She has participated in Rooted in Relationships: The Pyramid Project, Step Up to Quality, has training in CLASS. Cindy enjoys playing, pretending, and acting silly with her students, while using fun loving, imaginative, and adventurous play to teach the children lessons that they are not even aware they are learning. She often researches and creates stimulating fun techniques and lessons to maximize her students' learning. Lessons that will motivate, encourage, and challenge them. Cindy loves the flexibility that comes with the “Learning Through Fun” concept, yet she strongly believes children need structure, consistency and a firm set of rules to follow as well. By merging the two hopefully the child will excel for academic, physical, social & emotional success! Faith, family, and friends are extremely important to Cindy. She has two beautiful daughters that she is proud of. She has a granddaughter that is the apple of her eye! She believes God has truly blessed her by surrounding her with the greatest, most supportive and loving family and friends.

Miss Jasmin: Toddler Teacher

Miss Jasmin has been a toddler teacher in The Happy Face room for 5 years at The Children's Place. She is currently finishing her college associate degree in Early Childhood Education at SCC. Her goal is to have children learn through play in the environment that she has created in her room. She has participated in Rooted in Relationships: The Pyramid Project, Step Up to Quality, has training in CLASS and ITERS AND ECERS. She enjoys working with toddlers because they are a fun age to watch grow and learn, and knowing that she has a part in the children's development. Not only is it important for her to help them reach their developmental domains, but to also show them love and care as their early childhood teacher. She has a young son at home whom she loves spending time with. We are very fortunate to have Jasmin as a Spanish interpreter.

Miss Maria: Toddler Teacher

Miss Maria has worked in early childhood education for 8 yrs. She has two grown sons and a four-legged child, Lala. Maria has participated in Rooted in Relationships: The Pyramid Project, Step Up To Quality, has had training in CLASS and ITERS and ECERS. When Maria started in childcare, she worked with infants. She now enjoys working with toddlers in The Happy Face room, because they learn and develop so fast it's amazing. She loves their sassy attitudes and all their silly ways. Most of all she loves their giggles! The Children's Place is very fortunate to have Miss Maria as one of our Spanish interpreters as well.