We frequently receive inquiries about the qualifications of our teaching staff. This is a truly valid concern, as parents consider the best place for their children to be loved and educated. We are so proud of our staff – we really should brag more often! Here is a bit about each staff member:
HPC Preschool Director – Susan Murphy
Susan Murphy has been at HPP since 2005, first as a teacher and then in a dual role as director since 2015. Susan has a master’s in elementary education from Rhode Island College, taught in Hampton City Schools for several years, and has five sons who attended HPP.
Margaret Goggins has been at HPP since 2008 and serves as a 3-day class teacher. She joined us after many years of service as the parent of five of our alumni and member of the Preschool Board. Margaret has a Master's degree in early childhood education from Westfield State College in Massachusetts and taught preschool and second grade for eight years before tackling the job of full-time mom.
Magen Lefkowicz joined our staff in 2020 and will be teaching one of our 5-day classes this year. Magen has extensive experience as a middle school social studies teacher and has an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of New Hampshire and a Master's degree in International Relations from universities in England and Mexico. She is the parent to two HPP alumni.
Jillian Manning joined our staff in 2018 and serves as a 3-day class teacher, as well as the lead teacher for our 2 1/2 year old class. Jill had been a frequent and invaluable substitute teacher at the preschool and brings an educational background in the ODU Theater Arts program as well as experience in school programs and childcare. Two of her children have come through the HPP program.
Kim Pagels-McKnight joined our staff in 2017 after serving as a substitute teacher for the previous six years. Kim has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University with a double major in political science and French and spent several years living in France. Her daughter is an alumna of HPP as is Kim herself.
April Miller joins our staff this year as a teacher in our 2-day program. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Westminster College and a master’s in education from the University of Missouri. April taught high school biology for many years before moving to Virginia. April was a co-creator and leader of the Hilton Community Playgroup from 2018-2020. She has served on both the HPP Board and the Hilton PTA Executive Board. April is the mother of three boys, all of whom have been attended HPP.
Sharon Rajanayakam joined our staff in 2018 as a 2-day class teacher, after serving as a substitute teacher and Preschool Board member. Sharon has degrees in Social Work from Radford University and a great deal of experience working with families. Her two children are alumni of Hilton Presbyterian Preschool.
Jaime Cox joined us in 2018 as our 5-Day Assistant. She is the parent of two HPP alumni, has served on our Preschool Board, and has been a volunteer at the school. Jaime has a theater degree from CNU and is an active volunteer at her children’s schools and in our community.
Anita Cervantes joins our team this year as the assistant teacher in the 2 ½ year-old class. Anita graduated from CNU with an English degree and has worked in a variety of fields, most recently as a teacher in a faith-based preschool in our area. As a mother of two, Anita has served as a Girl Scout troop leader and a volunteer in her children’s schools.
Many of our staff members have been preschool parents here at Hilton Presbyterian with a total of 22 alumni! They are dedicated to the preschool and its mission to educate children socially, emotionally, and academically in an environment of Christian love. Each year the staff attends training sessions at local and state workshops. There are monthly staff meetings to pool ideas for the coming month’s unit. Ours is a team teaching environment, where the special talents and abilities that each teacher brings are shared with all of the students.