top of page

Melissa Hertzog

I am delighted to become the new owner and director of Appletree Academy and to become a part of this wonderful community. I have Bachelors’ degrees from the University of Central Missouri in Elementary and Early Childhood Education as well as a Master’s Degree in Literacy Education. I taught 12 years in LSR-7 with the majority of my time in kindergarten. My husband and I have been married for nearly 14 years and live just outside of Greenwood.  We have four children: Waylon is 10, Ruby is 8, Porter is 6 and Nellie is 4. Family is very important to me and I know how significant you are as your child’s first and most important teacher.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to join the wonderful Appletree staff and to continue the legacy Jan has built. I will work hard to provide a safe and caring environment where your child will build his/her foundation for learning.  The staff and I will continue to provide a variety of educational activities to make learning exciting and enriching for each child. 


The Appletree experience includes the combination of messy and structured learning, the development of social skills through creative play, opportunities to learn how to follow directions and make positive behavior choices, the development of fine and gross motor skills, learning kindergarten readiness skills, and much more!  We bring lessons alive with stimulating curriculum and adventurous field trips, all while making new friends. 


Come start the journey with us at Appletree Academy Preschool!

Our Staff

stick kids in Appletree_edited.png

We have a wonderful staff of qualified teachers that help to instill the Appletree philosophy...

 "Where Learning is Fun"

Our staff truly love their students and develop a nurturing relationship with each preschooler.

stick kids in Appletree_edited.png

Laurie Pitcher

Hello Parents and Families! I am very excited to be part of the Appletree Academy Family and to be your child’s teacher in preschool this year! My children attended Appletree Academy and I previously taught at Appletree Academy too. I am certified in Elementary Education, and Special Education, as a Library Media Specialist and I have a Master of Technology in Education degree. I have previously taught kindergarten, I have been an Elementary and Middle School Library Media Specialist, and a Technology Coach for schools in our area. I look forward to building relationships with you and your child and creating an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and fosters a love for learning. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’m looking forward to meeting each of you and to a year of learning and fun!

Welcome to Mrs. Porter’s Class! My name is Tricia Porter and I have the privilege of being your child’s Preschool teacher this year. I am very excited to be a part of your child’s first School experience. I am looking forward to getting to know you and your child. As an educator, my goal is to build a trusting relationship with your preschooler by nurturing your child’s needs and embracing their struggles with encouragement. I am committed to helping each child navigate their way and realize his/her potential. I want each child to know that LEARNING IS FUN! I also wnt to share a little about myself. I retired from teaching after 24 years. I have a B.A. in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy. I have taught students ranging in age from 3 years to junior high school students. I have three children of my own and seven grandchildren. Three of my grandchildren have attended Appletree. This will be my second year teaching at Appletree and I am very excited to experience this year with your child. I enjoy spending tine with my family, and my hobbies include various craft projects such as making doll clothes and making doll furniture. Thank you so much for entrusting me with your preschooler. I look forward to another exciting year of discovery, learning, and fun!!

Tricia 23-24_edited.jpg

Tricia Porter

Meredith 23-24.jpg

Meredith Brummel

Welcome to Mrs. Brummel’s Class! My name is Meredith Brummel, and I am so excited to be your child’s preschool teacher this year at Appletree. I am looking forward to working with you and your child as we teach them to reach for the stars. It’s going to be a year full of fun, learning, and lots of adventures. I can’t wait for what this year has in store for us. Here’s a little bit about me. I am married to my wonderful husband Victor, and we have 3 beautiful children. My oldest Layla is a 1st grader and she attended Appletree. My Son Zachary is an Appletree student in the Pre-K class. My little ball of sunshine is Miss Bella who is 2 and keeps me busy. As you can tell I do not have a lot of free time but if I get a second to myself, I enjoy reading, cooking and anything outside with my kids. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I am looking forward to our preschool adventure with your child and family.

Welcome to Mrs. Howard’s Class! Hello! My name is April Howard and I will be your child’s preschool teacher this year. I am so excited to have the opportunity to get to know you and your student. We’re going to learn and do so many fun activities together! It is a privilege to play a role in your child’s early education. My hope is to help your student develop a love for learning by nurturing his or her needs and encouraging your preschooler wherever they are on their own learning path and timeline. Here is a little more about me… I’m originally from Houston, TX and now live in Lee’s Summit with my husband and two boys. My oldest, Joel, is in kindergarten and my youngest, Jude, is an Appletree student. I earned my B.A. in Intercultural Studies from MidAmerica Nazarene University with a concentration in Child & Family Development. I’ve taught preschool for 2 years and previously volunteered at Appletree as a parent helper. My husband Jake and I have also served on staff at our church for over 8 years. Outside of school I enjoy photography, reading, traveling and being outdoors with my family. I had a great summer but I am more than ready to take on the school year. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at any time. I look forward to meeting you and your family!

April 23-24.jpg

April Howard

Jan McDonough,

Hello!  My name is Jan McDonough, Founder of Appletree Academy!  I first opened the doors of Appletree Academy in September of 1994 with just four students. I began with the intent of making a positive difference in the life of a preschooler in a loving, Christian environment. It has been an honor and privilege to have been a part of nearly 1500 families these past 30 years.  I will be forever grateful. 


In June 2024 I was thrilled beyond measure to pass on Appletree to Melissa Hertzog!  I truly believe the Lord provided the perfect  person to continue the 30 year Appletree Academy legacy in our wonderful Lee's Summit Community.  Come Join The Fun!! 

bottom of page