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About Us

Your child is in great hands.

We believe every child is a gift from God and deserves the best in quality preschool education. We encourage the development of the whole child through our play-based learning environment.

Philosophy

At Blacksburg United Methodist Preschool, our goal is to provide a happy, secure, safe, and loving environment in which each child will develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, and physically. We seek to provide an exceptional educational experience for each child who enters our building. BUMP employs a play-based learning approach in which the children explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways. 

BUMP was organized in 1949 as one of the first kindergarten programs in Montgomery County, Virginia. The United Methodist Women originally supported the school, however today we are under the umbrella of Blacksburg United Methodist Church. In 1974, after Virginia legislated public kindergartens, the program was redesigned for children from three to five years old. 

While BUMP's program is Christian-based, we welcome students and families of all faith backgrounds.

Meet the Team

We love kids, and it shows! Our talented team's experience spans decades. At BUMP, we focus on the whole child's development. We prioritize intentional connections with the children we teach, the families we serve, and our knowledgeable and compassionate peers. 

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Debbie McDowell

Director

Ms. Debbie joined BUMP in 2021. She was born and raised in Washington state and moved to North Carolina after college. There, she started a half-day preschool at her church. She also met her husband, Chris, a VT alumnus and dedicated Hokie fan. They have two wonderful children, Maggie and Cowan, and two 4-legged family members. In her free time, Ms. Debbie loves to be outdoors hiking, walking in her neighborhood, swinging in a hammock, and doing yard work. She also loves to read and do anything art-related.

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Susan Bailey

Lead Teacher

Mrs. Bailey joined the BUMP family in 2022! She has taught for many years at the elementary level (1st-5th), is a preschool Sunday School teacher, and has worked at a Parent’s Morning Out program. She and her husband have 2 children: Elise and Ben who both attend Blacksburg High School and are BUMP alumni. Mrs. Bailey has always loved BUMP and has served as a substitute teacher in the past. She loves to travel, camp, swim and cook. She also loves to play games of all kinds, especially board games, card games, and lawn games. Mrs. Bailey is eagerly anticipating meeting her new classroom of friends!

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Chelsea Flessner

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Chelsea has been a part of the BUMP family since her daughter joined the Magnolia Class in 2018. Chelsea officially joined as a teacher in 2023! BUMP is a wonderful place to learn, grow, and have fun. This special school has meant so much to her family. She looks forward to meeting all the new BUMP families! She lives in Blacksburg with her husband, two children (both BUMP alumni), and her cat, Ralph. If she's not busy taking her kiddos to extracurricular activities or working with their elementary school PTA, you can find her reading or in her garden.

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Brandie Lemmon

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Brandie officially joined the BUMP team in 2021. Her two daughters attended preschool at BUMP and their whole family loved the experience! Ms. Brandie enjoys gardening, hiking in the woods, splashing in creeks, raising chickens, building things, and going on adventures with her daughters. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband, their two daughters, and a variety of animals (both the furry and the feathered).  She can't wait to meet the next generation of BUMP students and families! 

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Sadie Markham

Music/Movement/Float Teacher

Ms. Sadie joined BUMP in 2023. She graduated from Radford University with a degree in Music Education. She also plays the flute.

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Abigail Middleton

Lead Teacher

Ms. Abigail joined BUMP in 2021! She has taught preschool in the New River Valley for many years. She thinks the world of a preschool-aged child is magical, and is so grateful to be a part of that world through teaching. In 2017 she moved to Blacksburg with her husband and two children. She enjoys hiking and exploring in the beautiful outdoor spaces around and near Blacksburg, especially with her son and daughter. They love to play in creeks, hunt for mushrooms, and learn to identify plants and bird songs. Ms. Abigail is also an avid gardener!

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Lorri Moench

Lead Teacher

Ms. Moench begins her 30th year at BUMP with the 2023-24 school year. She teaches the 4-5 year old children, helping them prepare for kindergarten. She and her husband, Gary, live behind PFES with their two cats. They have three grown sons who are all BUMP alum. In her free time, Ms. Moench enjoys crafting, tent camping, bargain shopping, and going to the movies. 

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Jennifer Stonefield

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Stonefield has been in the  Early Childhood Education field  for 20+ years and has been with BUMP since 2021. She lives in Christiansburg with her husband Robert, and their son Raylan, who is a BUMP alum. She enjoys traveling,  cooking, music, and spending time with family.  She can't wait to meet her new friends this year!

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Rachel Tracy

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Rachel first joined the BUMP team in 2015. She has taught in the 3, 4, and 5 day four-year-old classrooms and is thrilled to start a new adventure! She loves the big energy, imagination, and emotions of preschool students. She also loves the wonder students have when exploring nature and new art mediums. Ms. Rachel lives in Blacksburg with her husband and snuggle pup. She is mom to five BUMP alumni! The oldest are in college and the three younger are in middle and high school.  Ms. Rachel loves cooking, baking, walking her dog, houseplants, and puzzles. She also plays the alto saxophone in the Blacksburg Community Band!

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Tricia Wheatley

Lead Teacher

Ms. Tricia joined the BUMP team in 2017.   She lives in Christiansburg with her husband, Todd, her son, Carlyle, and their dog Mars. Ms. Tricia also volunteers her time as a youth basketball coach. She enjoys shopping, road trips, spending time with friends and family, and Diet Coke. 

What Parents Say

"BUMP was the best choice of preschools for our children. The wonderful educators care not just about students' academic growth, but their social and emotional development as well. BUMP is a fun, loving, educational community that became like family to us." 

— Chelsea F. 

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