Meet Our Teachers


Karen Rose


This is my 25th year at Learning Tree. I started as a teacher in the four-year-old classes in the 1992-1993 school year. In 1996 I was promoted to Lead Teacher of the four-year-old program and in 2007 I was hired as Director of Learning Tree. I am currently the Director and I also teach a morning 4 year old class with Bonnie Blasingame. Prior to Learning Tree I taught a Deaf/Hard of Hearing class K-3 in the Granite City School District for five years. I also taught sign language classes at SWIC and worked as a substitute teacher for the Granite City and Collinsville districts while raising my family. I live in Collinsville with my husband and have four grown children, one grandson and another one who will make his debut in January 2017. I absolutely love teaching at Learning Tree and have been so blessed to have this opportunity to meet so many wonderful families and to see so many of the students I had as preschoolers grow up to be amazing adults. Education- Illinois State University, Normal B.S. Special/Elementary Education. SIUE Master level program in Early Childhood Education. Certificates- Illinois State Teaching Certificate, Special Ed K-8, Elementary.


Heather Clemmer


I have been teaching at The Learning Tree for 13 years. I am the lead teacher for our 4 year old program and teach a 3 year old class and a 4 year old class. I am the Learning Trees very first alumni teacher. I attended Oklahoma State University and prior to teaching at The Learning tree I was a cast member at Walt Disney World. I am an avid Disney fan and love to travel there every chance I get. I reside in Maryville with my husband and three sons. My sons are also Learning Tree alumni!


Kathy Weir


This is my 11th year at The Learning Tree. I presently teach a morning and afternoon 3 year old class with Amy Biermann. I also teach in the 2 year old classes. I have been married for 23 years and have 3 teenage children who all attended The Learning Tree. I want a child’s first school experience to be a happy one and am proud to be a member of the great team of teachers at Learning Tree.


Amy Biermann


This is my second year as a teacher at Learning Tree and I am thrilled to be a part of such a great school. I teach a morning and afternoon class with Mrs. Wier. I have three great kids with my husband Andy. All of my children attended Learning Tree and lived it. I enjoy art and design and have a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Iowa. I hope to use my knowledge of arts and my life experience to make your preschoolers early experiences and schools joyous, leading to a life long love of learning.


Kelly Gaither


I have a degree in Early Childhood Education from SUIE and an Illinois State Teaching Certificate. I have been teaching for 10 years, 4 of those at Learning Tree. I am married to my husband Kyle and we live in Maryville. We have two wonderful children and a crazy dog, Major. Both of my children attended Learning Tree. I quit my initial job teaching to stay home with my kids and did so for 7 years before I began working for Learning Tree. My first love is obviously my kids but my very second is teaching. I am so very blessed to have such a rewarding profession!


Julie Ritter


I am excited to begin my second year of teaching at Learning Tree. I teach a morning and afternoon 2 year old classes and 4 year old classes. I earned my B.A. in Early Childhood Education from SIUE. I taught preschool as well as kindergarten for the past 20 years. I am married to my husband Steve and we have one daughter. She is a Learning Tree graduate. This is where I fell in love with The Learning Tree. As a family, we enjoy spending time outdoors. We also own a local business in town, Jim’s Pawn and Jewelry. I love meeting all of the preschool children and their families. I am looking forward to a great year!


Bonnie Blasingame 


I have been a teacher with The Learning Tree for 11 years. I currently teach the 2 year old class as well as the M/W/F 4’s class with Karen Rose. In addition, I am the lead 2’s teacher, an afternoon program that began in 2015. I love my job and the children! I worked as a kindergarten aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran School in 2001/2002 and was a preschool Sunday School teacher there for several years. I am currently helping the 1 and 2 year olds during the Sunday School hour. Before coming to The Learning Tree, I successfully operated The Turning Pointe Academy of Dance in Edwardsville, IL where I devloped curriculum to help little ones enjoyy and learn ballet, tap and jazz, gymnastics, and other movement activities valuable for physical development. I graduated from SIUE with a degree in Fine Arts and complete coursework in Early and Special Education. I live in Collinsville with my husband James and our 3 sons.


Angela Bramstedt


I have been the Transition Kindergarten teacher at Learning Tree for the past 12 years. I have a BS in Social Work from SIUE and worked as a foster care social worker at Catholic Charities for 8 years. I then obtained a teaching certificate and MS in Elementary Education from SUIE as well. I live with my husband and three sons, who also attended Learning Tree. I enjoy Transition Kindergarten very much and one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is seeing tremendous growth and progress of the students.