Our Board

Little Schoolhouse in the Woods is a nonprofit preschool dedicated to advocating, improving and providing access to quality outdoor early education for children of all socio-economic demographics in the Cincinnati west side.


Little Schoolhouse in the Woods Outdoor Education Program mission is to foster a love of nature and to guide children toward healthy relationships with themselves and others.


It is our belief that children are naturally curious and eager to learn about themselves and the world around them. They are able to communicate their needs and desires. They can ask questions, explore and find answers. Children learn best when they are interested and engaged while accompanied by warm, stable and caring educators and caretakers. We believe children have the right to an education that fosters respect for nature and each other.


Our goal is to provide children with access to a beautiful, natural play space and a warm, caring environment. We support independence, positive self-esteem, and social emotional skills while allowing them to unfold in a developmentally appropriate manner.

Our Board

We are pleased to introduce you to our Board of Trustees. Each member is dedicated to our mission of fostering a love of nature and guiding children toward healthy relationships with themselves, each other and nature.

Jacque Daugherty, Board President

Jacque Daugherty is a professor in the Western Program for Individualized Studies at Miami University. She is a sociologist with a PhD in the socio-cultural foundations of education; and she has taught and published interdisciplinary on issues of equity, education, and climate change. She spent almost a decade of her early career in nonprofit social service organizations. Her students do service learning projects with Little Schoolhouse, and her kiddo attended school here. She wants to live in a world where all children have the opportunity to attend preschool at a place like Little Schoolhouse in the Woods–where they can follow their own interests, grow as a part of a collective, and hang out with trees. She lives in College Hill with her family.

Mary Dudley, Board Treasurer, she/her, MA Botany, MEd Workforce Education & Development, Montessori Secondary Teacher I & II Credential
Mary Dudley, Board Trustee
Board member, Mary Dudley
Mary is a passionate educator whose career has taken her around the country from Cincinnati to Seattle to Boulder to Coral Gables and back as she strives to bring environmental education to students of all ages who seek to integrate nature into their daily lives and classroom curriculum. This is her sixteenth year in the field of botanical education. She holds two graduate degrees, one in botany and another in workforce development education. Mary also holds a credential from the American Montessori Society to teach secondary I-II. Currently, Mary is working as the sustainability and ecology education coordinator at the Civic
Garden Center and on building her recently founded nonprofit: Westwood Grows.
She has two young children ages 6 & 4 and her family has lived in Westwood near Montana Ridge for eight years. When she’s not teaching she enjoys cooking meals from garden fresh produce and looking for beautiful wildflowers in Mt. Airy forest with the occasional visit to Little Schoolhouse in the Woods to greet our neighbors and share the joy of the outdoors.
Jason Hamzy, Secretary

Jason Hamzy is Co-Founder and Co-Teacher at Little Schoolhouse in the Woods. He is a National Geographic certified educator and holds an Ohio teaching license. He has taught math and science in the public classroom and was a substitute teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools. He has worked with Little Schoolhouse in the Woods since 2012. Teaching children outdoors about nature is one of his greatest joys and accomplishments.

David McKenrick, Trustee

David McKenrick is a longtime resident of Northside where he and his wife Anna raised their four children.  He was employed as an accountant at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works for his entire professional career. Upon retiring in 2007, he had more time to devote to his interests of woodworking, Rya rug making, cycling and running, and now enjoys exploring a whole new world through the lives of his grandchildren.

Katie Waits, Board Trustee

Katie Waits is one of our dedicated Board members.

Lee Hamzy, Executive Director
photo by Nikita Gross

Lee Hamzy is co-founder and co-teacher at Little Schoolhouse in the Woods. She is a certified ERAFANS educator and has 17 years of experience working with early childhood and her empathetic demeanor and perceptive approach to early childhood development have helped to build a world class nature based, student led early childhood program. As Executive Director, Lee is not on the Board, but she works directly with them to help keep everything running awesome!

Please support outdoor early education by clicking on the Donate button below. Thank you!!



Little Schoolhouse in the Woods admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.