About Berlin

Our staff has over 100 years of combined early childhood experience. KKLC strives to provide high-quality, individualized care for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. Facilitating the development of our students in an age appropriate environment that fosters physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth. KKLC is one of five programs in Sangamon County that has been awarded a star rating by the Illinois Quality Rating System, verifying our quality and commitment to the children and families we serve.


We are proud to be accredited by the National Accreditation Council.

Our Staff

stephanie_neumanHI!! I'm Stephanie Neuman and I am the owner/director of Kountry Kids Learning Center, Inc. I was born and raised in Girard, IL. I come from a very close knit family, my parents are John and Jeanette Earley and I have one brother JR who all still reside in Girard. I graduated from Girard High School in May 2000. I received my Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May 2004. After finishing my degree I moved home and accepted a position with Sangamon Area Special Education District (SASED) as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher at New Berlin Elementary and Ball/Chatham Elementary for 4 years. In June 2006 I married my husband, Kris and April 1, 2008 we welcomed our first child into the world, Charles Stephen. When Charlie was 4 weeks old we purchased a former church to open our own quality childcare center. It was a whole new career path for me going from the public school to the private sector. After a very busy and stressful summer, we opened our doors August 18, 2008. May 9, 2010 we added our daughter, Elliana Marie, to our family. In June 2011 I began pursuing my masters' degree, online, in Early Childhood Administration through National- Louis University. I will graduate with masters' degree in December 2012. We are so blessed to have the best staff, students, and families EVER!! I LOVE MY JOB!!! 🙂 In my "spare" time I enjoy coaching high school competitive cheerleading at New Berlin High School, running, shopping, Stampin' It Up, and spending time with my family and friends.
krisI am a life long native of New Berlin. I graduated from New Berlin High School in 1998 and pursued an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. I am able to fulfill my lifelong dream by owning and operating KKLC. I love spending time with my wife and 2 children. In addition to being a business owner of KKLC and a father, I am a grain merchandiser for H&B Specialties in Pleasant Plains, and I help on my family's farm in the spring and fall.
amanda_defordHi! My name is Amanda DeFord and I am the co-teacher in Pre-K1. I graduated from Franklin High School and now reside in Jacksonville with my husband, Adam and two stepsons, Casey and Colin.  I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2009 and my Master’s Degree in Education in 2011, which resulted in receiving my teaching certificate for elementary school ages K-9.  I have worked as a substitute teacher in the public school system, a teacher in other centers, a cheerleading co-coach, a Sunday School teacher, and an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist for children with Autism…I absolutely LOVE working with children and being a part of their growth and development!  I also enjoy reading, watching documentaries, drinking coffee, spending time with my family, and I love baseball season…Go Red Sox!
megan_crowellHi! My name is Megan Crowell. I am the administrative assistant at KKLC. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago until my family and I moved to Chatham in 1998. I am a proud 2005 graduate of Chatham Glenwood. My high school sweet heart and I bought a house in New Berlin in summer of 2006. Before starting at Kountry Kids I was blessed enough to stay home with my daughter for 2 and a half years. I can easily say I have the best "office" job ever, I get to spend my days with kids!
lisa_luckeyMy name is Lisa Luckey. I have been doing Early Childhood Education for over 25 years. I attended Lincoln Land Community College and also attend several early childhood workshops each year. In my spare time I enjoy my family, reading, especially on my Nook, cooking, and going to parks and festivals.
bill_crone I am Bill Crone (Mr. Bill) and I work with the After School Program and serve as Janitor at KKLC. I was born on June 30, 1977 and was born and raised in Jerseyville, Illinois. I currently live in Ashland, Illinois with my wife Ms. Heather (Two's) and my two step-daughters Krissy and Ally Simmons. I hold a B.S. in Agriculture Business with a Minor in Business Management. I joined KKLC in January of 2010 and have 5 years experience in childcare. My occupations outside Kountry Kids consist of being the Assistant Manager at Walmart in Jacksonville as well as a substitute teacher. I spend my free time enjoying sports, woodworking, and home improvement projects. My favorite season is fall and my favorite color is blue. I am a fan of the Chicago Cubs but enjoy watching all collegiate sports.
maureen_smithMy name is Maureen Smith.  I live in Ashland, Illinois.  I was married to Troy Smith in 1998 and we had our son, Cody, in 2002.  My Mother and Father live in Ashland also and run a small grocery store, Jones Boys Market.  I have three brothers and two sisters.  I have been in child care for over 15 years now.  I feel I am really lucky to have the opportunity to have such a rewarding job.
mary_prestonMy name is Mary Preston. I was born in March of 1981. I have lived in small towns in central Illinois all my life. I have one sister and one brother. I am the mother of one child he is 10 years old. My husband and I have been married for five years. I worked as a CNA for many years before I came to KKLC. I started working here in March of 2010. I am very close to obtaining my Child Development Associates Degree. I thoroughly enjoy working with children and love my job.
amanda_coeMy love for children has always been a big part of my life. In 2007, I decided caring for children would fulfill my passion. Knowing that I make a difference in children's lives is the best feeling a childcare provider can ask for, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I love spending time with my beautiful daughter, and my family. I love cooking, babysitting and being outside. I love to dance and make people laugh. My philosophy is any moment can be a teachable and I can't wait to continue to provide a bright beginning that lasts a lifetime for young children.
melanie_longI have been a nanny for 11 years. I enjoy working with children and teaching them new things. I am working toward my associates in clinical lab. I have a niece and nephew that I enjoy playing with.
My name is Kayla Michelle Smith, I'm 21 years old and I love being a teacher. I knew I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was nine years old. As the oldest of three children I learned very early to care for young children. I'm young at heart I enjoy teaching, interacting with and seeing young children grow. (They grow up so fast). I'm currently in my third year of college to get my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. My hope is to one day open my own home daycare.Content
tiffany_thompsonMy name is Tiffany Thompson.  I have been in childcare for over 7 years and have been with KKLC since 2008.  I work in the School Age Program.  When I’m not here I love to spend time with my daughter Rhealynn.  I love to do art with kids and play outside. 
Hi! My name is Ellie West. I graduated from Jacksonville High School in 2012. Recently I graduated from Lincoln Land Community College with an Early Childhood Associates degree. I plan to continue my education to receive a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood. In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with family and friends and spending time with my nieces and nephews. Children have always had a huge part of my heart, so working at Kountry Kids makes me feel very blessed.
lcaey_yazellMy name is Lacey and I was born and raised in Chatham, Illinois.  I am a proud graduate of Glenwood High School Class of 2008. My family and I now reside here along with my daughter, Gemma Jean, who was born in May of 2012. I am very happy to be a part of Kountry Kids Learning Center