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Our Staff

At First Academy, we pride ourselves in providing amazing staff to make you and your children feel comfortable. Scroll below to meet some of our key staff members.

We currently have 14 staff members at First Academy. Out of those, six have their Child Development Associates. A CDA is a childcare credential awarded to those who complete specified training and pass an exam.

Krista Barley

Krista is the founder and Executive Director of First Academy. Upon graduation from Valparaiso University, Krista recognized a need for quality childcare in a safe, educational, and creative environment in our area. She founded the center with her sister, Melissa, who had a background in childcare. The center started small, with just 2 children, but has grown tremendously since that time.

Krista and her husband, Jonathan, have three kids of their own, Ethan, Julia and Austin.

Debbie Aldridge

Debbie is the director at First Academy. She handles so much at the center. Debbie is great to work with and great with the kids!

Debbie has her administrative CDA and she been with us for over 20 years!


Debbie has two kids of her own, Nick and Hannah. Hannah also works at the center.​

Rose Priestly

Rose is ​the Academic Coordinator at First Academy. She organizes the curriculum to ensure each child gets the most out of their experience at our center.


Rose has her CDA and she has been with us for over 10 years! 

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