Meet our Teachers

CLaire Jones: Starshine Preschool Director


Melissa Saylor

Assistant Director/Music Teacher


Who am I?  I am recently widowed, my sweet husband of 24 years passed unexpectedly summer of 2019, a mom of two boys, fun, energetic, accessorizing, sensitive, Jesus loving, preschool Music Teacher!  Born into a family of talented musicians, I can't remember a time in my life when music wasn’t being played.  I, however, was the "dancer".  I took dance throughout my childhood into my teenage years.  Singing really came later, when I attended a Christian Youth Camp at the age of 15, where singing became my passion.  I was very involved in Children's Ministry for 15 years  - I led Children's Worship, Kid's Choir, was a Sunday School teacher, directed puppet teams and coached Bible Quiz.   I loved working with children and those experiences led me to taking on the position of Music Teacher at Starshine in 2005.  I work each year at Starshine to build our music curriculum by adding new elements and always keeping it FUN!  

Stephanie Kenyon

I've been married to my husband, Aaron, for 16 years.  We've been blessed with 4 amazing children, ages 10, 8, 4 and 2 years.  This is my fourth year at Starshine and I'm looking forward to another great year.  Kids have, and always will be, one of my biggest passions. 

Michelle Smirl

Mixed Pre-K

I live with lots of boys - my husband of 25 years, Dwayne, and our 3 sons, Jordan-23, Jacob-19 and Jackson-9.  We love spending time together and taking trips. 

Seven years ago on my first day of teaching at Starshine, I knew it was my calling.  I earned my Associates in Arts in 2012, with a teaching emphasis.  My favorite thing about teaching preschool is sowing positive seeds that grow into love of learning and for school. It's my goal for my students to know that God made them special and that they are loved and unique. 

Lisa Tracy


I am one of the Pre-k teachers here at Starshine.  I grew up in Independence, graduating from Truman High school and found Starshine in 2004.  My husband and I got married here at IFUMC in 1995. We have one son Devin who attended Starshine and graduated from Truman as well, he now attends Fort Hays University.  We have recently added a puppy named Gus to the mix.


In the Summer, my family spends a lot of time at Pomme de Terre Lake.  We camp, fish and play on our boat. 


400 W. Maple Avenue

Independence, MO  64050


Telephone: (816) 254-6900

Pastor:  JC Harp


STARSHINE Preschool: Tue-Thur 9:30-2:30

Director: Claire Jones

Get connected

Quick Links

  • Spotify - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • facebook-square

© 2014 Independence First United Methodist Church.