Allen Creek Preschool Administrators

The administrative staff at Allen Creek serves to support the children and families, the work of the teachers and family consultants, and the smooth functioning of the school.


Gale Whittier-Ferguson Education Director & Teacher

Gale was one of the founding teachers of Allen Creek and has worked with children in a variety of settings for 30 years. She holds an MA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Gale and her husband have two grown children who continually delight and amaze them. Their family also includes 2 rambunctious dogs and a black and white cat. Gale likes to challenge herself physically through cycling, running and weight training; she loves to sing, listen to music, speak Spanish, quilt, read, and be outside.

Karen Baker  | Child Development Director, Family Consultant Coordinator

In 1979, Karen Baker graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BS in Elementary Education. After teaching children with learning disabilities, she received an MSW from the University of Michigan in 1983. In 2000 she completed her adult psychoanalytic training with the Michigan Psychoanalytic Council (MPC) now known as the Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (MCPP). She is an analyst and on the faculty at the MCPP as well as the Institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago (ICSW). She is the Past- President of the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW).   Karen maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults. 

In her leisure time, Karen enjoys gardening, cooking, dancing, being outdoors, hanging out with family and friends and laughing!

Michelle Graves, M.A. | Junior Preschool Teacher & Admissions Director

Michelle Graves joined the Allen Creek staff in 2002. Before coming to Allen Creek she worked as an education consultant for the High/Scope Foundation. During her 22-year stay at High/Scope she traveled extensively throughout the United States, leading training workshops, presenting at national conferences, observing and giving feedback to teachers in a variety of classroom settings, and authoring several books and articles. Her own classroom experience includes daycare settings, private non-profit preschools, and special education elementary schools.

Her interest in children comes from deep within, and she is committed to their emotional and physical safety and to developing genuine relationships with them based on mutual respect. She lives in Ann Arbor with her family and two cats. When not working, she enjoys gardening, biking, dancing and reading.

Sheri Kennedy | Office and Administrative Manager 

Sheri has a long term familiarity with accounting and running a small business. She has spent many years remodeling her historic home, and brings hard skills in home maintenance to the community! She also shows Australian Shepherds, and in her spare time  enjoys gardening and time with her family.

William Purves Executive Director 

Someone once described Will as an 'Educator at Large'. He has worked in and around schools for most of his career including being a classroom teacher (most subjects, K-12, college, and graduate school students), a school administrator, at Emerson and Summers-Knoll schools, with a wide variety of responsibilities, and a consultant for independent, charter, and public schools. He also trained as an experiential educator, taught and led outdoor education classes and trips, ran an educational game design company, and published poetry and one novel to date. Besides working at Allen Creek, Will also runs Raven Education Works, where he does educational consulting and works with adolescents, young adults, and others on writing, college preparation (tests and essays), study skills, and general academic tutoring. He lives in Ann Arbor, has two boisterous dogs, and manages a small flock of backyard chickens.