Special Note: The staff portraits have all been drawn by young artists of KinderCare.
Donna Hergel is a co-founder of Early Learning KinderCare and the director of programming. Donna is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who started her career as an elementary school teacher in Quebec. She has over 30 years experience working with children in a wide variety of settings and really enjoys the creative side of education and childcare. One of the most rewarding aspects of her job is mentoring her staff, sharing and learning with them.
Donna is married and has four children. Now that they are grown up she really appreciates the interactions and connections she has with the youngsters at KinderCare.
When she's not working, Donna loves spending time with her family, skiing, hiking, camping and travelling. She also loves to cuddle with her pugs, read, practice hot yoga and Zumba, as well as explore the outdoors with her camera.
Cheryl Lomas-Picketts is the chief operating officer and one of the founders of Early Learning KinderCare. Cheryl opened the doors of KinderCare in 2004 with the main aim of providing quality care for families in her local community. She wanted to give children in her care the best start possible and ignite a love of learning that would last them a lifetime and set them up for long term success in the classroom.
Prior to opening KinderCare, Cheryl graduated with an Honours degree in Psychology from Queen's University; after which she worked for Kingston Community Living as a Family Support Coordinator, supporting families who had children with developmental and physical disabilities. Cheryl married and moved to Oxford England with her husband where they started a family. On their return to Canada they settled in Russell where they are grateful to be living in such an amazing community.
According to Cheryl, her three greatest accomplishments are Derek (mechanical engineer), Victoria (studying to be a veterinarian), and Tristan (studying to be a chemical engineer); her three children of whom she is very proud. When not working, Cheryl enjoys spending time with her family hiking, canoeing and playing board games. She also enjoys reading and playing poker.
Dunovan Donnelly is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who graduated from the Early Childhood Education Program at Algonquin College in 2017. He began working at KinderCare in September 2018, in the Kindergarten Before & After School Program. In addition to that role, Dunovan now also works with the preschool group and is in charge of that program.
Dunovan grew up in Ottawa and has since moved to Russell, where his wife grew up, and has quickly come to love it here. When not at work, Dunovan enjoys spending time with friends and family, travelling and taking care of his dog, Gizmo.
Lynn Latourell is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who has worked in both our Kindergarten and Preschool Programs. She is very excited to have moved into our new Toddler Program, this year, caring for our youngest ones. Lynn went back to college, later in life, to pursue a career that would allow her to work with children. She is very passionate about her work and feels fortunate to be a team member at KinderCare. Working alongside her colleagues has allowed her to grow through the experience and knowledge of others. She has attended many workshops, over the years, which has helped her expand her knowledge and understanding of early childhood development.
Lynn has two boys, a wonderful and supportive husband, and two adorably funny basset hounds. She enjoys curling up with a warm blanket and a good novel. She looks forward to summer for camping and canoeing and she also enjoys walking her dogs. Lynn really likes going to work every day and seeing the children's smiling faces!
Kelsey Lobbe has been working with children since she was 12 years old, babysitting youngsters in her neighbourhood. In 2008 she moved to Whistler to work as an Au Pair. It was an awesome experience!
Kelsey has been working in the Early Childhood field since she joined the KinderCare team in 2009. She currently works in the School Age Program and is responsible for planning it, which she really enjoys. She also teaches French in the Preschool Program. Kelsey likes building meaningful connections with fellow staff members, parents and all of the children at KinderCare.
When she is not at KinderCare, Kelsey also works as a Developmental Worker for a young lady with special needs. She finds this work to be very satisfying. During her spare time, Kelsey enjoys being with friends and family. She likes going on road trips and camping. She has two dogs, Charlie and Scooter, who she loves very much!
Shauna Adamek is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who began working in the field when she graduated from Algonquin College in 2013. Before her time with KinderCare Shauna had worked in a couple of different centres in Ottawa and Kingston. She has enjoyed working with all age groups, both as an educator as well as in a supervisory capacity.
Shauna looks forward to the summer months as she enjoys swimming and being outdoors with her husband and puppy, Luna. During her free time she likes to read and spend time with her friends.
Chelsey Leclair joined KinderCare in September, 2017, working in the School Age Program as an educational assistant. She continues in that role and also provides similar support in our Preschool Program.
Chelsey graduated from Algonquin College in 2012, with an advanced diploma in Child and Youth Work. She completed placements with children aged 5-11 in both mainstream and specialized classrooms. Since graduating, Chelsey has worked in a group home with youth and young adults with special needs. Her knowledge and skills allow her to effectively assist and support individuals with complex behavioural difficulties, developmental delays and mental health struggles. Chelsey's passion is to assist and support all individuals with their development; learning and building skills to prepare them for their future.
Chelsey is also mother to a wonderful little boy. While watching him grow, learn and develop, she decided she wanted to work with a younger population. That is how she came to work in her present position and she is grateful to be a part of such a positive and loving environment. Chelsey is thankful to be a member of a great team, working with an amazing group of children.
Katie Papple joined KinderCare in September, 2018. She began working primarily with the school age children but has since transitioned to assist in our new Toddler Program.
Katie is currently taking online courses in the Early Childhood Education Program at Algonquin College. She has always loved working with children. She first gained experience through a grade 12 co-op placement at a daycare and thoroughly enjoyed her time there. Katie has volunteered as a camp counselor for children undergoing cancer treatments. She has also been an active volunteer in the community for special needs groups and with the Down Syndrome Association of Ottawa. Before starting at KinderCare, Katie worked at a daycare with children from the infant group through school age.
When she is not working, Katie likes to sing and dance and has been in many singing competitions, winning first place in "Russell's Got Talent". She likes to unwind and watch movies with friends. Katie also likes home decorating and up-cycling furniture.
Bridget has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 12 years. She really enjoys working with children and being a part of their growth and development. Bridget has experience with Toddler, Preschool and School Aged children. She started with KinderCare in the fall of 2019 in the Preschool room. Bridget is married and has a daughter with whom she loves to spend time. She also loves to spend time with her family and friends. Bridget loves to keep active.
Casaundra Perrin is a certified medical assistant. She has found through her medical office experience that her true passion lies within the care and development of children. She has one little girl of her own and a wonderful husband who's own work in child care has also been an inspiring factor in Casaundra's choice to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education. She is excited and very much looking forward to being inspired everyday by her new friends.
Maddie Pietrkiewicz works in the Kindergarten Before and After School Program. She has done many school placements, volunteer work and babysitting which gained her valuable experience working with children from 1 to 15 years of age. She has enjoyed creating great connections and meeting so many amazing people through these experiences.
Maddie began her post-secondary education in the Child and Youth Care Program at Algonquin College. After a year, she decided to switch into the Early Childhood Education Program and focus on a career in the field of teaching. After she obtains her ECE diploma, she plans on furthering her education at Carleton University in the Child Studies Program. Her dream is to then attend teacher's college and become a kindergarten teacher.
Maddie is a very social person who enjoys meeting new people and embracing every new opportunity with a positive outlook. For fun, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and travelling whenever she gets the chance. Maddie is very outdoorsy and always looks forward to the summer months, spent on the lake at her cottage.