Leelanau Children's Center staff is comprised of an Executive Director, a Business Manager, Administrative Assistant, Program Directors for both Leland and Northport, full-time teachers and support staff, an on-call substitute teacher at each site, home visitors, and a cook at each site.
All the teaching/home visiting staff are expected to obtain, at a minimum, CDAs by the end of their second year of LCC employment. Home visiting staff become Parents As Teachers certified by the end of their first year of LCC employment, and Infant Mental Health endorsed as soon as their experience allows. Program Directors are expected to hold or be working toward an MA in early childhood education, or a relevant field, as well as become Infant Mental Health endorsed. The Executive Director holds a MA in Human Growth and Development.
Leland • Parenting Communities Home Visitor
Experience & LCC Roles: I began working for LCC & Parenting Communities in 2008 as a Home Visitor.
What brings you to this work? I love working with families and their children. I enjoy helping people who are not able to speak for themselves or communicate their message due to a language barrier. LCC makes me and the Hispanic families feel welcome and that is what draws me to the Center.
About me: I am married to husband Jair, we have three sons, Samuel, Diego, and David.
Favorite quote about children: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” -- Dr. Seuss
LCC Northport • Toddler Teacher
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have experience in early childhood education since 2004 and have worked at LCC Northport as a toddler teacher since 2007.
Credentials: Associates degree in Administration in Mexico. Working towards an Associates in Early Childhood Education and CDA.
What brings you to this work? Love for kids, the wonderful surroundings that Northport offers and the great community.
About me: I am married to a wonderful man and have two beautiful girls, Brenda and Daniella, and two great dogs; Chocolate and Rusty.
Favorite quote about children: “fenermenergener” – The transportation of the Cat in the Hat as described by a toddler (also known as a Thingamajigger)
LCC Leland • Preschool Teacher
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have volunteered with kids since 2002 and have been an LCC teacher since 2010 in both toddler and preschool classrooms. I supported LCC as administrative assistant and IT person during the 2011/2012 school year.
Credentials: Bachelors in Anthropology. Working towards Bachelors in Human Development
What brings you to this work? I have always loved working with children, from teaching, to coaching to just playing. While I always imagined I would work with children I never thought it would be toddlers. I was incredibly luck to have the support and belief of Jen and Karin at the Northport Center and have falling into the role of toddler teacher and a job I find stimulating, joyful, and great every day.
Favorite quote about children: “A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer.” – Unknown
LCC Leland • On Call Sub
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have been at the Leelanau Children's Center since 2001 and have four years experience as a nanny/babysitter. At LCC I have been a preschool teacher in both Fox Island teacher and Manitou Island. I am currently an on-call sub.
Credentials: B.S. in Cross-Cultural Education Ministry; CDA credential; Associate in Child Development.
What brings you to this work? I have always loved watching and observing children. I also love and admire the community support of the Children’s Center and how they wrap you in their arms of love!
About me: I have a fury four-legged canine companion, Kia. My retired parents live on their farm in Ohio and stay in Phoenix for the winter with my sister Sharon and brother-in-law Jason and their toddler, Jordan. I have another sister who lives in Ohio.
Favorite quote about children: “Evie, that sound came out of my mouth not my buns! -- Weston Burda
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have experience in early childhood education since 1983. I have worked at LCC Northport since 2006 as a kindergarten enrichment and after-school teacher, preschool teacher, and as support staff.
Credentials: Bachelors Degree in Social Work and CDA.
What brings you to this work? I love to watch kids grow and explore their world. Living and learning is a life long process for all of us.
About me: I am married to Dave and have three adult children: Ken, Dan (married to Rachel), and Aleah.
Favorite quote about children: “For a child, play is their work, so let them play."
LCC Leland • Preschool Teacher (Manitou Island)
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: Since 1995 I have experience doing home care for kids with special needs. I began working at the Leelanau Children's Center in 2007 as an aide in the Beaver Island young fives program. I have worked as a teacher in both Leland preschool classrooms and currently am a preschool teacher in Manitou Island.
Credentials: Associates of Arts from northwestern Michigan College; studied Elementary Education at Grand Valley State University.
What brings you to this work? I came to LCC as an aide for a boy with special needs, then I fussed until they let me stay and teach.
About me: I am the mother of two grown children: daughter Ruth, and son, Steve.
Favorite quote about children: “A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
LCC Leland • Program Director
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have experience in early childhood education since 1993 and have worked at the Leelanau Children's Center since 1996. I taught in both the preschool and the 5-year-old classrooms for 10 years. I have been the Program Director in Leland since 2006.
Credentials: B.A. in Community Development from Evergreen State College; CDA (Child Development Associates); currently working towards a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Grand Valley State University.
What brings you to this work? I am constantly amazed by the facts about the early childhood years, especially what is happening in a child’s brain and in their social-emotional development. I truly believe that if we are going to make this world a better place, we must begin early and consider families as a whole. The LCC community and philosophy encompasses everything I feel is important in doing this work locally.
About me: I have two children, Remi and Andre, both alumni of LCC and currently attending Leland Public School. I grew up in Leland and am happy to have returned here so that my children have all of the wonderful opportunities this community and place offer.
Favorite quote about children: “Do less; observe more; enjoy most.” -- Magda Gerber (on parenting)
“Do your little bit of good where you are. It is those little bits put together that overwhelm the world." -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Leland • Parenting Communities Home Visitor
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have experience in the early childhood field since 1990. I was hired in January 2001 as staff support, on call sub and resource coordinator. I worked with the summer school age program from 2001 – 2008. In September of 2001 I became a Parenting Communities Home Visitor and continue in that position today.
Credentials: CDA and Infant Mental Health endorsement
What brings you to this work? It is my destiny.
About me: I am married to Dave Wurm of Leelanau Sheet Metal. We met at LCC. I have three step sons, all LCC alumni – Adam , Jeremy, and Jordan. I have one daughter, Danielle Merwin, also an LCC alum.
Favorite quote about children: “Do for the parent what we hope the parent will do for the child.”
LCC Leland • Preschool Teacher (Fox Island)
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I have been teaching at the Leelanau Children’s Center since 2000. Prior to that I taught at the former Discovery Center in Northport. The Discovery Center is now owned and operated by the Leelanau Children’s Center. To date, I have participated in almost every role at the Center, including both Fox and Manitou Island classrooms, as well as the former Beaver Island (early fives) classroom.
Credentials: I hold a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Policy and have earned a CDA. I am currently enrolled in CMU’s Education program progressing toward a B.S. in Elementary Education, with a Teaching Certificate and a ZA Endorsement (which is an early childhood emphasis).
What brings you to this work? I feel that investing in young children is one of the most important things I could be spending my days doing. I value the prospect of contributing my time, spirit and energy as an advocate for children and families however I can, believing whole-heartedly that such an investment will bring about socially well-adjusted, and productive adults to our communities in the future. Oh…and it's so much fun!
About me: I am the mother of daughters Eva and Gillian Grobbel, who are both alumni of the Center.
Favorite quote about children: “We can’t do everything for everyone everywhere, but we can do something for someone somewhere.” -- Richard L. Evans
LCC Leland • Toddler Teacher
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I had my first child in 1997 and began working at the Leelanau Children’s Center in 2000. I have worked at LCC as a volunteer, staff sub, resource coordinator, pre-school teacher, summer school age, and now I am a toddler teacher in the Crib.
Credentials: A.A.A. Food Service; Masters in Early Childhood; CDA; B.S. in Hospitality Management
What brings you to this work? I love kids and especially toddlers, I have always been drawn to them.
About me: I have two daughters, two grandchildren and two sons.
Favorite quote about children: “Children should be seen and heard and listened to!”
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: Hi there! My name is Sara Maleski. Early Childhood has been big part of my life since about 2004. I have been on the LCC staff since 2005! I first began as Foxy and then moved into the role of Crib teacher, The Crib was my steady room for five years. In 2011 I made the leap and joined the ranks of School Age Program teacher What a riot! I am now filling the role of guest teacher. I get to spend days in each classroom. Exciting stuff!
Credentials: I have a CDA and am nearly finished with my Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s. I also hold a Master’s degree in chocolate chip cookie baking and sock matching.
What brings you to this work? My son Quinn first started at the Children’s Center as a Beaver Islander. From that moment on I knew that I had found my niche.
About me: My husband Bruce and I have 3 fantastic boys. Cory, my stepson, lives in the U.P. with his wife and baby girl. My boys, Quinn and Griffon, both attend Leland Public School and are LCC alumni. Quinn is a fly fishing maniac. Watch for Griffon in the 2020 X games!
Favorite quote about children: “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.”
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: Professionally, I have worked with children since 1999. I was a caretaker for two young children (who later attended LCC). I worked at the Leelanau Montessori after school program and also ran and developed a kid’s day program at Meadowlark Farm for the children of the farm workers. I have been at the Leelanau Children’s Center since 2003, starting as on on-call sub when my son, Joseph, first began preschool. I have been a teacher in LCC’s former young fives program, and most recently have been a preschool teacher in Fox Island.
Credentials: I have a BA in Human Development with an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialization. I have many ECE credits from my teaching certificate. I am also a certified mother of a two boys!
What brings you to this work? I have always been drawn to working with children. I have vivid memories of the sensory experience of being a child; the way things smelled and tasted, the way color, light and shapes moved, sounds and tactile experience. Recalling these memories helps me to get into the worlds of children and set up my environment creatively in order to invite children into these lasting sensory experiences. I also feel strongly about providing quality education and early care to ALL children and am interested in social justice work in the ECE field. I think creating a peaceful world where everyone has a voice begins in the early years. Helping children to speak up for themselves (in any language they choose), listening to their needs and interests, and helping them to learn how to live with each other is important work. When I go home each day I feel satisfied that the work I do helps make the world a better place.
About me: I am married to my sweetie, Zachariah. He makes homes more energy efficient through state grant money. I have two sons, Josef (who attends Leland Public School), and a newborn son, Rain. We have a home in Lake Leelanau and have a little spotted dog named Lydia. I moved to Leelanau County when I was 8 years old and have lived here ever since. An interesting fact about me is that instead of going to preschool I spent my days with an Amish family. My experiences being welcomed into this home and living in a different culture paved the way to being eager to learn about new cultures and also to be culturally sensitive.
Favorite quote about children: “We were taught to say that play is the work of children. But, watching and listening to them, I saw that play was nothing less than Truth and Life.” -- Vivian Gussin Paley
LCC Leland & Northport • Executive Director
Early Childhood Experience & LCC Roles: I joined the LCC staff in 1986, when the program was housed in the Leland United Methodist Church basement. At that time, I was attracted by my sense that LCC was nestled into a supportive community, which gave me hope that LCC could develop into a hub of family support and encouragement. During my time at LCC, I have been amazed by LCC’s extraordinary commitment to quality and dedication to the local community.
I have played many roles at LCC and our community- from teaching at the college to designing our buildings, from parent of an LCC preschooler to Executive Director.
Credentials: I am the recipient of two Masters Degrees (child development and counseling) and Infant Mental Health endorsed at the level of Mentor (level IV) and was awarded the Owen Bahle award for Community Service by the Suttons Bay Rotary Club.
What brings you to this work? The breadth of what LCC has allowed me to experience and taught me is indescribable, and I count my blessings for the work and this community every day.