Meet Our Collaborators

Our Collaborators are the front line for alpha testing our newest inventions. Meet the team that helps develop our line of educational products for children!

Denita Dinger

Organization: Kaleidoscope Play School as well as Play Counts

Position: ECE Constultant / Keynote Speaker

My name is Denita Dinger and I am proud to call myself a defender of play. I have learned that instead of play being separate from “the important stuff”, play IS the “important stuff”. I am currently the owner and teacher at Kaleidoscope Play School, the author of three Redleaf Press books and travel internationally speaking ECE conferences and trainings with the hopes of inspiring others to see that play IS the important stuff.

Lakisha Reid

Organization: Discovery Early Learning Center

Position: Owner/Director/Educator

Hi I’m Lakisha Reid, The founder/educator at Discovery ELC. When I am not working directly alongside children I am advocating for them through my organization called Play Empowers. Our mission is to educate about the importance of play. I’ve worked with children for over twenty-one years and recently began helping educators transition to more developmentally appropriate practices. As a co-host on Knee Deep In Play, I’m provided with an additional avenue to connect with ECE’s.

Randi Albertsen

Organization: Innovations in Education, LLC

Position: Early Childhood Specialist

As the owner of Innovations in Education, LLC, I have been providing professional development and consulting services in early childhood education for over 17 years. I’ve also taught Kindergarten and third grade, run a family childcare program, and worked as a nanny. I believe that education and learning are lifelong endeavors and strive to inspire teachers and administrators in their educational journies. One of my mottos is “Everything is developmentally appropriate with proper supervision.”

Amanda Holliday

Organization: Center for Young Children at the University of Maryland

Position: Preschool Teacher

My name is Amanda Holliday and I am currently teaching mixed-aged preschool at the Center for Young Children. This begins my 6th year in early childhood. Our center is a laboratory setting where we are always mentoring undergraduates as well as participating in research studies. Through the Project Approach, my students discover the world through hands-on, active exploration. Music and movement is also part of my teaching everyday; we sing for everything!

Melissa Mazar

Organization: Childrens Art Factory

Position: Owner/Founder

I am an Artist and as an Artist we are trained to break rules; to turn things on their head and look at things from new angles. I believe Artists have a predisposition to recognize and value children’s approach to Art. I do not see myself as an Art Teacher but a co-conspirator on the journey of discovery. I am owner and founder of the Children’s Art Factory. A drop-in Art studio for children.

Melissa Bowles

Organization: Happy Hearts Daycare

Position: Owner

My Name is Melissa Bowles. I am the owner of Happy Hearts Daycare. I have three boy ages 13,10,6. I began in early childhood October of 2007 as a licensed Family Childcare (FCC) home. Since opening my childcare I have reached National Accreditation and also hold a FCC CDA. The philosophy I guild my childcare business on is kids learn though play. I provided open ended learning opportunities to the children in my care daily.

Dawn Hallman

Organization: Dallas Association for Parent Education

Position: Educator

I have been a parent educator and trainer for professional development for early childhood educators for over 35 years. I work for a non profit that teach parents and early childhood educators. I am also an adjunct professor for Eastfield College. I am a Certified “Life is Good” Playmaker. I am the mom of two and believe Play is the answer to most problems!

Julie Hicks

Organization: Clemmons Elementary

Position: EC Preschool Teacher

I always loved working with children and watching them learn, so it was natural for me to become a teacher. I am teaching for a second year in an EC Preschool at a public school in North Carolina. I work with children who have developmental delays, autism, or other heath impairments. I am influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach and encourage children to explore their learning environment, which is why I love Kodo products!

Lyndsy Blais

Organization: Wildflowers Studio

Position: Owner Wildflowers Studio

Lyndsy, mom of four and educator for over 13 years, holds a BA in Psychology/Education and an MEd. Lyndsy has been a ski instructor, sailing instructor, and Special Education teacher. Samantha holds a BS in Health Science, worked as a case manager for a residential treatment facility and a nanny. The women began Wildflowers Studio in Vermont by combining their experience and passion for education with the belief that play is the work of childhood.

Judy Meine

Organization: Judy’s Family Child Care

Position: Family Child Care Provider

For over 25 years, I’ve been privileged to work with children from infant to 5 years old in my family child care home (known as the “JuJu Babies”). I believe that all children deserve quality child care and a well trained and educated provider. I began offering training 20 years ago in order to help bring my experience and perspective to other providers. I currently teach classes on STEM for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Wendy Lundeen

Organization: Rose Elementary School

Position: TK Teacher

My name is Wendy Lundeen and I currently teach Transitional Kindergarten in the Milpitas School District in California. I have been a teacher in Early Childhood for 9 years. I am involved in my local NAEYC affiliate (PAEYC). I utilize a mixture of educational philosophies in my teaching, but most of all I believe that children should be active learners!

Nancy Kohl

Organization: RJWECC, YISE ECC

Position: Pedgogical Coordinator

Nancy Kohl is a Pedagogical Coordinator at two early childhood centers, founder of Cultivating Educators, llc, specializing in coaching early childhood directors and staff, as a master teacher/trainer.
Has a Constructivist educational philosophy as a Reggio-inspired educator. Our joyful work is discovering who we are, what the context of children, families, and educators are, as we authentically live our values and beliefs. Passionate about the art of teaching, learning, inspiring creativity and curiosity in others.

Shanna White

Organization: Discovery Point Preschool

Position: Owner/Director

I have worked in the field of child development in various capacities including grant writing, parenting classes, quality enhancement, curriculum, family child care, preschool, and Early Start programs for the past 11 years.  I believe in a hands-on, play based philosophy of early childhood education.  Play based investigative environments increase the child’s motivation to learn and try new things, build creativity, confidence and a love for school.  At Discovery Point we have an inclusive preschool setting and cherish integrating our friends with learning differences. I hold a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education and Spanish and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education.

Jo Mrvichin

Organization: Acorn School

Position: Director

I studied Child Development in college and have worked with young children ever since. I’ve been at The Acorn since it’s beginning 36 years ago, taking 2 years off when my youngest was born. We learn through play, making discoveries in hands on play and exploration. I am also a wife, mom, and “granner”, and love textile arts, sewing and quilting.