Our Team

Our team of staff is full of dynamic, unique, caring and fun individuals. We all have an eclectic background of education and experience. Allow us to introduce ourselves!!

 

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Melissa Burke

Melissa's passion for working with children began at the young age of 14.  She was approached one day in high school by an enthusiastic Recreation Programmer and on a whim, became an LIT (leader in training).  Through Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture, Melissa was given many opportunities to learn and develop teaching and leadership skills, and create programs. She recognized a passion for inspiring young minds and helping children grow and develop. She went on to complete her Early Childhood Education (ECE) at Malaspina (now VIU).  After working in a couple of other licensed programs in the Nanaimo area she decided to go out on her own, with a hope and a dream, and created Kidz Kompany Children's Centre (now known as VI Kidz Kompany Childcare Group Ltd.). What started as a small facility with 10 licensed spaces, has grown to a family of centres providing service to over 300 families encompassing care programs for children age 0-12 years old.  When she is not busy at work at Kidz Kompany, Melissa enjoys teaching DANCEPL3Y, running, yoga, exploring the island, and hanging out with her puppy Harrison. Melissa’s official role is the Director of Early Learning.  You will find Melissa working mainly from her home office answering e-mails, phone calls and doing all of the other behind the scenes work that goes on!  You may also find her in the Preschool or at Small Fries with the youngest of the Kidz Ko family... but don’t worry, she will always make time for a site visit to see the big kids! 

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Brendan Burns

Brendan started working at Kidz Kompany in 2013 and is the Director of School Age Programming, supervising all of the school aged programs. He has a passion working with kids and loves coaching, coaching football in Oceanside since 2010 and has coaching Certificates with NCCP and Run, Jump, Throw. Brendan is a new Dad and loves spending family time with his son Duncan, and wife Kara. When Brendan is not at work you can likely find him out doing something active like hiking, playing squash, playing softball, or walking with his family and dog Lulu. One of the reasons he loves this profession is that he can help this generation of kids become more active, healthy and confident. Brendan also loves working with kids because it keeps him young, and it's amazing what you can learn from them. Brendan will be spending time at the Harbourside office, but also filling in where he is needed at any of the 5 school age sites.

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Brittany Thurber

Brittany has been working at Kidz Kompany since 2011 and she can be found at the Hammond Bay site. She has been working with kids since she was quite young, helping at her mom's daycare in Royston and babysitting. She enjoys reading, playing board games, and spending time with family and friends in her spare time. She loves pizza and her favourite sport is soccer!  She loves working with youth and has been working with a community youth program since 2006. Her favourite thing about working with kids is their unique personalities, unending energy and creativity. You can find her out and about in the community working with youth programs when she is not at Kidz Kompany!  Brittany has unique education and training, don't be afraid to ask her about it!

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Sarah Tuinstra

Sarah started working at Kidz Kompany in January of 2018, and is super excited to be here. You can find Sarah at our Hammond Bay location. Sarah is passionate about kids and providing them with the space and opportunity to learn, grow, play and develop in a safe, respectful and fun environment. Sarah hopes to one day be an elementary school teacher and is working towards her Bachelor of Education degree at VIU. In her free time Sarah enjoys reading, writing her own stories, creating art, and doing anything and everything in the great outdoors. Sarah is so grateful to have the opportunity to learn, play, and grow with all the wonderful children at Kidz Kompany. 

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Lillian Backstrom

Lillian is in her 2nd year with Kidz Kompany and is enjoying her time at the Hammond Bay school site. She previously worked at the Mountain View site, making the move to Hammond Bay this September. She is a mother of 2 girls; a 22 year old and 17 year old. Lillian has been working with children from the age of 0 to 6 for the last 15 years but she worked with school age children last May and loved it. Lillian loves to go on road trips, take pictures and work with children. Her hobbies include photography, cross stitch,  crafts and gardening. She is excited to work with the great team that makes up Kidz Kompany.

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Courtney Dubyna

Courtney is a current ECEC student at VIU and aspires to become a kindergarten teacher. After completing her ECEC Diploma Courtney plans on continuing on to do her Bachelors of Education. Courtney's love of children began when she taught a friends 3 year old how to hold a pencil properly and experiencing how proud he was being able to scribble inside the lines! Working with children reminds her to be imaginative and curious, something she thinks we often forget to do in our busy day to day lives. Courtney's favourite activities include dancing, playing outside and crafting! Courtney is beyond excited for this school year, let’s have some fun !! 

 

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Kelsey Mackinnon

Kelsey joined the Kidz Kompany family in the fall of 2017. Although Kelsey is a familiar face in a few different centers from last school year, she is now the Manager of the Harbourside Program. Kelsey has worked with children for over 14 years from babysitting, to gym daycare and full-time nanny work. Kelsey is working towards a career in health and fitness for all ages. When Kelsey isn’t at work you’ll find her at the gym, doing her dog pack hikes, or crafting! Kelsey loves spending quality time with all of her friends at Kidz Kompany; she says the girls & boys at the daycare keep her smiling and fill her heart with gratitude.

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Hailey Balle

Hailey has been with Kidz Kompany since September 2017. She is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Education program at VIU. Hailey’s passion for working with children started at a young age. She has worked in Parks and Recreation and as a nanny before joining the Kidz Kompany Team. In her spare time, Hailey enjoys reading, hiking with her dog, and doing yoga. You can find Hailey Supervising the Guppy Pod at the Harbourside Location.

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Tina Kutt

Tina joined Kidz Kompany in 2016. She is a mother of two boys of her own. She comes to us with over 20 years of work experience with all ages of children. Tina has been working at all of the after school programs as a substitute, but has found her home with the Harbourside team. Tina has been with all the kids and staff at all of the centers and is excited to be a party of the Kidz Kompany family.

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Audra Corrin
 Audra joined Kidz Kompany this fall with the Harbourside program. She is a fourth year student at VIU getting her bachelors in Psychology and Women Studies, as well as an addictions certificate.  Audra plans on spending her career helping disadvantaged women. She started volunteering with Pacific Sport in the spring of 2018 and fell in love with working with kids. Audra loves coming to work and being surrounded by imagination, laughter and joy.
Words that Audra lives by; Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional
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Neil Hendrickson

Coming soon...

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Joredayn Wilson

Joredayn started at Kidz Kompany by doing her Early Childhood Education Practicum in the fall of 2008. She has worked at all of the locations over the years. You can find her at the Pleasant Valley location and in the Harbourside Preschool Program. She has always had a love of working with children while growing up with a large extended family. You usually can find her teaching the kids something new or playing their favorite game. In her spare time she enjoy’s spending time by the ocean and going fishing, also spending time with her niece.

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Rhonda Le Tissier

Rhonda moved to Nanaimo in 2017 from her longtime home of Winnipeg. She began working in a daycare program in 2010 first as a childcare staff member, then as an assistant manager. With these prior years’ experience in childcare under her belt already, she is currently working on her ECE. She is passionate about working with children and is thrilled to help them learn and grow. Kids and parents alike appreciate her hard work and dedication. She is so excited to be a member of the Pleasant Valley team! When Rhonda isn’t on the job, she loves spending time with family and exploring Vancouver Island in her VW Bus!

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Gabriele Johannsson

Gabriele joined the Kidz Kompany team in January of 2015 and is at the Pleasant Valley location this year. She is enrolled in year 5 of the Bachelor of Education program at Vancouver Island University. Gabriele also has her Early Childhood Educator Assistant certificate, so you may see her at preschool or Small Fries once in a while. After graduation she hopes to one day teach kindergarten but would be excited about teaching and learning with any grade. Gabriele is passionate about learning and loves seeing children's excitement when they discover new things. Gabriele also coaches sailing on the weekends. In her spare time Gabriele likes to knit, bake, and try new crafts. 

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Rebecca Dillon

Rebecca’s first experience working with large groups of children was when she was living in Taipei, Taiwan working as an English emersion teacher. She taught children ages 2-12 a variety of subjects in English and learned so much in the process. After returning to Canada, Rebecca worked as an ESL instructor in Vancouver for 7 years. She is two years into her BA and is currently majoring in Environmental Science at Simon Fraser University but will be switching to the department of Geography when she resumes her studies at VIU in the Fall. Rebecca left Vancouver to enjoy the incredible beauty of Vancouver Island. She enjoys being out in nature, being active, exploring the world around her and sharing that passion with others. Rebecca is so excited to be working for Kidz Kompany at the Randerson Ridge site. Her favourite part about working with young children is their curiosity, energy and quirkiness. She loves finding opportunities to share knowledge, ignite their imaginations, and have loads of fun!

 

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Nicole Tilley

Nicole has lived in Nanaimo her whole life and has always enjoyed working with children. She recently completed her early childhood educator assistant certificate and joined the team in October 2017. Nicole enjoys baking, cooking, running and reading. Since having her son Lincoln, she has realized how much we need to encourage kids to just be who they are. You can find Nicole at the Randerson Ridge program! 

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Corinne Dunn

Corinne has been in the child care field since finishing her education with a diploma in Early Childhood Education (including Special Needs and Infant/Toddler) in 1999. Before coming to Kidz Kompany, Corinne worked in various centres in Nanaimo and Parksville including running her own centre for 7 years.  She has cared for children from new born through school age!  When she is not working, Corinne enjoys spending time with her family, working out, and making felt stories.  Corinne loves the stories and conversation she has with children and their contagious giggles!  You can find Corinne managing Kidz Kompany Small Fries!  

 

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Brenda Phelan

Brenda is bringing to Small Fries over 20 years of experience in the Daycare field. She ran her own daycare for 5 years. Brenda graduated from the Education Program at VIU in 2005. She also has a Business Skills certificate, graduated from the First Nations Studies Program in 2004 and has done various workshops learning new techniques in ECE. Brenda is eager to continue to educate herself in the field of Early Childhood Education; to enable her to help children learn and enhance their inquisitive minds. Brenda has a passion for teaching and watching children learn and grow in a positive safe environment, as well as management experience working mainly with 3-5 year olds. When Brenda isn’t working she enjoys spending time with family & friends, card-making, knitting or sewing and volunteering in various activities within the community. Brenda is excited to be a part of a team that provides a loving & caring environment of Small Fries.

 

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Rikako Honda

Rikako is originally from Japan and came to Nanaimo in 2013. She studied Early Childhood Education at a Japanese university for 2 years, did her Elementary Education in Minnesota, and graduated from VIU's ECE diploma program in 2015. Rikako loves learning about the development of young children and always seeks effective guidance and the best quality care for them. Rikako has been working with children and babies in Nanaimo since 2015 and really enjoys it! In her spare time, she likes going for walks, watching movies and listening to music. Rikako used to play the guitar, drums, and piano in a music band when she was in school. She was also a member of Hawaiian dance team in Japan :). Rikako is so excited to become a part of the wonderful team at Kidz Kompany Small Fries!!

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Sandy Alden

Sandy has been in the childcare field for more than 12 years! She has worked as both a 3-5 year old (or preschool) educator and as an infant / toddler educator. Sandy also ran her own licensed family child care centre for 4 years. In 2013 she completed her ECE through the Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute. Sandy is committed to continuing education through extra training and seminars so she can do her very best for the children in her care. Sandy feels working with children is a very rewarding job. Sandy works as the program assistant in the Group Childcare 30 months – school age (AKA 3-5 program) program at Kidz Kompany Small Fries. She's always looking forward to the special privilege of helping to shape the minds and lives of tomorrow.

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Sheena Paine

Sheena works at our Small Fries Center on the Preschool side teaching the 2.5 - 4 year olds. Some of you may remember Sheena from Mountain View Elementary. She managed Mt. View during the 2015/2016 school year before going on maternity leave. She returned to Kidz Kompany with her son Corbin as she loves the programming not only to teach but, for her son to enjoy as well. Sheena likes to incorporate a lot of science and exploration in her teaching as well as learning through play. Her favorite part of the day is circle time. In her spare time she enjoys camping and hiking with her family and friends. 

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Debbie Bruinsma

Debbie started babysitting the neighborhood children at the age of 9. Growing up in Port Renfrew she was able to take the children on adventures along the beach and trails. This gave her a lifelong love of Children and the outdoors. At 22 she moved to Campbell River and started her own family. She spent the next 20 years raising her 3 children as well as watching other children in her Subdivision. After trying a lot of different jobs, she always went back to childcare. In 2016 she completed her ECE at Nanaimo Sprott Shaw College. Debbie joined Small Fries in September 2018 where she works on the Toddler side. She has always been fascinated with how children view the World around them, so loves the neighborhood and beach walks with her group and co-worker .In her spare time Debbie enjoys spending time  with her family, baking goodies for them or hanging out at home with her crazy cat Lucy .

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Jessie Humchitt

Jessie Humchitt has joined Kidz Kompany this fall with the Harbourside Program and recently moved to Small Fries. She is the oldest of nine children and has worked in elementary schools and high schools with children with disabilities as a one on one worker. She is currently working on her Anthropology degree at Vancouver Island University and has participated in a Field School located in the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia in 2016. She loves to travel and experience what the world has to offer with her husband.