Meet Our Staff

We have amazing staff with different levels of experience and education

Our Administration

Betty

Executive Director/ Founder

I started Agape Learning Centre 34 years ago. I am a mother and wife with 2 birth children and 2 adopted children. During my time with Agape, we started 2 Kindergarten programs and 2 Mild/Moderate ECS program. I am an active member of the Victory Christian Fellowship.

My favorite color is peach, I love small dogs and my favorite snack is nachos and cheese. I love roses and my favorite place to visit is the Dominican.

Grace Vanden Dool

Daycare Director

I started in daycare when I was still in high school. I went to Mount Royal (College) University in Calgary after high school to get my ECE diploma. I have continuously worked with children the whole time in one way or another.

My favorite color is green. My favorite animals are turtles. I enjoy running, biking, cross-training. I also enjoy reading mysteries and watching CFL football. 

Kathy

Daycare Director

I have been working in the Early Childhood field for over 20 years and took my ECE training at the Lethbridge College. When I was younger I enjoyed volunteering at my local Church’s Sunday school as well as babysitting for many years. Growing up I had the influence of watching my parents and grandparents volunteer in Sunday School and with various children’s programs and to see the enjoyment it brought them. It is a privilege to get to know the children and families of our program. 

I like most animals, I have one cat as a pet. I love reading Christian fiction so looking through a book store is one way I like to relax. I also use the online local library every week. I like all flowers, and I enjoy gardening as well as purchasing cut flowers occasionally for my home. I like to do lots of fine motor paper crafts, card making, and quilling. I also do needlepoint and enjoy gardening. Recently I have tried something new and have been learning to play pickleball at the local community court. I enjoy exploring new places but as the saying goes, there is no place like home. 

Tiina Savolainen

Early Learning Coordinator

I started by having 6 of my own children before I finished my ECE Diploma. I have been serving children and their families for over 20 years in this field! As an Early Learning Support at Agape, my passion for empowering children lives on!

My favorite color is purple, I love greek yogurt with peanut butter and berries. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas. Reading and relaxing are my favorite things to do, and I love the mountains.

Discovery Room

Christal Heaton

Educator

I’ve been working in childcare since 2003.

My favorite color is the rainbow and all its colors. I love the movie Grease. I love to read, but I don’t have a favorite book and I enjoy spending time with family.

Susan Fyfe

Educator

I have lived in Lethbridge for 27 years. I have been married to my husband Chris for 26 years and have 2 adult children, Angela and Katherine. My kids live in Calgary. I have one pet which is a cat and her name is Mandue. I have been an ECE teacher since 1999. I have worked at Agape for 15 years.

My favorite color is green, I love cats and my favorite snack is celery with peanut butter and raisins. I love reading and my favorite place I have been is St. Thomas.

Jennifer "Jen" Van Riper

Educator

I have 2 kids of my own, 2 boys, 18 and 12 years old. I started at Agape in 2012, and I have loved every minute of it. I have my Level 1 Orientation Course Certification from the Alberta Children and Youth Services, Child Care Staff Certification Office. My favorite color is green, I love cookies and I love all animals. My favorite place is the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation in Coaldale.

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Mateya Gillespie

Educator

Hello, my name is Mateya. I have a 3 year old son named Mavryck. I started my first Early Childhood Education job this summer here at Agape. Before working at Agape I went to College and worked for the Town of Taber. I am currently finishing my schooling, at the college, and have chosen to do my Practicum with the Discovery Room. I’m excited to create hands-on learning spaces using physical, social, and cognitive activities.

Explorer Room

Brianne "Bri" Keating

Educator

I graduated from Lethbridge College in 2014 with a Child and Youth Care diploma. I worked within the adult disability sector throughout my college days. Since graduating I have worked in before and after school programming, summer programs, and daycare centres. I started at Agape in 2019. My favorite animals are cats. I love the color purple, I also love lilies and painting, and my favorite sport is hockey. 

Lorna VanderHelde

Educator

I have worked in daycare for over 25 years and I have worked here at Agape for 17 years. My passion is to care for your children and getting to know each child and I love to sing and art is one of my favorite activities. It’s always a new day.

Jean Panther Bone

Educator

I started working at Agape back in 2005, although it hasn’t seemed like I’ve been here all these years. It’s a great environment and I love all the children I work with. I’m also the bus driver for the Agape program. Both my children have come through and were well taken care of here at Agape Daycare. I enjoy learning with the children and growing with the children of different ages. I enjoy the professional development opportunities the centre accesses, and I am currently working on becoming site lead for Agape with the GRIT (Getting Ready for Inclusion Program)/ ASAP (Access Support and Participation) Program.

I love the different colors of purple, I enjoy watching all kinds of movies especially based on true facts and natural disasters. My most favorite salty snack is chips and the occasional chocolate bar, but I most enjoy popping popcorn and watching movies. My favorite place to be is outside the city where you can see nothing but grass or fields or mountains, something about it seems so peaceful. 

Inventor Room 

Robyn Siggelkow

Educator

I have my Early Childhood diploma and love to observe children being curious. I started teaching 20 years ago in 1999.

My favorite color is turquoise, my favorite animals are cats. I love suspense novels and card making. My favorite place to be is at home with a turquoise blanket, cat on my lap and a book in my hand!

Tammy McGarry

Educator

I obtained my Diploma from Grant MacEwan College in 1989, I spent 17 years in the field, before taking a 10-year hiatus. I returned in 2017 and now have 19 years within the Early Childhood field. I have worked in Kindergarten, in daycare and I was a day home supervisor. I have worked with kids in crisis as well as driven a school bus. 

My favorite color is red. I love cats and Gerber Daisies. My favorite animals are cats and I love American Football. 

Adventure Room

Rachel Ross

Educator

I became an Early Childhood Educator around 20 years ago and have been working in the field ever since! I started at Agape Learning Centre in 2008.

My favorite color is all the colors. I love the rainbow because it has all the colors. My favorite animal is dogs, I have 3 fur-babies and they are a big part of my family. I love being in my garden, my favorite plants are indoors and outdoors. My favorite restaurant is my kitchen filled with friends, family, and home-cooked meals. My favorite place to visit is Vancouver. I have friends there and all the things I love to do like hiking, skiing, swimming, and exploring.

Ryan

Educator

I have an early childhood level 2 as well as a special needs educational certificate that I bring to the table. I have a lovely fiancé as well as two cats and a cute little dog that I call my babies. I have been here for ten years and excited for many more to come!

My favorite colors are red and black. I love the movie Weekends at Bernies 1 and 2. My favorite book is Treasure Island. I’m a musician and I play in the band NyghtBlaed and I do PRA once or twice a week. 

Staff Support

Angela Bissonette

Educator

I have 4 biological daughters and 5 foster children. We have been a foster family for 21 yrs. I was going to school to become a teacher then decided to homeschool. I homeschooled my oldest 2 daughters. I have 2 dogs named Charlie and Millie. I have a studio where I teach card making classes and scrapbooking classes.

My favorite restaurant is Moxies. I love dogs and my favorite flowers are daisies.  I spend my free time scrapbooking/cardmaking and I love volleyball. 

Megan Fisk

Educator

I have worked in childcare since 2013. I received my early childhood education certificate at the Lethbridge College in April of 2018. I am currently enrolled at the University of Lethbridge. taking a combined degree of Indigenous studies and education with a minor in physical activity. My end goal is to become an elementary teacher.

My favorite sport is rugby and I love working out. I don’t have time to read more than my textbooks. I like most food and love all flowers.

Melissa Villeneuve-Donovan

Educator

I am a mother of two and have a Child and Youth Care Diploma. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Health and Science – Addiction Counseling. I worked in an intensive treatment program with children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old for two years (2014 to 2016). After having my second child, I decided I wanted to find a new challenge and to learn what daycare educators’ roles and responsibilities were with having my second child attend. I found out the challenges, the learning experiences and the fulfillment educators received from the children they cared for was something I came to enjoy and what I’ve been doing for almost two years now.

My favorite color is red, I love Boston Pizza. My favorite snacks are chips and I love roses. I love to read. 

 

Brooklyn Jerg

Educator

I started at Agape in 2013 and have worked here off and on over the years. I went to Bible college in Calgary for 2 years and am working on my counseling degree. I love working with youth and kids. I have a passion for music and people in general. Love helping people be the best they can be.

My favorite color is red, I love owls, music is my favorite hobby, soccer and softball are sports I love to play, and the places I love to visit most are Kenya, church, and wherever my family is.

Cassandra Quiring

Educator

I am from a family of 5. Born and raised on a farm running cattle in Scandia AB. I have 1 dog and 2 horses. I have my level 2 in childcare, went to Lethbridge college for 1 year of ECE receiving my year 1 certificate. I started as a practicum student, and have been working here for 1 year.

My favorite animals are dogs. I love riding hourses and playing basketball. Roses are my favorite flowers and my favorite movie is the Fast and the Furious. 

Trudy

I’m 20 years old. I’m married and live in Coaldale. I have always loved working with children and I love learning how important brain development is and how it works.

My favorite color is red. My favorite flowers are daisies. My hobby is crafting and DIYing.my favorite sports are volleyball and baseball. My favorite place is Cancun.

Mackenzie Beckwith

I am currently in my third year of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. I plan to get my Social Work degree afterward. I am passionate about making a positive difference in the world around me and helping others. I enjoy working with children and being able to be a positive and supportive figure in their world. I started my first teaching role at Agape Learning Centre in December of 2019 and loving every minute of it!

My favorite color is purple, favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my favorite animal is a panda, my favorite book is The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and my favorite flowers are carnations.

Liaison/Support

Bernice Lambert

Family Support and Community Liaison Coordinator

My position as Parent Support/Community Liaison Coordinator is new to Agape.
Most of my career has been in one type of parent support or another in capacities of child behavior consultant,  family crisis assistance and parenting workshop facilitator to name a few.  Within the scope of my position, the focus will be on innovative and engaging activities or events, along with family support and collaboration.  Ideas or suggestions from parents encouraged.

My 5 favorites are as follows:
Animal – anything ‘baby’ size – puppies, kittens, colts etc. (does not apply to snakes or komodo dragons)
Restaurant –  Any establishment without plastic cutlery.  Not a fast-food fan.
Snack – Pizza qualifies as a snack only if  I don’t eat the whole thing.  Then it’s a meal.
Book – Grapes of Wrath.  The only book I re-read every couple of years and I have no explanation for that.
Flower –  Favorite type are the bouquet gifts = warm, fuzzy memories.

Crystal Paterson

Family and Community Outreach Liaison

I’ve been working with kids since the good old babysitting days. I became a nanny, then moved to Early Learning Childcare about 3 years ago. I am married and have a little boy. I volunteer at MyVictory Church, in kids church. My favorite color is teal or mint green. My heart is with families and other parents like myself and my husband. I love finding and sharing resources with other parents and being able to provide those resources, build relationships and that feeling of community and support that we all need.

I love reading – but I can’t really pick a favorite. I have a major sweet tooth, all things chocolate is my favorite. I’m a hockey fan and my favorite places that I’ve been are Mexico and Seattle.

Shantelle Binetruy

Caretaking

I grew up in Taber but been in Lethbridge for 20 years now. I have been with Agape now for 2.5 plus years. I am currently at the Lethbridge College in the Administrative Office Professional program and graduating in April.

My favorite color is purple. Favorite movie is the 1982 musical Annie. I love to go for all you can eat Sushi. My favorite flower is the Tulip. One hobby I have is cross-stitching.