545 Zor Shrine Place, Madison, WI 53719
Call Us(608) 622-1771

Meet Our Team

OUR STAFF & VOLUNTEERS

Say hello to our caring, enthusiastic team!

We are proud of the diversity of our staff and teachers’ educational & professional backgrounds and the array of talents they bring to the Well. Our staff is committed to reaching the required annual training and professional development hours. We encourage teachers to be creative with their continuing education so they can hone their skills and learn more about subjects they are interested in and passionate about. teachers are all up to date with CPR, First Aid, SIDS/SBS and Child Abuse & Neglect trainings and certifications. Our infant & toddler teachers complete additional training hours in “Fundamentals of Infant & Toddler Care.  In addition, we offer 90 hours focused on Introduction to the Childcare Profession and Skills & Strategies for the Childcare Teacher. 


Leadership

 

Angelica QuinteroAngelica Quintero, Executive Director & Owner: Angi is the brains of the operation. She has 2 master’s degrees in business and a bachelor’s in engineering. The idea for the Well came to Angi after having her second child and looking for like minded families to connect with.

 

David WebbDavid Webb, Administrator & Owner: David has a master’s degree in business and his bachelor’s is in kinesiology. David loves teaching classes and leading our team to be great role models for kids.

 

 

Ellie HeikingEllie Heiking, Community & Culture Director: Ellie has a degree in Corporate Health Communication & Health Promotion from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. She has 8 years of experience in childcare. Ellie establishes partnerships with local companies and organizations that complement our curriculum and programming. She loves to incorporate activities that focus on wellness and nutrition in her teaching. Passionate about fitness, she’s competed in 2 mud runs and 3 Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” events. Ellie also co-founded our non-profit arm, Global Playground

Kim Hinkley

Kim Hinkley, Program & Purpose Director: Kim has 14 years of experience in school and childcare settings. With a focus on play, she has designed play-based curriculum for schools in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as consulted with companies on how to infuse play into their work day. She is now happy to now call Madison home. She manages our digital and social media presence as well as coordinates special events and programs. She holds a BA in sociology from UW-Madison and an MA in teaching. She is also a Well parent!

Jiabao ZhangJiabao Zhang, Organization & Values Director: Jiabao holds his MA in Music from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a BS in Project Management, and a BE in Finance. He has 3 years of experience in childcare. He is an opera singer and loves food & travel. Jiabao supports administrative and school program/curriculum projects, ensuring we are meeting and exceeding licensing standards. He also teaches Mandarin Language Learning and Voice Lessons to our preschool students. He is also a Well parent!

Seedlings & Sprouts (Infants)

 

Miss RobertaRoberta Prasciunas, Lead Teacher – Sprouts: Miss Roberta holds a BFA from the College of Design at Iowa State University. A lover of animals, nature and the outdoors, she taught skiing for 8 years, specifically coaching young downhill racers. This past winter, she renewed her PSIA (Professional Ski Instructor of America). She has over 15 years of nannying experience for children from infancy to preteen. Dependable, responsible and prompt, she enjoys the challenge of motivating children to be happy and healthy in a creative environment.

Gayathri Manikandan, Lead Teacher – Sprouts: Ms. Gayathri holds an MA in History & Heritage Management from Annamalai University in India, as well as a BA in History from Bharathidasan. University. Before relocating to Madison from India, she worked for a family architectural firm. She loves cooking and reading in her spare time, and is excited to utilize her genuine love for children (she is a parent herself!) to help them grow physically and intellectually.

Teacher MballyThokomele “Mbally” Ndwandwe, Lead Teacher – Sprouts: Ms. Mbally is originally from South  Africa, where she earned her diploma in Hospitality Management at Durban University of Technology. She is a firstborn of 5, and always loved looking after her siblings. She has been a teacher for infants and toddlers for a year. She is looking forward to furthering her studies to obtain a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is excited to join the Well!

Teacher BryannaBryanna Swoboda, Lead Teacher – Seedlings: Miss Bryanna, or “Miss Beanie,” has worked in child care for over 4 years, and truly enjoys watching children of all ages learn and grow! She is originally from Chippewa Falls and moved to Madison 3 years ago. She absolutely loves the Madison area. In her free time, she likes doing fun things with her son and family and watching Disney movies. She is a Wellie parent to a Blossom.

Teacher HalimatouHalimatou Diallo, Lead Teacher – Seedlings: Ms. Halimatou studied law in her home country of Guinea and worked as a law clerk before moving to the United States. She has over 10 years of experience in care giving, specializing in both children and elderly. She has worked as a teaching assistant in New York schools, and most recently as a senior care resident assistant. She is a mother of two herself, and is excited to bring her nurturing nature to our babies! In her free time, she loves cooking and crocheting.

 

Saplings & Blossoms (1 -Year-Olds)

Mx IraIra Hafer, Lead Teacher – Saplings: Mx. Ira holds BAs in Religious Studies and Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. They are passionate about the mental health and well-being of children and helping them to realize their full potential. Cultivating an environment where children can learn, have fun, be inspired, and connect with each other and the world in which they live is their first priority. They love cooking, reading, making textiles, tending to their plants and caring for their two cats. 

Mr EliasElias Isele-Castillo, Lead Teacher – Saplings: Mr. Elias is returning to early childhood education after a brief hiatus studying web development. He believes in learning through play and giving children the best opportunities to explore their authentic selves. He embraces the differences that make each child unique and will always strive to incorporate their interests in their learning activities!

 

Daycare Staff Sanda Sanda Steele, Lead Teacher – Blossoms: Ms. Sanda holds a BFA in Studio Art with combined coursework from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She took graduate courses at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota to earn her Art Teacher license. She also took graduate courses to earn her Special Education Teacher license from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Through a state-run program, she studied to teach the visually impaired and blind. She has taught children from the ages of early childhood to adolescence for over 13 years: Special Education, Art, Beginning Spanish, and the visually impaired. Her 5 children inspired her to become a teacher. In her free time, she enjoys creating art, growing orchids, and nature walks with her husband and their two Scotties, Zeus and Luella.

Ms PajePaje Mader, Lead Teacher – Blossoms: Ms. Paje holds a BS in Spanish with a minor in psychology from Madison’s Edgewood College. She was a student athlete there, playing volleyball for the Eagles. She has over 10 years of experience working with children, and over 5 years of experience working specifically with children with autism, ages ranging from 1- to 17-year-olds. She has a passion for mental health, languages, art and volleyball. 

 

Willows (2 Year Olds)

Teacher BeccaRebecca Meza, Lead Teacher: Miss Becca has master’s degrees in psychology and educational policy studies. She first began teaching in West Africa through the Peace Corps and has since tutored or taught elementary, middle, and high school students. She is particularly passionate about science and storytelling and aims to create a learning environment where students can make meaningful connections with each other and the natural world. When she isn’t teaching, she’s exploring the outdoors with her dog. 

Teacher LexiAlexis Stapp, Lead Teacher – Willows: Ms. Lexi is currently pursuing her degree in Elementary Education. Growing up the eldest of three, she took on the role of tutor and teacher to her siblings and their friends. She has known from a young age that she loves working in classrooms and being around children. Ms. Lexi is also a big cat lover. Ms. Lexi is passionate and has a goal to always find new ways to expand children’s minds!

 

Redwoods (3 Year Olds)

Teacher LiaAnalia Theo, Lead Teacher: Analia, or “Miss Lia,” has 3 years of childcare experience working with 3-4 year old children. She’s excited to advance her career in a forward-thinking preschool that challenges her and that helps move Early Childhood Education forward. 

 

Teacher Viji

Vijaya Shree Pitchumani, Lead Teacher: Vijaya, or “Ms. Viji,” has a bachelor’s degree in Physics, as well as a masters degree in Human Resources Management. She has an extensive background in IT, however, having two kids of her own (one of whom is a Wellie!) has grown her interest in pursuing a career that will allow her to stay connected to kids. She is passionate about being a nurturing presence in the classroom. 

Sequoias (4 Year Olds)

Teacher MariaMaria Vasilev, Lead Teacher: Ms. Maria is not only a Sequoias teacher, she practices yoga with our young yogis. She has been teaching yoga for 3 years, and holds her BS in Sport & Physical Education. She also enjoys practicing gymnastics, which she has done since she was a child.

 

Teacher EverlyEverly Vializ, Lead Teacher: Originally from Puerto Rico, Ms. Everly went to Keiser University to study medicine. Currently she is working toward her degree in Early Childhood Education. This is her second year working with kids and she has a true passion for it!  Helping each child progress in all areas of their development – academic, social, language, and motor – is a challenge that she is honored to accept daily.  She strives to create a community of learners that nurtures growth in a positive, fun environment. She has been married for 10 years and has three fantastic daughters. She enjoys church, reading, cooking, music,  and spending time with friends and family. She is the parent of a Willow. 


Enrichment Learning

 

Teacher Nutritionist MarianaMariana Coughlin, Nutritionist: Ms. Mariana holds her BS in Nutrition & Dietetics from UW-Madison and is currently working towards finishing a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition. She enjoys working with families to meet their healthy lifestyle goals and trying out new ways to incorporate fresh, local ingredients in her cooking. She has experience as a volunteer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Dane County as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Mariana’s favorite thing about working at the Well is getting feedback from the kids and she is always happy to share recipes!

FabiolaFabiola Alva, Float Teacher: Miss Fabiola has been working with children for 8 years, most recently in assistant teaching positions at Dane County Parent Council and Reach Dane. She considers it a privilege not only to teach young minds but to also learn from them. As a teacher, she loves supporting students in their social, emotional, mental and physical development. She has three children of her own, and a dog.

 

Teacher CourtneyCourtney Holman, Float Teacher: Miss Courtney is currently pursuing her associate’s degree in Library & Information Services at Chippewa Valley Technical College. She is with us part-time in a floating teacher role, supporting all classrooms (especially our cuddly infants!) daily. 

 

Elsa Marylu M. De Marco, Float Teacher (Photo Coming Soon!): Ms. Elsa studied Music in Argentina, where she was born. She received a bachelor’s degree in Theology with an emphasis on Christian Education in Edinburg, Texas. During the last 12 years she has been working as a preschool and Pre-k teacher. Three of those years were spent teaching in Paraguay and six years working as a music teacher in daycares and kindergartens as well as conducting private lessons in Argentina. Her recent endeavors have been in the Chicago suburbs where for the last three years she has spent her time teaching children in early development. Most of her past experiences have been with kids 2-3 years old. Her passion for teaching motivates her to continue to study Early Childhood Education.  Marylu is a positive and joyful person.

 

Teacher Allie SachjtenAllie Sachtjen, Substitute Teacher: Ms. Allie has her Associate of Arts in Early Childhood  Education and 11 years of childcare experience. Allie was one of our first lead infant teachers. She recently finished her degree in the Dental Hygienist program at Madison College. She enjoys cooking, baking, hiking and traveling.


Volunteers

Volunteer Deena

Deena Grass, Learning & Curriculum Volunteer: Miss Deena is a retired elementary teacher who taught for 30 years and now shares her knowledge, expertise and resources with our teachers. She also finds us really great learning materials! She holds her BA and MA in Education. She is a proud grandmother to 9 grandchildren.

Ms. BeckyBecky Leider-Heiking, Special Projects Volunteer: Ms. Becky is always finding previously loved learning materials, toys and supplies that she generously donates to the school! She currently works as a Program Support Specialist at Journey Mental Health Center. Ms. Becky has done some really fun activities with our preschoolers, including literacy support, and making cool mushroom lawn ornaments! 

 

 

 

Want to volunteer?

We are always looking for wonderful people who love working with kids! Whether you want to read books to the children, do art projects, cuddle infants, lead science experiments or just get on the ground and play, contact us at programming@livethewell.com.

Want to join our team?

Click here to view open opportunities. 

Childcare Volunteer