Meet Our Team

Board of Directors



Aaron Stephenson

Board President

I am a Red Caboose parent of two children, a daughter in the preschool program, and son who has participated in the school age program. In my professional life, I work with the US Geological Survey as a Senior Developer and Solutions Architect. In my free time, I enjoy reading, getting outdoors to hike and canoe, and attempting to become a decent cook.  I am excited about the future of Red Caboose as we continue our work of serving children and families in Madison.

ColinColin Stroud

Board Vice President

I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. My family and I found out about Red Caboose when we moved back from Washington D.C. I am grateful that we found such a vibrant, diverse, and loving environment for our two children and that I get to be part of this vital organization. In my professional life, I work as an attorney focusing primarily on civil rights.



Cindy Gillis

Board Treasurer

I grew up in Stevens Point, but have called the Madison area home for over 30 years. I currently work for UW-Madison, but my previous employer is an accounting firm specializing in non-profits. That is how I became involved with Red Caboose as I did their monthly accounting. Their staff and mission inspired me to join the Board.



Bridget St. Peter

Board Secretary

I am a 10 year Madison resident who loves this city. I am passionate about equity and education. We have so much to learn from our youth and we need to do our best to make sure we take down barriers that might inhibit them to becoming their best selves. I currently teach at Madison East High School and love my work there.



Andrea Suarez

Board Member

My time working at Red Caboose was focused on advancing and creating connections with the staff, children, and families in our programs. My values closely align with those of Red Caboose’s mission to provide a safe and inclusive environment for children and families along with the importance of social emotional learning. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in social work.  I hope to be an asset to the Board and want to bring fresh ideas.

Kris Moelter, Board Member

I have been part of the Madison community for over 20 years. My community work revolves around strengthening families and trying to make our systems more equitable and inclusive, including serving as a peacemaker with the Dane County Community Restorative Court, and being a member of the Community Response Team and Dane County Timebank.


Leadership Team


Jason Anderson

Executive Director, Board Member (non-voting)


My career has been dedicated to creating the conditions that support the social and emotional development of children through quality child care, after school programs and summer camps.  I am eager to connect with families and become part of Red Caboose’s quintessentially Madison story while collaborating with our staff and community partners to write the next chapter.

Lisa Fiala Profile Picture

Lisa Fiala

Project Administrator


I have been with Red Caboose for many years in various roles including School Age Program Director, Executive Director and now Project Administrator.  I am excited to be working on Red Caboose’s new facility project and our New Tracks Capital Campaign to make it happen.


Wendy 2

Wendy Rakower

Director Emeritus


I served as the Executive Director at Red Caboose for many years.  I am grateful to continue to support Red Caboose’s development efforts.



Crystal Ranson

Preschool Program Director, Board Member (non-voting)


I am passionate about Early Childhood Education and creating a safe, warm environment for all children and families. I have been in the field for over 15 years with experience in school age and in the preschool classroom. I am most excited about Red Caboose’s mission and helping to advance our anti-bias curriculum and diversity.

LauraLaura Rogers

School-Age Program Director, Board Member (non-voting)


I am the School Age Program Director. I have been working with school age children since 2005. In 2012 I earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. I was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania.



Administrative Team

Jen RoughenJennifer Roughen

Billing Coordinator


Joining the administrative team at Red Caboose is an opportunity to combine my accounting experience and my child care experience.  I am looking forward to working with and supporting all of our Red Caboose families.


Michelle Santek

Michelle Santek

Enrollment Coordinator / Teacher


I have been working with children and families for 20 years.  I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and recently completed a Master’s degree program in public administration and non-profit management.




Nutrition Program Team

Tyler JensenTyler Jensen

Nutritional Coordinator


My two biggest passions are working with children and using my culinary skills to share nutritious and delicious food with others, which is why Red Caboose is the perfect fit.  I have a degree in elementary special education and learned classical French cooking  from Minneapolis chef Sarah Master and other mentors along the way.  In addition to preparing the daily meals and snacks, I am looking forward to doing some teaching about foods and cooking in the Red Caboose programs.

Rachael WalkerRachel Walker

Summer Nutrition Assistant

I grew up in Racine and moved to Madison in 2005.  At that time I started working in the food service department with the Madison Metropolitan School District and have been there ever since.  During the summers I enjoy working at Red Caboose, helping to prepare all of the additional meals for our Camp Caboose program.



Preschool Program Teams

Turtle Room Team

RC_Heiman_Cheryl_01081Cheryl Heiman

Turtle Room (11-24 mo.) Lead Teacher, Board Member


I have been a teacher with Red Caboose since 1974 and have been the Lead Teacher in the Turtle Room for most of those years.  Things have changed over the years, but our commitment to providing exceptional care and early childhood education continues.



Kathy Barkus

Turtle Room (11-24 mo.) Teacher

I have over 25 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. I am fortunate to have worked with a vast and diverse population of children over the years. I earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and graduated with high academic honors.




Morgan Cutler

Turtle Room (11-24 mo.) Teacher

I have been working in the early childcare field for a few years. I recently graduated from Madison College with an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. A couple of years ago I got recommended to come and work at Red Caboose, and I have been here ever since.



Elephant Room Team

Katie Draeving

Elephant Room (2-3 yrs.) Lead Teacher


I have been working with children for over 20 years and have been with Red Caboose since 2015.  I enjoy craft projects and hobbies like sewing.



Kristi Cherry

Elephant Room (2-3 yrs.) Teacher

I have more than 10 years of experience in Early Childhood Education and started at Red Caboose in 2019.  I live in Evansville with my dog and two cats.  I have an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology and love football, especially the Green Bay Packers.



Bumblebee Room Team

Heidi SHeidi Schaaf

Bumblebee Room (3-4 yrs.) Lead Teacher


I have been in the field since 1999 and started at Red Caboose in 2002. In 2007, I left to spend time raising a child and worked at another center here in Madison. I returned to Red Caboose in June of this year.  I continue to study Early Childhood Education (ECE) at UW Milwaukee’s School of Education, where I most recently earned the Leadership Credential.

AlafiaAlafia Coker

Bumblebee Room (3-4 yrs.) Teacher

I am a Raleigh, NC native with a strong passion for helping others and working with my community. After 6 years of caregiving in North Carolina and Maine, I moved to the Madison area in the spring of 2020. I come from 3 generations of educators and community leaders and I am excited to continue that legacy here in Madison. I strive to create a fun environment where our Bumblebees can appreciate the true power of community and learn to support each other using self awareness, collaboration, and other skills used in our anti bias curriculum.

Liza 1Liza Diamond

Bumblebee Room (3-4 yrs.) Teacher

I am enrolled in the the Early Childhood Education program at Madison College.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Red Caboose program. I am very creative and organized, and have enjoyed working with various ages of children. My most memorable experience working with kids is when I worked three full summers at a camp program.  My long term goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.


Grasshopper Room Team


Catherine Morse

Grasshopper Room (4-5 yrs.) Lead 4K Teacher


I am excited to work with with this amazing group of children and our experienced and talented team of Grasshopper Teachers. I have a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and completed the coursework required by the Department of Public Instruction to serve as the Red Caboose 4K Teacher. We will continue established classroom routines and goals and will implement creative new projects and hands-on activities.


Grasshopper Room (4-5 yrs.) Teacher

I have been an early childhood educator for over twenty-eight years! For seventeen of those years I was a Teacher in the Grasshopper Room here at Red Caboose and am very excited to return. Every day there are new things to discover about this world, inside the classroom and outside. I get to really know each child in my care, mostly by using my sense of humor, knowledge of art, and by really listening to the kids. There’s no other job like it, and nowhere I’d rather be!

MIchelle L-ZMichelle LeSage-Zietz

Grasshopper Room (4-5 yrs.) Teacher

I have worked as a before and after school Lead Teacher and summer Counselor. I  have also been a 4K Assistant Teacher and discovered this is one of my favorite age groups to work with! I have an Applied Associates of Occupational Therapy degree which has helped me work with children with a variety of behaviors challenges. I really enjoy the challenges of working with children on a daily basis.



School Age Program Teams

Lapham After School Program Team

Sydney Warwood 3Sydney Warwood

Lapham After School Site Supervisor


I have been part of Red Caboose since 2018. I am most proud of the variety of my work with kids for the past 8 years, ranging from lead teacher at an accredited daycare to substitute teaching at all grade levels. I earned a Bachelors in Education from University of Montana-Missoula, and happy to be living in Madison now! My mission as a supervisor and in my work with kids is to treat everyone with respect and care, and to ensure that everyone is included and celebrated in our community.

Dylan Barnes

Dylan Barnes

Lapham After School Teacher

Bio coming soon.




Freida Escamilla

Freida Escamilla

Lapham After School Teacher

Bio coming soon.




LeightonLeighton Faul

Lapham After School Teacher

I’m the oldest of three younger siblings and grew up learning patience and responsibility for caring for children. I have worked since 2016 as a snowboard instructor for kids.  I have loved working with kids so much!  It requires patience and compassion to put the effort into teaching these kids how to ski and snowboard.  They feel so good about themselves and so accomplished and I love being a part of that.


Mari LaFore

Mari LaFore

Lapham After School Teacher

Bio coming soon.




Meghan Prudlow 1Meghan Prudlow

Lapham After School Teacher

I am a Sophomore at UW Madison studying Elementary Education and Education Studies. I worked in child care for the last year.  I did two years of classroom placements, and spent three summers working as a camp counselor. I am very excited to get to know all of our students this year.



AlyssaAlyssa Wolf

Lapham After School Teacher

One of my favorite things about working with children is being able to watch them grow and blossom. I look forward to assisting with that growth and supporting this development through play. I have experience working with children in many settings including summer camps, nannying, volunteering with individuals with multiple abilities, and supporting children in a hospital setting. I am currently working towards my master’s degree in Child Life at Edgewood College with the intent of becoming a Child Life Specialist.

Sonam Id photoSonam Yangchen

Lapham After School Teacher

I was an After School Teacher at Lapham a few years ago and am excited to be returning to Red Caboose! I have a Bachelor of Education degree and taught school age children for many years in India.




Marquette After School Program Team

Beth Feeney

Beth Feeney

Marquette Interim After School Site Supervisor


I am a Madison native who recently moved back from Los Angeles with my daughter. I have a degree in Secondary Education from UW-Whitewater, and have been working with youth of all ages for over 12 years in various capacities and regions of the country, including Brooklyn, NY and San Diego, CA. I joined the Red Caboose team during Camp Caboose and am the Interim Site Supervisor for Marquette Elementary’s After School Program. I am happy to be here and look forward to the year ahead!

KCKC Gilbertson

Marquette After School Site Supervisor, Board Member

I have been working with children and families for many years and have been with Red Caboose since 2008. I have a degree in social work and am currently taking a leave of absence. I am looking forward to returning to Red Caboose after the new year.



Jamie CJamie Cunningham

Marquette After School Teacher

I have worked in child care settings for two years. I work with children to help influence and guide them into successful adults in the future. I’m looking forward to creating relationships and connections with the children and families. Children experience a range of emotions and I look forward to helping them learn to express them.



Jasper Harth

Marquette After School Teacher

I have been working in education for two years. I taught English in Vietnam, was an AVID tutor at Memorial High School, and a Site Supervisor with MSCR. My goal is to earn a master’s of education degree and continue work in education.



TeannaTeanna Holman

Marquette After School Teacher

I have been working with children for about three years.  During the school day I work with the school district and am excited to join the After School team at Red Caboose in the afternoons. I love working with the kids and learning their personalities. My favorite thing to do is playing sports and watching football.


Ciara Nash 2Ciara Nash

Marquette After School Teacher

I have been with Red Caboose since 2018. I was program leader with MSCR for 3 years. I am studying and have done volunteer work in art therapy. I have also done administrative work with Dane Arts and the Goodman Community Center. I want to be the person and teacher I never had growing up while attending after-school programs and community centers.  I am looking forward to building relationships with the students and families.


Denel StrangstalienDenel Strangstalien

Marquette After School Teacher

I am working with children because I love watching them grow into wonderful people and enjoy the activities and experiences that happen in the process.  I have been working with children for six years.  I have a varied background, including autism behavioral therapy for ages 2-5, pre-k, and birth to twelve, as well as nutritional coordination in a day care setting.  I am looking forward to learning what makes each child unique.