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Meet Our Team

Board of Directors

rcboard@redcaboosechildcare.org

Aaron

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-G-300x300

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

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.

 


RC_Andrea_01021

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.

 

Administrative Team

Anderson

Jason Anderson

Executive Director, Board Member (non-voting)

director@redcaboosechildcare.org

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

admin@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.

 


RC_Kim_01010Kim Owens

Billing Coordinator

billing@redcaboosechildcare.org

I’ve been the Billing Coordinator here since 2013.  At Red Caboose, I feel like I’m part of something bigger than just sending out bills. Here I get to help families with their different funding sources, actively advocate for folks who need it, and be a part of Red Caboose’s inclusive mission in a really direct way. I also get to meet the very best families in Madison!


Michelle Santek

Michelle Santek

Enrollment Coordinator / Teacher

sapenroll@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.

 


Wendy 2

Wendy Rakower

Director Emeritus

emeritus@redcaboosechildcare.org

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

 

 

Nutrition Program

JoshJosh Patch

Nutritional Coordinator

rc-nc@redcaboosechildcare.org

I have been cooking professionally for over 14 years. I have lived in the Madison area my whole life. I am married and I have a six year old son. Besides cooking, I have started to hone my handyman skills around the house.  I am very excited to be joining the Red Caboose Team!

 

 

Preschool Program Team

Crystal

Crystal Ranson

Preschool Program Director, Board Member (non-voting)

ppd@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.


RC_Heiman_Cheryl_01081Cheryl Heiman

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

turtles@redcaboosechildcare.org

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

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

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.

 

 


Katie Draeving

Elephant Room (2-3 yrs.) Lead Teacher

elephants@redcaboosechildcare.org

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

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.

 

 


 

HeidiHeidi Anderson

Elephant Room (2-3 yrs.) Teacher

I have worked at summer camps as a counselor, wrangler, village leader and ropes course facilitator. I have also been an after school teacher’s aide, youth mentor, a Sunday school teacher, and a CNA.  I started with Red Caboose as a Classroom Leader supporting virtual learning with kindergarten students and am looking forward to new adventures with the children and families at the child care center.

 


Heidi SHeidi Schaaf

Bumblebee Room (3-4 yrs.) Lead Teacher

bumblebees@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.

 


Catherine

Catherine Morse

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

grasshoppers@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.


STAFF_SZUCH_LEIGH00068Leigh Szuch

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!


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Adam Bower

Teacher

I have been working at Red Caboose since 2015. I am a huge Wisconsin sports fan, especially the Green Bay Packers. In my free time I enjoy training for and running marathons, playing soccer, and reading. I am currently taking a leave of absence to complete my Bachelor of Science in Education: Major of Early Childhood Education and will be graduating in May.

 


MIchelle L-ZMichelle LeSage-Zietz

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 Team

LauraLaura Rogers

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

school.age@redcaboosechildcare.org

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.

 


KCKC Gilbertson

Camp Caboose Camp Director, Marquette Site Supervisor, Board Member

marquette@redcaboosechildcare.org

I am the After School Site Supervisor at Marquette Elementary and have a degree in social work. I have been working with children and families for many years and have been with Red Caboose since 2008.

 


KatieKatie Flores

Camp Caboose Shooting Star Captain

I have a degree in Art Therapy from Edgewood College. I did an internship engaging school children in a community art project. I have also co-led art workshops for young adults with intellectual disabilities.

 

 


Jasper

Jasper Harth

Camp Caboose Comet Captain

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.

 


Jaden

Jaden Lechelt

Camp Caboose Comet Captain

I have experience as a coach and group leader at the YMCA, and am excited to be making new friends and spending the day with students in the learning room and the home room.

 

 


Sydney

Sydney Warwood

Camp Caboose Shooting Star Captain

I have a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Montana – Missoula.  I have experience teaching both preschool and elementary school age children.

 

 


MichelaMichela Mosconi

Camp Caboose Comet Captain

I genuinely love spending my time with kids and want to be able to make a positive impact on their lives. I recently graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in psychology and plan to become a school psychologist. I volunteered at elementary schools in their after school programs throughout my time in college. This summer I look forward to all of the cooking projects we are going to do as well as going swimming!

 


CiaraCiara Nash

Camp Caboose Comet Captain

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 campers and to summer field trips!

 


Jenny Jenny Heck

Camp Caboose Shooting Star AM Counselor

 

 

 

 


Ellie Ellie Engeldinger

Camp Caboose Shooting Star PM Counselor

My name is Ellie and I’m really excited to be working with your kids this summer! I’ve always had a passion for supporting kids and watching them grow. I find that kids can often teach adults a lot more than we give them credit for. Some of my greatest life lessons were learned when spending time with children. I looking forward to camp for many reasons, but mostly being able to create friendships with your kids and help them enjoy their time at camp. Camp is such a pivotal moment in a child’s social development and I’m thrilled to be a part of that! There are so many great activities, projects, and field trips that Camp Caboose has to offer, which makes me even more excited for the upcoming months. My past experiences with children include being a teacher assistant in a special education classroom, babysitting throughout my childhood, and volunteering at various events throughout the community. All those experiences have solidified my love for working with kids. I’m ecstatic to meet your child and create long-lasting memories.

 


Alyssa Alyssa Wolf

Camp Caboose Comet AM Counselor

Whether it be past internship positions at a theatre camp, working as a nanny, supporting children in a hospital setting, or just hanging out with my nieces and nephews, I have always surrounded myself with children. One of my favorite things is being able to watch a child grow and blossom into the person they are meant to be. Being able to assistant and support that growth is why I love working with children. This summer I am looking forward to creating long-lasting connections and memories at camp. I know that my camp experiences growing up have always stuck with me throughout time, so I want to be able to provide those same experiences for our campers. As a current Child Life student at Edgewood College, I aspire to continue working with children into my future.

 


Denel StrangstalienDenel Strangstalien

Camp Caboose Comet PM Counselor

 

 

 

 


Jamie CJamie Cunningham

Camp Caboose Shooting Star Float

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 campers. Campers experience a range of emotions and I look forward to helping them learn to express them. I’m especially looking forward to swimming trips!

 


BridgetBridget Brodolo

Camp Caboose Comet Float

I am working with kids for a plethora of reasons. I love that no day is ever the same. I learn a lot from children. From their creativity to their (sometimes brutal) honesty, I feel like I learn something new every day. Working with children is extremely rewarding. I love seeing the smiles on all of their faces! The thing I am looking forward most at camp are the field trips. I have lived in Madison for four years now, and I know that this place has so much to offer. I can’t wait to experience new things with the campers! I have a major in psychology, with a heavy concentration of classes in child psychology. I have previously been a camp counselor, and I was an Irish Dance teacher for four years! I have younger siblings too, and my mom loved “putting me in charge” when she needed a break.

 


EvaEva Lazarus

Camp Caboose Assistant Nutrition Coordinator

I am helping to make sure Camp Caboose campers receive healthy meals and snacks all summer long.