Meet The Administration Team

Behind every great teacher is a team to support them.

Andrea Majewski

Regional Director

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Andrea Majewski
Regional Director
I love being part of such an amazing company that cares about each family and staff that are part of each school. I’ve had the opportunity to hold several positions at The Learning Tree; Teacher, Assistant Director, Director and since 2012, Regional Director. My Regional Director duties involve supporting our classroom quality and curriculum with Curriculum Directors and Teachers, also, I manage all of the marketing at The Learning Tree. I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Special Education. I currently enjoy furthering my education and training by being an active member of several national business and marketing groups, as well as attending curriculum conferences throughout the year.

My co-workers know that my favorite part of being a Regional Director (besides
being paperless) is my passion for supporting teachers and making The Learning Tree more fun with their ideas and feedback. I also have a huge passion for Highscope Curriculum and enjoy training staff on all parts of Highscope. I love that I get to be part of a team that is excited about true quality for child development. Together, we continue to improve the quality of our program and it’s important to me that we are continuously striving to be better. I don’t have an office so I am always out and about at a different location every day, hands on, with our team. I love to read the news and write about anything! Traveling out of state just to go on a hike is one of my favorite things to do. I love the state of California, but I love exploring Michigan even more.

Karen Ballard

Regional Director

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Karen Ballard
Regional Director
My name is Karen Ballard and I began my career with The Learning Tree in August of 1998 as a Head Teacher in a toddler classroom. My passion for early childhood education was fueled in that class and my love for children and their families grew. In June of 2002 I switched gears a bit and transferred to The South Lyon Learning Tree as the Center Director. It was as a Director that I became enthusiastic about watching children and teachers grow and learn. In December of 2003, I was given the opportunity to be Regional Director, overseeing the operations of all three Learning Trees.

As Regional Director, I have the pleasure of traveling from center to center throughout the week, talking with parents, training the administration at each center and I still find the time to do what I love most – play with the children! This past September, I opened The Learning Tree’s newest center as the Director of The Learning Tree—West!

I graduated from William Tyndale College in December of 1998 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and am continuing my education at Madonna University.

I have a five-year-old daughter, Olivia and when I am not at work we enjoy playing princess, having tea parties and practicing our ballerina skills! We recently took a trip to Disney where we met many Disney princesses! I also love being outside in the sunshine and crafting it up!

I look forward to being a part of each child’s early learning experience and know that The Learning Tree is the perfect fit for you and your family.

Jason Verbison

Jason Verbison

Facility Manager

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Jason Verbison
Facility Manager
Jason has been part of The Learning Tree team since 2017 as the Facility Manager. Prior to that, he was a locksmith for Howell Public Schools for 16 years. Jason has an eye for detail and high quality that keeps our buildings in top shape. He manages all landscape, exterior and interior maintenance needs for our buildings. He responds quickly to center needs and his favorite part of his career at The Learning Tree is keeping projects moving forward, which fits with our company value of continuous improvement.

Jason is actively involved in a local antique tractor club and enjoys spending summer weekends camping with his family; his wife of 24 years, and 3 children.

Valerie Sabo

Valerie Sabo

Payables Manager

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Valerie Sabo
Payables Manager
I began my career with The Learning Tree in 2007 and have held various roles within the company. I was accepted into the company as Lead Transitional Preschool Teacher and quickly moved into the role of Director of our Livonia South location. In August of 2011 I had my first son, Landon, and took a leave from the company. That
leave turned into an opportunity to work from home as part of the Accounts Payable team. In 2015 I had my second son, Alex, and shortly after became the Payables Manager and returned to the office full time. I had my daughter, Abigail in 2019 and since then have had many opportunities to wear various hats within the company and enjoy all of them. Aside from the behind-the-scenes office work you can find me in all our locations, classrooms and kitchens making sure that we are providing the highest quality care to your children and family.

Outside of The Learning Tree, you can find me on the sidelines of my son’s football activities, working on some type of DIY project in our home and spending Michigan summers up north on the lake!

regional staff

Kim Avendt

Enrollment Specialist

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Kim Avendt
Enrollment Specialist
I started at The Learning Tree in 2001 and have worn many hats! When you hear that The Learning Tree promotes within the company and likes to mentor their employees to grow with them; I am sure proof! I started as an assistant teacher and then moved up to become a lead preschool teacher. I then moved into the lead school age teacher position and helped during day camp with field trips and transporting children. I saw myself growing with the company and moved up to become the staff trainer. I stayed in this position for a short time and quickly moved up to become the assistant director. In 2005 I was promoted to the Director. Being a Director, my favorite part of my job was always giving tours and talking to prospective families about The Learning Tree; I always said that if I could create my perfect job it would be giving tours every day! Well, that is exactly what I get to do now! I talk to prospective parents about all 5 of our amazing centers, the quality care we provide the children in our care, and what they can expect while their child is enrolled at our centers. I love making that first connection with a parent and finding out what their needs are and how The Learning Tree is going to accommodate their needs and more!

When I am not talking to parents about how amazing The Learning Tree is you can find me with my family! Daughter Alexa graduated from MSU 2020 (Go Green) my son Christopher is 17 and is a future Spartan! Both of my children grew up at The Learning Tree! I have been with my husband for 29 years and we love spending time outside, entertaining, and doing things as a family. I also enjoy reading and Cooking!

Erin Blatchford

Marketing Director

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Erin Blatchford
Marketing Director
Hi there, my name is Erin Blatchford and I am the Director of Marketing for The Learning Tree. I started working at The Learning Tree in 2019 and graduated with my Bachelors in Communications and Marketing from Eastern Michigan University in
2018.

When growing up, I always worked in childcare and have always loved being apart and watching children grow. While attending college, I worked as a Marketing Specialist at a fitness facility and that is where I found that I have a big passion for marketing. I love working for The Learning Tree and being able to bring together my passion for marketing and working with children.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and our golden retriever! We love the outdoors, being out on the boat, camping, and biking with family and
friends.

Amber Siderner

Curriculum Director

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Amber Siderner
Curriculum Director
Hello, My name is Amber! I am beyond excited to work for a company that supports
my passion for early childhood education! I have been working for The Learning Tree for eight years and truly have grown alongside the children, my colleagues, and my friends! I was first hired as an assistant teacher in the preschool program and have grown throughout the years to now be the curriculum director for our transitional preschool, preschool & pre-K classrooms. Curriculum and creativity have always been my passions, so this has been the perfect fit! As curriculum director I conduct classroom observations, training, and in classroom coaching. The area of curriculum I am most passionate about is problem solving! With children it is never a “one size fits all” and I truly enjoy working alongside teachers coming up with solutions, training, and trying out new strategies to involve the children in this process. I hope to see you at The Learning Tree!

Alexis McNett

Curriculum Director

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Alexis McNett
Curriculum Director
Hello, I am Alexis and I am the Infant and Toddler Regional Curriculum Director! I started working at the Learning Tree in February of 2013. When I started I was an Assistant in the Toddler classroom at our South Lyon location. Since then I have worn many hats including – Infant Lead, Program Specialist, Assistant Director, CDA Coach and Center Director. Working side by side with the teachers and supporting their passion for curriculum is where I find my joy. The teachers that work with us are amazing and I feel lucky to get to be part of their training and growth within the company. Since I started my journey I also married my incredible husband Ian in 2016 and we welcomed two daughters, Lilian in 2017 and Charlotte in 2020. I am beyond fortunate to have such supportive Regional Directors and an Owner who have seen and supported how my life has changed and helped my career grow through the
years. In my free time I love spending time with my family and friends and taking weekend getaways!

teacher

Randi Fons

Howell Director

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Randi Fons
Howell Director
Hi everyone! My name is Maranda (Randi) Buell and I am so excited to say that I am the director at the Howell Learning Tree! I have always had the strongest passion for working with children. I have worked for The Learning Tree for a little over three years now and couldn’t imagine a better place to call home. I began as the Infant 2 Assistant Teacher. I then received my CDA and became the Lead Teacher in our Infant 1 classroom. Soon after, I was given a wonderful opportunity of being our Infant Specialist for all five of our centers. I went to college and graduated this past January with my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development. Once I graduated, I started a brand new role of being our Hiring Specialist, and was able to do our hiring for the entire company! I now am beyond ecstatic to be back with my family at Howell as the director!

As for my life personally, I live with my boyfriend and our two cats in Holly. I love to spend my free time working out, playing sports, and enjoying time with friends and family. I come from a small family of just my dad, mom, my brother and me. One of my greatest blessings is being an aunt to the most adorable little three year old girl! Words cannot explain the excitement I have to continue growing with all of the incredible families and staff here at The Learning Tree!

Heather Deskins

Howell Assistant Director
& School Age Director

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Heather Deskins
Howell Assistant Director & School Age Director
Hello! My name is Heather Deskins and I am The Learning Tree’s Director of Teacher Development and the School Age Program Director for all 5 (almost 6) locations! I started my Learning Tree journey way back in 2014 when I was hired as a Day Camp assistant teacher! Since then, I have worn a few different hats within the Learning tree including Pre-K assistant, Pre-K lead teacher, and even substitute teacher! Through the Learning Tree, I found my love and passion for working with young children, so much so that I choose to go back to school to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education! In January 2020, I took a hiatus to spend some time with my oldest daughter McKenzi, and the newest addition to our family, Vivian! We spent some quality time at home as a family, and in December 2021 I chose to
return to my home and was welcomed back with some new positions! I now get to
take my passion for working with kiddos and help our fantastic teachers and learn and grow with The Learning Tree as well! In my free time, my family and I love getting outdoors, going camping, disc golfing, fishing and just hanging out! I am a huge fan of books, and also love reading! I am so excited to be a part of The Learning Tree family, as well as getting to know your family and kiddos!

Tay Abner

South Lyon Director

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Tay Abner
South Lyon Director

Hi Learning Tree Family! My name is Tay and I am the director here at LT-South Lyon. I have a CDA in Infant and Toddler. I am also currently working on my Associates Degree in child development at Washtenaw Community College. I have worked for The Learning Tree for 8 years. I started my journey at The Learning Tree as an Assistant Toddler Teacher and moved up the Career ladder to Preschool Lead and Toddler Lead Teacher.

In my spare time I like to read, do puzzles, and crafts. I also love to spend time with my three fur babies, Ryder, Stormy, and Tux. I come from a big family so I spend lots of time with my sisters and my nieces and nephews.

Savannah Edmondson-Klump

Livonia-West Director

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Savannah Edmondson-Klump
Livonia-West Director
Hi Everyone! My name is Savannah and I’m the director here at The Learning Tree West! I graduated from Grand Valley State University (Go Lakers!) with my bachelor’s degree in English and Elementary Education. I started my career in early childhood with The Learning Tree in 2018 as a Young 5’s teacher. I spent two years helping prepare our oldest children for Kindergarten. I also spent two years as the assistant director at our North location before finding my home as the director here at West.

I grew up in Northern Michigan and moved to metro Detroit a few years ago with my husband Trevor, and our fur baby, Jackson. While we love our life here, I have to say I sure do miss living on Lake Michigan! When I’m not at work, you’ll find me hiking, traveling, cheering on my favorite sports teams, spending time with family and friends, and always trying to catch a sunset.

Kayla Lange

Livonia-West Assistant Director

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Kelly Agee
Livonia North Assistant Director
My name is Kelly Agee and I am the Assistant Director at The Learning Tree North and have been working for The Learning Tree since 2013. I started my journey at the South location as an assistant teacher and worked my way up to lead teacher, assistant director and then director. After I had my son in 2019 I stepped down and went back to a teacher position where I came to North to be in the GSRP program. After a couple of years I stepped back into the assistant director position and have been here since 2021.

I have been married since 2017 to my husband Robert and we have two children,
Connor who was born in 2019 and Madeleine who was born in 2020. We love spending time with our kids and taking them to fun different places like the zoo and museums.

Stephanie Girard

Livonia-North Director

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Stephanie Girard
Livonia-North Director
HI, my name is Stephanie Girard and I am the Assistant Director at The Learning Tree West. I graduated from Owens Community College in 2005 with my Associate in Early Childhood Education and I haven’t looked back. Since then I have maintained my learning in the Early Childhood Education field by attending courses through Purdue Global University. I started with The Learning Tree South in January of 2020 as a Pre-K Lead Teacher and then moved into the Lead Teaching position for our Great Start Readiness Program. I have since found my new home here as the Assistant Director at West.

I grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio and moved to Michigan in 2019. I have two wonderful boys Alexander (14) & Chase (12) and an amazing husband Eric who has a
daughter Sydney (13). When I am not at work you can find me camping, fishing, golfing, hiking and searching for beach glass here on our beautiful shores of Lake Eerie.

Kelly Agee

Livonia North Assistant Director

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Kelly Agee
Livonia North Assistant Director
My name is Kelly Agee and I am the Assistant Director at The Learning Tree North and have been working for The Learning Tree since 2013. I started my journey at the South location as an assistant teacher and worked my way up to lead teacher, assistant director and then director. After I had my son in 2019 I stepped down and went back to a teacher position where I came to North to be in the GSRP program. After a couple of years I stepped back into the assistant director position and have been here since 2021.

I have been married since 2017 to my husband Robert and we have two children,
Connor who was born in 2019 and Madeleine who was born in 2020. We love spending time with our kids and taking them to fun different places like the zoo and museums.

Brenda Rudnick

Brenda Rudnick

Livionia-South Director

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Ian Jamieson
Lead Chef
I joined The Learning Tree Team in 2010 as a cook and have enjoyed seeing our kitchens and menus change into what they are today. I am currently the head chef and oversee the kitchens and cooks within our 5 centers. You can find me in all of our kitchens as I travel from center to center to support our cooks.

Debbie Brooks

Livonia-South Assistant Director

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Ian Jamieson
Lead Chef
I joined The Learning Tree Team in 2010 as a cook and have enjoyed seeing our kitchens and menus change into what they are today. I am currently the head chef and oversee the kitchens and cooks within our 5 centers. You can find me in all of our kitchens as I travel from center to center to support our cooks.

Ian Jamieson

Lead Chef

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Ian Jamieson
Lead Chef
I joined The Learning Tree Team in 2010 as a cook and have enjoyed seeing our kitchens and menus change into what they are today. I am currently the head chef and oversee the kitchens and cooks within our 5 centers. You can find me in all of our kitchens as I travel from center to center to support our cooks.

Ashley Joustra

CDA Coach

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Ashley Joustra
CDA Coach
Hi Learning Tree Families! My name is Ashley and I am so excited to be rejoining the Learning Tree team! I worked in the infant and toddler programs at our Livonia North location a few years back and am so happy to be back with the company. I have my Bachelor’s in Spanish and I recently completed my Master’s in Early Childhood Inclusive Education. I am working as a curriculum coach, and I love helping support our teachers. I am passionate about inclusion and making sure every child has access to an education. I live in Plymouth with my husband and our pets. We are expecting our first baby in just a few months. Outside of work I enjoy traveling, hiking, and baking. I am so excited to be back at The Learning Tree!

Autumn Barker

Howell Assistant Director

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Autumn Barker
Howell Assistant Director

I started at the Learning Tree in March 2022 as a Lead Pre K teacher. Working with kids is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and being here has helped me fulfill that dream.

In 2018, I graduated from Concordia University in Ann Arbor with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I married my husband in January 2022 and we enjoy spending our time with our dog and updating our old farmhouse. I love to read books and spend time with family any chance I can get.

Kaitlynn Suggs

Livonia South Director

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Kaitlynn Suggs
Livonia South Director
Hi There, my name is Kaitlynn Suggs and I am the Director at The Learning Tree South! I started working as a lead teacher at Learning Tree North in 2017 and have grown in my career to become the Director at The Learning Tree South!

I grew up in Southeastern Ohio and then moved to West Virginia for college. I
graduated from West Virginia University in 2013 with a bachelor’s in child
development and Family Studies with a birth-Pre-K emphasis. I have always wanted
to work with children from a young age and when I started working in the child care
setting I fell in love with the different age groups and have never left! I started
working in child care in college as a floater and soon found my way from substitute to assistant teacher to lead teacher. I have worked with different age groups from toddlers to preschool throughout the years. When my husband got a job in Michigan in 2017 I found the Learning Tree and started as a toddler teacher, then moved to TPS. I am a mom of two kids who keep me pretty busy. When we have the chance, we enjoy going on bike rides as a family and baking together.

Our Programs

6 weeks to 12 months

12 months to 2 years

2 1/2 to 3 and potty trained

3 and potty trained to 4 years

4 and 5 years old

(at Howell, North and South only)
4 year old state-funded program