Meet the Regional Team
Behind every great teacher is a team to support them.
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.
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.
Hello! I started working for the Learning Tree in January of 2012 at the South Lyon location. My career started as a Pre-K assistant, then transitioned to being the Lead Teacher of the Pre-K classroom in September of 2012. I was the Lead Teacher for over three years in South Lyon.
I am thrilled to be working at all five locations within the transitional preschool through Pre-K programs as the Curriculum Director, helping teachers with training, curriculum, program quality, and more! I love working with this age and have so much fun seeing the children grow and develop! In my free time, I enjoy triathlons, rock climbing, photography, serving at my church, and spending time with family and friends!
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! I have a daughter named Alexa who is attending MSU(Go Green!) and a 12 year old son named Christopher. Both of my children grew up at The Learning Tree! I have been with my husband for 25 years and we love spending time outside, entertaining, and doing things as a family. I also enjoy reading and Cooking!
My name is Erin Detavernier and I am the Director of Marketing at The Learning Tree! I am 24 years old and graduated with my Bachelor’s in Communication and Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. When finishing high school and attending college I worked as an Assistant Teacher at another childcare facility. Also, while attending college I worked as a Marketing Specialist for a fitness facility and that is where I found that I had a big passion for marketing. After graduating college I worked as a marketing coordinator at a mobile app development company.
By having the chance to work as an Assistant Teacher in a childcare facility in my past, I found that my passion is being able to work with kids and to be apart a team that works to create the best environment for children to grow! With that being said, I am super excited to bring my marketing skills and become a part of The Learning Tree team!
Outside of work, I love enjoying the outdoors with being on the water boating, camping, and biking with family and friends!
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 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!
Mallary is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, she is studying Women's and Gender Studies and is minoring in Communication, Media and Theater Arts! Mallary loves seeing and participating in children's theater, she loves to play! Mallary has a colorful background in the education realm, she has taught toddler rooms, preschool, third grade, and has even taught all the way up to high school! She has been recruiting for the past 3 years and really loves what she does. Mallary enjoys recruiting because she loves helping find a place where they belong! Mallary also loves reading comic books. Fun fact, her favorite superhero is Batgirl! She is incredibly excited to start her journey at The Learning Tree and cannot wait to get know all of you!