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Meet Our Staff

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Amira Mohammed

Closing Manager

My name is Amira and I'm the Closing Manager at NICCS. I moved to Canada from Ethiopia with my husband and two children in 1995. I have worked in childcare for over 10 years and I have loved every minute of it. Of the 13 languages we speak at NICCS, I speak 5: Oromo, Haaric, Arabic, English and Amharic. NICCS is multicultural and I am able to help new families translate, which makes them feel home here. My favourite thing about working with children is watching them learn and learning what
interests them.

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Kristina Pullin

Team Member

Hi my name is Kristina. I have worked at NICCS daycare for 11 years. I have an ECE Level 1 and I also finished the FLIGHT Course from MacEwan University in 2021. I have worked in every classroom. I have also enjoyed volunteering for Brooks High School and Brooks Preschool. I was born and raised here in Brooks. I have two beautiful daughters who are 3 and 6 years old. What I enjoy most is being outdoors and doing things like camping and fishing. I also enjoy walking and traveling. I love childcare because every day I am learning new and creative ways to teach and having the experience to teach a child is incredibly rewarding.

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Nasim Akhtar

Team Member

My name is Nasim. I have been working as a Child Development Supervisor at NICCS since 2008. I have a Bachelor of Education and I was a school teacher in Pakistan for 29 years. Here in Alberta, I have an ECE Level 3 certification. I have completed the FLIGHT (Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework) Course from MacEwan University in June 2022.

I enjoy absolutely everything about working with children. I love spending all day with them and I love each and every child like my own. I am very friendly with co- workers, children and families. I communicate in four languages such as Urdu, English, Punjabi and Arabic. My favourite part about my job is watching children explore and learn new things. To me, it’s a blessing to watch children playing and growing. In my spare time, I enjoy sewing and helping people in the community, and taking care of my friends and family.

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Navpreet Kaur

Program Coordinator

My name is Navpreet Kaur and I am the Program Coordinator at NICCS. I was born in Punjab, which is located in northern India. I have completed my Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and Masters in Political Science. I have an ECE Level 3 certification and have also completed the FLIGHT Course from MacEwan University, AB. I taught high school in India for 6 years. I moved to Brooks, Alberta in 2014. I worked at the Plains Motel for 2 years and in 2016 I began working at NICCS. I also worked at the Parent Link Centre here in Brooks from November 2019 to March 2020. I love the opportunity to work with children and shape adults tomorrow.

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Verlynn Keeping

Program Director

Hi my name is Verlynn and I am the Program Director here at NICCS.
I am originally from Newfoundland and moved to Brooks 14 years ago. I have my Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Small business management, bookkeeping certificate, plus many more child care related courses. I have 15 plus years experience working in a daycare environment. I have also completed the Alberta Early Learning Curriculum Course (FLIGHT) from MacEwan University in 2021. My family is my world. I have been married for 18 years and we have a wonderful son who is the light of our lives. We enjoy camping, game nights and family gatherings. A few years ago I decided to leave my job as a child care worker to try something new. Even though I enjoyed my new position I always felt like something was missing. I have realized that helping children is where my heart is. I am so thankful to NICCS for giving me a second opportunity to do what I love doing, caring for children!

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Hannah Potyra

Team Member

Hi, my name is Hannah Potyra and I’m currently working in the Preschool Room. I’ve always been the kind of person that loves to help and be around children, starting as a child when my mom ran her own day home. I have an ECE Level 1 certification, and is currently pursuing my Early Learning and Child Care at Lakeland College in order to obtain my ECE Level 2 certification. I have also completed the FLIGHT Course from MacEwan University in 2021.

I’ve been working with children for the last 14 years, starting with babysitting, working in elementary classrooms, and now in a daycare setting. I’ve nannied in Brisbane Australia and in Limerick Ireland and I’m always looking for my next adventure. When I’m not working with kids I love to travel, spend time with my family, read, hike, and do puzzles. I love that I get to be a part of helping the kids explore and learn new things every day and that I get to enjoy a positive environment with the kids.

The ladies at NICCS have been so warm and welcoming since I’ve joined the team which has made this transition so amazingly easy! I couldn’t ask for better bosses and coworkers. Thank you to the parents for letting me be a part of your children’s lives. I can’t wait to get to know everyone!

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Insha Shahzad

Team Member

Hello, my name is Insha Shahzad. I was born in Punjab, Pakistan. Before coming to Canada, I used to teach Math in a primary school in Pakistan. I moved to Brooks in 2016. I live with my husband and two sons. I have completed Bachelor in Arts from University of Punjab, Pakistan. I completed my Certificate in Montessori and Diploma in Early Learning and Childcare. I also have completed the FLIGHT (Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework) Course from MacEwan University in June 2022.

I started my first ever job in Canada as an early childhood educator here at NICCS in 2018 and feel lucky to have such nice co-workers. I love to work with children because they bring joy to me and I enjoy making positive changes in their lives.

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Malaisy Sirisavath

Team Member

My name is Malaisy and I was born in Laos. My family and I immigrated to Canada and settled in Alberta in 1980. I have two children, a daughter and a son who both attend Brooks Junior High School. I have been working in an early childhood setting for five years as a Level 1 Early Childhood Educator. I have completed the FLIGHT Course from MacEwan University in June 2022 and I'm currently pursuing my Level 2 at Lethbridge College. I enjoy working with children because I get to be a part of their developmental growth. I think it’s impressive to see not only physical growth but also personal growth in children. I have to smile at their defiance and emerging independence to become their full potential. Currently, I’m pursuing my part-time studies in Early Childhood Education. Personal growth is essential to me because we are always learning about ourselves and we should always thrive to be better versions of ourselves.

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Mary Anne Sarmiento

Team Member

My name is Mary-Anne. I’ve been in the teaching profession since 2005. I worked as a University Instructor in the Philippines for six years and as an Early Childhood Educator in Singapore for another six years before moving to Canada in 2017.

As for my professional qualifications, I hold an Alberta Teaching Certificate, a Professional Teacher License in the Philippines, an ECE Level 2 in Singapore, and an ECE Level 3 in Alberta. My educational qualifications include Master of Arts in Education (major in Science Education and Special Education), a Bachelor in Education (major in General Science), and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education (Focused on Teaching).

I was awarded a Certificate of Distinction by the Commission on Higher Education and Board for Professional Teachers, Philippines, when I topped the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in 2005. I was also given an Honour & Distinction Award by the Pangasinan State University, my alma mater then my employer, for being the top LET performer in the region.

I believe that each child is like a tiny seed. As an Early Childhood Educator, it is my responsibility to provide the right learning experiences and prepare a responsive learning environment that suits the need of each child under my care. Being an ECE is a very fulfilling craft for me.

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Taylor Harris

Executive Director

Hi, I am Taylor, and I am the Executive Director here at NICCS.
I have known since a very young age that early learning was my passion. I started working in a childcare center immediately after high school while simultaneously completing my post-secondary education.

Over the last 10 years working in childcare, I completed my Early Learning and Child Care Diploma program with honors. I had the opportunity to work in multiple centers in our region in various positions. I am always eager to learn, and I value constant professional and personal development. In 2021 I completed the FLIGHT course (Alberta’s early learning curriculum framework) along with my colleagues.

When I started leading the team at NICCS in 2019, I was immediately overwhelmed with the love and kindness I got from my team. I had never felt this kind of compassion at a workplace before. Once I met the families, children, and the Board, I felt such a high level of support and I quickly became passionate about helping NICCS become the high-quality learning center it is today.

My job is incredibly rewarding in so many ways. I often look around at all the children in the center and think of how honored I am that so many families trust me with their children, and what a privilege that is to play such a vital role in a child’s life during those critical early years. My proudest moment of being Executive Director at NICCS is when we were nominated for and took home the Non-Profit of the Year Award for 2021.

Other than being ED at NICCS, I also work with ARCQE as an early learning coach and I’m an active member of community and sector boards. In my free time I love hiking, fishing, biking and camping with my friends and family.

Welcome to our center!

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Isabel Valdez

Team Member

Hi, my name is Isabel Valdez. I was born in Tequila Jalisca, Mexico. I moved to Brooks in 2009. I live with my husband and my 3 girls. I have been working in childcare for 10 years. During my 10 years, I completed my Level 3 Certification.
Working with children is such a beautiful profession. The love and care you show children, it will teach them how to treat other people for the rest of their lives.

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Asiya Ali

Team Member

Hi, my name is Asiya. I was born in Somalia and raised in Ethiopia. I came to Canada in 2017 with my family. I enjoy playing badminton and volleyball in the summer. I attended school in Brooks and graduated at BCHS in 2022. I started working at NICCS in July 2022. While working at NICCS I registered for the Childcare Orientation Course and succeeded in receiving my Level 1 Certificate. I have gained significant experience working with others, as well as finding my passion in childcare. I love working with children, exploring with them and learning about them and their families.

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Kassie Negenman

Team Member

Hi! My name is Kassie Negenman. I am currently an Educator in the Pre-Kindergarten. I have an ECE Level 1 Certification. I started my journey in childcare 8 years ago. I have experience working at other daycares and operated my own Dayhome for 3 years.
I am from a small farming town in Saskatchewan. I moved to Brooks when I met my husband. We have 2 daughters. I love playing softball and volleyball, and spending time with family & friends.
I truly love helping children grow into their own characters and helping them when they need it.

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Payton Ion

Team Member

Hi! My name is Payton Ion. I am an educator at NICCS. I have my ECE Level 1 Certificate. I completed my Level during my final year in high school. I am enrolled in the diploma program at Lethbridge College to achieve my Level 2 & 3. Along with my ECE certification I also completed the Alberta Flight curriculum program at MacEwan University in 2021. I also volunteered at the Duchess Preschool where I fell in love with working with children. I have been working in childcare since I graduated in 2019.
I have lived in Duchess my whole life and recently purchased a house in Brooks with my fiancé and our 2 dogs. I love to spend time with my family & friends and in my spare time I love to draw and paint.

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Jody McAllister

Team Member

Hi, my name is Jody McAllister and I just completed my Level 2 Certificate in Early Childhood. I reside in Tilley with my husband Tommy, our daughter Hannah and our dog Cyrus. Before moving to Alberta, I grew up in New Brunswick. Our family enjoys ice fishing, camping and exploring the outdoors. In my spare time I like to read, play games with my family, puzzles, diamond art painting and being creative in different ways.

As an Early Childhood Educator, I love seeing the children grow and learn new things. My favorite part is providing open-ended experiences for the children to explore. I love watching them explore and get messy! Discovering their interests, trying new experiences and watching them develop into unique individuals is definitely a highlight in my career!

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