Julie Henes Picano – “Ms. Julie, are you the ‘Principal’ of this school?”
That’s the most popular question that I hear from the kids at FKS. It’s important to them to know who is at the top of the hierarchy, but they are often taken by surprise by the answer. My answer to them…“No, I’m not the principal…I’m a teacher that has some other jobs to do too.” While I did create the policies, program descriptions, handbooks, and I did secure a space for us to work out of, I still see myself as one of the teachers.
FKS has a very talented staff that depend on each other’s strengths to make a well-rounded team. These professionals not only care for each child as an individual, but they can also explain our programs, share our philosophy of caring for the whole family, and welcome friends into ours safe and loving environment that we all work hard to make fun and educational.
Amanda Hall – Infant/Toddler Teacher
For a night on the town- One Under in Livonia
For a family affair- RedBrick in Dexter
For delicious snacking- The Cheese Lady in Farmington (YUM)
Isabel Cashin, Infant/Toddler Teacher – Isabel was born in Jackson, Michigan. She was raised by her adoptive parents since the age of three. She also gained a brother and sister. Isabel, along with her husband Dave and her daughter Heather, are Pinckney locals. Isabel has been able to be found in the Infant/Toddler room at FKS since Jan of 2009. Isabel had her first professional experience with children while working years for LESA (Livingston Educational Service Agency) in their Pinckney Head Start Program which just happened to be in the same building as FKS at one time. Kids could be heard through the halls yelling, “”Hi Ms. Isabel.”. Boy did we know that she was good then because the kids loved her so much. Since January of 2009, our FKS kids have grown to love and depend on her. Isabel would like for parents to remember her for her kindness to the kids, honesty to parents, and for giving parents a reassured feeling that their kids are safe, loved, and happy in her care.
Lisa Ashba – Lisa Ashba lives in Pinckney. She is married to her husband, Mark, and they have 4 children (Jessica 32, Brianna 29, Ashlee 12, & Nathaniel 10). Lisa is a long time veteran of childcare working with Infants and Toddlers and their families for 24 years and at FKS since March 2011. You might find it interesting that 3 years of her experience was spent with the teen moms program in the Oxford School System. In that program, she not only cared for children, but she also guided young and inexperienced mothers trying to finish school. If Lisa had to pick her favorite time of the day at FKS it would be cuddling with our youngest friends and visiting with their parents.
Nichole Warren – Nichole is another welcomed addition the our FKS Family since August of 2014. Nichole is our 3 yr old pre-school teacher. She was born in Sandusky, Michigan (no theme park!). She recently moved to Pinckney from Belleville with her husband Dale, 12 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter. In her free time, Nichole enjoys bike riding and camping. Her favorite place to eat is at Outback. Nichole’s education began when she served 4 years in the United Stated Navy as a Gas Turbine Mechanic. Next, she graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. Nichole would like for the kids to remember her as a kind and gentle teacher who helped them through the early years.
Laura Harrison – Laura is a new smiling face at FKS since Dec of 2016. She was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, and now lives in Pinckney with her husband David and 3 year-old son, George. In her spare time, Laura enjoys outdoor activities like hunting, boating and camping. She has a soft heart for animals and looks forward to gatherings with friends and family. Her favorite restaurants are Knights & Black Rock. Laura has worked in childcare settings for the past 10 years and is excited to get specific training at FKS and at Child Connect for Family Success in the days to come. She feels like kids will remember her as the one with the big smile, the one that will happily read them a book, and the one that will gladly be there to brighten their day! Laura would like parents to recognize that she is is dependable, loving and will dedicate her time and attention at FKS to their children. You can look for Laura mostly in the afternoons, sharing time with many different age groups.
Taylor Feeman (Taylor Yates beginning September 19, 2020) – Administrator & Floating Teacher
Jill Hegarty-Afternoon Pre-school Teacher
Jill is another welcomed addition the our FKS Family since March of 2019. Jill was born in Lincoln Park, MI, has been married for 31 years has a son and daughter that have both graduated from Pinckney. For fun, Jill enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite place to eat is Outback Steakhouse.
Educationally, Jill majored in Early Childhood Education and has worked locally for the last 30+ years with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. Jill would like for children to remember her as loving, fun & comforting. And she would like parents to think of her as welcoming, knowledgeable, approachable & caring. Please feel free to say hello and welcome her to our FKS family.
Olivia Irwin – Teacher
Born: Ann Arbor, Michigan
About my family: I live with my husband Chris and our fur baby Luna
What I like to do for fun: For fun, I like reading, traveling, exploring hiking trails wherever I go, cooking, crafting, and spending time with my family.
My favorite place to eat: My favorite places to eat are Gus’s and the Pinckney Diner
Education & Experience: Bachelor of Social Work with a Youth Services minor from Saginaw Valley State University, Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. I’ve worked at FKS since 2016. I also work locally as a children’s therapist. In this position I also facilitate a Caregiver Education Workshop for parents of traumatized youth. In 2014 I went to the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project Primary School in Uganda to tutor and provide life skills education to their students.
How do you want children to remember me: I want children to remember me as someone they are comfortable with, a good listener, and someone that makes them laugh.
How do I want parents to remember me: I want parents to remember me as someone that they can trust and someone that understands the unique abilities and personalities of each child.
Kara is an Assistant Pre-school teacher at FKS since March of 2018. She was born in Ann Arbor, MI and has been a lifetime resident of the area. Kara has 1 sibling, a brother. She also has a 2 year old little guy at home and a soon to be husband. Her favorite thing to do in her spare time is to swim which makes total sense since educationally, Kara has been a lifeguard for 10 years. She hopes to continue her education and peruse classes in Physical Therapy as an Assistant and specialize in pediatrics. Kara would like for kids and parents to remember her as a person that is friendly, kind, fun & happy to be a part of their day
Elianna Melanson- An Infant/Toddler Teacher at FKS since 2020
Born: Wolfburo, New Hampshire and was raised in Pinckney, Michigan
About my family: My Fiancé Joe and our daughter Paisley live together in Howell with our 3 cats- Harley, Buster and Bear
What I like to do for fun: I enjoy cooking, painting, spending time outside with my daughter and going on rides on the motorcycle.
My favorite place to eat: Buffalo Wild Wings and Union Woodshop
Education & Experience: Graduated from Pinckney High School in 2017. I have worked with kids since I was in middle school. I was a nanny and even worked in my church’s nursery.
How do you want children to remember me: I want children to remember me as somebody that can make them laugh, comfort them and somebody that they can come to when something is wrong.
How do I want parents to remember me: I would like parents to remember me as someone who will look out for their kids and be able to come and ask me anything.