To say the Herr Lane KinderCare center in Louisville, Kentucky feels like home to director Valentina Fee is an understatement. She and her younger siblings attended the center when they were children. Back then her mother was the director and Valentina was a KinderCare kid.
“I remember the preschool room and the loft we used to play in – licensing would freak: total supervision issue,” Valentina said with a laugh. “I remember our field trips to the downtown YMCA for gym and swim, and I remember Ms. Melissa, my preschool teacher.”
Several of Valentina’s former teachers (including Ms. Melissa), still teach at the Herr Lane center, and according to Valentina, they remember only the good things about their former student turned director. It was a bit of a struggle at first for everyone to get used to their new roles as employees and manager, but they grew together and working together now feels like second nature.
Even as a KinderCare student, Valentina knew she wanted to be a teacher, she just didn’t know she would follow her mother’s footsteps and work at KinderCare.
“I got my master’s in elementary education,” she explained. “I thought I’d teach kindergarten, but there was a teacher hiring freeze that the time. The CD position opened up and I thought I’d give it a try. I knew I wanted to be able to bring my children to work with me.”
After making her decision to work for KinderCare, Valentina knew she’d made the right choice.
“It’s awesome. It made it easy to return from maternity leave. KinderCare allowed me to be with my children. I know they’re comfortable, well educated, and with quality teachers who provide a second home feel.”
Throughout her nearly 19 year career with KinderCare Valentina has seen a cultural change, one that she welcomes and is proud to be a part of. Her center earned their National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation last year and as the quality team leader for her district, Valentina is eager to assist with the cultural change at other centers.