Goodbye turned into hello

Tammy in the early days of her KinderCare career (nearly hidden under her students).

Tammy in the early days of her KinderCare career (nearly hidden under her students).

Ten years ago Tammy Piper was a KinderCare center director wishing her boss all the best in her new job as her district manager was promoted to regional vice president. Piper filled out a congratulatory card and handed it to her soon-to-be former boss, Sharon Lytwynec. Lytwynec took one look at it and said “You can forget that card. You’re coming with me.”

And so began Piper’s career as an executive assistant.

Piper’s KinderCare career started 28 years ago when, as a stay-at-home mother to a 12 year-old and a 4-year-old, she decided to look for a job.

“I was a mom and a wife but I didn’t have a self outside of that,” she explained. “Coming to KinderCare helped me figure out who I was.”

Of course, being a mother she needed childcare, so when Piper saw a newspaper advertisement for a toddler teacher position at a KinderCare in her hometown in Michigan she applied. Before long she earned several promotions, working her way up to center director. In-between her work duties Piper took early childhood education classes and immersed herself in center operations.

Tpiper Pic 4After 13 years as a center director in Michigan, Piper’s husband received a job offer in Delaware. The family relocated to the East Coast and Piper continued to work as a center director, filling in as needed near her new home.

When Lytwynec, then Piper’s district manager, was promoted to regional vice president, she wanted Piper as her regional assistant based on her experience with parents, teachers, and children. Piper was concerned she didn’t have the administrative skills necessary for her new role, but Lytwynec was confident she’d pick them along the way.

And so began a partnership that continues to this day as Lytwynec takes on a new role as Vice President of CCLC.

“Tammy lives and breathes our Service Values,” said Lytwynec. “She cares about each individual on the team, our families, and our teachers, and works to support [them] at every level. Whether she’s dealing with my crazy calendar, responding to – and resolving – a parent concern, getting a process issue fixed for a center director or district manager, or stepping in to be a Care Team member at the annual Academies, she does it with energy and that big, beautiful smile. I truly cannot imagine a world without Tammy Piper.”

“Tammy is one of my favorite people,” said Pennsylvania District Manager Terrie Jenkins. “She is one of the most patient people I know and her calm keeps us all reassured…I have known her for over 20 years and she never ages or changes in her ability to connect with others.”

Tammy and her grandchildren.

Tammy and her grandchildren.

“Tammy Piper will do anything I have ever asked her to do,” said Virginia District Manager Nora Shaban. “She is always willing to help and supports me whenever I need it. With the recent realignment she will be supporting CCLC and I am so sad to lose her, but I know that I can always reach out to her with anything that I might need help with. She is amazing!”

“Tammy is an unsung hero,” said Courtney Ridgely, a District Manager in Maryland. “She works so hard behind the scenes to be sure all plans go smoothly. I remember her efforts during the CD Academy: she worked late into the night to be sure all of our people were taken care of. She knows the importance of appreciating our teams. When we have a win she celebrates with us and when we miss a target she feels it as well.”

“Tammy keeps us all organized and prepared for what is next,” said Eastern Pennsylvania District Manager Ellen Wilson. “She is amazing with her communication. She is our rock!”

Although Piper’s busy supporting Lytwynec and the CCLC centers, she still finds time for a “kid fix” – mostly from her grandchildren, all four of whom live nearby.

“A child makes you smile every single day no matter how bad [the day] is,” Piper said.

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