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New staff joins Leo Augusta Academy

Leo Augusta, new staff, Blooming Prairie, MN, school
New staff has joined the Leo Augusta Children’s Academy in Blooming Prairie within the past week. They include: front row, from left: Josie Mueller, Kim Routh, Whittney McCamish, Hailey Naatz, Madi Lubbert and Kaylee Chick; back row: Director Doug Anderson, Tammy Jax, Audrea Horjesi, Katie Crabtree, Karri Skow and Daysha Zilm. Staff photo by Rick Bussler
Rick Bussler, Publisher

Eleven new faces have joined the Leo Augusta Children’s Academy in Blooming Prairie within the past week, Director Doug Anderson announced.

Staff members are currently going through training prior to the academy’s opening slated for early June, Anderson said.

The facility will have the ability to provide care and support to more than 100 children. It offers 18,000 square feet of building and land occupying 3 acres.

This week the Times introduces the new staff members to the community.

Lead Teacher

Katie Crabtree, Infant Teacher

Katie joins the academy with a bachelor of science degree in teaching and a degree in elementary education K-6. She is a recent graduate of Winona State University. Katelyn is a valuable contributor to the academy and will be able to showcase her abilities to work with students, families, and co-workers. Katelyn strives to create a classroom community that is safe, and fun, and promotes positive student growth.

Katie resides in Waltham and will be celebrating her wedding in July with her soon-to-be husband Sam Hulst. Katie enjoys being around farm animals, riding horses, and spending time with family and friends in her downtime.

Lead Teacher

Kaylee Chick, Toddler Teacher

Kaylee brings to the academy six years of related work experience using her well-rounded capabilities to serve our toddler development needs. Kaylee’s unique way of creating age-appropriate lesson plans will serve as a strength to the academy and undoubtedly keep our toddlers learning without even knowing it.

Kaylee is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Development Program at Rochester Community and Technical College. She is expected to graduate in 2023. Kaylee resides in Hayfield and enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her boyfriend, babysitting, binge-watching TV series, and spending time outdoors (camping, campfires, and camping. Kaylee loves interacting with kids and the connections that she builds with parents and families along the way.

Lead Teacher

Hailey Naatz, Preschool Teacher

Hailey joins the academy with an AAS Degree in Early Childhood Education earned from South Central College in Faribault. Throughout completing her courses, she has been exposed to classroom management, child development, planning, and organization, as well as group and individual observations and assessments. Hailey will help your child grow and learn in a positive, safe, and friendly environment.

Hailey currently resides in Blooming Prairie and enjoys baking (cakes, cupcakes, almost anything), spending time with families and friends, farming, and farm animals. Hailey has a love for all animals, but especially loves cows. She enjoys walks and time outdoors. Hailey is very excited about this new journey as a lead teacher and is looking forward to working with many amazing co-workers and families.

Lead Teacher

Josie Mueller, School-Age Teacher

Josie joins the academy with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Winona State University. In addition to Josie’s formal education, she also brings over three years of related work experience. Josie brings a great attitude and work ethic to the classroom. Her organizational skills, compassion, passion, and leadership will ensure those children in her class are engaged. 

Josie resides in Owatonna and enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family and pets.  

Lead Teacher

Whittney McCamish, Multi-Classroom Teacher

Whittney brings two years of previous childcare experience to the academy with a broad range of skills.  Whittney has led lessons in small and large motor activities, and STEAM activities including art projects, obstacle courses, writing, and music. Working with children has been her dream job since she graduated from high school and that was solidified after gaining those two years of experience. Whittney is particularly good at making new children feel welcome in an unfamiliar environment. She needs to connect personally to each child. She uses her organizational skills and patience in every classroom.

Whittney is looking forward to gaining more work experience in this field to follow her passion.  Whittney resides in Ellendale and has worked with her brother for the past eight years.

Assistant Teacher

Madi Lubbert, Infant Assistant Teacher

Madi joins the academy as a team player with a positive attitude that will certainly help others and set the academy up for success. Madi is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Care and Education program at Rochester Community and Technical College. She is expected to graduate Summer of 2023. Madi has been interested in the childcare industry since she was a young child and provides the academy with three years of related work experience.

Madi enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching kids. She chose LACA to seek more learning in the education field. She is excited to meet new people and learn all about kids. Madi is looking forward to using both her experience and education to communicate well with children and guide children to their next amazing milestone.

Program Assistant

Karri Skow, Toddler Program Assistant

Karri brings to the academy six years of working as a paraprofessional in the public school system.  During Karri's time, she has worked primarily with young children with severe autism. It's a gift to have Karri join the academy with the skill set of understanding and working with children in their uniqueness.  Karri is CPI trained which allows her to teach and implement best practices for managing difficult situations and disruptive behaviors during a nonviolent crisis.

Karri resides in Blooming Prairie with her husband Mark. Karri enjoys spending time with her two grandson’s Cashius and Cayden.

Program Assistant

Kim Routh, Preschool Program Assistant

Kim has 19 years of paraprofessional experience in a public school system. Kim's experience, willingness to learn, hardworking attitude, and flexible work style will be highly regarded at the academy. Kim is a very caring and supportive individual and her family is everything. Kim will bring that family togetherness value to the academy and the children she works with. Kim has a unique ability to partner with those children that bring us the most challenges.

Kim lives in New Richland with her husband Chan. Kim has four sons and four grandchildren. Kim enjoys playing Bingo, going for walks, and shopping in her spare time.

Program Assistant

Audrea Horejsi, School-Age Program Assistant

Audrea brings numerous years of experience to the academy with her outgoing and personable charm.   Audrea has most recently provided craft class instructions through Community Education courses to school-aged children in K-6 in the surrounding communities. Audrea served as a girl scout leader while her girls were in Elementary School. Audrea has been told more than once that missed her calling as a youth to become a teacher but all is not lost. During Audrea's work-life she has managed to always find a way to work with children, explore how to put things together, and make the most unique things that pique a child's interest. 

Audrea lives in Ellendale with her husband and two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys scrapbooking, making keepsakes, and spending time with her family. 


Assistant Director

Daysha Zilm, Assistant Director

Daysha comes to the academy with seven years of experience in the childcare industry of which three of those years working as an Assistant Director in a childcare setting. Daysha has an upbeat attitude, a love for children, and organizational skills that will be of significant value to the academy. Daysha’s knowledge of records and retention, policy and procedures, and staff mentoring will help lead the academy to success. Daysha will work in close collaboration with the Director and Board of Directors to ensure the academy’s mission is considered during every major business decision.

Daysha has a Child Development Associate Certificate earned from Riverland Community College. In Daysha’s downtime, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé Gabe and their son Grady. She enjoys exploring the great outdoors, hiking, camping, and anything under the sun with her family. 

Academy Coordinator

Tammy Jax, Academy Coordinator

Tammy joins the academy with over six years of related work experience in a vast variety of roles in the early childhood industry. Tammy also spent 22 years in the healthcare industry working with families and patients in the surgical unit. We are fortunate to have Tammy join the academy to bring her wide range of skill sets such as food/dining, management, scheduling, and community coordination.

Tammy is eager to be part of the Blooming Prairie community and her infectious laugh and personality will no doubt win you over. Tammy is from a family of seven and is the middle child. She graduated from Hayfield and attended RCTC working at Mayo facilities for 16 years after graduation. She was a trained Surgeon’s Assistant. Tammy has a daughter who recently graduated as an RN and Tammy was searching for a new role in childcare and has found that at the Academy.

Tammy's interests include singing and music, sports, and family. Tammy has seen the difference that a small town has made in the life of her daughter and her sister. Her motto is, “Keep going forward into new things, it can change your life and bring you joy!”    

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