White Oak Children's Academy
Not only is the staff at White Oak highly qualified, the teachers and aides are all so different and unique. There is no denying their passion for teaching children.
Kim Snyder "Ms. Kim"
Kim Snyder is the owner and director of White Oak. Ms. Kim taught the Mighty Oaks for three years and now is teaching the Oaks. Kim holds her B.S. in Education from Illinois State University. Kim is certified to teach early childhood, regular education and also special education, specifically Deaf education. Kim taught pre-K through 2nd grade for Chicago Public Schools. Kim also has experience teaching as a reading specialist in the elementary grades. Kim lives in the area with her husband and three school-aged children. Working with children is Kim's passion and founding a successful preschool is her dream. In her spare time, you can find Kim at the baseball or softball fields rooting on her children and teams, crafting or spending time with family and friends.
Candi Popko "Ms. Candi"
Ms. Candi taught the Oaks classroom before switching to teaching the Mighty Oaks kiddos. She attended Prairie State College for Early Childhood Education and also has 20+ years of teaching experience. Candi is married to her high school sweetheart and has three children. Her last teaching assignment was at Deer Creek Christian School as a pre-K teacher for 10 years. Her favorite part of the job is seeing children learn a lot of "firsts".
Joy Houlihan "Ms. Joy"
Ms. Joy is the assistant in the Mighty Oaks this year. Joy worked at a school for 12 years with Ms. Candi before coming to White Oak. Joy is a mother of two daughters, one a junior high science teacher and one attorney. Joy lives with her husband. Joy loves children, tacos, travel, sunshine and spending time with her family and friends.
Tracie Keene "Ms. Tracie"
Ms. Tracie is our Acorn teacher. Tracie is co-owner of Donna Brum Dancers in Schererville. She attended Columbia College and has her Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching. Tracie lives in Cedar Lake with her husband and is a mom to two daughters, Taylor a sophomore in college and Emerson who will begin kindergarten. She enjoys spending time with her family, snow skiing, baking, and sharing her love and passion for dance with children of all ages. She is excited to be teaching our youngest learners after assisting in the Oaks classes years prior to being our Acorn teacher.
Carolyn Grinsteiner "Ms. Carolyn"
Ms. Carolyn works in the Oaks class with Ms. Tracy. Carolyn lives in Crown Point with her husband and two children, Evelyn (age 5) and Bradley (age 3). She loves spending time with her family and gardening and crafting in her free time. Carolyn graduated form Easter Illinois University with a degree in Sociology, and later from Lewis University with a master's degree in School Guidance Counseling. She worked for AERO Special Education Cooperative as an instructional assistant and then as their transition coordinator helping high school seniors plan their path upon graduation. She loves being able to help children gown in their academic, social and emotional development.
Anne Widowfield "Ms. Anne"
Ms. Anne works in the Oaks class with Ms. Kim. Anne graduated from the University of Akron (Ohio) with a degree in Social Work. She worked for Summit Co. Children Services investigating child abuse reports and worked with families to prevent child removal in addition to reunifying families. Anne also worked as a teacher assistant for preschoolers at the YMCA in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Anne resides in Schererville with her husband, John, and has two adult children, who she adores. One attends PNW and one lives and works in Indianapolis.
Tracy Payne "Ms. Tracy"
Ms. Tracy comes to White Oak with a lot of energy and passion for teaching. Before having children of her own, Ms. Tracy worked as a third grade teacher at Kolling Elementary. She also worked as a preschool teacher at Crown Point's YMCA. Ms. Tracy has her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Ms. Tracy loves to spend time with her friends and family (two sons and husband). She also LOVES everything outdoors, coffee, nature walks, the Chicago Cubs, going to the movies and volunteering at her local public school's library. Tracy has been teaching the Oaks class since 2015. She's very happy and full of life.
Carrie Brown "Ms. Carrie"
Carrie Brown serves as the aide in the Acorn classroom. Carrie previously worked as a special needs aide at Lake Central High School (7 years), Audubon High School in New Jersey (2 years), and as a preschool aide at New Beginnings Preschool in NJ. Carrie has a passion for children, having worked in children's ministry, vacation bible school, Good News Club, and serves as a mentor mom for MOPS. She has always wanted to be a part of beginning a preschool, so meeting Kim was a gift that God used to bring it to pass. Carrie's husband, Drew, is the pastor at Crossroads Community Church. They are parents of five adult children and the grandparents of ten wonderful grand babies!
Kim Slager "Ms. Kim"
Kim Slager serves as the aide in the Acorn classroom. Kim previously worked at Faith Church for 13 years as the Preschool Director. Kim worked with children for the past 23 years at Faith volunteering with middle schoolers, babies, and eventually staying to work with the 3 & 4 year olds. Kim loves watching young kids realize they can accomplish so much. She has been married to her husband Jack for 26 years and they live in St. John with their three kids, a cat, and a fish.