Melissa Wright (RECE)
Supervisor

Hello I’m Melissa Wright and I’m starting my second year here at Avon Co-op. This year I’m taking on the role as interim Supervisor. I graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. I’m also certified with Standard First Aid and CPR level C + AED. I love working with children and learning with them! I love watching the wonderment in children’s eyes as they learn, grow and experience new things!
In my spare time I enjoy crafting and reading. But most of all I LOVE to sing! I am a member of Sweet Adelines International where I sing and compete with two choruses. I hold many leadership positions there as well. I’m the Interim Director for the Festival Sounds Chorus. I’m also the immediate past President; a position I held for 5 years. I’m also on the Regional Management Team where I hold the position of Membership Coordinator. I’m excited to use my leadership skills here at Avon Co-op!

Tracy Richardson (DSW, RECE)
Toddler Teacher
Hi, my name is Tracy Richardson and I am the RECE in the toddler room. I have been in the field for over 20 years, and have loved every moment! I find it simply amazing to observe children learning and exploring through play, and the best part is I am able to help and guide this development! I have a diploma in both Early Childhood Education and Developmental Service Work, which I obtained through Fanshawe College. I have also taken additional courses from various colleges including, various psychology courses, basic sign language, autism spectrum disorder, and community sociology. My experience includes working with all ages of children in a variety of settings, and I also have 2 boys of my own, who also had the wonderful experience of attending Avon Co-op! In my spare time I love spending time with my family and friends, going to the beach, camping and reading. I am certified in Standard First Aid and CPR level C+AED, and a member of the College of ECE’s. As an educator, I always remind myself, no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship, and therefore one of main guiding principles is to spend time every day building that trust, and love of a child!
Liz Million
Program Assistant
Hi, I’m Liz (the children call me Ms. Liz). I am a mother of 3 boys: Sam, Owen, and Jack. All 3 of my children have attended Avon Co-op. My oldest son started in 2009 and I have been somehow involved with the school ever since. I was a regular parent volunteer and co chair of the community events and fundraising committees. I then took on a bigger role, and accepted the position as a Program Assistant. I am also Avon Co-op’s Health and Safety Representative . I love working with the children, helping to foster learning through play and watching their skills grow! I am certified in First Aid and CPR level C+ AED. When I’m not at school I love hanging out with my sons and my fiancé Joe. I have a big love for animals. I have 2 dogs named Ally and Lucy; 2 cats named Zoey and Tigger; and a large Collection of reptiles and tarantulas.
Dawn Bender (DSW)
Program Assistant
Hello my name is Dawn Bender and I have been working at Avon Co-op since 2002. I have a Developmental Service worker diploma from Fanshawe College. I have taken numerous workshops which include Visual Strategies, Positive Guidance for Challenging Behaviour and Kids have Stress too. I am certified in First Aid and CPR level C+ AED. In my spare time I love reading, spending time with my family, and one of my favourite places to go is the beach!
Melissa Mikel (RECE)
Pre-school Teacher
Hello my name is Melissa Mikel. I have been teaching at Avon Co-op since 2011. I am a RECE who graduated from Lambton College. I have taken numerous workshops which include Esso Family Math and Mother Goose. I am certified in First Aid and CPR level C +AED. In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach, reading books, walking, being outside and spending time with my friends and family. One of my favourite parts of my job is learning and exploring along with children of any age.
Robin Palmer
Program Assistant
Hi my name is Robin Palmer, and I’m the Program Assistant in the Toddler room. I live in Stratford and have two school age children of my own, Simon and Ruby. I have a diploma in both PSW, and in Office Administration. I have worked many years within our community as a PSW, but it was my employment as an administration assistant at the Stratford EarlyOn that brought on my delight of working with children and families. I gained valuable experience working in the mixed age group here at Avon Co-op, and am grateful for the connections I made with the children and families. I love watching children grow, develop, and seeing their sense of wonder of the world around them! When I’m not at nursery school I love spending time with my family. We cherish our time during nature walks, swimming in the summer and visiting the library. In my spare time I love to read, write and practice yoga, and also attend fitness classes when time permits. I also have obtained my Standard First Aid level C+ AED.
Yerlin Vargas (RECE)
Pre-school Teacher
My name is Yerlin Vargas, I was born in the beautiful country of Costa Rica, I came to Canada when I was 17. I graduated from high school and got my Early Childhood Education from Humber College. I joined Tiny Explorers Academy in 2016, where I worked with toddler and preschool children, until 2021. I believe this place of employment was a great opportunity for me because I was able to bring, enhance,and develop my skills, while working in such a welcoming environment, plus it provided me with the support to grow as an Educator, as I know Avon Co-op will also do. My philosophy as an Educator is to provide the highest standard of care for all children. I believe in creating a welcoming environment for parents, children, co-workers and professionals. I am so fortunate to join the Avon Co-op family this year as one of the preschool teachers. I am looking forward to enjoying all the wonderful moments while embracing the opportunity to also learn from the children. When I’m not teaching, I spend my time drawing, creating crafts and spending time with my two dogs. I enjoy bringing my creativity into the classroom through sensory and art activities. My first language is Spanish and I love learning about different languages and cultures. I cannot wait to meet all the new preschool children and families!
Jessica McCann (RECE)
Pre-school Teacher
Hi, I’m Jessica. I am one of the preschool teachers here at Avon Co-op. This is my 4th year at Avon Co-op, where I have been able to gain valuable experience, working with both the toddler and the preschool children. I love being a part of this little school,where the focus is placed on fun, learning, and building lasting friendships! I graduated from Fanshawe College in 2014 with my diploma in Early Childhood Education. I am a RECE and a member of the college of ECE’s. I am certified in Standard first aid and CPR level C + AED. I’m always excited to be able to learn alongside the children. Watching them grow, develop new skills and seeing their little personalities shine makes me so happy!
Gillian Klassen
Program Assistant
Hi, my name is Gill Klassen. I have worked with young children as a volunteer for over 28 years. I love the boundless energy that children have to learn, to create, and to be curious about the world around them. I hope to exude my love for reading and books! I also love to walk everyday, to sing and dance; and to be creative. I am married and I am a mother of 2 adult children. My son has a variety of special needs. I had the great opportunity to stay home full-time for 9 years. I have a diploma in Executive Administration from Seneca College. I am certified in Standard First Aid and CPR level C and AED; as well as I am certified in Food Handling Training. I am excited to be apart of a great team as I begin my year at Avon CO-OP as a program assistant. I look forward, along with the children to learn new things, and to discover and explore this wonderful world around
Heather Dittrich (RECE)
Screener/Cleaner/Supply
Hi ! My name is Heather Dittrich. I am the screener/cleaner/supply staff. This is my first year at Avon Co-op. I am a RECE and a member of the College of ECE. I have worked in a daycare for 19 years. I am a mom to 5 children and 2 step-children with my fiancé Richard. In my spare time I like swimming, walks, reading and spending time with family and friends.I have my First Aid & CPR level c + AED, as well I have taken workshops onBaby Signs, How Does Learning Happen. I’m very excited to get to know all the families!!