Our Staff

Mr. & Mrs. Hinman
Owners
Jeremy and Stacey Hinman are the Franchise Owner/Operators of Primrose School of Lake Norman.  They built this school and opened in May 2006.  It is important to the Hinman's to bring a solid academic program to the Lake Norman area.  Primrose's Balanced Learning Program answers that call and more.  They love coming in to the school each day hearing the sweet sound of excited little voices.  With our four person management team in place, we feel confident that Primrose School of Lake Norman is the best and most trusted early childhood facility in the area.  With our AdvancED Accrediation and Five Star North Carolina Child Care License, our school has a lot to offer.  With our 100% satisifaction guarantee, we are confident that you will be happy joined our Primrose family.
Mrs. Kenda Leavine
Director

 

Name:  Mrs. Kenda Leavine

Hometown:  Whitehouse, Texas

Child Care Experience:  Mrs. Leavine has served in a variety of positions in the field since 2007.

Education Background:  Mrs. Leavine holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.

Favorite Children’s Book:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess

Primrose character I most relate to:  Peanut the Pony because she loves learning new words.

 

Miss Meagan Hopes
Assistant Director
Name: Miss Meagan Hopes
 Hometown:  Mentor, Ohio
 Primrose character I most relate to:  Benejamin the Bear because she is passionate about volunteering and donating. 
Child care experience:  Miss Hopes has been in early childhood education since 2007.  She has experience in the classroom teaching with every class from Early Preschool through Kindergarten.  Miss Hopes joins our management team from her home school, Primrose School at Afton Village. 
 Education Background:  Miss Hopes has a Bachelors Degree in Child Development from UNC Charlotte.  She is a Level 11 NC Early Educator.  Miss Hopes also holds the North Carolina Early Childhood Administrative Credentials I, II, & III. 
Favorite children’s book:  “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn
Mrs. Debbie Kaye
Business Manager
Name: Mrs. Debbie Kaye
 Hometown:  Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
 Primrose character I most relate to: Molly, because she is very respectful and she loves numbers!
 Experience:  Mrs. Kaye has 25 years of banking experience.  She has been the business manager at the Primrose School of Lake Norman since 2009.
 Favorite children’s book:  “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore
 
Mr. Jason Head
Nutritional Specialist

Name:  Mr. Jason Head 

Hometown:  Mooresville, North Carolina 
Primrose character I most relate to:  Megy the Pig, because they share the same birth month!  Megy also loves computers and so does Mr. Head!
 Child care experience:  Mr. Head has been working as a chef in child care facilities since 2008.
 Education Background:  Mr. Head has an Associates Degree in Fine Arts as well as many course credits towards a business degree.
 Favorite children’s book:  “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
Mrs. Jessica Blythe
Infant Teacher

Name:  Mrs. Jessica Blythe

 

Hometown:  Morgantown, West Virginia

 

Child Care Experience:  Mrs. Blythe started working in childcare in 1998.  Mrs. Blythe also was a nanny for five years.

 

Education Background:  Mrs. Blythe has her North Carolina Early Childhood Education Teaching Credentials. 

 

Favorite Children’s Book:  “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

 

Primrose character I most relate to:  Mrs. Blythe is most like Benjamin the Bear because she loves the outdoors.

Mrs. Paula Schwartz
Infant Teacher

 

Name:  Mrs. Paula Marie Schwartz

 

Hometown:  Fort Worth, Texas

 

Child Care Experience:  Mrs. Schwartz was a 2nd grade teacher at Woodlawn School.  She used to serve as the Infant teacher at Primrose School of Hall-Johnson in Colleyville, Texas.

 

Education Background:  Mrs. Schwartz has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

 

Favorite Children’s Book:  “Pat the Bunny” by Dorthy Kunhardt

 

Primrose character I most relate to:  Mrs. Schwartz is most like Molly the Cow because she shows respect for others and concern for other’s feelings.

Mrs. Cristine Rasmussen
Infant Teacher
Name: Mrs. Cristine Rasmussen
 Hometown: E. Northport, New York  
Primrose character I most relate to: Katie the Cat because she’s all about sharing and caring!
 Child care experience:  Mrs. Rasmussen has been in childcare since 2003.
 Education Background:  Mrs. Rasmussen has a bachelors degree and also has her North Carolina Early Childhood Education teaching credentials.
 Favorite children’s book: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle
 
Miss Heather York
Infant Teacher

 Name:  Miss Heather York

Hometown:  Charlotte, North Carolina
Primrose character I most relate to:  Og the Bookworm
Child care experience:  Miss York has been in childcare since 2009.  She has spent time teaching in all our classrooms, from Infants through Preschool.
Education Background:  Miss York has an Administrative Assistant Certificate from Kings College and also the North Carolina Early Childhood Teaching Credentials.
Favorite children’s book:  “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff
 

 

Mrs. Ashleigh Zachary
Toddler Teacher

Name:  Ashleigh Houpe Zachary

 

Hometown:  Faith, North Carolina

 

Child Care Experience:  Mrs. Zachary has working in the public school system for the past two years.  Before that, she also had several years experience as a nanny.

 

Education Background:  Mrs. Zachary is an Honors Early Childhood Education graduate from East Rowan High School.  She is currently in school pursuing her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood.

 

Favorite Children’s Book:  “You Are Special” by Max Lucado

 

Primrose character I most relate to:  Mrs. Zachary is most like our friend Benjamin the Bear.  She loves camping and hiking outdoors.  She also enjoys spending time playing in the river!

Mrs. Mary Katherine Webber
Toddler Teacher
Mrs. Teresa Roberts
Toddler Teacher

 Name: Mrs. Teresa Roberts

Hometown:  Statesville, North Carolina

Primrose character I most relate to:  Billy the Duck, because she loves music and singing!
Child care experience: Mrs. Roberts has been working in childcare since 2003.  She has also raised three children of her own!
Education Background:  Mrs. Roberts has the North Carolina Early Childhood Teaching Credentials.  She has also completed several other field-related courses.
Favorite children’s book:  “The Sneetches” by Dr. Suess
 

 

Miss Jana Lockhart
Floating Teacher
Mrs. Tina Cummo
Early Preschool Teacher
Hometown:  Winston-Salem, NC
Primrose character I most relate to:  Molly the Cow
Child care experience: Mrs. Cummo has been teaching since 2001.  She has experience teaching Infants through School Age children.
Education Background:  Mrs. Cummo has an Associates of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education.
Favorite children’s book:  The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein
Mrs. Carrie Powell
Early Preschool Teacher
Name:  Mrs. Carrie Powell
Hometown:  Statesville, North Carolina
Primrose character I most relate to:  Molly the Cow
Child care experience:  Mrs. Powell began teaching in 2004.  She has experience working with More@4 Preschool Programs, Prime Time Afterschool Programs, and children with special needs.
Education Background:  Mrs. Powell is a Level 7 Early Childhood Educator.  She also has an Assiciate’s Degree of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education from Mitchell Community College.
Favorite children’s book:  ”Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch
 
Mrs. Jacquelyn Costin
Early Preschool Teacher

Name:  Mrs. Jacquelyn Costin

 

Hometown:  Southport, North Carolina

 

Child Care Experience:  Mrs. Costin began working in Early Childhood in 2005.  In 2009, she began running in-home care for military families until she started working with us in December of 2013.

 

Education Background:  Mrs. Costin is currently in school pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.

 

Favorite Children’s Book:  “Where The Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein

 

Primrose character I most relate to:  Mrs. Costin is most like Og the Bookworm because she loves to read!

Mrs. Alicia Lacasse
Preschool Teacher
Name:  Mrs. Alicia Lacasse
Hometown:  Gilford, New Hampshire
Primrose character I most relate to:  Billy The Duck
Child care experience:  Mrs. Lacasse began her professional childcare experience in 2002.  She has experience working with More@4 Preschool Programs as well as in Elementary School classrooms.
Education Background:  Mrs. Lacasse has an Associates Degree in Education.  She has many credits in the field that will contribute to her obtaining her Bachelors Degree.
Favorite children’s book:  “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
 
Mrs. Courtney Hays
Preschool Teacher
Name:  Mrs. Courtney Hays
Hometown:  Denver, North Carolina
Primrose character I most relate to:  Molly the Cow because she loves cows and math is her favorite subject.  Mrs. Hays believes you should always have respect for others!
Child care experience:  Mrs. Hays worked for the Lincoln County Parks & Recreation Summer Program with Kindergarten-6th graders from 2006 until 2011.  She was a nanny beginning in 2011 until she joined us in the summer of 2013.
Education Background:  Mrs. Hays has her NC Early Childhood Credentials.
Favorite children’s book: “Amelia Bedelia” by Peggy Parish
Mrs. Whitney Atkins
Preschool Teacher
Name:  Mrs. Whitney Atkins
Hometown:  Huntersville, North Carolina
Primrose character I most relate to:  Erwin the dog
Child care experience:  Mrs. Atkins has been in childcare since 2003.
Education Background:  Mrs. Atkins holds a Dental Assisting Degree as well as her North Carolina Early Childhood Teaching Credentials.  She is also in school working towards her bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education.
Miss Sarah Crotts
Preschool Teacher

Name: Miss Sarah Crotts

Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Primrose character I most relate to:  Og the Bookworm because she loves reading and she likes using him to teach the children about caring.
Child care experience:  Miss Crotts has been in education since 2003.     
Education Background:  Miss Crotts has many course credits from Mitchell Community College in early childhood.  She plans to enroll in classes to work towards a Bachelors degree in Birth-Kindergarten Education.
Favorite children’s book:  “The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado
 
Mrs. Renee Koester
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
Miss Juliane Broncatello
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Name:  Miss Juliane Broncatello

Hometown:  Long Island, NY
Primrose character I most relate to:  Og the Bookworm because she loves to read!
Child care experience:   Miss Broncatello has many years of personal and professional experience with early childhood. 
Education Background:  Miss Broncatello has an Associates Degree in Psychology.  She also has an Early Childhood Education Certificate and has the North Carolina Early Childhood Teaching Credentials.
Favorite children’s book:  “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff
 

 

Mrs. Ashley Potocnak
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Name: Mrs. Ashley Potocnak

Hometown:  East Windsor, CT
Primrose character I most relate to:  Og the Bookworm because she loves to read!
Child care experience: Mrs. Potocnak has working directly in the field since 2000, spending time in classrooms with ages Infant-PreKindergarten.
Education Background:  Mrs. Potocnak holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UNC Charlotte.
Favorite children’s book:  “I’ll Love You Forever” by Robert N. Munsch
 

 

Miss Stephanie Thompson
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Name:  Miss Stephanie Thompson

Hometown:  Vineland, NJ
Primrose character I most relate to:  Og the Bookworm because she loves to read!
Child care experience:  Miss Thompson has been working in early childhood education since 2005.  She has spent five years working with Pre-Kindergarten students.
Education Background:  Miss Thompson is working towards and Associates Degree in Early Childhood from Mitchell Community College.
Favorite children’s book:  “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” by Sims Taback
 

 

Mrs. Jennifer Thomas
Kindergarten/Explorers Teacher

 Name: Mrs. Jennifer Thomas

Hometown:  Asheville, North Carolina
Primrose character I most relate to:  Erwin because he loves to meet and greet new friends.
Child care experience:  Mrs. Thomas has been in the field since 2006.
Education Background:  She has an Associates Degree from the Asheville Buncombe Technical College
Favorite children’s book:  “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein
 

 

Miss Courtney McCarrick
Explorers Club Teacher

Parent Testimonial

When our nanny gave her notice to us that she had a different opportunity, we knew that we needed to find a special place for our daughter.  Our daughter, Ella, has Developmental Delay, Apraxia of speech and Sensory Processing Disorder.  Ella also does not routinely nap and has a very special diet.  This made us much more anxious about our search.  We called some different centers and were even denied admission because of her special needs.  I knew of Primrose because our old nanny had been employed by one and my best friend had her daughters at one in Cornelius.  I decided with palpitations in my heart to just stop in at 4:30 in the middle of the week.  I wanted to know what it was really like at the busiest times.  When I briefly explained (with tear-filled eyes and a shaky voice) what we were looking for, she did not even bat an eye.  I found out that she was the owner, Stacey Hinman and she was more than happy to discuss our options.  She made me feel like there was nothing more important at that moment except for our conversation about Ella.  She asked appropriate and sensitive questions regarding Ella’s special needs.  These questions met her with more weariness and tears.  We were just so scared that a center would not be able to give her what she needed.  Mrs. Hinman reassured me that they would go above and beyond to meet her needs and actually they wanted to be able to assess her needs (to a point) themselves instead of assuming what she would need based on what went on at home.  She was willing to do part-time with Ella which would be even more challenging for them not having the consistency.  She felt very confident that they would help her to be the best ‘Ella’ that she could be.  After the initial meeting, my husband, Roddy and I were very sure that was where we should be.  We now just had to get them all the information they needed and get her there.  Kenda Bilberry was instrumental in getting meetings set up prior to us starting.  We met with the teachers, directors, and the chef, Mr. Head.  Mr. Head assured us from the very beginning that he would accommodate her meals to make them healthy and safe for her.  We continue to be able to bring in substitutions from home if there is something on the menu that she can’t have.  He goes above and beyond EVERY day to help us get her nutritional needs met.  We were able to coordinate 2 of her therapies to come into the classroom.  She has Occupational Therapy on Monday mornings and Speech Therapy on Tuesday mornings.  Primrose had a quiet, private area toward the back of the building that we could use for therapy when they were not in the classroom.  Ella was 2 years, 2 months actual age when we started at Primrose.  We started in the 12-18 month room since Ella was approximately 16 months old developmentally.  She fit in very well with what the other children were able to do.  After a couple of months, we were moved to the 18-24 month room.  This was a good transition for her and she still was able to interact with most of the same teachers.  Ella was doing very well and we were comfortable for a few months.  We needed this room to be easy and the teachers able to manage her.  At that time, Ella had not been sleeping through the night for 13 months…most nights up from 45 min – 5 hours.  She and we were just exhausted.  Ella was still part-time at Primrose, going 2-3 days a week.Summer had come and we as a family were ready for a vacation.  Ella was now 2 ½ years old, and developmentally she was about 22 months old except for speech.  While on vacation, I fractured my toe on my right foot and had to have surgery.  The week we came home from vacation, I called Meagan Hopes and explained our situation that Ella needed to start coming full-time since I was unable to take care of her at home.  Meagan and Kenda were more than accommodating.  We were able to start full-time immediately.   They also suggested that we go ahead and move her up to the next room.  We were very apprehensive about this since this next room seemed to have much more structure.  We were reassured that she was ready and they were confident in her ability to succeed.In the weeks following her going full-time, we started noticing her sleep improving and her ability to remain organized and less reactive was improving.  She then started sleeping through the night on a daily basis.  We were overwhelmed with how well she had transitioned and were doing at home as a result of her changing rooms and going full-time. In the time since, she is still going full-time and the 2 year old room has been amazing.  The teachers have totally captured the essence of who Ella is.  She is flourishing and making huge improvements.  She is able to sit in circle time for 10 minutes and listen to stories.  We frequently get notes home with all the new things and sounds that she is doing.  When Ella started showing some behavioral problems that we had experienced at home…we needed to have a plan in place for the teachers.  After speaking with the Occupational Therapist about this, the teachers spent the time with our Occupational Therapist to discuss how to best manage her in those situations.  They were anxious to learn how they could help her.  Since then, the teachers have managed her appropriately if behavioral situations arise.All in all, we have been more than pleased with Primrose and very confident in their ability to take care of children who may not be typical and have special needs.

--Lisa Cobb
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