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Meet Our Amazing Staff

We are proud to show off the amazing people that we have working with us every day here at Kaleidoscope

Miss Amber Paulsen, Director

I have worked at Kaleidoscope since 1996, after graduating from Western Washington University and earning a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Child Development. I continued my schooling while living on Orcas, earning my Masters Degree in Education. My family keeps me pretty busy with 3 grown daughters and 2 sons still at home. I stay involved in their lives through family trips, coaching and Horse 4-H. I love spending time outdoors, in my garden or working on our farm. My family takes every chance we get to appreciate this beautiful place we call home! I value the impact Kaleidoscope has on our community and appreciate that we are changing lives every day!

Miss Robyn Gordon, Assistant Director

My name is Robyn W. Gordon. I was born and raised in Utah where I was able to explore many amazing outside opportunities that gave me a lasting love of the outdoors. I was so excited when my husband, youngest daughter and I moved to Orcas island in 2014 after visiting here for over 16 years. I am a mother of 3 and a grandmother also! I began my teaching experience as a substitute teacher for grades K-12 and many specialty classes. I received my Bachelor's of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Illustration and I love being able to teach the students art. I have been working at Kaleidoscope since 2015. I started as a Floater, then moved to the Big Kid's Teacher and now I am excited to be the Assistant Director. Thank you to all of my coworkers, kiddos and parents that make every day working here an absolute joy.

Miss Mimi Nikaido, Infant Lead Teacher

Hello! My name is Mimi Nikaido. I am the Infant Teacher. I was born and raised in Lima, Peru. I come from a family of two sisters and two brothers and I have two adorable nephews. Before moving to Orcas Island 2008, I lived in Miami Florida for almost 19 Years. I love and enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love to work with kids, especially infants. Working with infants has been amazing! Watching them learn and grow is something that I enjoy. I have been employed at Kaleidoscope since 2010. We are a great team with incredible passion for each individual child. I feel very lucky and proud to be part of such a great group of teachers.

 

Miss Breena Sunn, Preschool Lead Teacher

Hi Families,

My name is Miss Breena, and I am super excited to be a preschool teacher.

I grew up here on the island, now married with three young boys of my own, I’m very thankful to call the island our home. I have many years of experience working with school-aged children from working at the funhouse and I am looking forward to getting to know each of your littles. I know we are going to have so much fun together! When I’m not at work I love spending time with my family especially in the kitchen-my husband and I are total foodies. I also love reading, hiking, kayaking, and the beach is my complete happy place. 

 


Miss Emma Orantes, Waddler Lead Teacher 

Hello!

I am Miss. Emma and love working with children! I have been at Kaleidoscope seasonally since I was 16. I have also worked at other centers while in college and living on the mainland.  I am excited about my important role as the Waddler Lead Teacher. Recently, I completed my degree in Early Childhood Education and can’t wait to continue to apply my experience and  enrich children’s lives! Teaching with enthusiasm and kindness, I hope to help our little friends flourish. In my off time I enjoy being outdoors. There is so much that nature offers all of us!


Teacher Shelby Sanders, Forest School Lead Teacher

Hi families! My name is Shelby Sanders! I just recently moved to Orcas from Bellingham, but I’m originally from the Midwest. I went to college for Biology & Natural Resources where I got to study some amazing animals. During the pandemic I found my love for teaching and I’m so happy to be in an outdoor setting to get the best of both! I have a cat named Bernie and a partner named Luke. We can all normally be found reading or hanging outside looking at trees. I’m so thankful for such an amazing opportunity to live on Orcas and teach such awesome kids!

 

Miss Katy Minnis, Lead Toddler Teacher 

Hello families! I’m Katy Minnis, I was born and raised here on Orcas Island. After graduating high school in 2018, I ventured off the island to Seattle then Bellingham, returning to Orcas in 2021. This is not my first time working at Kaleidoscope, I’m currently in the toddler room working as the lead teacher. If I look familiar it might be because Miss Amber is my mom! I am her youngest daughter and happy to be following in her footsteps. I come from a large, loud and loving family with two little brothers and two older sisters. In March of 2020, I adopted my first fur baby, Finley, who is pictured with me. I love my busy life and the busy bodied kiddos I get to spend every day with. Thank you families for sharing your unique and kind kids with all of us here at Kaleidoscope! 

 

Miss Kelly Doty, Kaleidoscope Chef "Our Cooker Teacher"

My name is Kelly Doty, I started working as the cook at Kaleidoscope in early 2017. I grew up here on The Island. My parents owned Orcas Homegrown Market, the natural food store and deli. My grandparents owned the adjoining Doty's A-1 Cafe and Bakery, so I was raised in commercial kitchens. From my parents I learned the value of whole, organic, and local food, which I try to include in the meal plan as much as possible.

I have worked in many different styles of restaurants, I have done catering, and worked festival booths, but so far cooking for the Kaleidoscope kids and staff has been some of the most rewarding work I've had. Your kids are not anonymous tourists for whom I cook one meal on a rushed vacation, but curious individuals who ask me questions and who I get to introduce to new foods (sometimes it's a challenge to convince them that purple carrots are still carrots though).

Miss Shelbi Rogers, Toddler Teacher

Hello! I’m Shelbi Rogers, I am so lucky and grateful to be a Toddler Teacher! I was raised on Orcas, graduated in 2014, then headed to Eastern Washington for college. I have worked at multiple childcare centers over the years off island, but came back home a couple years ago. Duke (pictured with me) is my 4 year old best friend. I love seeing toddlers learn and grow from everything they touch, hear, and see. It brings me so much joy to be their teacher and a part of their success. I am so excited for the opportunity to teach alongside an amazing friend, Miss Katy. We plan to laugh lots, get messy, and play hard!

 




Miss Delmy (Yanni) Ibarra, Preschool Assistant Teacher

Holla! My name is Delmy Ibarra but everyone knows me as (Yanni) is my middle name. I like to work in cleaning kitchens, with children, and I am a lover and defender of animals. Eight years ago I came to visit this beautiful island and I said that I would like to come again to stay for a while and my dream is fulfilled more now that I have one of my jobs that I like so much thanks, Kaleidoscope for giving me the opportunity.


 

Teacher Ashling Gordon, Forest School Assistant Teacher

Salutations, my name is Ash(ling) Gordon, and I’m an assistant teacher for Kaleidoscopes Forest School! I spent my first 11 years of life in the state of Utah, but soon moved to the island we call Orcas with my mom and dad, Robyn and Nathan Gordon. I graduated from Orcas Christian School in the class of 2022 and I’m planning to go to Evergreen to get my Bachelors in Psychology and my AA in Literature. I love drawing, writing short poems, and stories, playing my many instruments, and laying in the sun to take a nap. I have always had a connection with babies and young children, and I love that I can bring out my inner kid when I’m around them. They always seem to see the best in everything around them, and that makes me feel just a little more secure in the world's future. I strive to teach our kids the joy in creativity and kindness. I can’t wait to see what I will experience here. I hope I can help your kids find and see amazing things as well!

 

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Teacher Kira, Forest School Teacher

Hi my name's Kira Neville, I'm from Melbourne, FL originally and have spent time many other places, including New Zealand, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, mainland Europe, and Egypt. I have a master's degree in outdoor education from WWU. I love being outside and spending time with my menagerie at home. I'm so excited to be a part of this great place.

 

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Miss Eava Wood, Preschool Assistant Teacher

Hello!! My name is Eava Wood and I was born and raised in Wenatchee Washington, I moved to the island when I was 13 and have been living on Orcas since! Since 2021, I have worked with Elementary kids in summer day camp programs as well as after school care. I Graduated in 2023, and have since been working as an Assistant Preschool teacher here at Kaleidoscope. I am planning on pursuing a career with kids and teaching, and I am grateful to be helping your little ones grow, learn, and play. Outside of work I love to spend time with my family, go on walks/hikes with friends and listen to music! I am inspired everyday by my little niece and love to watch her discover the world around her. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to teach your little ones and see them flourish in this community!

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Miss Iris Arevalo, Assistant Teacher

Hi my name is Iris Arevalo, I was born in Renton Washington. I lived on Orcas until I was 7 years old and then moved to another country. In January of 2023 I moved back to Orcas. I love working at Kaleidoscope because it brings me a lot of good memories when I used to be a student here, also I was the first Latina to come to Kaleidoscope. I'm really glad to share with the kids the beautiful and the awesomeness of Kaleidoscope.

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Teacher Becca, Forest School Teacher

My name is Becca McDowell and I am deeply grateful to have joined the amazing team at Kaleidoscope. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri but never stayed anywhere long growing up. At the University of Virginia, I primarily studied astronomy but also enjoyed several courses in the environmental science, anthropology, psychology, and American Sign Language departments. After graduating from UVA, I went on to live in Thailand and work at a school just outside of Bangkok. I filled roles from librarian to kindergarten teacher to advanced mathematics teacher. It was there that I discovered my love for teaching. I worked at Orcas Christian School teaching middle and high school math starting in 2017 until my husband and I left the island in 2022. In the year and a half we were gone, we welcomed our baby Ronnie and missed this place and community so much. I was thrilled to take a position at Kaleidoscope to bring us back to the island where my husband and I met and fell in love and where our hearts feel most at peace.

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Miss Yesenia, Assistant Waddler Teacher

My name is Yesenia Valladarez I'm 33 yrs. old, I was born in Mexico, I speak both languages Spanish and English. I'm a mother of 5 children, 1 girl and 4 boys. We moved to Orcas one year ago and we love it here. I love spending time outside going with children they are so much fun. I also have two toddlers at Kaleidoscope. One thing I love the most is cooking for my family, and baking, especially tres leches cakes, it makes me happy.

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