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Kaleidoscope Preschool and Child Care Center

The Mission of Kaleidoscope is to offer safe, affordable, consistent, high-quality Preschool and child care services while supporting the families of Orcas Island.

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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 Chelsie Guilford, Preschool Lead Teacher

I have worked at Kaleidoscope since 2017 as a Preschool Lead Teacher. I moved to Orcas Island August 2017, with my husband, Israel, and our 2 boys, Silas and Malachi. We moved from Montana, where I worked since 2011 in Early Intervention and before that as an infant teacher and assistant director at a daycare and preschool center.  In 2010, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Art. Since moving to Orcas Island, I have made friends and have watched my children gain many wonderful friendships. Working at Kaleidoscope had been a joy because I get to build strong relationships with the children and watch them grow into such wonderful young people. My own children never want to leave here because they have so much fun. I am thankful to be able to make a difference in the young lives of the children and families on Orcas Island.


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!


Miss Nessa D'Aquilante, Forest School Lead Teacher

I was offered a job at Kaleidoscope in 2017 and immediately accepted when I found out I would get to attend Forest School twice a week, and now I am a Forest School Lead Teacher! Outdoor education is a passion of mine and I love sharing the outside world with children (and adults). To say it excites me, is an understatement. I studied Biology and Ecological Restoration at The Evergreen State College, and I spent many of my classroom days working outdoors in the forests, prairies, and of deserts of the PNW and South West. I enjoy playing in the rain, digging in the dirt for worms (which have five hearts) and other bugs..

I was born and raised in the PNW and have a deep passion for the native flora and fauna. I first moved to Orcas in 2002 and upon completing my BA/BS degree in 2010, I moved back to Orcas full time. My daughters, Autumn and Madrona have been Kaleidoscope Kids since 2016 & 2017. The very best part of my job, is seeing their smiling faces throughout the day. In my free time, I find myself outside with my girls, exploring the complex ecosystem that makes our island so special.


Teacher Jexa Bolt, Forest School Lead Teacher

Hi! My name is Jexa Bolt, and I am a new teacher at the Forest School this year! I am a native Washingtonian and absolutely love the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I enjoy reading, playing the piano, quilting, hiking, camping and am deeply in love with the sound of waterfalls and crashing waves.

I attended college in Portland, OR and then went on to get my masters degree from the University of North Dakota. I’ve been teaching in the public education system for 10+ years now and have worked with students spanning Birth through age 21. I’ve worked in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, and with Multilingual Learners.

Observing children and helping guide them as they learn is such an incredible privilege, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to do this surrounded by the beauty of Orcas Island! 


Miss Katy Minnis, 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 Julianna Estrella, Forest School Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name's Julianna. I’ve had the pleasure of working at kaleidoscope for a few  years now. I started in the center doing half days in the forest and I now have the amazing opportunity to be assisting in full time forest school. I’ve been on and off Orcas Island for years and finally get to be here full time! I grew up in Southern California and have three children of my own who keep me busy in my free time.


Miss Lexi Pence, Preschool Teacher 

Hi, my name is Lexi Pence! I have lived on Orcas Island almost my whole life. When I was preschool age I even came to Kaleidoscope! I have worked as an assistant teacher at Kaleidoscope since 2016 but then moved over to Eastern Washington for a little over a year to experience off island life. Since I have been back, I am an assistant outdoor educator and I absolutely love it! Some of my hobbies include cooking, hiking with my dogs, being with my family, and exploring our lovely beaches. I have worked with all age groups at Kaleidoscope. I enjoy working with kids because it gives me a chance to let out my inner child.



Miss Breena Sunn, Preschool 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. 





Teacher Shelby Sanders, Preschool 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!





Teacher Pluto Dolohov, Preschool Assistant Teacher

My name is Pluto Dolohov, and I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona - quite the difference from Orcas! I moved here in October 2021, and am so glad to be able to work with your little ones! Currently, I work as an assistant teacher with the kids. I'm working towards my degree in Early Childhood Education. I look forward to all the memories with the kids! 





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, Preschool 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!