Kathleen M. Westover, ma
Kathleen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a specialty in children and family. Her undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education with a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science. She taught children in a preschool classroom and adults in a community college setting in the areas of Early Childhood Education, behavior management, foster parenting and adopting older children. As a clinician in community mental health for 10 years and private practice for over 20 years she worked with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families in outpatient and residential settings. She consulted to school districts, early learning, daycare homes, daycare centers and Head Start programs. She works with divorcing parents and the legal community to develop parenting plans that are sensitive to the needs of children.
Kimberlee Peterson, ba
program supervisor – education director
Kimberlee Peterson has 40 years experience teaching and caring for young children. She earned her BA Degree with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Western Washington University. Through her career she has worked as a nanny, co-op teacher, toddler and preschool teacher, and paraeducator in the Bellingham School District. She has “5 great kids”.
In her role as Education Director she brings her extensive knowledge of educational models and theories in a variety of systems. As supervisor of the teaching staff she enjoys empowering the growth and development of less experienced teaching staff.
In her role as Infant Lead Teacher she delights in being a part of the incredible growth that children experience during their first year of life. She has a particular interest in the area of infant attachment and works closely with the parents and the children to support and strengthen that bond.
Jordan Willoughby, ba
Jordan Willoughby graduated from Eastern Washington University with her BA in Children Studies with a focus on Social Services. She gained a certificate in Child and Family Support and a double minor in Communications and Sociology. Jordan was born and raised in Bellingham and is excited to be back in her hometown.
In her time at college she spent it working as a tour guide, an assistant teacher at the preschool on campus and a front desk staff at the visitor center. She also was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi where she held the roles of Chapter President, and the Vice President of Standards. Eventually she hopes to return to school to get her PhD in sociology and become a college professor.
In her role as program supervisor she brings her knowledge from her degree to help prepare the curriculum for the teachers to implement in the classroom. With her management experience she is able to help train and manage staff to create a positive work environment to help better the children and their learning. She hopes her fresh eyes and energy can help grow and expand James’ Place programing.
GINA BIONDOLILLO, aa
Lead TEACHER – Infant Program
Gina has been working at James’ Place since August 2017 and started as an assistant teacher and has recently transitioned to be a lead teacher in the infant room. It has been a pleasure for her to work in all three classrooms and enjoys helping the kids learn. She received an AA degree from Whatcom Community College, has knowledge of sign language and STARS training.
Lead TEACHER/Closer – Infant Program
Charlotte is a student at Western Washington University pursuing a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology. She loves running, painting, and studying languages. She’s worked with kids in many settings including coaching soccer, helping lead Girl Scouts, mentoring 5th grade students through Compass 2 Campus and a great deal of babysitting. She’s worked in all three of the rooms at James Place and is currently enjoying goofing off with the infants. Photo credit to the lovely Marina.
KARIMA TORRES, STARS CERTIFIED
LEAD TEACHER – TODDLER PROGRAM
Karima, who describes herself as sheltered, having grown up in Hawaii and attended Catholic schools, received her ECE Certification and began her career in 2016. She worked as a Toddler Lead Teacher in a larger program, but experienced frustration due to the large class size and limited ability to provide the kind of individual attention she knows that children deserve. She joined the staff of James’ Place in January 2019 and loves the small class size and ability to form relationships with all the children in her class. She reports growing up observing her mother, a teacher as well, until her mother passed away. Karima notes, “Being where I am now, I try to emulate the grace, humor and love that she carried, with children now in my care.”
Lead Teacher – Preschool Program
Oriana is currently working on a BA in Early Childhood Education at Ashford University. Prior to that she served in the United States Navy from 2013 to 2017 performing missions and traveling around the world. As much as she enjoyed the navy her true passion is working with children and watching them grow and develop. She is eager to work with each child she meet!
Lead Teacher – Toddler Program
Michayla is currently studying at Western Washington University working to get her BA in Kenseiology. Prior to working at James’ Place she served as a helicopter mechanic stationed in Japan for 4 years. Before serving in the navy she worked multiple childcare jobs including a preschool teacher, a elementary SPED paraprofessional, an after school elementary teacher, a gymnast coach and a swim instructor. She loves working with kids of all ages and is excited to use her skills at James’ Place.
ROBERTA (BOBBI) CARTER, BA
Bobbi has a BA Degree in Social Work, a black belt in karate and “lots of people experience”. As the adoptive parent of her step-grandson, a child with significant special behavioral needs, she discovered James’ Place in 2011 after her 2 1/2 year old grandson was expelled from another childcare setting. He remained at James’ Place until starting kindergarten. She state she “is forever grateful for the care and direction” her grandson received at James’ Place and credits his time here for the “great guy” he is today. She also has grown children and grandchildren.
Bobbi helped us out as a substitute teacher for years while working in the insurance industry. In 2017 she decided to end her career in insurance but wanted to remain active on a part time basis. She asked if James’ Place could use her help. The answer was a resounding “Yes.” She works the opening shift sharing her love, warmth and wisdom with children and parents during the difficult separation experience at the start of the day. She loves horseback riding and “working with the great people at James’ Place.”
Sofia is a student at Western Washington University pursuing a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. She has a passionate for helping the people around her ever since she was young. This is her first job at a childcare center but it has been such a rewarding experience for her. Sofia loves to watch the kids grow and learn every day. When she is not at work she is outside exploring and loves to share her love of exploring with the kids.
Katie previously worked for the YMCA of Mt Vernon for a year before starting at James Place. She has also worked with children in many other ways such as in a children’s museum and volunteering at her little brothers school. Something unique about her is that she was born with cerebral palsy due to a stroke at birth but that doesn’t stop her. She is always smiling and loves to work on being a better version of herself everyday. Katie says her disability makes her who she is today and wouldn’t ask for anything else. It brings a smile to her face to be working with and teaching these kids.
Jessica is a student at Western Washington University pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She loves to volunteer in grief work with kids, she loves to spend time with them and they always amaze her every time. At western when she isn’t in school she is a track athlete and she loves to go outdoors and hike.
Brianna is currently a student at Western Washington University. She is 21 years old and is majoring in Accounting. She has 5 siblings and 2 of them are10 years younger then her. Brianna love to read, watch anime and bake in her spare time. The kids at the center enjoy having Brianna in their classroom and she is a great storyteller.
linda carter, rn
Linda is an RN recently retired from Peace Health, St. Joseph Medical Center where she worked for 46 years in Critical-care, ER, Cardiac care, Flight nurse and Imaging. During her nursing career she cared for hundreds of pediatric patients. After retirement she was seeking something to do that would keep her active and continuing to make a difference in the world. Her grandson was at James’ Place many years ago and she reports being quite impressed with his care and the program. Given that positive association and her love of children of all ages James’ Place seemed like a great fit for her and for the program. She now offers her knowledge, skills, talents and experience in an assistant teacher role at James’ Place.
Meet Us in Person
Ready to learn more?