Caitlin McNeil – Manager / Educator

I have been an Early Childhood Educator for over 20 years; with opportunities working in Infant/Toddler programs, Out of School Care programs, Daycare and Preschool programs, as well as working at a private college with the ECE program and being a part of new educators beginning their career.  I knew early on that I wanted to work with children and have enjoyed all the experiences that my ECE journey has brought so far.  I can’t wait to see what I will learn next with the Hazelwood team.

I grew up in Coquitlam and now live in Port Coquitlam with my husband Marty, and two sons Oliver and Morgan. We enjoy exploring this beautiful place we call home with many camping trips each year and getting out to hike, bike, or swim when we can.  


As an educator, I feel lucky to be a part of the learning that happens every day as children play and explore the world around them. 

I look forward to learning and growing along with all the children and families here at Hazelwood!

Observe and listen to children because when they ask ‘why?’ they are not simply asking for the answer from you.  They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.”

Sali Chippet – Educator – Sprouts and Seedlings Program

I moved to Port Coquitlam in 2016 after living in North Vancouver for 25 years. I continued to commute to North Vancouver for a year until I found Hazelwood. I am passionate about outdoor programming and also Responsive Curriculum so Hazelwood and I are the perfect fit!

I was born in England where I received my Diploma in Early Childhood Education. After Emigrating to Vancouver at the age of 18, I fell in love with everything the City has to offer including skiing, hiking and water sports.

I have three children. When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, skiing and travelling with my family.

As an Early Childhood Educator I am proud to be a part of guiding children as they venture in to the world. I delight in joining them in their wonder and joy of learning.

I very much enjoy being with the children and the team at Hazelwood. I feel very fortunate to look forward to coming to work each day!

Alyssa Higgins – Educator – Seedlings Program

My entire life, I knew I wanted to work with children. It was something that I was passionate about when I was very young that carried on through my life. In 2009, I started on the path towards my career in Early Childhood Education; I obtained my Early Childhood Educator Certificate and Special Needs Certificate at the University of the Fraser Valley.

During my life, I ventured from Manitoba to British Columbia and settled in Port Coquitlam in 2013. I am very thankful I ended up in such a loving and warm community with such a high regard for the outdoors.

Bryan, my partner, has been a huge support in my life. We have a beautiful daughter named Katheryn who brings a new outlook and joy to our lives. My family and I love to spend our weekends exploring nature, going on hikes, venturing to the parks, swimming and cooking. I am truly grateful that I can raise my daughter in an environment that has so many opportunities.

My passion has always been to guide and support all young children while providing them with quality care and enriching experiences based on their interests. Working with children, building strong relationships and learning alongside them has helped me grow as an educator.

I have worked with many children and families in my career and am honoured to be able to provide care for the families at Hazelwood Early Learning Centre.

Jessie Somers – School Age Coordinator- Educator Cedars Program

Hello! I’m Jessie, nice to meet you! Let me tell you a bit about myself. I have always lived in the lower mainland and am proud to call it home. I now reside in Port Coquitlam with my husband Rob and our two cats Keiser and Willow. My background is in fine art and education, combining them both makes my heart so happy! 

Having grown up in Mission, I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010 and went on to teach summer art camps at the Mission Art Centre. The creativity and imagination in children brings great joy to my daily life. My connection to nature informs my personal artwork. I display and sell my paintings regularly at local galleries and enjoy teaching watercolor classes on the weekends. Some of my favorite things are family, travel and coffee. In my free time I love being outdoors and going geocaching with Rob. 

Being a member of the Hazelwood team has been an exciting adventure with many opportunities that lay ahead. Embracing outdoor exploration and new art experiences with the children is what motivates me most. I look forward to growing with all of you!

Carrie Dillman – Educator- Seedlings Program

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous!


Being in nature brings joy to my heart and refreshes my body. There is always something to marvel, learn about, and explore! It has been my dream to inspire children to marvel and learn from the natural world around us.

I have lived in the lower mainland for nine years now. Burnaby is home where I live with my partner Frank and my two bunnies! I grew up in a small town called 100 Mile House and completed my Bachelor of Science Degree at TRU in Kamloops. I had many amazing adventures in my position as an environmental monitor and loved time spent in nature leading summer camps at Richmond Nature Park. The idea of merging my two passions has led me here to Hazelwood Early Learning Center!

After working as an Early Childhood Education Assistant for two years I decided it was time to learn more! I am currently a student enrolled at Burnaby Community and Continuing Education in the Early Childhood Education certificate program! I am thrilled to be gaining knowledge that I can apply and grateful for the opportunity to continue to improve and grow as an educator.

My goal is to spark wonder, curiosity, and marvel in the unknown as I learn alongside the children. I want to create an environment where children feel safe, confident, and capable to explore, and share ideas. I am constantly amazed by how children view and think about the world. It reminds me to slow down and truly appreciate my surroundings.

When I am not at work or school you may find me hiking, camping, traveling, or spending quality time with people close to my heart. Backpacking has become a passion of mine and I often find myself near a glacier lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Last year I also had the opportunity to complete the West Coast Trail which has been a goal of mine for some time now.

I feel very fortunate to be joining the team at Hazelwood! I look forward to spending time with and getting to better know the families at our center!

Sara TischerEducator/School Age – Cedars Program

Hi! My name is Sara! I was born in Romania and spent the majority of my life in beautiful British Columbia with my family. I currently reside in New Westminster with my husband, Jason!

I am currently a fourth-year student at Simon Fraser University, finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My long-term goal is to become a therapist that works with all age groups. I have always loved serving the community whether that be families, children, or youth. It is a big passion of mine which makes it a pure joy to be involved in a wonderful community like Hazelwood.

When I am not working or studying, I love to spend my time in the kitchen. I absolutely love learning new skills and recipes and most of all, pairing that with my love for nutrition and delicious, nourishing foods. Aside from this, I love immersing myself in nature, exploring new places, and knitting/crocheting.

Being part of the team at Hazelwood has taught me how nature connects us all and how it can be a limitless learning resource for everyone. It certainly has only sparked joy and curiosity. I am excited to continue learning, growing, and creating with you all!

Jadelynnn Schaffer – Educator – Seedlings Program

During grade 12 year in high school, I volunteered at an elementary school for a work experience class. I enjoyed working with and getting to know the children. I enjoyed this so much that in 2020 I started to look in to the Early Childhood Education program which I am currently studying at Douglas College to obtain my Early Childhood Educator Certificate.

As a young child , I grew up being in nature. My family has a trailer at Cultus Lake that we go to every year, it is like my second home.

Some fun activities I do are playing bocce with friends, going for walks with my dog Finn, whom I take everywhere I go, swim at the pool, kayak at the lake, look for creatures under rocks and stay up late to look at the stars. 

I am just beginning my journey and am honoured to be a part of the Hazelwood Early Learning Centre team.

Carolanne Davies – Educator/ School Age and Seedlings Programs

Hi! I’m Carolanne. I grew up in Port Coquitlam which I recognize as the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nation. This is where I still live with my partner Mitchell. I feel extremely grateful to live in British Columbia where I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, camping, mountain biking and anything that involves the outdoors – especially the forest! Traveling is a huge passion of mine, and I am lucky enough to have been to 25 different countries.  

I am currently in the last semester of my Early Childhood Education diploma and will be continuing in September to finish my Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care. Previously, I was an education assistant in the Coquitlam school district where I worked with children with diverse abilities. My long-term goal is to teach in the K-12 system. I have always had a strong connection with young children and truly feel as though working with them is something I was born to do. Providing children with a safe, inclusive environment to learn, grow and flourish is something I am deeply passionate about.  

 I am excited to be a part of the incredible team here at Hazelwood. I look forward to collaborating with all my colleagues who are knowledgeable, kind, and so positive. Through building strong connections with children and families, I hope to build on each child’s strengths while supporting their growth and development. I am excited to create rich experiences while having the opportunity to learn alongside the children. Being outdoors is something I believe to be vital to a child’s well-being, this making Hazelwood’s program the perfect fit for me. Let’s go jump in some mud puddles!

Ghazal AmiriEducator/ School Age

Hello! My name is Ghazal and I’m Persian, from Iran. I immigrated to Canada 4 years ago, in 2018.

I’m currently a 3rd-year student at SFU with a major in Criminology. I have 3 years of experience working with children. I tutor students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and have worked with children in school age program.

My main passion is dancing, and I encourage everyone to dance with me! I also enjoy drawing, painting, playing video games, reading graphic novels, and watching Japanese animation.

I also enjoy reading philosophy and believe that helps me to understand my environment and the people around me. It has helped me in working with children.

I’m very excited to be a part of the Hazelwood team, and I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know all the children.

Educators at Hazelwood are diligent and exceptional at extending children’s learning through inquiry, provocations and invitations to discover more. These all reflect a program rich in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and support the Early Learning Framework. Educators enhance all programs bringing a unique set of skills, knowledge and training. These include specialties in Science, Fine Arts, Special Needs Education and Outdoor Education.