Meet our team

Joanne Saunders

Executive Director

My name is Miss Joanne (Joanne Saunders), Certified Early Childhood Educator and I have been in child care since 1978. I am a retired foster parent of 20 years and have adopted 3 children as well as having 3 biological children. My training has been in many different philosophies including The Reggio Philosophy of Early Education from Italy. I have been on the Board of Directors for The Association of Early Childhood Education for 10 years in which I have been President, have taught Early Childhood Education in the Continuing Education at Algonquin College, have advocated for services for families at many different venues and remain committed to serving children and families in whatever way I can.

Acorn Early Learning Centre is my dream come true. I am thankful to the dedicated staff who have joined me as well as to the parents who have helped in so many ways. Acorn is truly a place for all of us and I look forward to proving that.

Many Smiles,
Miss Joanne

Fiorella Padoin-Castillo

Administrative Services Coordinator

Hello. I am the Administrative Services Coordinator for Acorn Early Learning Centre. I currently have two children enrolled at Acorn Early Learning Centre and I am happy to be part of this centre and look forward to meeting and working with all our parents.

Miss Fiorella

Marie Wright

Early Childhood Educator

Hi there! My name is Marie, and I am incredibly excited to join the Acorn team in the Toddler Room. After comleteing my degree in Physical Anthropology at McMaster, I made the decision to pursue a career in a field that would make me happy. I studied Early Childhood Education at Algonquin College and had the opportunity to do my final placement here at Acorn with the Preschoolers. I have been working as a supply teacher since August and was honored to be asked to come and be a part of the centre. I am a firm believer in the Reggio philosophy and what it means for our children and families. I am fully bilingual and I love music and painting and cannot wait to get to know the families better and learn something new from everyone!

Miss Marie

Casey Desilets

Casey Desilets was born in Sudbury, Ontario. From there he moved to Ottawa to study photography at Algonquin College. Casey learned quite a bit there, one thing he learned was that he was not meant to be a professional photographer. So Casey set out to do some traveling but also to learn more about himself. His first stop was to Lake Louise, Alberta. There he found one of his passions, snowboarding. Through snowboarding Casey not only understood himself better but also the world around him. This was made possible by the fact that the world flocks to Lake Louise. Casey also had the opportunity to live in Victoria, British Columbia and Perth, Western Australia. While in Perth Casey went on an excellent surfing adventure and discovered more about himself. Eventually Casey made his way back to Ottawa, but by then Casey had started to think about his future and what his career options were. After discussing it with his mother (a social worker) and his cousin (kindergarten teacher) he thought about which job of the many he worked at, he actually enjoyed, he realized that being a camp councillor and playground supervisor were his favorite. So Casey enrolled himself in Algonquin College’s Early Childhood Education Program. There Casey not only learned how to be a successful Educator but also that he is passionate about children’s development. Casey is excited to be working at Acorn. He hopes to bring his values of community, inclusion, and a strong sense of fun into the classroom. He looks forward to growing as an educator with Acorn and the children enrolled within.

Mr. Casey

Meghan Carvery

Early Childhood Educator

Hello, my name is Meghan Carvery and I am very happy to be apart of the wonderful team at Acorn Early Learning Center. I graduated from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. I then decided to continue learning about education and traveled to Australia where I went to Griffith University. While attending Griffith University I got my Bachelors of Arts in Education degree as well as my teaching degree (primary). I have always been very drawn to the Reggio philosophy and the principals this philosophy is based around. I am very happy to be part of the toddler team at Acorn and look forward to helping all of the children grow to their fullest potential
Miss Meghan

Shannon Smith

Early Childhood Ecucator

Hi, my name is Shannon Smith and I’m thrilled to join the Acorn team in the Preschool Room. I’m originally from Cornwall, Onatrio but moved to Ottawa to pursue a career in a field that I love. I’m a Registered Early Childhood Educator and have been working in the field for over six years and have loved every minute of it. I have worked with all age groups from infant to school-age. I have also worked with children with various disabilities. I look forward to meeting all of the parents and working with the children of Acorn.

Miss Shannon

Ilze Cakste

Early Childhood Educator

My name is Ilze Cakste but I am known as Miss Iza at Acorn.
I have a Bachelor degree in Education and taught English to 7-13 year old children in Latvia which is my home country. I studied Early Childhood Education at Algonquin College and had my final placement at Acorn Early Learning Centre in the Preschool room in the spring of 2012. I am very glad to join the Acorn team, also because my philosophy matches with Acorn’s philosophy regarding to the ways children learn the best. I am very fortunate to work together with Miss Joanne and Miss Amanda in the kindergarten room. I enjoy listening to children’s (and adults’) stories. Also I enjoy reading, hiking, skiing and skating, performing arts, painting and photography.

I am looking forward to working with Acorn children and meeting their parents.

Miss Iza

Shana Anderson

My sister Hannah Tan and I operate our Old Ottawa South music studio together. Teaching music is my full time career. I love music and teaching and am passionate about combining fun fundamentals with sound instruction music classes for children. I have been teaching private piano classes and Music for Young Children pre-keyboard and keyboard classes in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South from January 2007 to present. I have completed my Grade 8 Piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music. I studied at the University of Ottawa from 2006 to 2013. I have a BA Honours Specialization in Music and Masters of Music. In 2013, I began studying jazz piano with Canadian artist Brian Browne and continue to have weekly lessons.  I look forward to teaching your children and meeting you.

Thank your for this opportunity.
Shana Anderson
Music for Young Children

Miss Lisa Poushinsky

Piano Teacher

 Miss Lisa grew up in the Ottawa area where she attended an arts high school.  She has taught private art, piano, and guitar lessons to students ages 5 and up for the past 20 years and is now a certified Kindermusic teacher, teaching piano lessons to three to five year olds at the Acorn Early Learning Centre in Ottawa and rhythm and movement classes in Kemptville / Ottawa.

Miss Lisa performs regularly and tours Canada as singer/songwriter ‘L. Poushinsky’.  She is currently soprano for Ottawa’s Southminster Chamber Music Choir, director of Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoy’s children’s choir in Merrickville, Merrickville Studio 106’s music camp director, and leader of the a cappella singing group Bella Borealis.

Music lessons with Miss Lisa combine proper technique with classical to contemporary approaches to reading, writing, theory, rhythm, and performance, and are tailored specifically to meet the student’s interests and needs.

Please contact Lisa for more information at

Miss Lisa