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.  My children are graduates of Acorn ELC.  I am happy to be part of this centre and look forward to meeting and working with all our parents.

Miss Fiorella

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