Meet The Staff

 

 Michelle Knoll (RECE) – Executive Director

Michelle joined the Centre in 2000 as a parent and volunteer.  In 2004 Michelle was hired as the Executive Director.  Michelle has diplomas in Community Work and Early Childhood Education.  She has been a community advocate for the last 35 years in the areas of neighbourhood capacity building, family support, poverty issues, tenants’ rights and inclusion. Michelle believes that a community has all the gifts and talents it needs to meet the challenges within that community if people are given the opportunity to connect and contribute.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 101
Email: michelle@opnc.ca

Paige Lauer –  Pre-School and Community Outreach Manager

Paige holds a BA in Family and Child Relations and is an RECE.  She comes to Oak Park with many years of experience planning and developing inclusive programs for children and their caregivers.  Her passion for programming is contagious. She is skilled at making connections, building relationships and earning the trust of her clients. Paige consistently produces engaging, entertaining and educational programs featuring essential aspects of early literacy, knowledge of child development coupled with creativity, spunk and enthusiasm.  A recipe that stimulates, educates and inspires.  Paige embraces opportunities to grow and evolve and is looking forward to connecting with the Oak Park community.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 105
Email: community@opnc.cah

 Shannon Puma (RECE) Lead Preschool Teacher

I have an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree and ECE Diploma. I am the proud mother to 2 girls and we have a cat named Max. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 8 years and am excited for this opportunity at a second career.

After volunteering in my children’s elementary school I knew I wanted to work with children going forward. I am the recipient of the Suzanne Coles Memorial Award, which recognizes an ECE student with strong academic achievement and successful field placement and I was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal, for having the highest grade point average across all programs in the graduating year.

I strive for excellence as an Early Childhood professional by demonstrating my passion, professionalism and commitment to children, families, colleagues and the community.

Outside of work my family enjoys skiing, soccer, hiking, and geocaching.  I am excited to be a part of the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre team!

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 104
Email: preschool@opnc.ca

Andree Hauschild – After School Leader & Preschool Assistant

I am a proud member of the Oakville Community. I have a BA in Youth and Children Studies with a minor in Women’s Studies. This has allowed me to work with Children in both the classroom and a camp setting.

Throughout elementary school, I was in French immersion. While in high school I helped create an anti-bullying campaign, which jump-started my love for supporting others. I have always had an open-door policy for anyone to come and talk about anything. I want to help support my students achieve their goals and strive for their best.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 102
Email: youth@opnc.ca

Peta-Gay Lewis – Before & After School Program Coordinator

I started my childcare journey at George Brown College, where I took Early Childhood Education and later I went to  Sheridan College where I got my Child and Youth Work advanced diploma.

Caring for children has always been my passion from a young age. I have been volunteering and working with children pretty much all my life. I was even recognized by Hazel McCallion, for my work in the community. I am the oldest of all my siblings, and the 3rd oldest of all my cousins, so I’ve changed A LOT of diapers. My greatest accomplishment is my son. He has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. He definitely is a character, and grows and changes every day! He has made me so much more patient and has taught me how to go with the flow.             

OPNC has been an absolute blessing in my life. I love cooking, baking, doing crafts and DIYS. We have two Beta fish named Pixel and Hulk!

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 1011
Email: bacare@opnc.ca

  Heather Tompkins – Community Support

Heather has worked vocationally as a school teacher and leader in a variety of charitable organizations. Heather established a Canadian micro-enterprise to provide practical support for the urban-poor in the Philippines. In frontline programming and as a board member for a Community Centre Heather has used her leadership skills to train, equip and encourage others. As a chaplain for 20 years with a bereavement support centre Heather provided leadership and multi-generational counsel to individuals and group support for the grieving. Over the years Heather has volunteered in many local and international faith-based organizations including work with Romanian orphans.

Email: hope@opnc.ca

Mouayad Murad – Financial Literacy Worker

Mouayad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with more than 20 years of experience in finance, accounting, taxation, international trade and is a CRA-certified comprehensive tax preparer. Mouayad believes that a person will not feel rest if his stomach and pocket is full while his neighbour is hungry or in need.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 106
Email: financialadvocate@opnc.ca

Sue Vernon-Smith -Financial Literacy Co-ordinator

Sue joins the OPNC team with excitement to help those in her community find ways to make life better.  After undergrad, she had a brief career as a teacher and camp director for children in inner-city New York before returning to school to get her Master of Social Work.  She spent time working in Toronto in the fields of child welfare and mental health before moving back to Oakville to raise a family.  Over the past several years, Sue has volunteered for various organizations across Oakville in the areas of food security, education and sports.   She looks forward to working with the OPNC team and community to find pathways out of poverty.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 103
Email: support@opnc.ca

Maye Abdel Shafy – Tawasul Community Connector

Maye came to the centre in 2012  looking to build a social network and to make new friends for her little ones in her new hometown. With a BA in English literature and a career in education, she sees every individual as a unique story and a chance to learn something new. She quickly became one of the active members of the Centre, chiming into its tune of community support with an initiative to help newcomers and refugees and thus our program “Tawasul” was born.

Email: tawasul@opnc.ca

Tammy Hand – Senior’s Fitness Instructor

I started at OPNC in 2018. My favourite memory at OPNC was when we were finally able to have outdoor, socially distanced exercise at the end of summer/start of fall 2020.  I stood on the porch to teach the class and almost took a tumble on those stairs a few times!  But it was so worth it as I looked out to our seniors who were joyfully moving and grooving together, while people passing by on the sidewalk stopped to watch or join in! It was glorious to be together after long months of COVID lockdown

I love the people who are part of the senior community at OPNC. They are always very appreciative of the classes I provide, but they don’t realize how much they give to me. We all know exercising is so important for both our physical and mental health.  But it’s even more beneficial when we do it together.  We lift each other up.   Many people don’t know that when my son was born in 2005 I suffered severe and debilitating postpartum depression.  It took almost 10 years to recover to full health with the help of medical treatment and regular exercise.  Still today, exercise is a top priority for me to stay healthy.  Doing our classes together always gives me a boost.  It’s a combination of the music, physical activity and the positivity each person brings.  

But don’t be fooled by all this talk of exercise.  I’m not a “sporty” person.  In fact, I was usually the last person picked in gym class!  I like hiking, kayaking and swimming.

My 3 greatest joys in life are being married to  Mike, raising my son Logan and developing Heart Beats Club – my cardio chair exercise program for seniors.  Since 2012 I’ve taught over 4,500+ classes in Long Term Care Homes and Adult Day Programs. It’s been very rewarding to make exercise accessible and engaging for seniors with complex health conditions. I am blessed to have found a career that allows me to use my God-given talents to enrich the lives of others. This program has continued to expand beyond me.  I’ve been invited to train staff at 50+ facilities across Ontario how to lead Heart Beats Club

Email: thand@opnc.ca

Crystal Martin – Harm Reduction Connector at Churchill Neighbourhood Centre

Crystal has 10 years of experience working in Social Services and holds a Child and Youth Care Diploma, Honours BA in Social Work, and BA in Indigenous Studies with Criminal Justice minor. Crystal has a passion for helping the most vulnerable in our community.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 109
Email: connector@opnc.ca

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