Matt and Rochette Dahler, Founders
Rochette and Matt Dahler; Executive Board/Founders of LSP and affiliated companies; which Rochette officially formed in 2002. Her introduction into the childcare industry began in 1998 in a home-based educational daycare. Over the following three years her in-home childcare business grew and evolved into a passion and a dream for making a change for what Early Care could become in her own community of Springfield, Missouri. The overwhelming demand for Rochette’s unconventional and enthusiastic approach to Early Care fueled her dream. Her first school exceeded all expectations and was slated for expansion within one year.
Since that time, Little Sunshine’s Playhouse has grown from a true grass roots home based business to a well-developed national franchise system, branded to serve and compete. Rochette and Matt serve on the Executive Board of Directors that oversees new school development. Rochette’s educational accomplishments include Summa Cum Laude double degree achievement in Early Childhood focused degrees. She is also a CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) graduating class of 2013; which is the highest distinction in Franchising, with the International Franchise Association. Her professional accomplishments include formation and trademarking of the Kiddie Cams™ and LuvNotes™ systems for proprietary use by Little Sunshine’s Playhouse franchisees and corporate schools. Under their leadership, the company has been recognized as a Top New Franchise by Franbest Networks at www.topnewfranchises.com, six year running ‘Best Of Category’ by The NewsLeader, a Top 20 Children’s Franchise by Opportunity World Magazine, Franchise Gator’s Top 100 (2014 and 2015 wins) and Top Emerging in 2014, Inc 500’s 2014 list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the US and Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2014 Franchise 500 list. Rochette is also an award recipient of the Springfield Business Journal’s ’40 Under 40′ for 2015. Matt is a licensed realtor in multiple states and often times he secures real estate for new locations for both corporate and franchisee Schools. He is also a CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) graduating class of 2013, with the International Franchise Association.
Their passion is Little Sunshine’s Playhouse! Each of their three children have attended Little Sunshine’s Playhouse schools with great educational, emotional and social success…and they are excited to share with other families what Little Sunshine’s Playhouse has given to their family.
Nicole Carr, Chief Executive Officer, CFE
Nicole began working for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse Corporate Office in 2008 as Rochette Dahler’s Executive Assistant. She was inspired by Rochette and the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse concept on every level and decided she wanted to become a long-term player with the company. With that goal in mind, Nicole grew her involvement through focused dedication and support of individual schools and was able to help the company achieve wide-spread success, continued growth and launch innovative, proprietary services. As a result of those successes, she was promoted to the title of Chief Operating Officer in 2009. Since that time, under Rochette Dahler’s direct guidance, Nicole has been deeply involved in every area of operation and growth and was awarded the title of CEO in 2016.
As CEO, Nicole oversees company growth and provides leadership to Corporate staff, Franchisees and School Directors. Specifically she supervises and oversees all aspects of business within the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse organizations. She provides leadership, guidance, and focus to corporate staff, franchisees, and school directors in order to grow the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse concept to be known as the leading innovator in early childhood education.
Nicole has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (emphasis in Marketing and Management) from Missouri State University. She is also a CFE (Certified Franchise Executive); which is the highest distinction in Franchising, with the International Franchise Association.
She is deeply committed to Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and all the families each program impacts. She understands the importance of quality early childhood education; her own children are students within the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse programs. She is proud of her role in bringing the “Once Upon a Time” experience to families nationwide. She frequently travels to developing and existing schools for on-site support and compliance.
Nicole and her husband, Andy, reside in Springfield, Missouri with their three children (all Little Sunshine’s Playhouse students).
Abby Davis, Chief Operations Officer
Abby Davis is the Chief Operations Officer for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse. Her background in Human Environmental Science from the University of Arkansas, along with ten years of industry experience, brought her to Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in 2012 where she served as the Program Director for the Rogers, Arkansas location. During her time as a school manager, she met and exceeded the goals and expectations within that position and realized her passion to expand and provide support and encouragement to all other management teams, school staff, families and children within the Company.
With that goal in mind, Abby’s growth continued within the organization and evolved in 2016 as an Area Manager. In 2017 Abby accepted the position of Operations Executive and currently oversees all locations, including pre-operational and operational schools across the nation, providing support to both corporate and franchise schools in the capacity of school leadership growth and operational guidance.
Abby resides in Carthage, MO with her husband and four children (who are Little Sunshine’s Playhouse graduates and students).
Amber Riddle, Chief Financial Officer
Amber Riddle started her career with Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in May of 2016 as the Director of Finance and Human Resource. In her current position, Amber oversees system-wide accounting and financial planning as well as maintaining and enhancing the organization’s human resources by planning, implementing, and evaluating employee relations and human resources policies, programs, and practices.
Amber graduated from Republic High School, then obtained a B.S. in Accounting from Missouri State University. In 2016, Amber received her MBA, also from Missouri State University.
Amber and her husband Luke have two children. Cam, who is in elementary school and Emma, a Little Sunshine’s Playhouse student. Amber and her family currently reside in Billings, MO.
Julie Hayes, Senior Accounting Executive, CFE
Julie began working for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in August 2002 while obtaining her CDA (Child Development Associate). Her initial role was within the initial founder Little Sunshine’s Playhouse School location on a teaching team, and later into senior management. There she had the opportunity to learn details about the company’s business operations, educational standards, management-style and eventually company accounting. Julie’s long-term loyalty and commitment to Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, her knowledge and specific skill sets make her an invaluable team member. Her daily role includes management of tuition collections, QuickBooks support, reporting analysis and general administration. She is a notary in the state of Missouri; as well as an active International Franchise Association member and CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) of the International Franchise Association’s graduating class of 2015.
Julie and her husband, Michael, reside in Springfield, Missouri with their two children (both Little Sunshine’s Playhouse graduates).
Kaley Harmon, Director of Marketing & On-boarding
Kaley began her journey with Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in August 2010 as a Teacher’s Assistant at Springfield III. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Development (with emphasis’ in Early Childhood and in Administration) and her Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management, both from Missouri State University.
While having the opportunity to execute responsibilities from every level of a school’s team, Kaley learned exactly how a successful school operates from the ground up. She learned what it takes for a school, and more importantly the students, to be successful. She has a passion for children, but that passion reaches beyond one classroom and she now focuses on bringing the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse program and philosophy to children across the country. After spending a year under the guidance and leadership of CEO, Nicole Carr, Kaley knew she wanted her relationship with this inspiring company to transition into a lifelong career. She was promoted to the On-boarding Specialist, and just six months later took over Marketing, as well. She’s goal and detail oriented and has an unrivaled passion for perfection in operations.
Kaley oversees the on-boarding process for all franchisees and new corporate programs. She actively assists and supports franchisees with every aspect of the critical construction phases. From the first steps of development through presenting owners with the keys to their new business, Kaley is an integral partner in success.
She also develops and oversees the execution of marketing campaigns for all upcoming and operational Little Sunshine’s Playhouse schools; which involves social media planning, advertising, public relations, event organization, sponsorship and continued research on the most effective marketing strategies available. Kaley is keyed into the specific marketing and promotional needs of over fifteen markets within the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse system and is deeply committed to help drive success for each Franchisee and program.
Kaley currently resides in Kansas City, MO and cannot imagine a life without LSP in it!
Terri Clark, Accounting Executive
Terri Clark joined the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse corporate team as the Administrative Assistant in September of 2016. Her role has developed since that time into the role of Accounting Executive. In her current position, Terri provides support to the Director of Finance, as well as, Corporate and Franchise schools in the areas of Payroll and daily accounting functions.
Terri graduated from Grayslake Community High School in Grayslake, IL. She continued her education in accounting, attending college in Illinois and Iowa. During her extensive career, she has supported and directed accounting departments in a variety of levels and capacities. In recent years, Terri worked in the Court systems in both St. Charles, MO and Murfreesboro, TN.
Terri has had the opportunity to live in several areas of the county, but most recently decided to relocate back to Southwest Missouri. Terri currently resides in Billings with her husband of 38 years. Before moving to Tennessee, Terri and Kevin raised their children in Republic and they are very happy to be back and living close to their adult children and grandchildren.
Cathy Harmon, Education and Safety Coordinator
Cathy joined the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse corporate team as the Education and Safety Coordinator in June of 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with Early Childhood Certification from (Southwest) Missouri State University and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from William Woods University. She has over 23 years of experience in the education field where she has taught both Kindergarten and 2nd grade. She has an extensive background knowledge of Kindergarten readiness and preparation, curriculum design, and educator mentorship, with a long history of developing successful lifelong learners in the classroom.
In her position, Cathy oversees Little Sunshine’s Playhouse proprietary curriculum, Creatively ShineTM and will amend and revise as needed. She will conduct hands-on classroom observations and administer quality assurance reviews. She will handle new staff trainings and equip all educators with the resources needed to manage successful classrooms. Her goal and primary focus is to provide guidance and support to LSP programs through their management and educator teams.
Cathy currently lives on a farm in Mt. Vernon, MO with her husband, Mark. In her free time, she loves to play golf and read. She also enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren and one grand-dog.
Mel Leeper, Administrative Assistant
Mel Leeper began working for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in March of 2017 as an administrative assistant. In her role, Mel provides administrative support to ensure efficient operation of the corporate office and to corporate schools. She will also ensure the corporate office is equipped and maintained appropriately for efficient operation and will support the team in any way she can.
Mel is a current student at Missouri State University and is pursuing a degree in Communications. After graduation, her plan is then to go on to receive a Master’s Degree in counseling. Mel has always had a passion for students and children and believes that it is her calling to be an available and encouraging voice to the next generation. She is very excited to be a part of the team and work for the mission of Little Sunshine’s Playhouse!
Mel currently resides in Springfield, MO. She is newly engaged to her fiancé, Jonathan and they plan to get married in July 2017.