Early childhood educator Lorie Powell is the new director of Sunshine & Rainbows child care preschool in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
Powell is a familiar face in the community, having worked for more than 15 years as center director at Land of Oz, and most recently at Head Start in El Dorado County.
Co-owners Neil and Cassie Almeida said they are delighted to have Powell back in the Valley, and so are the parents and children at Sunshine & Rainbows.
The day care center was opened more than 30 years ago on Dresslerville Road by Nina Grobben.
The Almeidas, along with Nate and Jen Almeida, took over management of the center in 2006.
Recently, the Almeidas dissolved their partnership, leaving the center solely in the care of Neil and Cassie, with the Grobbens continuing to take an advisory role.
“This job is absolutely great,” Powell said. “What’s not to like? The kids are phenomenal and the staff is really great. It’s wonderful to be part of this community again.”
Powell said she is a hands-on director, with a focus on education curriculum and a stimulating learning environment for the children.
“We have renewed excitement about Sunshine & Rainbows,” Almeida said.
With nine full-time employees, the center is licensed for 143 children, from 6 weeks old to after school care.
Currently, there are 11 babies in the infant care center, and a total of 47 children at the center.
With the end of the school year in sight, the Almeidas and Powell said they would be expanding their summer program.
“We want to support and give back to the community, and provide a safe place for children and their families,” Neil Almeida said.
Programs include family nights and parents’ night out.
“We want to be that ‘home away from home,’ he said. “We’re here to support Moms and Dads.”
The Almeidas live in Oceanside, Calif., with their four children, but make frequent trips to Nevada.
“We’re here because we love the school, the Valley and these kids,” Neil Almeida said.
The center is open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Infant care begins at 7 a.m.
For information, call the center at 265-2185. Sunshine & Rainbows is at 1288 Dresslerville Road.