Heather Jackson, RECE | Executive Director

Heather Jackson, RECE is the Executive Director of The Sunflower School She received her ECE from Humber College and has over 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. Her passion is early childhood education with a difference.  She has worked for the City of Scarborough in their workplace child care centre: Squirrels Nest/Orchard Grove Parent Cooperative in Scarborough/ Metro Toronto Children’s Services and then for the past ten years she was the Executive Director of Milton Community Resource Centre.  She has also been part of seven child care centres opening in Ontario over the past 20 years.

Heather and her husband live in Orangeville and are very excited to be an important part of our community! For more information about Heather Jackson and our professional development visit our Professional Development Page.

Sarah Sayffi, RECE | Director

Sarah Sayffi has been with The Sunflower School since they opened its’ doors in the summer of 2009. Sarah is the Director at The Sunflower School Townline location. Sarah holds an Early Childhood Education Diploma and has over 10 years’ experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Sarah is passionate about the Reggio Emilia Approach that we use at The Sunflower School. She visited Italy in 2011 to do a study group in the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Sarah was most inspired by the sense of community that you experience in the schools and in the small town of Reggio.  Sarah hopes to instill that sense of community with our families at The Sunflower School and believes that family involvement is one of the most important aspects of the Reggio inspired curriculum.

Sarah is grateful for the relationships that have developed with the children, families and her fellow educators at The Sunflower School over the past 9 years. She looks forward to helping The Sunflower School grow and develop in the years to come!  Sarah lives in Orangeville.

Keri Best, RECE | Director

Keri was hired as an educator in spring 2014 after she completed her placement as a Georgian College student at The Sunflower School.  Keri became passionate about the Reggio Emilia curriculum right away and fell in love with the theory of loose parts. She finds joy in searching for loose parts that will inspire children’s imagination and enrich the learning process.  Keri has worked with every age group, and at multiple TSS locations. In the spring of 2022 Keri was promoted to Director of our Townline location. With a passion of inspiring fellow educators and sharing her work, she hopes that this new role will allow her to reach further and mentor more educators. Keri enjoys spending her free time outside, whether at the beach or in the forest she is happy being in nature!

Jackie Henry, RECE | Director

Curious and appreciative of early childhood and its reflection of the “whole” child, Jackie Henry’s journey to The Sunflower School began in 2010 as an administrator for an after-school tutoring program. The relationships developed with the children and their families sparked the motivation to return to school herself, and study Early Childhood Education at Fanshawe College.

With the introduction of many teaching philosophies throughout her tenure at Fanshawe, the essence of Reggio-Emelia inspired curriculum resonated with Jackie, which led her to beginning her career in Hamilton, ON after graduation. Jackie then returned to her hometown of Orangeville, ON to begin her journey with The Sunflower School, to which the connection to and relationship with the Reggio community is prevalent and thriving. Jackie began working with the School Age program, and has since had the experience of being engaged in the Toddler and Preschool programs, as well as participating in extensive Professional Development opportunities surrounding Early Childhood Education.

Jackie and her husband welcomed their son Cooper into the world along this journey and are thrilled that The Sunflower School has embraced her whole family from the very beginning!

Rachel Donatelli | Finance and Administration Director

Rachel started her journey at The Sunflower School on the day it opened in 2009. She worked alongside Heather Jackson (Executive Director) to help grow The Sunflower School to what it is today and helped with every job/position the school needed at that time. During the early years of The Sunflower School Rachel gained the education needed to help Heather with the financial side of her business and became a manager in 2012. As the Sunflower School grew so did Rachel’s role. Today her main responsibilities include day to day management, parent fees and organizing our current and new enrolment for Townline. Although Rachel doesn’t have an Early Childhood Education, she has attended Reggio conferences over the years to help her better understand the program that we offer to our families. Rachel and her family live just outside of Orangeville and are an outdoorsy family which is why she especially love the Reggio approach. Rachel’s two girls have attended The Sunflower School since they were both 12 months and she has found that her children’s interaction with nature and different materials to be intuitive and creative.

Kathleen Jackson | Business Development

Kathleen Jackson has recently joined The Sunflower School. She is a graduate from Sheridan College with a degree in Business Management.  Kathleen brings 28 years of business experience with her and she will be using this to develop the business of the school.  Kathleen is excited to create our community presence in Orangeville and to expand the professional development portion of The Sunflower School with Heather Jackson.  Kathleen lives in Orangeville with her husband and children.