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We Invite You to Meet the Members of Our Leadership Team

It is not an average mission to provide the best child development on the planet, but New Horizon Academy is not an average company. New Horizon Academy is an exceptional organization with an abiding commitment to excellence in every aspect of the programs and services we have provided to families for over 50 years.

We have a very strong and consistent leadership team. In fact, since 1971, our company has had only two CEOs. The founder and current president are actively involved in the strategic direction and mission of the organization, and that consistent leadership provides a firm foundation from which we continue to flourish. Most of our New Horizon Academy district managers have been with our company for over 20 years. The majority of our directors have been with us for a decade or more.

Chad Dunkley

Chad Dunkley

Chief Executive Officer

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1991
Education – Hamline University and William Mitchell College of Law
“I love working with young children for the pure joy on their faces when they figure out how to do something for the first time. I love hearing the phrase, ‘I did it!’”

Penny Allen

Penny Allen

Chief Financial Officer

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1994
Education – University of Wisconsin/Madison
“I love seeing what our teachers are capable of achieving in our classrooms. It is truly amazing!”

Jill Dunkley

Jill Dunkley

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2001
Education – Hamline University and William Mitchell College of Law
“I love when the children show me their classroom and tell me about what projects they are working on. It is so fulfilling to see their excitement about all of the fun learning activities that they are engaged in.”

Bev Bauman

Bev Bauman

Vice President of Staff Development and Education

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1989
Education – St. Cloud State
“I enjoy seeing the light bulb go off when children 'get it'. Children are little sponges. As an early childhood professional, I believe it is our responsibility to be intentional and provide activities that they can absorb.”

Cara Johnson-Bader

Cara Johnson-Bader

Vice President of Marketing and Parent Experiences

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2010
Education – University of St. Catherine
“I enjoy the dynamic and exciting opportunities young children bring. They are so passionate and excited about the world around them. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with teachers, children, and families at New Horizon Academy.”

John Rosen

John Rosen

Vice President of Real Estate Development

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2019
Education - University of Denver, BSBA Real Estate & Construction Management
“I've had the honor of developing early education and care centers across the country for 30 years. Child care is one of few land uses where children’s laughter, the appreciation of families and the passion of employees come together under one roof. Our schools raise the bar, and I'm proud to be part of the team ensuring these services are available to more children every year.”

Clare Sanford

Clare Sanford

Vice President of Government and Community Relations

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2015
Education – St. Olaf College and Harvard University
“Children are pure people. Having not yet learned many social conventions and norms, they act just as they feel and to the fullest extent--how we all wish we could act sometimes!”

Carol Luo

Carol Luo

Vice President of Human Resources

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2022
Education – Hohai University and Iowa State University
“I love how much we adults can learn from children – they are curious, welcoming and always open to new ideas. Being in a classroom with children reminds me of why our work matters, and how important it is to build relationships and support one another.”

Kelly Ashton

Kelly Ashton

Regional Vice President

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1986
Education – University of Nebraska
“I enjoy how every day is new with children and how every experience is as if it is the first time it has ever happened.”

Jessie Watson

Jessie Watson

Regional Vice President

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1990
Education – University of Minnesota
“I love that each day is a new opportunity to inspire and teach a child. We have so many wonderful things happening in our classrooms each day!”

Heidi Pross

Heidi Pross

Senior Director of Construction and Facilities

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2021
Education – The Pennsylvania State University, University of Saint Thomas
“I have always loved the challenge of creating places that matter to people. At New Horizon Academy, we are creating places for the people who matter most: our children, our joy, our future. I am honored to be a part of providing a safe, clean and inspirational space where children can thrive.”

Peggy Blackmon

Peggy Blackmon

Director of Licensing and Center Support

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1988 
Education – Rasmussen Business College
“I appreciate how honest, pure, and accepting the children are. I appreciate how they embrace life. I appreciate how teachable they are and how much they can teach us, if we are willing to receive.”

Andrea Schneider

Andrea Schneider

Director of Finance

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2013
Education – St. Cloud State University
“Our teachers are truly remarkable. I love watching their creativity spread throughout the classroom. Their love and passion for early childhood education is evident.”

Jonathan Thomas

Jonathan Thomas

Director of Information Technology

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2019
Education – Millennium Technical Institute
“It’s all about what’s best for the children at New Horizon. What an honor it is to support the passionate and dedicated staff who devote themselves to caring for children.”

Jennifer Rue

Jennifer Rue

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1993
Education – Rasmussen Business College
“I enjoy working with young children because they make my heart happy!”

Kami Thompson

Kami Thompson

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1993
Education – Concordia University, St. Paul
“The world of Early Childhood Education is ever evolving providing so many opportunities of personal growth, and a unique gift of knowing you and your team are bettering the world by impacting the lives of our families and the children in our care. There are not many jobs where you get to say that!"

Kristi Fuller

Kristi Fuller

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 1996
Education – Bethel College and Concordia University
“I have the privilege of seeing the world through a child’s eyes. To them, every day is brand new and wonderful, even the days we get two feet of snow.”

Susan Zackery

Susan Zackery

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2006
Education – University of Minnesota Duluth
"The innocence and wonder of a child is incredible to see. I love that I am able to see the children in our care learn and thrive, all while learning great lessons from them as well!"

Christine Leonard

Christine Leonard

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2006
Education – University of Minnesota and Ashford University
"I love watching the children grow and develop. Witnessing them hit milestones and seeing their accomplishments is truly a rewarding experience."

Angie Omelianchuk

Angie Omelianchuk

District Manager

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2012
Education – Minneapolis College of Art and Design
“I am inspired by children’s curiosity and drive to explore. They are a daily reminder to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.”

Cami Wakagawa

Cami Wakagawa

Area Director - Idaho

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2003
Education – Ashworth College and Montana State University
“I enjoy seeing children’s desire to learn more and seeing them accomplish something every day.”

Roni Mathew

Roni Mathew

Area Director - Colorado

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2014
Education – Rasmussen College
“I love being around children and sharing in their experiences.”

Jeannine Laughlin

Jeannine Laughlin

Area Director - Iowa

Joined New Horizon Academy in 2018
Education – Northwest Missouri State University
“I enjoy working with children because I think every child deserves the best head start to their learning, and I can provide that for each child in my care. And, I love their wonder, excitement, humor, joy and innocence!”

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