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Meet the Team

Commited to providing Excellence and Magic!


Carin Smolinski


As an early childhood educator, children's author, early learning startup consultant, children's youtube edutainer and owner of prestigious private preschools in Tokyo, Carin brings 23 years of experience in the field of early childhood education to The Nest family.  She too can be found doing the jungle jive or jiggling like jello at any given moment!  Her greatest joy and most important job is being mother to her 4 children. 


Petra Giacomelli

Head Early Childhood Educator

As a certified Kindergarten Teacher and Educator from Austria, Petra has more than 10 years of experience in childcare teaching in preschools, after-school programs, daycares, Ski schools as well as Au-pair. Before finally settling down in Whistler/ Pemberton 2017, Petra travelled and worked her way around the world, mainly through New Zealand, Asia, and Canada. When she is not working, you can find her out in the backcountry, adventuring, or in the Yoga studio. She loves the mountains. Her passion is ski touring, climbing, Music, and being in the moment with (your) children!

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Heidi Mattson


You may also know Heidi as Heidi the Artist!  As a longtime Sea to Sky resident and beloved artist, Heidi brings both her creativity and entrepreneurial expertise to our back office work and parent communications.  Her kind demeanour and joy for life are wonderful gifts that she brings to The Nest team!  


Madisen Hilligoss

Eaglets Outdoor Learning & Steamteam After School Leader

Madisen grew up near Portland, Oregon and spent her childhood climbing and talking to trees and drawing for hours. As a teenager she became involved in local habitat restoration initiatives. She moved to Squamish in 2016 to combine her interests in the environment and visual art at Quest University Canada. In 2020, Madisen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with a self-designed focus on environmental science, environmental art, and ethnoecology from Quest University.

She is excited to have recently moved to Pemberton to continue her passions for community building, education, foraging, natural art, and her budding hobby of roller skating. Madisen has a strong interest in connecting people to nature through science, art, and education, and hopes to apply these skills at the Nest!


Rie Hamada

Support Worker

Rie is joining our team as a support worker.  Rie brings her lifetime of experience raising 4 boys and being a Waldorf Mom to The Nest!  Her gentle, positive nature and outlook on working with children is such a gift to our students and families!

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Sheilagh Martin

Librarian in Residence

Sheilagh was a professional teacher / librarian for 30 years in the public and private school systems. She brings her love of books and literary experiences to The Nest as a volunteer.  She believes reading is a magical experience to share with even the youngest children. 


 “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents (or grandparents).”  Emilie Buchwald. 


Knowledge, ideas, and critical thinking can all be learned through the joy of reading. Every single day!


Sheilagh’s greatest joy these days is to read to her two little grandchildren.


Rochelle Iino

Support worker and Grandma in Residence

We are luring Rochelle out of retirement to bring her lifetime of experience as an infant development coordinator, head of province-wide autism treatment family support program, preschool teacher and preschool owner  to our Nest children and families.

Some of you may have met Rochelle at our Teddy Bear Picnic in August, and you will be sure to see her often at The Nest.  

I am also really proud to call her my Mom. 

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Allee Wells

Early Childhood Educator

Allee started her career with children when she was a teenager working at summer camps in the Ottawa Ontario area where she grew up. Following her heart and passion for art, adventure and outdoor sports, she moved to BC in 2001 to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University in Vancouver. During her 10 years in Vancouver Allee got to teach art to children at places like Arts Umbrella and The Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2011 she also completed her Early Childhood Education from Capilano University in North Vancouver, upon which she moved to Whistler to be closer to the mountains. Allee has enjoyed over 20 years of making art and working with children, combining two of her passions! She loves the creative freedom and imagination young children have, and gets inspiration from them everyday! Allee has worked as an ECE at both The Whistler and Pemberton Children’s Centres. Allee moved to Pemberton in 2015 to put down some roots with her partner Matt, where they are enjoying raising their daughter Pippa in this beautiful mountain valley!Some of you may have met Rochelle at our Teddy Bear Picnic in August, and you will be sure to see her often at The Nest. 

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