Celebrating a Golden Milestone

Over the past 50 years, the Children’s Learning Center has impacted countless children and families across Jackson and Sublette County, Wyoming.

To celebrate our Golden Anniversary, we’re looking back to our roots and the determined, innovative individuals who sparked the idea for all that we have become. Now, we’re serving 330 children at four facilities in two counties, covering the full spectrum of income levels and developmental needs.

Through the videos and images below, we revisit the earliest chapters of the Children’s Learning Center and the luminous stars who laid the framework for the unparalleled community resource that we are today. Celebrate the enduring impact of these visionaries, and join us in looking ahead to the next 50 stellar years!

Mary Kay Turner

Learning Center Founder

When Mary Kay Turner’s husband was serving on the Wyoming Legislature, a growing area of focus was mental health resources. As she helped found the Teton County Mental Health Center, she quickly realized that many children with special needs in the area needed support and educational opportunities as well. Alongside the other resourceful parents, teachers, and volunteers, Mary Kay founded the Learning Center to provide excellent care to children with a wide range of abilities and needs.

Rhonda Robles

Learning Center Co-Founder

Rhonda Robles’ journey with the Children’s Learning Center began with a newspaper ad. Inspired by the women working to build mental health resources and offer services to children with disabilities, and she immediately applied to join them. In the early years of this community-rooted programming, she recalls, there was little guidance or standardized oversight, so the group developed their own plans and goals. She’s delighted to see that CLC has endured and continues to impact so many families.

Happy Weston

Learning Center Co-Founder

When Happy Weston’s daughter was born with disabilities in 1968, it was immediately apparent that the services their family needed were not available nearby. The realization that the only existing options were expensive out-of-state programs left Happy feeling at a loss. This spurred her to help develop the programs that were missing. With enthusiastic community support, she helped pave the way for community members with disabilities to have better care and affordable access to resources.

Sandy Shuptrine

Community Children’s Project Founder

With no other option for childcare in the early 1970s, Sandy Shuptrine was taking her toddler to work with her. Soon, she met other local mothers in the same situation, and the group decided to create the solution they needed. When they founded the Community Children’s Project (CCP), they recognized the critical need for qualified, educational childcare for all families. The pandemic has highlighted how this resource is still fundamental to a thriving society.

Janet Woodland

Former Board Member, CCP & CLC

Janet Woodland wanted a way to give back to the community that she loves so deeply, and found the perfect niche as a board member for the Community Children’s Project (CCP) and CLC. These programs, she recognized immediately, were a real breakthrough for the community as the area’s first county-subsidized childcare resource. Janet continues to be inspired by the gratitude of families and children, and energized by CLC’s momentum and boundless potential in the coming years.

Anita Sullivan

Established Head Start in Teton County

One of the Children’s Learning Center’s early preschool teachers, Anita Sullivan saw the emerging needs of the community firsthand including more families experiencing poverty and an increasing immigrant population. Anita was one of the first to spearhead the Early Head Start/Head Start program in Teton County: a resource that cultivates social justice and breaks down barriers by increasing the accessibility of early education for all families in the community.

Tote Turner

CLC Alumnus

When CLC board member Tote Turner was a young child, motor development and special education resources weren’t readily available in Teton County. His mother, Mary Kay, collaborated with other trailblazing women to establish The Learning Center to provide critical services for children with special needs. This precursor of CLC helped set Tote up for a lifetime of success: a graduate degree, a strong career, and children of his own who have benefitted from CLC programming.

Davey Hough

40 Years as SPED director

Over the course of his four decades as a Special Education Instructor, Davey Hough has seen CLC expand in impactful and inspiring ways. He has worked with hundreds of children and families — representing a wide range of needs and abilities — making an immeasurable difference in their lives. He looks around the community and is proud to see young adults who he helped as babies living rich, productive, and connected lives.

Lisa Mason

SPED staff – Sublette County

In Sublette County, Lisa Mason has been a Special Education Instructor for two decades now. Like the other members of the CLC team, she feels a deep passion for her work, and especially values the way that programming offers intervention before crises develop. CLC’s Sublette County Developmental Preschool, which was founded in 1977, offers an exceptional opportunity for families of all backgrounds, cultures, development trajectories, and needs — creating an integrated community that is supportive and empowering.

Mary Lankford

Former CLC Board Member

Since being designated “Region 4” with Teton County, Sublette County has witnessed the profound impact that CLC has had on many families and children in the area. Mary Lankford, in addition to being the parent of a child who benefitted from screening and programming in the 1980s, served as the County Clerk for years, and ultimately joined the CLC Board. She notes that CLC’s dynamic ability to meet the community’s evolving needs has helped the organization endure and continue to provide vital services to children with all abilities.

Robbi Farrow

SPED Therapist

Special Education Therapist Robbi Farrow understands that the work she does with parents and students extends far beyond the classroom. As she develops a strong, close connection with parents, she’s able to coach them and empower them to implement habits and changes in their everyday lives. This expansion of understanding allows them to infuse every day with help for their children, not exclusively when they’re with Robbi. CLC is about more than what children do in class — it’s about setting people of all abilities up for limitless success.

Mycah Miller


When Sally Yocum’s daughter Mycah was born, there weren’t many resources for their family in Jackson Hole. The Children’s Learning Center not only helped Mycah develop important skills but also cultivated a sense of empowerment and advocacy in her parents. Thanks to this constellation of benefits, Mycah graduated from Jackson Hole High School and now lives independently. She works as an artist — largely inspired by her love of animals — a member of the Vertical Harvest team, and teaches children with disabilities how to ski.

Tim McLaurin

Former student of SPED

Tim McLaurin, who has Down Syndrome, believes wholeheartedly that his time in the Special Education Program at The Children’s Learning Center was life-changing for him. He reflects on the myriad ways that Davey Hough — a longtime educator with CLC — helped him develop life skills and the necessary tools to navigate the community. Tim’s mother, Julie, agrees that CLC was a priceless resource for their family. Today, Tim — who has cultivated growing fame as “Jackson’s Biggest Rockstar” — is a thriving member of the community who lives independently and has a successful career at Vertical Harvest.

Anita Sullivan

Founder of the Head Start Program

Anita Sullivan, a founder of the Head Start Program with the Children’s Learning Center, cultivated a welcoming and empowering space for children and families whose primary language was not English. Since the earliest chapters of the program, Anita and other Head Start instructors have helped students achieve unlimited success in their lives. Not only are students more fluently bilingual, but many have also gone on to college and rewarding careers both in Jackson Hole and beyond.

Laura Perez

Former Head Start Student

As a former student in the Head Start Program, Laura Perez credits the program with her robust English skills. The bilingual environment was empowering, and bilingual instructors helped her parents to understand where her strengths and growth opportunities appeared. As the community continues to expand in diversity, Laura believes that programs like Head Start are more important than ever, and will continue to benefit a great many families.

Lety Liera

20 year Director for Head Start

Over the course of her two decades at the helm of the Head Start Program, Lety Liera relished the opportunity to connect with some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in the community. A critically-important piece of her work, she says, was forging strong connections with mothers and fathers through initiatives like the Parent Forum — Lety witnessed astounding growth and community connections among Latino families, and a desire to set all children up for success.

Jan Friedlund

Former Director & former parent of CLC

Not only is Jan Friedlund a former parent of a CLC student, but she also served as the organization’s Interim Director in the early 2000s. Without the collaborative effort of the county, individuals and organizations that recognize the profound value of early childhood education, she says, CLC would have not been able to launch a SPET Tax initiative in 2006. The success of that effort resulted in the construction of CLC’s Rafter J Ranch Campus and empowered the organization to expand programming — in addition to ensuring that educational resources were accessible and affordable for all families.

Lisa Price

Former Board Member & Parent

When Lisa Price’s two sons arrived from Russia, weighing a mere ten pounds each, it became clear that they were going to require developmental support as they grew. The Early Intervention Services at CLC provided an array of modalities for them to grow, increase their strength, and learn. Additionally, Lisa recalls, CLC helped her feel empowered and more at peace as a parent. Her boys thrived, and have gone on to enjoy full, successful lives.

Eileen and Greg Prugh

CLC Parents

The Prugh family — Ellen, Greg, and their three sons — found the resources offered through CLC life-changing for all of them. When their youngest son, Crosby, was diagnosed with a developmental disability, the therapists at CLC integrated the entire family into his care and therapies. Over the course of this joyful and inspiring journey, Ellen and Greg learned to elevate their expectations for Crosby and help him participate in the same activities as his brothers. Now 8 years old, Crosby is thriving in the dual-immersion program at Munger Mountain Elementary.

Lynn Friess

Grandparent of a CLC Student

When one of Lynn Friess’ youngest grandchildren was born with special needs, she began exploring resources available to help offer extra support. Of course, the compassionate and professional services at CLC proved priceless. Now, her granddaughter is in a mainstream public school 4th-grade classroom — an achievement that Lynn wholeheartedly believes is largely due to the exceptional early childhood education she received at CLC.

Natalia Macker

Teton County Commissioner & CLC Parent

As both a parent of a CLC student and a Teton County Commissioner, Natalia Macker enjoys a unique perspective on the immeasurable benefits of CLC. The organization is an asset to a vast majority of stakeholders in the community, including local government, other nonprofits, businesses, and more. She applauds CLC’s ability to make excellent early childhood education not only accessible but also affordable to all local families — a service that strengthens and reinforces our bonds as one community.

Greg Mason

Former CLC Board Member

Inspired by his wife’s local medical practice, Greg Mason began to learn more about the health and human services resources available in Teton County. He found inspiration in the opportunity to join the CLC board, and to help support and drive the organization to best serve the community. He enjoyed seeing the impact of the organization’s programming, and even more profoundly realized the value of CLC’s resources for so many children and families.

Cyndi Fischer

Special Services Coordinator

When Cyndi Fischer took a break from teaching middle and high school students, she rapidly realized the sizeable impact that early education has on young children. Cyndi discovered her calling as the Special Services Coordinator for CLC; she’s passionate about empowering parents to advocate for their children and supporting kids who, regardless of their starting point, inevitably make significant strides and development during their time at CLC. As the parent of a special needs student herself, she believes wholeheartedly that early intervention is the key to a child’s long-term success.

Marcela Badillo Carillo

Early HS at Home Visitor

As an Early Head Start At Home Visitor, Marcela Badillo Carillo connects with families of at-risk kids and encourages them to enhance their family’s connections and support for one another. Through a variety of engaging activities, from crafts and projects to community adventures and exploring nature, Marcela reinforces that parents are their children’s best support system as well as their very first teachers.

Sonia Hernandez Susano

HS Teacher / Coach

Sometimes, kids can feel some anxiety or trepidation around beginning preschool. Educators like Sonia Hernandez Susano, a Head Start Teacher at CLC, work to help all children feel welcomed, safe, and ready to engage with the new environment. Sonia’s work supports families of at-risk children to improve their social-emotional skills and practical abilities, as well as enhance their kindergarten readiness.

Alden Wood Faust

CLC Parent

As a small business owner and a parent of two, Alden Wood Faust knows exactly how limited childcare resources are. The opportunity to send both of her children to CLC not only empowered her to continue building her career, but also helped her kids develop social skills, a sense of responsibility and capability, and a network of great friends. Alden credits CLC with fostering her daughter’s passion for art and nature, and helping her son discover supportive and compassionate relationships with other caring adults.

Jessica Jaubert

CLC Parents & Board Member

As both a parent of a CLC student and a Teton County Commissioner, Natalia Macker enjoys a unique perspective on the immeasurable benefits of CLC. The organization is an asset to a vast majority of stakeholders in the community, including local government, other nonprofits, businesses, and more. She applauds CLC’s ability to make excellent early childhood education not only accessible but also affordable to all local families — a service that strengthens and reinforces our bonds as one community.

Lauren Roux

CLC Parent

As a teacher herself, Lauren Roux knows that it’s no small feat to be an engaged, energetic, genuinely loving teacher. Perhaps that’s why she values these features so much in all of the teachers that her sons have had over the years at CLC. She heralds their endless patience, inspired creativity, and ability to navigate the needs of students with a diversity of developmental levels.

Miriam Morillon

CLC Finance Director & Leader of Whole Health Program

A community needs assessment revealed that many families in the Early Head Start and Head Start Programs could use more support and guidance around health and wellness. Miriam Morillon, as the leader of the Whole Health Program, helps families learn about making healthy choices, getting exercise, and understanding nutrition. Through innovative partnerships with St. John’s Health, Hole Food Rescue, and the Rec Center, the program inspires families to stay healthy. As Miriam explains, it also helps to expand accessibility to the breathtaking beauty and wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities in the area!

Wendy Williams

Special Education Teacher

At CLC, kids of all skill and development levels share classrooms. These inclusive environments, explains Special Education Teacher Wendy Williams, help children accelerate their learning and growth. She recalls one student who, when she entered CLC was struggling to communicate and was quite unhappy. As she learned from her peers, she developed robust language skills and a strong network of friends — the following year, she was able to enter a general education kindergarten with great success.

Nicole Philbin

Director of Education

Did you know that children’s brains develop more between birth and age 5 than at any other time in their lives? Nicole Philbin, Director of Education at CLC, knows exactly how critical excellent education and compassionate care are for young children. She’s proud of the staff at CLC not only because they’re deeply caring about their students, but also because they’re dedicated to their own personal development and professional growth.

Audrey Cohen-Davis

Former Children’s Learning Center Parents and Board Member

What’s a more essential piece of community than compassion and understanding? Not much, says Audrey Cohen-Davis, former CLC parent and board member. She recalls that when her daughter was attending CLC, which was during the merger between CLC and CCP, she appreciated the ways in which the educational components and childcare components blended. This encouraged all children to build relationships and cultivate understanding for one another regardless of ability level: a benefit that serves children throughout their lives.

Heather Menke

Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator

At the helm of CLC’s educational strategy, Heather Menke has served as the organization’s Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator since 2009. Not only did the role allow her to be with her son during his early years, but also brings her great joy watching children learn and grow. She deeply values the community of CLC and the supportive and engaged team that supports teachers, helps them continue their education, and genuinely appreciates them.

Judy Montagne

Former Executive Director of CLC

The former Executive Director of CLC, Judy Montagne began her career with CLC in Pinedale serving children of rural ranch families — half of whom had developmental challenges, half not. True magic, she says, is being remembered in the life of a child. Judy relishes the times that adults approach her and share stories from their early years and the lifelong impact that CLC programming had on them.

Nikki Thompson

Former CLC Student

Nikki Thompson began her journey with CLC when she was around 6 months old. The support that programs offered, in addition to the loving attention of staff and therapists, set her up for a lifetime of success. As a wheelchair user, Nikki is grateful that spending time in mixed classrooms helped her peers understand that people’s humanity is more important than their appearance or skills — and she’s glad that the kids of CLC continue to have the opportunity to forge friendships with a diversity of peers.

Paul Vogelheim

Former County Commissioner and Longtime Supporter of CLC

As a former county commissioner and longtime supporter of CLC, Paul Vogelheim knows that early education is critical for a large number of families in the community. Early detection of special needs helps children and families receive necessary intervention quickly, and all young people are empowered to succeed in education and beyond. Beginning life with a strong education sets children up to become engaged and confident members of the community throughout their lives.

Betsy Carlin

Board Emeritus

Board Emeritus Betsy Carlin recalls the days during which CLC was regarded as exclusively daycare, but has come to be understood and appreciated as so much more. During her tenure on the CLC board, she helped the organization become a leader in the community, putting best practice and developmentally appropriate systems into place. Excellent childcare builds future citizens, and she believes that programs like CLC are a critical piece of community infrastructure.

Patti Boyd

Executive Director of CLC

As the Executive Director of CLC, Patti Boyd believes that it’s critical for the organization’s program to be affordable and accessible to as many families as possible. Each year, CLC serves 200 families, many of whom are working and keeping the community thriving. The children at CLC represent a true cross-section of the community, and Patti is honored to share this amazing phase of young peoples’ lives with their families. She strives to keep tuition affordable, offer as much assistance as possible, and continues to invest in development for her teachers and staff.

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