Advisory Council

Providing support and thoughtful leadership

The mission of the Early Childhood Advisory Council is to provide thoughtful leadership and strategic advice that promotes quality, faith-based learning outcomes for young children in our Early Learning Center. These outcomes are achieved by creating a nurturing environment that supports the Love of God, strengthens families and prepares children to be lifelong learners. The Advisory Council exists to offer spiritual support, ideas and suggestions to the Principal of the Early Learning Center. It will provide guidance for specific issues or events regarding early childhood as a standing Council that meets regularly.

Mandy Gibbons

Executive Director of The Early Learning Center

Mandy joins the Early Learning Center with over 20 years of experience as a preschool and kindergarten teacher at Bridges (also NAEYC accredited) and Covenant Christian School. With a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Purdue, as well as a master’s degree in education from Bethel/IUSB, Mandy is passionate about shaping the development of young children in their early childhood years. Most recently, she worked as a preschool director, employing best practices to create an incredible learning environment that nurtures and supports young children. Mandy and her family have attended Granger Community Church for over 10 years. She has two daughters: Mikaylah (25) is an Ohio State graduate currently working/living in Columbus, OH and Mikenzie (23) attending Optometry School at IU Bloomington.

Daniel Klauer, D.D.S.

TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana

Daniel grew up here in South Bend and was happy to move back here with his wife, Hayley, in 2010. They have 5 wonderful children, with Lena currently attending the ELC. Four out of the five have been at the ELC starting in 2016. Daniel is a dentist at the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Center serving adults and children with pain and sleep issues. He is in a brand-new state of the art facility with his new practice. In his “free” time you’ll find him engaged in any sort of physical activity with Hayley and the kids.

Erica Ogle

POP Marketing

Erica has been married to her husband, Mason for 16 years. They have two girls, Emersyn (7) and Elliot (3), with Elliot currently attending the ELC. After working at Federated Media for 15 years, Erica started her own business called POP Marketing in 2017. Erica’s favorite hobby is traveling with her family. Their family’s favorite place to visit is Marco Island, Florida.

Alex Pecina

Clinical Technician at the DelPilar Medical Spa

Alex and her husband, Ryan have two boys: Jay (6) and Mac (3). Both boys attended/attend the ELC. Alex went to St. Mary’s College earning a degree in Communications/Advertising. She was all set to move to Chicago after graduation and then she met her husband, got married, had kiddos (and that’s when her life began!) Alex has worked with her father, who is a local family doctor, since she was 12 and now works in his Medical Spa alongside both of her parents. Alex is the clinical technician for two non-invasive fat reduction treatments: Coolsculpting and Emsculpt.

Heidi Runels

Marketing Director & Guest Relations at Hershey Road Campground

Heidi Runels is married to Jeff Runels with 3 kids: Oliver (6), Elliott (4) & Agnes (3). Oliver completed 3 years at the ELC and is a 1st Grader at St. Pius X. Elliott is in his 3rd year at the ELC and loving life in The Garden Patch. Agnes is now with Miss Nicole in the Backyard. They have lived in Granger for 2 years. Jeff and Heidi purchased a 40-acre farm in Niles shortly after they married and still own the land there. At one time they owned 2 horses, 3 cows, 3 goats, a donkey, a flock of chickens and dogs. They now have a flock of chickens on the farm and one dog at home in Granger. Heidi and her family spend most of their free time at their lake house in South Haven. Heidi grew up outside of Philadelphia. Because of this, she is a lifelong Eagles fan and loves the Jersey Shore. Heidi’s hobbies include gardening, cooking/baking, weaving (I take an evening class at the South Bend Museum of Art) and she loves animals.

Chad Vanderbeek

Vice President of Hibshman Screw Machine

Chad received his BA from Indiana University. He is the Vice President of Hibshman Screw Machine, a manufacturer of precision CNC components and turned parts for everything from the RV industry to the medical industry. Chad and his wife, Ginny, have four children: Finn, Duke, Jett and Maren. Maren is currently attending the ELC. Chad and his family have been attending GCC since 2009.

Kathy Greve

Intergenerational Coordinator, Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill

Kathy joins the staff of the Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill with a dedicated drive to implement an intergenerational experience for both the children and our senior neighbors. She brings 30 years of teaching experience, mostly in kindergarten (25 years at PHM and 5 years at Christ the King School.) Kathy earned a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Kindergarten from Ball State University. She has served on many committees throughout her teaching career, including curriculum development, building/school safety, mentor development, wellness, and anti-bullying. She is dedicated to creating the best experiences and environment for young learners and strives to go above and beyond for students, colleagues, and parents. Kathy and her husband, Dan have two children. Meredith (25) is currently working full-time in Indianapolis while earning a master’s degree in Business Analytics and Aaron (20) who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Rebecca Miller

Family & Children’s Counselor, Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill

Rebecca offers counseling to our ELC families. With a degree in sociology and family studies from Bethel University, Rebecca now has her master’s degree from Liberty University in Pastoral Counseling. She has years of experience working with young children, including directing a children’s camp for the Mishawaka Parks & Rec Department and working as a behavioral therapist at the Lighthouse Autism Center. Rebecca loves Jesus and the outdoors.

Barb Kauffman

Chief Strategic Storytelling/Development, Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill

Barb is the president of Kauffman & Associates, a consulting practice she developed and launched over 25 years ago. Since 2021, Barb has led the strategic development and integration of the new Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill. This community asset will change the face of preschool learning and senior living models by merging our two most vulnerable populations: children and older adults. She is a graduate of Purdue University, has served and consulted with various boards including Women Playing for T.I.M.E.-a charitable affiliate of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center/Orlando, Golf 20/20, LPGA/USGA Girls Golf, and the LPGA Foundation Board of Directors. Just prior to departing Orlando, Barb was enlisted by the Neurosciences Institute of the Florida Hospital Foundation in a consulting assignment, beginning her journey to improve memory care for those living with Dementia. Barb’s creativity, outreach skills and critical thinking have been a trademark of her many successful ventures throughout her career.

Patrick Pingel

CEO, Early Learning Center at Hubbard Hill

Patrick is the Chief Executive Officer of the nationally recognized Hubbard Hill Living Wisdom Community, a nonprofit faith-based center that provides independent living for active adults and assisted living apartment residences with supportive services, short-term rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, and long-term nursing care. Pingel’s accomplished healthcare career spanning 30 years includes 18 years at Hubbard Hill, named one of the Best Nursing Homes in the country by U.S. News and World Report every year since 2012. He has extensive experience in care facility redesign and renovation. Prior to joining Hubbard Hill, Pingel served in leadership positions as a vice president and administrator at specialized care facilities including Holy Cross Living Center, St. Joseph’s Care Center, and Healthwin Specialized Care. Pingel earned a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University in South Bend and is licensed as a health facility administrator in Indiana. He is a member of Worklight, a Christian business organization. He resides in Mishawaka with his wife Beth of 30 years. Patrick loves strategy and teamwork opportunities. He coached basketball for many years when his children were younger.