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Leadership and Experts

Learn more about the corporate leaders and experts in early childhood education who manage KinderCare’s operations nationally to ensure that your child experiences the highest quality care in your local community.

Leadership

Chief Executive Officer of KinderCare Education - Tom Wyatt

Tom Wyatt is Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of KinderCare Education (KCE). KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high-quality early childhood education and school-age programs, serving more than 185,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old at more than 2,100 locations nationwide. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare Education at Work and Champions brands. As CEO, Tom is responsible for all aspects of the company’s strategy, leadership, governance and operations. 

Since becoming CEO in 2012, Tom has guided the company’s transformational turnaround. He leads the company’s executive team in achieving the highest standards of excellence in education, with more accredited centers than all other early childhood education providers combined. His focus on a cultural transformation has been marked by record-high levels of employee and customer engagement, earning KCE the Gallup Great Workplace Award for the past two years. These combined efforts have resulted in top- and bottom-line growth for 23 consecutive quarters. 

Tom’s career spans more than 30 years of leading successful consumer brands. Before joining KCE, Tom served as President of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division from 2008 to 2012, directing all aspects of the brand and overseeing more than 1,000 stores in North America as well as the brand’s launch overseas. Under his leadership, the retailer strengthened its brand positioning, re-energized its product, launched an award-winning marketing platform, remodeled its fleet of stores and improved productivity – resulting in comparable store growth, increased profitability and growth in market share. 

Tom first joined Gap Inc. as President of GapBody in March 2006. In February 2007, he was named head of the Outlet division, where he was responsible for Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Stores. In his time with the company, he also served on the Board of Trustees of Gap Foundation, and was a staunch advocate for the company’s long-standing commitment to community involvement and education. 

Prior to working at Gap Inc., Tom held the position of President and CEO for Cutter & Buck, also serving on the Board of Directors for the publicly traded company. During this time, he engineered the turnaround of one of the nation's top makers of sportswear. He also served as President of Warnaco Intimate Apparel, a global designer and manufacturer of highly recognized brand names including Warner's, Olga and Lejaby. Before that, Tom spent more than 20 years with Vanity Fair Corporation, serving as President of Vanity Fair Intimates and Vanity Fair Intimates Coalition.

Tom is a member of the Board of Directors of Jack in the Box Inc., a restaurant company that operates more than 2,200 Jack in the Box restaurants in the U.S. 

Tom is married, the father of two daughters and grandfather of four grandchildren.

Chief Academic Officer - Dr. Elanna S. Yalow, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Elanna Yalow is Chief Academic Officer of KinderCare Education’s (KCE) Early Learning Programs. KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high quality early childhood education, serving more than 170,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old at nearly 1,900 locations. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare at Work, and Champions brands. She has more than 25 years of experience with the company. Dr. Yalow is responsible for the development of KCE’s educational programs as well as quality and accreditation initiatives and public policy. Previously she worked extensively in support of global education programs in Singapore, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and India. Dr. Yalow is also highly experienced in center operations, training, marketing, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and new center development. 

Prior to joining KCE, Dr. Yalow was Associate Director of IOX Assessment Associates, serving as Project Director for numerous state and national research and development projects in both educational assessment and health education for agencies including the National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention/Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous State Departments of Education. 

Dr. Yalow has published and presented extensively on issues related to education and health in publications including the Annual Review of Health Promotion and Education, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Educational Researcher, Handbook of Human Intelligence, Contemporary Education Review, Personnel Psychology and Curator. She has served as a speaker at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Education Writers Association, Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress, the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Hechinger Institute Seminars on Education and the Media, the World Forum on Early Care and Education, NBC’s Education Nation Summit, and Child Care Aware. She has made numerous presentations on assessment and evaluation in the education and health-care arenas at the American Psychological Association, Psychometric Society, National Council of Measurement in Education, and the American Educational Research Association. She has also served as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach.  

Dr. Yalow testified on Capitol Hill before the House Education and Workforce Committee on the importance of quality early childhood education. She participated in the White House conference, “Federal, State, and Local Efforts to Bridge the Word Gap,” as well as the White House Summit on Early Education.

Dr. Yalow holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Stanford University School of Education, an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a B.A. in Psychology from the State University of NY at Stony Brook, where she was Phi Beta Kappa. She serves on the Board of Directors for Guardian Early Learning Group in Australia and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Education Advisory Board for K12 Inc., the Reflection Sciences Advisory Board, the National Childhood Obesity Foundation, and the World Forum International Organizing Committee. She served on the Board of Directors of Busy Bees Child Care in the U.K. until its sale in 2013 to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. In 2018, as part of Exchange Magazine’s Exchange Leadership Initiative, Dr. Yalow was honored as a Doyen in Early Care and Education for her lifetime of dedication to making a difference for young children and their families.

Dr. Yalow is married and the mother of two sons. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, 1977 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

Chief Financial Officer - Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson is the Chief Financial Officer of KinderCare Education (KCE). KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high-quality early childhood education and school-age programs, serving more than 160,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old at nearly 1,900 locations nationwide. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare at Work, and Champions brands. As CFO, Paul leads the finance, information systems and procurement functions. He is responsible for multiple functions across the company, including financial planning and analysis (FP&A), the controller’s organization, internal audit, tax and risk, procurement, IT, real estate, portfolio management and facilities.

Before joining KCE, Paul worked for 10 years at Safeway, a $36 billion retailer with more than 1,300 stores across the U.S. While there he managed a team of 280 people as the Senior Vice President, Finance, Pricing and Enterprise Systems. Paul was recruited to join Safeway in 2005 as the VP of Finance for the $8 billion corporate brands business, where he was responsible for driving a turnaround with a nearly six percent increase in sales after a five-year decline. Over the next eight years, Paul held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility at Safeway, including Group VP, Financial Planning and Analysis, and SVP, Finance, Pricing and Enterprise Systems – where his role in overseeing Safeway’s major strategic and profit improvement initiatives resulted in some of the company’s strongest profit performance since 2006. He also sat on Safeway’s Real Estate Committee, where he was responsible for evaluating capital requirements and opening new stores, and he was a key leader in the merger of Safeway and Albertson’s. 

Prior to joining Safeway, Paul worked at Pillsbury for 13 years, beginning his career there as a Senior Auditor. Paul went on to hold several roles with Pillsbury, including Plant Controller, Planning and Analysis Manager and, in 1997, Finance Manager for Häagen-Dazs. In this role and in his next role as Senior Manager of Sales Finance, Paul led a variety of financial planning and analysis activities. He completed new product profitability, SKU optimization and sales utilization analysis, the latter of which resulted in a 37 percent increase in profitability for the business.

In the fall of 1999, Pillsbury created a joint venture with Nestle, combining their ice-cream brands and creating a $700 million business. Paul was selected to lead Sales & Distribution Finance. In 2002, Nestle announced its intention to merge with Dreyer's. Once the merger completed in 2003, Paul worked on integration activities, delivering $7 million in savings in marketing services, before moving on to a more business partner-oriented role, working directly with the business to drive pricing guidelines and develop new product launches.

Paul earned his Bachelor of Arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He also earned his Certified Public Accountant credentials while he lives in Minnesota.

Paul is married and has a son and a daughter.

Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer - Kelsey Troy

Kelsey Troy is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at KinderCare Education (KCE). KCE is the nation’s leading private provider of high-quality early childhood education and school-age programs, serving more than 185,000 children from six weeks to 12 years old at more than 1,900 locations nationwide. KCE is the parent company of the KinderCare, KinderCare at Work, and Champions brands. 

Kelsey oversees human resources for the company’s 35,000 employees nationwide. Human resources at KCE includes: total rewards, compensation, benefits, employee experience, talent and investment, talent acquisition, travel and meetings, and community partnerships. She is also responsible for the integration of Rainbow Child Care Centers into the KCE family of brands. 

A firm believer that engaged teams produce the best work and drive business, Kelsey challenges her team to build an environment where people are proud to work and continually pushes for experiences that are authentic to the company’s location in Portland and connected to the early childhood education field. Under her leadership, KCE earned their second Gallup Great Workplace Award. KCE is one of only 37 companies in the world and the first and only early childhood education company to receive this distinction.

Prior to joining KCE in 2014, Kelsey worked in retail, most notably for eight years at ANN Inc. in New York City. While there, she rose from Organizational Effectiveness Project Coordinator to Vice President of Human Resources. As Vice President, Kelsey was responsible for managing business partnerships with corporate departments and driving a focus on talent and performance management, organizational investment, employee engagement, and employee relations. 

Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and leadership studies at the University of Richmond. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she represents KCE on the Oregon Business Council and on the Council’s Education Taskforce. She has also served as an ambassador for Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides after school programs and experiences designed to empower girls and help them realize their own strengths and abilities.