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The feeling of family pervades Kelly Kelly's preschool in Hooksett


HOOKSETT - Parents who send their kids to Kelly Kelly's Tic-Tac-Tots Pre-school and Childcare Center describe the school as a "family," no less for the array of charitable and fundraising work she organizes through the school than for her attention to the needs of her students and their families.

What might surprise her clients today is that upon starting the school almost immediately after college at the age of 23, Kelly struggled to earn the trust of her clients.

"It was challenging," she said. "The hardest part was getting people to take a 23-year-old seriously and trusting them to take care of their children. I was just out of college and didn't have children myself. Now, I find myself being older than most of the people who bring their children in, though I always view myself as younger because I was always so much younger than the parents."

Since that time, however, Tic-Tac-Tots, located on Bypass 28, has grown and expanded time after time. When the school first opened in 1996, it was licensed for 22 students and had only two staff members, including Kelly herself. Now, the school has a staff of 15 employees and a license for 75 students, though between part timers and full-timers, it has a total of 88.

Kelly said the school designs its own curriculum annually with monthly themes, with content heavily modeled after Hooksett elementary programs through their close relationship with teachers in the district to ensure a smooth transition for the students.

"Through the years you learn the ins and outs of what works and what doesn't," she said.

For Kelly, however, growth does not mean losing touch with her students.

"Even though we're licensed for 75, we really try to maintain that family atmosphere," she said. "We really try to make it so that the children are more than just a number or a dollar sign. They're a part of our family so we can be part of theirs."

Kelly's work with the community and children extends beyond the classroom, however. She has been involved with or led a long series and variety of charities and fundraisers over the years. One particularly noteworthy accomplishment was raising $21,000 in a Bowl-A-Thon for the benefit of a longtime Tic-Tac-Tots student with ALD, a rare genetic disorder. Since opening the school, Kelly has also held annual food drives for the N.H. Food Bank and Toys for Tots.

Now a mother herself, Kelly is entering her 17th year with the school. She said, however, having a child herself hasn't significantly changed her approach to child care, though it has made the job and its responsibilities more concrete.

"It helps me to understand where parents came from," she said. "That maternal instinct kicks in."


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March 15 Reception

The Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty program recognizes some of the state’s brightest young achievers who have a record of professional and volunteer accomplishments in New Hampshire. It is generously sponsored by Citizens Bank and presented in partnership with the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.

When:Wednesday March 15, 2017 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Avenue
Concord, NH 03301

Tickets: There are no physical tickets for the event. Attendees can check in upon arrival.

Click here to register

Contact: Emily Whalen
New Hampshire Union Leader
603-206-7834
ewhalen@unionleader.com

THANKS TO OUR PROGRAM SPONSOR

Class of 2017

Michael Solari, 33, Goffstown

Michael Solari, 33, Goffstown

Michael Solari, 33, of Goffstown is principal owner of Solari Financial.

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, Peterborough

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, Peterborough

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, of Peterborough is an artist and lecturer of Visual Art, College of the Holy Cross.

Paul C. Smith, 36, Epsom

Paul C. Smith, 36, Epsom

Paul C. Smith, 36, of Epsom is clerk of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Molly Sanborn, 37, Concord

Molly Sanborn, 37, Concord

Molly Sanborn, 37, of Concord is director of development and marketing at CATCH Neighborhood Housing.

Justin Slattery, 36, Concord

Justin Slattery, 36, Concord

Justin Slattery, 36, is Concord is executive director of Belknap Economic Development Council.

Rebecca Perkins, 34, Portsmouth

Rebecca Perkins, 34, Portsmouth

Rebecca Perkins, 34, of Portsmouth is associate general counsel at Enel Green Power North America.

Arnold Mikolo, 25, Manchester

Arnold Mikolo, 25, Manchester

Arnold Mikolo, 25, of Manchester is community liaison with St. Anselm College; vice president with the Congolese of New Hampshire; ESL instructor with Manchester Community College; medical...

Tilak Niroula, 28, Manchester

Tilak Niroula, 28, Manchester

Tilak Niroula, 28, of Manchester is communication manager at Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire, residential instructor at Easter Seals.

Norri Oberlander, 34, Londonderry

Norri Oberlander, 34, Londonderry

Norri Oberlander, 34, of Londonderry is vice president of North End Properties Inc., aka Landlady in Downtown Manchester

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, Bedford

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, Bedford

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, of Bedford is an attorney (partner) with Stebbins, Lazos & Van Der Beken, P.A.

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway is partner/vice-president/senior civil engineer at HEB Engineers, Inc.; varsity baseball coach, Kennett High School.

Keith Young, 33, Groveton

Keith Young, 33, Groveton

Keith Young, 33, of Groveton is partner at Geo. M. Stevens and Son Co.; moderator for the town as needed; part owner with my wife of First Step Fitness Centeral.

Doug Martin, 34, New Boston

Doug Martin, 34, New Boston

Doug Martin, 34, of New Boston is a commercial real estate advisor for Colliers International.

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford is an instructor in the Department of Nursing at Saint Anselm College.

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, Laconia

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, Laconia

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, of Laconia is an English teacher and English Department chairman at Laconia High School.

Justin Boufford, 36, Manchester

Justin Boufford, 36, Manchester

Justin Boufford, 36, of Manchester is an account executive for Boyd & Boufford Insurance Agency LLC.

James Brewer, 35, Portsmouth

James Brewer, 35, Portsmouth

James Brewer, 35, of Portsmouth is vice president, middle market lender, Kennebunk Savings Bank.

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, Loudon

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, Loudon

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, of Loudon is principal strategist and marketing manager, SilverTech Inc.

Tyler Gouveia, 18, Nashua

Tyler Gouveia, 18, Nashua

Tyler Gouveia, 18, of Nashua is CEO and majority owner of T Town Sports, full-time student at Suffolk University.

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, Canaan

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, Canaan

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, of Canaan is regional recreation coordinator for Mascoma Valley Parks & Recreation (part time); USA Field Hockey umpire (high school and college); basketball and softball coach;...

Nate Alberts, 34, Franconia

Nate Alberts, 34, Franconia

Nate Alberts, 34, of Franconia is owner of Nate Alberts Painting; founder and executive director of North Country Community Radio.

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester is head coach and general manager of the N.H. Jr. Monarchs.

Tim Baines, 37, Manchester

Tim Baines, 37, Manchester

Tim Baines, 37, of Manchester is owner and operator of Mint Bistro.

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, Pembroke

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, Pembroke

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, of Pembroke is an attorney at Hage Hodes, P.A.

Sandi Coyle, 38, Exeter

Sandi Coyle, 38, Exeter

Sandi Coyle, 38, of Exeter is executive director of Granite Pathways.

Tyler Brown, 29, Manchester

Tyler Brown, 29, Manchester

Tyler Brown, 29, of Manchester is an account manager at CGI Business Solutions.

Joe Whitten, 30, Manchester

Joe Whitten, 30, Manchester

Joe Whitten, 30, of Manchester is chief executive officer of Apparel Impact.

Paul J. Bauer, 37, Newfields

Paul J. Bauer, 37, Newfields

Paul J. Bauer, 37, of Newfields is an attorney with Devine Millimet & Branch, P.A.

Matt Walsh, 38, Concord

Matt Walsh, 38, Concord

Matt Walsh, 38, of Concord is director of redevelopment, downtown services and special projects for the City of Concord.

Rio H. Tilton, 20, Seabrook

Rio H. Tilton, 20, Seabrook

Rio H. Tilton, 20, of Seabrook is a real estate agent at Lighthouse Real Estate in Seabrook, state Representative for District 37 representing Seabrook, Hampton Falls and Hampton.

Chad Theroux, 32, Manchester

Chad Theroux, 32, Manchester

Chad Theroux, 32, of Manchester is director of finance for the Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions Product Line at BAE Systems.

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, Concord

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, Concord

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, of Concord is a special education teacher at Manchester High School Central.

Ned Sackman, 38, Concord

Ned Sackman, 38, Concord

Ned Sackman, 38, of Concord is a commercial litigation attorney and shareholder at Bernstein Shur, P.A.

Jenna Raizes, 32, Epping

Jenna Raizes, 32, Epping

Jenna Raizes, 32, of Epping is deputy general manager at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Charles W. Kriete, 39, Salem

Charles W. Kriete, 39, Salem

Charles W. Kriete, 39, of Salem is senior vice president of Tessco Technologies.

Laura Gamache, 32, Manchester

Laura Gamache, 32, Manchester

Laura Gamache, 32, of Manchester is a real estate agent/Realtor with Gamache Real Estate Group of Keller Williams Realty.

Jessica Eskeland, 31, Concord

Jessica Eskeland, 31, Concord

Jessica Eskeland, 31, of Concord is coordinator at N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Matthew T. James, 35, Londonderry

Matthew T. James, 35, Londonderry

Matthew T. James, 35, of Londonderry is a commercial lender at Eastern Bank.

Liz Hitchcock, 38, Manchester

Liz Hitchcock, 38, Manchester

Liz Hitchcock, 38, of Manchester is a philanthropist.

George S. Hansel, 31, Keene

George S. Hansel, 31, Keene

George S. Hansel, 31, of Keene is co-owner of Filtrine Manufacturing Company and an At-Large Keene City Councilor.

Class of 2018 Nominations

Please summarize below the nominee's professional and volunteer accomplishments, and other special factors that you feel make them deserving of this recognition. Please include complete contact information for nominee.

For more information on the 40 Under 40 program, contact Shannon K. Sullivan, Community Relations Manager, 603-206-7833 or ssullivan@unionleader.com.

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