New director at Catherwood Child Care Center

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 16, 2001

Austin’s Catherwood Child Care Center has a new director who is very glad to be back in town.

Monday, July 16, 2001

Austin’s Catherwood Child Care Center has a new director who is very glad to be back in town.

Email newsletter signup

"I really wanted to be back in my own community," Lynn Spainhower said. "I feel as if my background is more suited to this kind of job."

Day care is an old profession for Spainhower. Two years ago, she was running a child-care center out of her own home, taking paralegal classes over the Internet and raising two kids, now 7 and 10.

"Mitchell said that I was on the computer so much he called me," Spainhower said.

Last year, she closed her own in-home child-care center to become a paralegal in Rochester, but she didn’t like the commute and she missed working with kids.

"I can put the kids on a time-out. I cannot put an attorney on a time-out," said Spainhower, whose kids also like her new job.

"When I was working in Rochester, the days were longer and they kept asking when are you going to get back into day care."

Spainhower was born in Austin, but moved to California when she was 4. She lived in Washington state, but returned home when her mother died and her father decided to retire. She was contacted by the Parenting Resource Center after the original director took another position and the interim director moved to Indiana.

Spainhower appreciates the changing face of day care, and wants to make sure that she can offer the best environment possible.

"The reality of the situation is that most parents have to work and they need quality day care, not just a home and a place for the parent to bring the child," she said.

"Children need to be able to play and use their imaginations, but they also need to be able to learn. Most children nowadays are expected to know much more than they ever would in your age or my age," she said. That’s why she offers an educational component to her care, which has to accommodate customers whose needs can vary.

"We run our shifts according to what Quality Pork Processors does," she said. "Many families have three or four kids in day care. We’re providing a service for these guys that is just phenomenal."

Most parents work at Quality Pork Processors, Hormel or the Cooperative Response Center, which employ Austin residents throughout the night. Only employees of these business partners may send their kids to Catherwood, but Spainhower is receptive to newcomers.

"Any businesses that have non-standard care would make excellent partners for Catherwood," Spainhower said.

Catherwood, which received a $194,000 grant from the Hormel foundation in 2000, is a 4,800-square-foot house on Fourth Street NW that was bought by the Parenting Resource Center, and is licensed to care for 14 children in three shifts, 24 hours a day.

Call Sam Garchik at 434-2233 or e-mail him at