Kathe Petchel

Operations & Staffing Consultant


Kathe Petchel knows first-hand what goes into owning and operating a childcare business.

Founding Bright Beginnings Preschool in 1984, Kathe launched the school as a small, in-home, half-day preschool and, through her hard work and dedication, grew it into a full-service, full-time childcare center. The school now operates in three locations in the Charlottesville area and serves more than 300 families.

Beyond Kathe’s dedication to the families she serves, she is also dedicated to the staff in her care. Kathe provides extensive training to her team through weekly meetings, full-day staff development seminars and annual childcare conferences—exceeding required staff training hours by 300 percent!

At HINGE, Kathe shares her operational and staffing expertise with fellow childcare business owners to help them build positive company cultures, operate their centers more effectively and build stronger teams by implementing improved recruiting, hiring and onboarding strategies.

While Kathe treats everyone like family, she does have one all her own: her husband, Bob, her two daughters, Meg and Molly, and her two dogs, Fat Boy and Grace. In her spare time (when's that?!), Kathe enjoys yoga, pilates, cooking and baking, gardening, traveling and reading. 

Kathe earned her B.S. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Penn State and completed early childhood coursework at the master’s level at the University of Virginia and James Madison University.