Health and Wellness Advisory Board - LeafSpring School

Our Health and Wellness Advisory Board is comprised of practitioners, nutritionists, specialists, and experts who help guide our efforts to teach healthy habits at all ages.



Lessons to last a lifetime

We are focused on health and wellness in every aspect of our schools. Our nurses and educators lead each school towards healthy practices and lifestyles that will last a lifetime. Not only do we serve healthy meals, encourage wellness activities, and teach proper health and nutrition to each child, we promote healthy lifestyles and practices to our employees.



Dr. Jeff Bennett, D.O., FAAP, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, KidMed

Dr. Bennett received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed a combined Internal Medicine /Pediatrics internship and residency at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. He has 13 years of pediatric and adult emergency medicine experience prior to co-founding KidMed in 2009. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is Board Certified in Pediatrics. Dr. Bennett resides in Glen Allen with his wife and two children.




Julie Shuell, MPA, Director, Nemours Children’s Health, National Office of Policy and Prevention

Julie has 25 years of management and leadership experience in early care and education (ECE), child welfare, and parent support.  She has a BA in political science and a MA in Public Administration from Michigan State University. Ms. Shuell is currently Nemours’ Project Director of a Center Disease Control funded initiative, The National Early Care & Education Learning Collaborative.  The project is a national demonstration approach to promote childhood obesity practices into ECE settings. Prior to that, Ms. Shuell worked for six years as the Director of National Child Care Information & Technical Assistance Center and the National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement.  These projects, funded by DHHS/ACF/ Office of Child Care, provided support to state and territorial grantees on implementation of the Child Care Development Block grant.  Previously, Ms. Shuell led 100+ staff in the Early Childhood Division of a community-based agency where she developed and operated child care, home visiting, Early Head Start and Head Start programs in a variety of jurisdictions.


Preston Blackburn, Creator of Pop, Hop & Rock

Preston, a former NCAA athlete, has been teaching fitness classes since 1992. She is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified Health Coach, Group Fitness Instructor and Youth Fitness Specialist and is certified by Les Mills, and Healthy Moms. Preston holds a certificate in ICG Indoor Cycling as well as a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through Cornell University. In 2018, Pop, Hop & Rock was chosen as Youth Life Foundation‘s Community Partner of the Year. Pop, Hop & Rock is a motor development program for children dedicated to fostering physical literacy which supports improved learning and better classroom skills as well as improved emotional, cognitive and behavioral skills. Their programming aims to support kids in the meaty goal of being more confident and successful in the classroom and beyond. When she isn’t with children, she can be found around Richmond teaching anything from Bootcamp to BodyPump, Spin to Step and more.


Dr. Sandy Henderson, Tuckahoe Child Psychology

Dr. Henderson is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience in understanding healthy child development. She employs a strengths-based approach, which celebrates a child’s natural gifts while working on their areas of challenge. Dr. Henderson received an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and has earned two doctoral degrees: one in Child Development from the Catholic University of America and another in Clinical Child Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Henderson is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at VCU, where she has taught classes in Child Psychology, Lifespan Development, and for the past 10 years, graduate Advanced Child Psychopathology. Dr. Henderson’s research and current teaching keep her on the cutting edge of best practices for delivering effective, evidence-based treatments. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as family and play therapies to achieve the best results for her young clients.


Sara Illig, RD, MSHA, Feeding Program Coordinator, Children’s Hospital of Virginia








Loraine Hughes, RN, Former Get Well Place Nurse, LeafSpring Schools



A licensed nurse at every school to care for mildly sick children and help children with special needs or injuries.

Corporate and school-level programs to encourage staff and faculty to life healthy lifestyles.

Family-style dining to encourage healthy portions and trying new foods.

On and off-premise movement and fitness activities to promote gross motor skill development and physical fitness.

Physical fitness teacher on staff who teaches a weekly movement class to each classroom.

Participation in health-oriented community activities.

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