LeAnn Rockwell to lead new Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center

LeAnn Rockwell, an experienced early childhood educator, has been hired as the first director of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center, which will open August 7. The center, located on Scott Station Road in Jefferson City, will be providing affordable childcare for children of diocesan employees as well as employees of parishes and schools of the diocese, with a focus on helping attract teachers to work in our Catholic schools.

“We are thrilled to have LeAnn Rockwell leading this exciting new effort for our diocese. She is an experienced early childhood leader, and we are very fortunate to have her as director of our Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center,” said Dr. Erin Vader, Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Jefferson City. “We have outstanding educators at our Catholic schools. We need to do everything we can to continue attracting the best talent to our teacher positions. It’s clear that the scarcity of childcare is a major factor keeping many good teachers out of the classroom. This new child development center is an effort to address this concern, providing affordable, Catholic childcare so our teachers and other diocesan employees are supported as they return to our workforce.”

The center was made possible by a generous Catholic donor who enabled the diocese to acquire a childcare facility, which was previously Growing Hearts Montessori School. When it reopens as Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center, the facility will care for children as young as infants and as old as three years. Enrollment information is coming soon, along with information about the fees for the service — with a focus on keeping the rate reasonable for families. An open house is planned for late July. 

Catholic school, parish and diocesan employees can click here to express interest in enrolling children at the center. The center is actively hiring staff to prepare for the opening. Click here for more information and to apply. While this is a new endeavor for the diocese, if successful, it could be replicated in other communities in the future.

Rockwell comes to Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center following a 23-year career at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Jefferson City. Her work included directing the afterschool program for 18 years. She also developed the Immaculate Conception Summer Camp program and directed it for 13 years.

Prior to her work at Immaculate Conception, she operated a licensed daycare for 12 years so that she could stay home with her three young children.

“I know how important it is to have high-quality, affordable childcare, and I’ve seen many of my fellow educators struggle with this,” said Rockwell. “I am excited about the opportunity to lead Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center and ensure our teachers and other employees have a loving, Catholic childcare option here in our diocese.”

In addition to her work experience, Rockwell is an active community leader, having served on the boards for Immaculate Conception School, Parents as Teachers and the Jefferson City Day Care Association. She has also served as a Girl Scout leader and taught Sunday school. She chaired multiple fundraisers for the Immaculate Conception Home and School Association.

Rockwell attended St. Peter Catholic School and graduated from Helias Catholic High School, with continued education in Early Childhood Development. She has been married to Brian Rockwell for 38 years. They have raised three children, proudly sent them to Immaculate Conception Catholic School and Helias Catholic. She loves spending time with her two young grandchildren.

Watch the diocesan website for more information about the Immaculate Heart of Mary Child Development Center.

If you have questions, please contact Superintendent Dr. Erin Vader at or 573-635-9127.