Our Team at BrightStar® Senior Living Waunakee

Our amenities, activities and programs make BrightStar Senior Living an exceptional place to live. Our staff make it feel like home.

Learn more about our dedicated team of professionals at our community.

  • Sherry O’Rourke

    Front Desk Concierge


    I graduated from Madison Area Technical College with a degree in Administrative Assistant (Legal). I worked as a legal assistant in a law firm for ten years. During this time, I also volunteered with a local organization assisting the elderly in a companionship role.

    I have worked at BrightStar Senior Living in Madison since July 2016 in the role of caregiver. In August 2018, I began my role in Waunakee as the concierge.  I appreciate the opportunity I have each day to connect with residents, families, staff, and visitors to our community.

    What attracted you to a career supporting and caring for older adults?

    After staying at home for a number of years to raise a family, I wanted to return to work in a role I found rewarding and fulfilling. I really enjoyed my volunteer time as a companion with the elderly and felt this was the path for me.

    What makes BrightStar Senior Living unique?

    BrightStar Senior Living is a smaller community that feels like home when you walk in the front door. Being in the unique setting of a small community, the staff gets to know and have a closer connection with the residents and their families.

    What are you passionate about in your role?

    I am passionate about making a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small that may be. I find it very rewarding to bring joy to someone’s day and to bring peace of mind to their families knowing their loved one is being provided with the quality of care they deserve.

    What brand promise word do you connect with and why?

    Dignity. I feel we all need to feel valued and respected. We are all unique individuals and need to be treated in a manner that helps us maintain our independence and gives us choices that can make a difference in our day and bring us great joy.

  • Dave Scheidell

    Director of Sales and Marketing


    I received my B.S. in Marketing from Edgewood College in Madison, WI in 2005. Here I learned the importance of strong community involvement and making sure that each client, individual & party alike were heard and valued. I was a Family Service Counselor at Roselawn Memorial Park in Monona, WI for over 8 years and an Advanced Planning & Aftercare Specialist at Gunderson Funeral Home for 2+ years here in Dane County. 

    What attracted you to a career supporting and caring for older adults?

    Working within the Senior Advocacy Profession for the past 10 years + has allowed me to help and support families at there deepest time of need. Being able to create a lasting memory does not only help those closest to the loved one, but all those that they have had an impression on. Seeing families come together to find the positives is beyond gratifying. 

    What makes BrightStar Senior Living unique?

    BrightStar is unique in so many ways. The close-knit family feeling you get when you enter our community, the high quality compassionate care provided with personal connections and the peace of mind we can give loved ones.

    What are you passionate about in your role?

    I am most passionate about providing a better quality of life for everyone. This gives me the opportunity to not only provide a comfortable, safe and at home feel for our residents, but peace of mind to the family knowing that is what we do, and will continue to do.

    What brand promise word do you connect with and why?

    Though I connect with all of them, Connection would have to be where I relate the most. By being able to connect with not only the residents, but all parts of the family allows me to be a part of what is needed for the entire family. Peace of Mind, safety, healthy living and day to day interaction is a key role of everyone’s’ everyday lives. 

  • Kathleen Helt

    Life Enrichment Coordinator

    Education\ Experience

    I have a early childcare degree and Human Services and Sociology. I attended MATC and Edgewood College. I have been in the healthcare field for over 25 years and a lot of that time was spent in Activities and Management. I also was Social Service designee, Resident Services director, Home health and Marketing. I love working with Seniors and it has been my passion since I was a young child. I started volunteering in Nursing homes when I was in grade school and also did pastoral care through my Church and School.

    Attracted to career supporting and caring for older adults

    I knew at a young age that this was my calling. I was born to serve and take care of others and I haven’t lost that passion at all. In fact I think it has even grown stronger in the last few years. What a honor it’s to be part of so many people’s lives and learning all about them. I have tried different avenue in my career but I always come back to working with the seniors and I am so lucky!

    What Makes Brightstar Senior living Unique

    The first moment I walked through the doors I felt at home. There was peacefulness and love here. Those feelings and being part of the Brightstar family is so wonderful! Dedicated to making a difference in our residents lives and their families too.

    What are you Passionate about in my role

    Joy!! I love making time come alive for my residents and being part of their lives in a real honor. Joy comes in some many ways and sometimes it’s the littlest things that can bring complete Joy. There is nothing better than watching your residents have fun and laugh so hard they have tears of Joy! Life is precious and anytime that I can bring Joy to our residents I will do that!

    What brand promise do I connect to

    I connect to them all but the one that does stand out to me is Joy! When you have Joy there is beauty and connection. Everything that I do I try to do it with Joy. This last year has taught me that life is short and you better enjoy all that you can. I will always try to choose Joy!!

  • Nick Morgan

    Director of Dining Services


    I have a Culinary Arts/ Management degree from Southwest Technical College. I have worked in the Food service field for 25 years with 20 being in a healthcare setting.

    What attracted you to a career supporting and caring for older adults?

    Growing up as a child I was always in the kitchen cooking with my grandma’s. They both taught me different tricks of the trade.

    What makes BrightStar Senior Living unique?

    Bright Star is a unique place because it gives that warm in the home feeling. Being able to provide home cooked meals with passion and pride brings back the memories with family.

    What are you passionate about in your role?

    The most passionate part of my role is guiding my staff and giving them knowledge a constructive criticism to bring the best for our residents and the communities.

    What brand promise do you connect with and why?

    The brand promise that I value most is Dignity because there are so many stages of Dementia and I want to offer my knowledge and work with families to keep this at its best through their journey of illness.

  • Ryan Walsh

    Executive Director


    I received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Human Services from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.  My first job out of college was in Evanston, Illinois where I was an Activity Assistant.  A few months later, I began working for Brookdale Senior Living as an Activity Director.  Over the next 18.5 years I worked my way up through the company and took on various roles in Independent Living/Assisted Living/Memory Care Communities.  I worked as an Assisted Living Manager, Resident Services Director and an Associate Executive Director.  In 2011, I became an Executive Director of a 60 apartment Memory Care community in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  In December of 2014, I moved to Madison and was the Executive Director of a new Assisted Living/Memory Care community.  Now a member of the BrightStar Team, I am very excited and look forward working with all the residents, families and associates.

    What attracted you to a career supporting and caring for older adults?

    Senior living has always been a passion of mine!  My Junior year of high school my grandfather moved in with our family.  I loved having him around and spending many of days talking and hearing about his life story.  From our conversations, I thought there was so much more I could learn from our elders.  I began volunteering in skilled nursing homes so I could meet others and hear their stories too.  I knew then, and even more during my years in college, I wanted to work with seniors and one day become an Executive Director.

    What makes BrightStar Senior Living unique?

    The small, close knit community, the compassionate care, and the peace of mind our residents and families gain are what I truly believe makes Bright Star unique.  I have worked in communities that are 100-300 apartments of residents, and it’s hard when you are that large to really make a personal connection with every resident.

    What are you passionate about in your role?

    I am passionate about our residents and making sure they get the best quality care.  In addition, I am passionate about our associates and providing them with the best resources, tools and support they need, to deliver on our promise to our residents.

    What brand promise do you connect with and why?

    The brand promised that I relate to is connection.  Knowing and understanding our residents, their families and our associates is very important to me.  As I listen and learn about their life story, it builds the foundation of trust in our relationship and allows us to connect and grow as a community and as a team.

  • Jeff Tews and Susan Rather

    Owners Jeff Tews and Susan Rather became the first BrightStar Senior Living franchisees by taking ownership of the Madison, WI community in February 2015. In November 2018, they opened a 36 suite BrightStar Senior Living in Waunakee, WI.

Schedule a Guided Visit

We look forward to welcoming you or your loved one to our community. Contact us to schedule a visit or call 608.849.2322 to learn why we’re a top choice among senior living communities.