Meet Our Team


Laurie Houseknecht, Chief Stewie the Duck Officer

My name is Laurie Houseknecht. I was born and raised in Norwalk and grew up not far from Calf Pasture beach where I learned to swim with my two sisters. I have loved the water ever since I can remember and spent most of my life at the beach in and around pools. My passion for swimming lead me to swim competitively at Central Connecticut State University, and to a 30-year career in the aquatics industry, helping people of all ages to gain the life skill of swimming. Growing up in Norwalk, we were frequent shoppers at Stew Leonard’s. When my dad lived next door at Kingsway Apartments, we were there daily – mostly for the ice cream! When I met my husband (of now 20 years), I introduced him to the store. He’s from Pennsylvania and it soon became his favorite place to go. Our 11-year-old son has been going to Stew Leonard’s Norwalk and Danbury locations all his life and is always asking to visit. He was extremely proud to share that his mom was going to be working with the Stew Leonard’s family, doing what she loves. I couldn’t be more honored to be part of the Stewie the Duck Swim School, it’s mission and am excited to help make Kim and Stew’s dream of opening a swim school come true. 


Heidi Papadakos, Aquatics Director

I’m Heidi and I was born and raised in East Norwalk, CT. Stew Leonard’s has always been my go-to grocery store. I remember the wall of photos of people with their Stew Leonard’s shopping bags from all over the world! I have been swimming since I was six months old when my mom took me for swim lessons at the YMCA. My mom’s passion for swimming and the water rubbed off on me when I was a child, and my summer days were spent at the beach and pool every day. I’ve worked in the aquatics industry for more than 30 years now and my first job was teaching swimming lessons with Norwalk Parks & Rec when I was a student at Norwalk High School. I have been married for almost 18 years and I have two teenagers who have the same birthday 12 months apart! I am so excited to be a part of Stewie the Duck Swim School and to share my passion and love for the water and swimming for such a good cause. Nothing makes me happier than when I see a child achieve swimming skills to make them safe in and around the water.



Val Enriquez


Megan Cole