Hanna Gebretensae joined Eliot Pearson the summer of 2013 as the new Director. Prior to that, she was the Director of Early Childhood Programs at Aspire Institute/Wheelock College. She has extensive experience in the field of early education and care including direct services, administration of programs, teacher education, training/technical assistance, mentoring, anti-bias curriculum/cultural competency and policy work across Massachusetts and nationally. Hanna has been a program director at Acorn Center for Early Education and Care, a bilingual Chinese/English center and a Mentor-Director for early childhood programs in Boston supporting accreditation and quality of programs in the city. She is a diversity trainer certified by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and various programs and organizations. Hanna has held adjunct faculty positions at Lesley University, Wheelock College and the Urban College of Boston on a variety of early childhood topics. Prior to coming to the US, Hanna also managed early childhood program development and projects in East Africa and worked with UNICEF. Hanna received a Bachelors degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education from Lesley College; received her masters in Educational Administration, Planning, and Policy from Harvard University; and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration on Curriculum and Instruction from University of Phoenix. She also holds a certificate in Educating Children with Special Needs from the Goldameir International Training College in Haifa, Israel and is a CAYL Fellow in Early Care and Education Policy.
Teacher Coach/ Professional Development & Documentation Specialist
Saameh Solaimani has been in early childhood education for over fifteen years teaching, conducting research, working in policy and administration, and developing curriculumworking in all realms of the field to cultivate quality and healthy experiences for young children. Saameh’s role at EPCS is comprised of documenting learning, supporting authentic assessment, teacher coaching, professional development, mindful environment and curriculum development, facilitating family and community engagement, and promoting intentional and respectful interactions with our natural playground, including our beautiful gardens! Saameh is currently an adjunct faculty member at University of Massachusetts, Boston (Department of Curriculum and Instruction) and at Lesley University (Department of Psychology), where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses. Saameh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s in Education (Human Development and Psychology concentration) from Harvard University.
School Operations Coordinator
Maria comes to us from Needham Heights KinderCare where she held the position of an Assistant Director and has 23 years of experience as an administrator and educator in various educational settings. She has been a teacher, a director and an administrator in public/private programs and schools (PK-6) and an adjunct instructor teaching various college courses related to education and psychology. In her role as an administrator, Maria has managed budgets and payroll, monitored and maintained tuition accounts, assisted with financial aid programs to families, and participated in fundraising efforts. Maria has extensive knowledge in maintaining state licensing regulations and has assisted in National Accreditation processes & maintenance. She has effectively handled student and staff records in the areas of admissions, enrollment, financial aid, family/school events, and related tasks, ensuring all updates and requirements were being met at all times. Ensuring efficiency in school operations and creating a welcoming front office area that is inviting, professional and organized are very important to her. She is looking forward to bringing her expertise and enthusiasm to our school. Maria has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration.
Enrichment Program Coordinator/Special Rights Support Staff
Gaby joined the EPCS community three years ago. She spent her first two years as GTA in the Kindergarten Classroom and after graduating from the Applied Masters Program in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University she joined EPCS as the Extended Day Coordinator. Before coming to Boston, Gabriela worked for four years as a Head Teacher at La Escuelita Kindergarten School in Mexico City, where she also contributed to their Extended Day Program with creative dance lessons to parents and their children. She holds a B.A in Psychology from Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City, and MA in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University in addition she is a certified Early Childhood Educator in Mexico. Gabriela’s personal interests include hiking, biking, yoga and photography.
Special Rights Coordinator
Katie Caster has been working in the field of education for the last twelve years with variety of roles including: special education teacher, ESL teacher, and Special education coordinator. She has her B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, but also holds a Masters degree and an Ed.S in Special Education. She also has graduate certificates in: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Language and Literacy, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Applied behavior Analysis for special populations. She most recently completed the ECT or Early Childhood Technology Certificate program at Tufts University. Katie has a passion for STE(A)M education especially introducing young children to the benefits of hands on technology. When she is not at Eliot Pearson Children’s school she is working in Boston public Schools as an ESL and speciality STEM teacher. Her personal interests include: reading, exploring local culture, walking her dog, and finding a good cup of coffee.
Head Teacher – K-1
I have lived in quite a few places and pursued a number of interests. I taught courses in the evolving concept of magic in medieval Europe at Northwestern University and wrangled dishes at a dude ranch in the Sangre de Cristos mountains of Colorado. I taught Elizabethan history on a living history museum that not only sailed around Great Britain, but right through Loch Ness (I didn’t see any monsters though). For almost a decade, I worked on community development issues on Maui, Hawai’i. I spent most of last year teaching a combined 3rd and 4th grade class at the Cambridge Friends School. Oh, and I found myself a beautiful wife, daughter, son, dog, cat, and beta fish somewhere along the way.
Lynne May Lim
Head Teacher – PreK-K
Lynne May comes to EPCS with over twenty years of teaching in early childhood classrooms. She brings to EPCS her vast experience working with young children of diverse backgrounds and learning styles, and her unique perspective on anti-bias education. She strives to respond to the multiple ways young children learn and grow by designing and implementing interdisciplinary, project-based, and child-centered curriculum, including the use of multimedia resources to support children’s inherent curiosities in the areas of literacy, science, engineering, and technology, math, and social studies. Lynne May works to affirm children’s individual and collective identities explicitly and consistently by setting up a learning environment that encourages children to participate and lead in building and maintaining a welcoming, vibrant, inclusive, and just community. She is also an experienced and dedicated mentor to full-year graduate student interns in departments of early childhood education. When not teaching, Lynne May enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Her interests include drawing, imagining, writing, documenting and communicating using still and moving images, animated films, and dance. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching-Early Childhood Education from National-Louis University in Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.
Head Teacher – Preschool West
Victor comes to EPCS with twenty-two years of experience as an early childhood educator of children ages two to six in preschool and elementary school settings serving diverse communities. Victor has extensive experience in guiding young children through inquiry-based math and science learning using multi-faceted art and literacy mediums. Victor’s approach to teaching and learning focuses on play-based classroom environments and how they encourage and nurture different modes of learning. Victor has worked with teams of teachers and specialists in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms where he designed, planned, and set up multi-sensory and interdisciplinary learning environments and delivered special support services to children. He brings with him a deep commitment to social justice in early childhood education settings through extensive experience with history, anti-bias, and anti- racist curriculum development and implementation. He has mentored graduate and undergraduate student interns from various Boston area colleges and universities. Victor has broad-based leadership and community- building experiences in classrooms, schools, and community-based organizations serving children, adults, and families from all walks of life. When not teaching, Victor enjoys going to the beach, being with his partner Sabina, who is also a teacher, being with his daughter Hazel who is 5, traveling to Martha’s Vineyard, Montréal and London, and spending time with his parents in CT where he grew up. He holds a specialized Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College.
Head Teacher – Preschool East
Prior to joining EPCS, Vanessa worked in kindergarten and preschool classrooms in Boston Public Schools, with experience in planning and facilitating children’s learning through expeditionary and emergent learning projects that integrate literacy, science, social studies and math projects. Through her experience teaching in bilingual and special education settings, she strives to gain a deep understanding of who the child is intellectually, emotionally, and socially and strives to create an environment and educational experiences that foster children’s sense of self. Vanessa has developed storytelling curriculum in collaboration with Harvard’s Making Learning Visible Project and a two-way bilingual school in Boston. She has solid experience working with children from diverse backgrounds and abilities, including dual language learners and children with mild to significant language and cognitive delays. Vanessa is particularly interested in young children’s inner lives and she is currently pursuing advanced studies in child and adolescent intervention to enhance her knowledge of how art, play, and storytelling not only help with children’s intellectual and language development, but also with their social-emotional development. Vanessa constantly seeks to learn and grow as an educator, and surrounds herself with professional development experiences that will deepen her practice. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys reading, writing, and riding her bicycle. She holds her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Classical Studies (Cum Laude) and two minors, one in Psychology and the other in Urban Education. She holds her Master’s in Teaching from UMass Boston through the Boston Teacher Residency Program.