Educator Background

Ellen, Ed.D., Director

Ellen is the Director and Owner of the program. She holds an educational doctorate from Teachers College Columbia University and a Masters degree from New York University. She also completed an Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Leadership at Bank Street. For more than 15 years she was an Associate Professor of Education at Touro College’s Graduate School of Education, teaching classes in early childhood education and early childhood special education. In addition, she has worked with children from birth through young adult in various formal and informal education settings for more than 15 years. Ellen is a professionally certified teacher in early childhood general and special education, music and theater and holds a professional school building leader certificate. She has presented at several national and state conferences on topics in early childhood and has been published several times in peer-reviewed journals. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 3 children

Jessica, M.S.Ed., Assistant Director
Jessica has been in the educational field for the past 17 years. She has been with Giocare since 2014, where she began teaching 3 and 4 year olds while also acting as the first Program Coordinator for the school. At the time, Giocare was growing from a small home-spun program, with only 6 teaching staff. Jessica is now Educational Director and an Assistant Director with her colleague Dinelle in supporting over 6 classrooms, more than 20 teachers and a growing community of families. Jessica has a background in creative writing and a BFA in Theatre Arts. She has always had a passion and interest in working with children alongside the importance of imaginative play. Jessica’s early years involved teaching in theatre camps and enrichment programs with this value of play at heart. Jessica earned her M.S in Childhood Education from Hunter College while teaching in public and private settings in NYC and New Jersey. After her first years of classroom experience, Jessica found her niche in Early Childhood, working with preschoolers, particularly Pre-K. Jessica has earned additional Masters level certifications in Early Childhood Education as well as Early Childhood Students with Disabilities from Touro College. Jessica has been living in Brooklyn for the past 6 years and is currently calling Windsor Terrace her home with husband Stephen and toddler son, Danny.

Dinelle, M.S.Ed., Assistant Director
Dinelle has worked at Giocare since 2012 (our first employee!) and has worked with all age groups. She is currently one of the assistant directors and the Program Coordinator/Curriculum Developer. She has her Bachelors from City College in Early Childhood Education and holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood General and Special Education from Touro College. She holds her professional teaching certification in Early Childhood. She also has served as a summer camp co-director for many years. Dinelle likes to go on vacations with her family, hiking, eating out, painting, decorating for parties and doing events for her church. Dinelle is mother to one daughter, Jadelle (also working at the school) and a son Daniel.

Kate, M.F.A., Arts & Culture Coordinator
Kate has been with Giocare for 8 years as our Art teacher, also a few summers as a Camp Co-Director, and the last 2 years she was with our Pre-K groups. She is excited to continue providing a weekly art special for each class. New to this year, she will help coordinate school-wide cultural events and activities. Kate has a background in costume design with a MFA from Yale University and a BS from Eastern Kentucky University. She is a parent of 2 boys, and lives nearby in the neighborhood. Her husband is co-owner of Mama Tried, a bar in Sunset Park. 

Stephanie, B.A., Lead Teacher
Hello! My name is Stephanie Baichu, I have earned my Bachelors at CUNY YORK COLLEGE in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a minor in Sociology. I am currently finishing up my Masters In Early Childhood Education/ Special Education at CUNY Brooklyn College. I will be graduating in the Spring of 2023! In the past, As an educator I have worked with children from 2- 6 years old. I have spent the last five years here at Giocare, where I worked with the pre-k for about 2 years, and this is my third year working with the toddler 2’s! I absolutely love it! I love watching them grow from the time they enter in September until June! The outcomes are always amazing! At home, I live with my fiancé and our 17 month old baby boy, Ethan who brings much joy to our lives!. My family are my life and I love working with the little ones! I look forward to this year! 

Aliyah, B.A., Assistant teacher
Aliyah is very excited to be working with the Bambini group this 2022 – 2023 school year! Aliyah joined Giocare in the Summer of 2021 and worked in childcare for 5 years prior to joining the team. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminal Justice and Political Science from SUNY Albany and is currently taking a course to obtain her CDA credential. Aliyah’s favorite part about working with preschoolers is encouraging creativity and new ideas, and creating a space for children to feel safe and cared for. Outside of work, Aliyah is a native New Yorker who loves to travel, create memories, try out new foods and restaurants, and enjoy the scenery of different parks and landmarks. Some of her hobbies are yoga, painting, and bracelet making. Fun Fact About Aliyah: She has a pet bunny!

Tayyaba, A.S., Assistant Teacher
Hello! My name is Tayyaba Nawaz (pronounced Tai-bah) and I have been working with children since 2017. I have an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Teaching children has been my childhood dream and growing up, my grandmother inspired me to be a dedicated teacher like her. My goal is to help students achieve their social- emotional, cognitive, physical, and language milestones. I would like for children to feel welcomed and loved while growing developmentally appropriate. I look forward to being a part of your child’s journey and meeting all of the wonderful families!.

Dorjana (Dory), M.S.Ed., Lead teacher
Dory is entering her third year of teaching at Giocare. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from Brooklyn College in Childhood Education, grades 1-6 and just finished her Masters in Special Education, Birth to Second grade also at Brooklyn College. She holds teaching certificates in Grades 1-6 and Children with Disabilities Birth-Grade 2. Last year, she started with the Mimmo class and ended with the Compagni class, and she is thrilled to be in Mimmo again! She also has two cats, Falafel and Milo! 

Dallandyshe (Ada), CDA, Assistant Teacher
Ada has been with Giocare since 2015 and has worked with our youngest group of children. She holds a Child Development Associate credential from CUNY and previously worked as a provider in a local group family daycare for a number of years before joining us. Ada previously ran our now closed Play Spot program. Ada has lived in Albania and Greece but has made Brooklyn her home now for years.

Shanna, Assistant Teacher
Hello all 🙂 My name is Ms.Shanna, and I am an assistant teacher in the mimmo classroom. I am 24 years old and a first generation Guyanese-American and the first in my family to be graduating from college. I attend Medgar Evers college and am currently pursuing a bachelor degree in childhood education – just this year left! Early childhood is an interest for me because in the future I hope to open up my own facility. So I am just taking it in and learning from those with years of experience as they will help guide me in the long run. Two fun facts about me are, I love listening to music and I love to travel. Teaching has always been a calling of mine and I am excited to see all the progress we will accomplish together! 

Corinn, Afternoon Teacher and Floater
Corinn is thrilled to start her second year at Giocare. She came to the school partway into the last school year as an afternoon teacher for the bambini and medio class and this year she is landing in the mimmo class as an afternoon and floater teacher. She has worked as an assistant teacher in several early childhood settings as well as a freelance childcare provider. She is fluent in Spanish.

Magda, M.S.Ed., Lead teacher
Hello, I am Magda William. I’m very excited to join Giocare Playschool this year. I have graduated with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College and I am NYS Certified Teacher. I’ve been working with children between 4 months up to 1st grade for the past eight years. My experience includes a variety of play based and public schools among diverse communities. I am passionate about children and their development. Inquiry and play based learning is the most beneficial way for children to develop their emotional, social, and academic skills. It’s my personal belief that every child is unique and deserves an opportunity to learn in their own way. Learning through play allows all children to feel valid and important. Outside of school you will see me hiking, traveling, eating ice cream, reading books, and spending time with my family.

Dionisia (Dee), A.S., Assistant Teacher
Dee is thrilled to join us for her third year at Giocare! Prior to this, she worked in different childcare centers over the years as an assistant as well as lead teacher for children ages 1 to 4 years old. Dee is adventurous and enjoys the great outdoors and hiking. She has experience in working with sleep away camp and other summer programs for ages 5-12. She holds an Associates degree in Early Childhood and is just a class shy of finishing her Bachelors in Early Childhood and Special Education at Brooklyn College. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Leomaris, A.S., Assistant Teacher
Hi. My name is Ms. Leomaris Mendez, and I am so excited to teach the 3s this year at Giocare Playschool. It’s going to be a fun year full of lots of learning and new adventures! I have been with Giocare since 2017 as an extended day teacher, floater teacher and most recently, assistant classroom teacher . I hold an Associates in Early Childhood Education from BMCC and continuing to study for a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood at Brooklyn College. I am bilingual and fluent in Spanish.

Brianna, Afternoon Teacher & Floater
I was born and raised in Greenwood, Brooklyn and currently reside in Bensonhurst for the last two years. This will be my third year teaching overall and my first year teaching in a play based pre-school. I previously worked in an ABA (applied behavior analysis) program dedicated to promoting the development of children starting from birth up until 3-years of age. I supported with integrating children into their communities in a special education based center setting. I have also worked with multiple families as a full-time nanny/babysitter with children as little as infants up to 11-years of age. I am currently working on my Associates in Business Management at Borough of Manhattan Community College. I am determined to move onto a four-year college and receive my Bachelors. My ultimate goal for my own education would be to complete a Masters in Early Childhood Education. I am a proud mommy to a gorgeous corgi pup who has my undivided attention during my free time. I love to spend my days with him, whether it be on a sunny beach day or a winter movie night! My main hobbies include face painting along with arts and crafts. I am excited to continue growing with every single one of my students because here we all learn and grow together!

Deseree, M.S.Ed., Lead teacher
Deseree has been with Giocare since 2013 teaching both 2 and 3 year old children. She holds a Bachelors degree from Brooklyn College in Children and Family Studies and a Masters in Early Childhood General and Special Education from Touro College. She holds a professional teaching certification in Birth-Grade 2. Deseree is mother to her daughter, Kimora, her son, Khalil and a cat named Harmony.

Lauren, B.S., Associate Teacher
Lauren has been with Giocare since 2017. Prior to joining us, she was a lead preschool teacher for 5 years in San Francisco. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from San Francisco State University and went back to school to complete her Associate’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies at City College of San Francisco. Lauren lives in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens with her fiancé and her dog, Otto. In her spare time she enjoys baking and cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, going on adventures with her dog, and attending music shows. Lauren is looking forward to a fun year of building relationships with the children and families as we all learn and grow together!

Jadelle, Assistant Teacher
Jadelle is excited to enter into her 2nd year at Giocare as an Assistant teacher. She is currently working on her Child Development Associate degree. Jadelle started to work with Giocare in the summer of 2019 as a sub and then went on to work for the full summer in 2020 and 2021. During the 2020 school year, she worked as a permanent sub and really enjoyed the experience in being in multiple classrooms and learning the different ages and stages. She is excited to be working with the 3K program again!

Elizabeth (Liz), M.S.Ed, Lead Teacher
Elizabeth started with Giocare in 2021, she worked with our 3K and 2 ½ year old students. This year Elizabeth will be working in Pre-K with our four-year-old group in Compagni. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood General Education and Special Education from The College of New Rochelle. She has worked in this field for 23+ years and has her professional teaching certificate in General Early Childhood Education. Her philosophy is that every child has distinctive strengths, challenges and needs. Children can flourish in an environment that recognizes all children can learn when provided with the nurturing supports, they require to succeed in the twenty-first century. Elizabeth is a mother of 2 boys and a grandmother of 3. 

Patrick, M.A., Associate Teacher
Patrick Dahl was raised in Ohio, educated in Pittsburgh, and discovered a love for teaching in Chicago, where he worked with young children for nearly a decade. He received a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Currently, he is pursuing an MSEd from Brooklyn College. After a terrific first year at Giocare working with the 3k friends in Medio, he cannot wait for further adventures in the Pre-K class. When he’s not making up ridiculous songs or telling stories with his students, he enjoys watching old movies, reading anything he can get his hands on, and birding! My day-to-day motto in the classroom is “say ‘yes’ as much as possible.” 

Danielle, Assistant Teacher
My name is Danielle McQueen. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in both Early Childhood Education and Special Education with a minor is Psychology. I have been working with children for 10 years and have been working in a daycare setting for almost 4 years. As an Early Childhood Educator I always look forward to children having fun while learning. I love to see the excitement on my students faces and the thousands of questions they ask! That is how you know you have their interest. I look forward to getting to know the Pre-K class this year!

Michelle, A.S., Afternoon Teacher & Floater
Michelle Garcia Rosas graduated from Borough of Manhattan Community College in Spring of 2022. She has an Associates in Science for Early Childhood Education. She is currently enrolled in Brooklyn College and will continue studying for her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Psychology. Michelle is bilingual in Spanish and English and fluent in the Spanish language. This fall she is happy to say that she is working as a Pre-K Floater Teacher in the Compagni classroom!

Vari, M.S.Ed, Lead Teacher
Hello, Amici families! I am an experienced early childhood teacher of many years, having taught pre-k at Giocare since 2015. A major part of my teaching career was also spent as a kindergarten teacher in a district 15 public school. My majors were in elementary and early education (for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees) at Hunter College. 30 credits above my Master’s were taken abroad in different parts of the world. I was also a participant in the Reading and Writing Initiative Program at Teacher’s College. My hobbies include writing stories, poems and songs for young children (I have happily shared them with the children that I have taught over the years). Gardening and studies about Nature is also a love of mine that I bring into my classes every year! 

Cori, M.S.Ed., Associate Teacher
Hi Pre-K families! I am Ms. Cori. I’ve worked at Giocare for six summers and just finished my first full school year this past June. Yay!! Before Giocare, I worked as a head start teacher and home visitor while finishing up my degree seeking education. I have an undergrad degree in psychology and a masters in school counseling, both from St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. Because of my educational background I love to focus on social emotional growth in the classroom, which can be linked to all aspects of learning, even academics! This year I will be furthering my education with a few online classes, working towards an early childhood certification. Personally, I love animals, nature and the outdoors. 

Gabrielle (Gabi), B.A., Assistant Teacher
This will be my third year as an assistant teacher at Giocare and my second year with Pre-K!  I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Education! I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in School Counseling. I love to encourage learning through exploration for children while also trying to find the best ways to communicate their big feelings at this age! One fun fact about me is that I am a big animal lover and love to learn about any pets my students have! I grew up around the neighborhood and love to go for walks around the neighborhood and Prospect Park! Feel free to say hi if you see me!