Our teachers and staff of the Early Childhood Center are highly qualified, competent, and caring educators sensitive to individual needs of young children. We employ and support a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse interests and needs.
To meet the rigorous standards of The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), at least 75% of our teachers have a minimum of an Associate's Degree or are currently enrolled in an accredited college program to achieve this goal. To meet Delaware’s professional development requirements, all of our teachers and assistant teachers complete a minimum of eighteen hours of high quality early childcare and education coursework each year.
By setting these rigorous expectations for the education and preparation of teachers of young children, the J fully supports the belief that teachers are the most important contributors to quality educational experiences for our children.
ECC TEACHING STAFF
My name is Valerie LaRock, and I am the new ECC Director! My husband and I have 2 amazing sons, Jackson (8) and Ryder (5). We celebrate all things family in my household and believe in true teamwork. We love the water, taking fishing and relaxing trips on our boat, and being outside together. I am so thankful to be a part of this community and look forward to meeting each and every one of you.
Hi, I’m Amie Baker. I have been the Assistant Director of the ECC for over 4 years. It is a privilege for me to be a part of your child’s life. My husband and I love how the ECC helped shape our now 7 year old into a loving, smart, and funny kid by giving him security, structure, love, and the freedom to be himself while he was here and we strive to do the same for each of your children. I love being a part of the J family!
Beth Ann Short
My name is Beth Ann Short and I have been the Office Manager at the ECC for 10 years. I absolutely love working at the J and especially interacting with all of the sweet families here at the ECC! My husband and I have two children, a 13-year-old son named Luke and an 11-year-old daughter named Hailey who both go to Saint Mary Magdalen School. In my spare time I enjoy reading, shopping, playing tennis, and going to Bethany Beach!
Assistant Executive Director, JCC
Hi, my name is Mona Duwell. I am the Assistant Executive Director of the Siegel JCC. I have been at the J for 17 years. My husband, Ron, works for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and plays hockey at the J every week. I have two children, Ron, who teaches English in Japan and Cathy, who works for CIGNA in Athens, Georgia. I am also the proud grandma of 3 beautiful children - Maverick, Emmelyn and Ren. In addition to LOVING the J, I love football, hiking, knitting and being a grandma!!
My name is Nicholas Tavares, and I have been working at the JCC-ECC for a year. I am the Program Coordinator overseeing the operations that make our center community an amazing one to be a part of. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and Development and I have been working in the field for 18 years. For the past 12 years (2005-2017) I was the Preschool Lead Teacher at the Delaware Tech-Child Development Center. In my limited free time, I enjoy anything related to the arts. Visual Arts, Dance, Theater, Music…really, anything that allows an individual to express themselves in creative ways piques my interest.
Hi! My name is Amy Karpinski. I’ve been in childcare for 21 years and have loved working with toddlers (1’s and 2’s)! In my spare time I like to read, bake, sew, quilt and am currently taking a dance class!
Teacher & K'Ton Ton Curriculum Coordinator
My name is Erin Strickland and I have been an employee of the JCC since 2000. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, and I am extremely passionate about Early Childhood Education. I am married and met my husband here at the JCC. I have two beautiful daughters, Meredith and Charlotte. My hobbies include cooking, reading (when I have time!), and spending time with my family!
My name is Pam Galbraith and I am a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator. I’ve been teaching at the J for 11 years. I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree, in Early Childhood Education from Lesley College. I am a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children & the Nursery Kindergarten Association of Delaware. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time with my family.
Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator
My name is Rachel Hess. I have my degree in Early Childhood Education and have been employed at the JCC since 1996. I am extremely enthusiastic about working with young children and have enjoyed teaching two and three year olds and working with our infant and one year old teachers as their curriculum coordinator. I live in Wilmington with my husband Eric and our teenage daughter Kaitlyn. I spend my free time going to gymnastics meets (our daughter is a competitive gymnastics) and going out on our boat at the beach.
I’m Allyson Jacobs, and I have been a member of the J for many years. I have two wonderful boys who attended the J for school since the age of two and camp as well. After being just a parent at the J, now I am loving being on the other side of things and teaching here at the ECC. I look forward to being a part of the J family for many years to come.
My name is Amy Skammer and this is my 10th year teaching at the ECC. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Temple University in Public Health Education. I previously worked for the American Red Cross for ten years. I am married to Tim and have 2 children ages 21 and 18. Both of my children attended the J preschool and camps. I enjoy playing with our springer spaniel, playing tennis, and swimming.
My name is Ann Keller and I grew up in CT, but have spent most of my adult life living in Houston, TX. I have two children, a son in Chicago and a daughter in Austin. I moved to Delaware in 2013 and come to the J with ten years of experience teaching preschool. I’m so happy to be here and be a part of the J family!
Hello, I’m Atiya Siddiqui. I have been working at the J for 27 years. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences from Pakistan and have completed my TECE I and II. I am currently working in the infant room and love the babies! I am married and have four children and in my spare time I love gardening, cooking, sewing, and working with children!
My name is Danielle Arnone. I attended Delaware Technical and Community College studying Early Childhood Education. I have been working in Early Childhood since October 1992, most of my experience being with Infants and Toddlers. I married my high school sweetheart in May 1998 and we have three daughters; Katie, Gabby and Izzy. I enjoy spending time at the beach, reading, doing DIY projects and watching my girls play sports.
Hello, my name is Deb DeLong. I am excited to be part of the JCC family. I have previously taught for the Dioceses of Wilmington for 15 years. I worked with 2, 3, 4 and 5 year olds. However, I love 1 year olds the best! I love being with my family which includes my husband Ted, my daughters Samantha (25) and Madison (17), and my son TJ (15) and last but not least our crazy cat Winston. Needless to say there is never a dull moment in our house. I am so happy and honored to be part of your children's lives.
Hi! My name is Deena Nekoukar and I’ve been at the ECC for over 15 years. I have the honor of working with all age groups at the school. In my spare time I enjoy reading, being with my family, and taking my dog Hero to the beach.
My name is Donna Robinson and I am excited every day to be with your children in the ECC! I have been a Teacher Assistant for 28 years. I’m the jack of all trades around here. You will see me with all age groups giving lots of TLC. I’m a mom of 3 and have 5 wonderful grandchildren. I feel truly blessed to be here at the JCC!
Hi! I'm Elizabeth Leahy! I've been back working for the Early Childhood center for 4 years now, but I have been a part of the JCC community for 16 years when I started as a camp counselor in the ECC! I am finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Wilmington University. I live in Newark with my husband, and our 2 children, Jackson who is 7, and Kellan who is 1, who also attends the ECC!
I'm Gina Kaufman and I’ve been working with young children for 18 years, 16 of them were here at the ECC! My husband and I just welcomed our daughter Gianna into the world over the summer. Our dog, Canoli is a big part of our family too! I love spending time outside, shopping, and being with our families & friends.
Hello my name is Jane Checchi and I am very excited to be continuing my first year at our ECC! I attended Delaware Technical Community College where I received an Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have had the pleasure of working with children for seven years. My favorite hobby is art and design. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and reading biographies.
Hi, my name is Jessica Ulmer and I have been at the JCC for a year. I am currently studying Elementary Education at Wilmington University. In my free time I love going to the beach, playing with my dog Rusty and hanging out with friends and family. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your children's lives!
Hi, my name is Jill Aranilla and been working at the JCC for a couple months now. I’ve been working with children for about 4 years now. I am currently studying criminal justice at University of Delaware. In my free time I love to play soccer, hang with friends, and go to the gym!
My name is Jillion Roach and I earned my degree at BMCC Early Childhood Education in Trinidad and continued my education in Early Childhood by earning a Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science. I have four children of my own and have a passion and love for all children! In my spare time I take the children in my community to the mall, bake, cook, learn, help with social life, and talk about school and life with them. I am also very involved in my church and Children’s Ministry. I have worked at the J for almost 14 years and love it!
Hi! My name is Kenisha Crumpler, and I have been working with children for over 11 years. I love teaching them and creating activities for them as well! I have my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development, and I look forward to spending time with your children!
My name is Lisa Stephey, and I have an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and have been a teacher at the J for over 20 years. I have a daughter, Henrietta, who is in 4th grade and a son, Hawken who is in 1st grade. I am a two year old teacher and I love teaching your children and being a part of the J!
My name is Maria Medina, and this is my first year at the JCC. I've been working with kids for about five years. I have my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I've been an infant teacher for most of the years I've been working. I worked with toddlers for a few months, but my passion is infant care. I am from Mexico, and I am bilingual. In my free time I love to spend time with my boyfriend and watch movies. I love to do lots of messy activities with children. I love to sing and read books to infants in Spanish.
My name is Megan Burdeshaw, and I have been working at the JCC since January 2013. I love working with the one year olds and have found my home here at the ECC. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of Rhode Island, and I have worked in the field of Early Childhood since 2006. I live in Wilmington with my family, and I’m so happy to be a part of the J and be a part of your children’s lives!
My name is Rasheda Ashby, and I have been with the ECC since January of 2013. I have been working with all age groups here at the ECC and I have my degree in Early Childhood Education. My husband and I have four terrific kids and in my spare time I like to make candles. I am looking forward to a fantastic year!
Hi my name is Tiffany Millar, and I have been working with children for approximately ten years. Not all ten years have been in education; I was previously an investigator for child abuse and neglect with The Division of Family Services. Besides being a Pre-K teacher, I am a mom to a beautiful three year old little girl named Ava. When I have a moment of free time I’m usually on Pinterest looking up art projects or recipes. I love life, but working with children makes it that much better!
ECC Support Staff