WEATHER UPDATE 2/20: Due to potentially unsafe conditions, all facilities will be CLOSED at 1 PM. Programming is cancelled. Stay safe!

Our Staff

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.



Amie Baker
Interim Director

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
Office Manager

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!

Mona Duwell
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!!

Curriculum Coordinators

Nicholas Tavares
Program Specialist

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.   


Amy Karpinski
Curriculum Coordinator

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!

Erin Strickland
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!

Pam Galbraith
Curriculum Coordinator 

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.

Rachel Hess
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.  


Allyson Jacobs

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.

Amy Skammer

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.

Ann Keller

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!

Ashley DeFeo

Atiya Siddiqui

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!

Brynae DelGrosso

Hi, my name is Brynae DelGrosso. This is my first year at the ECC! I have three children. Deanna (12yrs), Kenny (6yrs), and Mason (4yrs). I have been a stay at home mom for the past 4 years and prior to being home with my children, I worked in the medical field for 11 years. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here at the ECC. I look forward to an exciting year in the 3yr old class! 

Brooke Walker

Hi my name is Brooke Walker. I just joined the JCC family this year, but I have been working with children for seven years. I am currently finishing my bachelors in early childhood education. I have 4 beautiful children, 3 attend school here at the JCC. In my free time I like to paint, woodwork and be with my family. Working with children has always been a passion of mine, watching there development and see them learn and grow. Thank you for letting me be apart of your children's education. 

Chelsea Roman

Danielle Arnone

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.

Debora Delong

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.

Deena Nekoukar

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. 

Donna Robinson

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!

Elizabeth Leahy

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!

Gina Kauffman

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.  

Heather Strauss

Jane Checchi

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.

Jennifer Perdick

My name is Jennifer Perdick and I am in my 3rd year here at the JCC.  I have a Bachelor of Science in General Studies and a Master’s degree in Elementary Studies.  I also have a Teachers Certificate and an Administrators Certificate from the State of Delaware for Early Childhood Education.  I have been working with young children since I was a teenager. I feel very lucky to be part of the JCC staff and to work with your children each day. I am also very proud of the family my husband, Garrett and I have! We have Lucy, 9 years old, and Cooper, 4 years old.  In our spare time we like to swim, go to the beach, and be outdoors!

Jessica Ulmer

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! 

Jill Aranilla

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!

Jillion Roach

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!

Katherine Pierson

Katie Arnone

Kenisha Crumpler

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!

Lisa Stephey

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!

Maria Medina

My name is Maria Medina and this is my first year at the JCC. I been working with kids for about five years. I have my Associates degree on early childhood education (birth to 2nd grade). I been an infant teacher most of the years I been working. I work with toddlers for a few months but my passion is infants. I am front Mexico and I speak both languages English and Spanish.  On my free time I love to spend time with my boyfriend and watching movies. Love to do lots of messy activities with children.  I love to sing and read books to infants in Spanish.

Megan Burdeshaw

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 in here at the ECC.  I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of Rhode Island, and 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!

Mike Grier

Nicole Cooper

Rachael Gordon

Rasheda Ashby

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!

Ron Duwell

Samantha Beckson

Hello all! My name is Samantha Beckson and I am currently on my third year here at the JCC. Over the last three years I have been an assistant in the one year old rooms. I find this age to be so exciting because they grow so much in that year I am with them. I am currently a Junior in college working on my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education at Wilmington University. Outside of being here at the JCC I enjoy playing with my dogs Ranger and Franky and reading. I look forward to all the years to come here, and I am so happy that I am a part of this community.


Tamara Backus

My name is Tamara Backus and this is my third year here at the J! I have been working with children for six years, with most of the time teaching one year olds! I have my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and am currently in the last leg of a Master’s program at Wilmington University. I am the mother of an energetic four-year-old girl, Addison that attends Pre-K here at the JCC.

Tiffany Millar

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 two 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! 

Xavier Morgan


Royce Shelley
Music Specialist

Meri Weiss
Judaics Specialist

Michelle Glazier
Gym Teacher

Maryam Mohammadi
ECC Support Staff

Avery McHugh
ECC Assistant

101 Garden of Eden Road

Wilmington, DE 19803


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