Listen to Lemberg parents

"I am very pleased with the job the Lemberg staff has done. They have encouraged my daughter to be an inquisitive and thoughtful child. They are doing a great job of imparting good values and a strong sense of independence on her. Over the last year, the staff has been very professional from the director, Howie Baker down to all the TAs."

— L.T., Weston

Listen to Lemberg parents

"Lemberg teachers and staff celebrate the many cultures and languages represented in their classrooms, sparking a child's natural curiosity and appreciation for diversity.

"My 4-year-old loves to listen to foreign languages, practice Lemberg's counting from 1 to 10 lessons in various languages, hear about foreign countries and meet people from countries outside the United States.

"Combined with the lessons we teach at home, Lemberg has provided such a great basis for valuing multiculturalism."

— I.F., Boston

Listen to Lemberg parents

"I like Scott's songs. I love it when I whisper at home and my son says, 'No secrets at Lemberg!'"

— M.M., Waltham

Meet the Staff

Executive Director


Howie BakerHowie has been the executive director of the Lemberg Children’s Center since 1979. He is a member of the Brandeis University faculty and leads the early childhood teacher preparation program. Certified as a teacher in Massachusetts for preschool, elementary, middle and high schools in English, social science, communication skills and theater, he also provides in-service development for educators at all levels.

Howie has served as vice chair of the Advisory Council on Early Care and the Education of Young Children to the Massachusetts Board of Education. At Brandeis, he has been a research associate at the Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy and served as an advisory board member of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

He has received awards from the Massachusetts Association of Day Care Agencies and the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children, and a training fellowship from the National Institutes of Health for the study of public policy and support for people with special needs.

Howie holds degrees from Emerson College, Boston College, Brandeis University and the Family Institute of Cambridge. The father of four children, he has relied on providers in his home, at family daycare, at group daycare and at extended day school-age programs.


Our Teachers

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Infant Teachers

Head Teachers

Hummingbirds Head Teacher

Hope Briggs

Hope is excited to be a part of the infant and toddler classrooms at Lemberg.  She looks forward to working with all of our infants and their families through her work at the center.

Previously, Hope worked as the infant supervisor and lead infant teacher at the NAEYC certified non-profit Mount Kisco Child Care Center in Mt. Kisco, NY (MKCCC) for the past nine years.  During her time teaching in public school for several years, she came to value the necessity of providing high quality childcare while working with the infants and their families at MKCCC.  Hope has a passion for working with infants and toddlers and partnering with their parents to meet their child’s educational needs.  She strives to create a caring encouraging and loving classroom environment where both infants and parents feel secure.

Hope has a BA in American Studies and an Elementary Education certificate from UMass Boston. She earned a MA of Professional Studies in Humanistic Multicultural Education at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  Hope has elementary education certification in Massachusetts and New York as well as EEC certification. 

Butterflies Head TeacherJessica Albert

Jess has a B.S in Early Childhood Education from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Child Development with a focus on Early Intervention from Tufts University. Jess worked at Lemberg as the Explorer’s Teaching Fellow before pursuing her Master’s Degree at Tufts. She has also worked at the University of Connecticut Child Labs as well as the Eliot Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University. Jess believes that by creating a sensory sensitive environment, every child can thrive. She also believes that family involvement and communication is important. Jess is excited to be part of the Lemberg Community once again!

2014-15 Teaching Fellows

Hummingbirds Teaching Fellow
Alejandra Doucette-Brayer

Alejandra graduated from Smith College in May of 2013 with a BA in Women and Gender Studies and Government. While at Smith, she worked at Sunnyside Child Care Center, where she discovered her passion for working with infants and toddlers, and realized it was a career that she could see herself in. Although she has loved children for as long as she can remember, it didn’t occur to her as an academic pursuit until it was too late! Alejandra began working in childcare immediately after graduating, and worked as a lead infant teacher with children ranging from four weeks to fifteen months until coming to Lemberg.

Alejandra is so excited to join the Lemberg community, and to work and learn in a loving, safe, and supportive environment. She especially loves working with infants and toddlers, and feels privileged to play a role in such an important developmental period in children’s lives. Alejandra strives to create strong partnerships with parents to help each child succeed, feel loved, and develop a passion for learning. 

Butterflies Teaching Fellow

Meaghan O'Brien photo

Meaghan graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut in May 2014 with a BA in Early Childhood Development and Education. During her junior and senior year at the University of Connecticut Child Development Laboratories, she completed her fieldwork in the Preschool-1 classroom and her student teaching in the Green Room, an infant classroom for children ranging from nine months to eighteen months. She also worked in the Preschool-2 classroom during her senior year. Aside from the University of Connecticut, Meaghan has worked and volunteered in several other preschools and preschool-affiliated programs.

Meaghan loves working with children of all ages but is especially excited to be joining the infant classroom! She is looking forward to becoming a part of the Lemberg Community and continuing to grow as a teacher.

Toddler Teachers

Head Teachers


Explorers Head Teacher

Katharine Braun-Levine

Katharine has been part of the Lemberg community in various roles since 2000 and began her role as head teacher for the Explorers in 2007. 

Prior to that, she spent a year teaching at the Tufts Educational Day Care Center (TEDCC) with a special emphasis on the inclusion of children with special needs.

Also trained as an ACT facilitator, Katharine looks forward to joining parents in discussions about Raising Safe Kids, about Galinsky's book Mind in the Making, and just about any other topic related to families and young children.

Katharine especially enjoys working with toddlers, preschoolers, and college students in a safe and secure classroom and helping them to feel more open to new experiences and learning. Social skills, emotional development, and warm relationships are at the heart of her entire play-based curriculum, from free-play to nap time, from the block area to the sensory table, and from cooking projects to yoga.

She earned a B.A. from Brandeis University in theater and early childhood education and a master's degree in child development from Tufts University.

Adventurers Head Teacher 

Roberta Adario

Roberta has been working with infants and toddlers since she was just twelve years old at her family's home daycare business. She also began teaching children's dance classes at a young age and continues to incorporate dance into her curriculum.

Roberta went to Framingham State College and studied education and psychology. During college, Roberta was the assistant director and lead teacher for 10 infants and toddlers at her family business. Roberta went on to get a Master's degree in Education and Counseling at Cambridge College and is licensed through DESE as a School Social Worker (grades K-12). Roberta has worked as a dance teacher, infant/toddler teacher, kindergarten teacher, nanny, counselor, elementary school social worker and mentor for young adults.

"I am so happy to have found such a wonderful, positive environment to work and teach. I am excited to incorporate my skills with children, families and college students here at Lemberg Children's Center."

2014-15 Teaching Fellows

Explorers Teacher Britny Savary-Bersani

Britny Savary-Bersani graduated cum laude from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2012 with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. She studied elementary art methods as well as painting, printmaking and drawing. Britny has experience working with infants through school-age children and is excited to learn and grow at Lemberg. 

Britny loves working with children of all ages, but is especially thrilled to join the Explorer classroom and gain more experience working with toddlers. Her particular interests include art therapy, sensory-based learning and nature in the classroom. She is so excited to get to know everyone at Lemberg and thankful for the opportunity to join such an esteemed program. 

Adventurers Teaching Fellow

Jason Margeson

Jason graduated from Curry College in 2010 with a BA in psychology and minor in math and education. Jason grew up in Brockton, where he played sports throughout his childhood. He was largely influenced by some of the teachers and coaches he encountered growing up. He was a member of three championship football teams - two in high school and one in college. He went on to Curry College to play football where he discovered a passion for working with children after he picked up a work study position at the Curry Early Childhood Center. He started working with preschoolers at Curry in 2007, and was then hired as an infant teacher in 2011 for the Curry Early Childhood Center. He worked as the lead infant teacher until 2012, when he moved up to the toddler age group and worked until 2013.  Afterwards, he moved to the Kennedy Center Program in Charlestown, teaching preschoolers just outside of the Bunker Hill Projects.

Jason is so happy to join the Lemberg community and work in such a positive and learning environment. He is excited to develop bonds with all the children, parents, and other the Lemberg staff. 

Preschool Teachers

Head Teachers

Voyagers AM Head Teacher

Jacky Newell

Jacky has a BS in Early Childhood Education from Boston University and a Master's Degree in Child Development from Tufts University. Previously Jacky taught at the Tufts Educational Day Care Center. Jacky’s favorite part about teaching is engaging in powerful conversations with children. Knowing that each person’s path to comprehension is unique, it is important to Jacky that the children in her classroom are able to notice, acknowledge, and make sense of such differences. Jacky looks forward to using reflection and relationship building to facilitate each child’s discovery of themselves as individuals and as members of their community.

In addition to her work with children, Jacky has received training to support the continued growth of community among staff members. She believes in the power of teachers opening up their practice to each other for reflection and feedback. Like the children, colleagues are constantly learning about each other’s strengths and challenges and figuring out how to best support each other. Jacky is excited to be a part of the growing Lemberg community! 

Navigators AM Head Teacher
mtourjeman@brandeis.eduMollie Tourjeman Photo

Mollie graduated from UMass Amherst with a bachelor's degree in sociology and a minor in education. She went on to receive a master's degree in early childhood education from Cambridge College, and holds an initial license from the state of Massachusetts. 

Mollie has spent many years working with toddlers, and preschool aged children, and taught pre-k for four years. Mollie was an Explorer teacher at Lemberg in 2011 before pursuing a position as director of an early learning center in Brookline. Mollie is also a trained ACT facilitator.

Mollie continuously strives to meet the individual needs of every child and their family. She believes creativity and self-expression in the classroom are essential for children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development and advancement. Mollie works to model and create a safe classroom where all children, families, and teachers feel supported, encouraged, and valued. Mollie is thrilled to be a part of the Lemberg community once again!

Navigators PM Head Teacher 

Paula Demeo

Although Paula is new this year to Lemberg, she is no novice to the field of education, having numerous years of experience in both administrative roles and classroom teaching.

Paula has been an early childhood educator for over 25 years. A graduate of Bridgewater State, she began her career teaching at the LEAP school in Lexington MA in 1993. Her experience includes teaching toddlers, preschoolers, and overseeing a team and their curriculum development for an entire school year of content.  For the last 12 years at LEAP, Paula was the Program Director of the Concord School where she led a group of talented teachers, developed her skills, and built wonderful relationships with teachers, parents, and children.  Sharing resources with parents on child development and everyday parenting skills has been a truly satisfying part of her career. As rewarding as the Program Director role was, this past year Paula transitioned to a nature-based school program that proved to be the perfect change of pace. Paula had no idea how this program would inspire her to explore nature in environments and to encourage children to have more unstructured outdoor play time in their days☺.  

This fall, Paula will obtain her 300-hour Teacher Training certification with YogaKids.  This will complete a yearlong study in children’s yoga that will continue even after graduation.  Paula is passionate about teaching children through nature, creative arts, movement, emotional intelligence practices, and joy, and is very excited to bring her experience and love of teaching to Lemberg.

Voyagers PM Head Teacher
Associate Director of Music Education 

Scott KepnesScott has been a head teacher for the Thunderbirds at Lemberg since October, 1993. He loves all aspects of teaching preschoolers, including science experiments, gardening, outdoor games, book making, storytelling, and all creative art and writing activities. He is especially interested in music and movement activities. Scott leads Aloha Friday - Lemberg’s weekly, center-wide sing and dance along. 

Outside of Lemberg, Scott is a writer and performer of songs for children and families. For more than 25 years, he has been entertaining audiences with his upbeat and funky folk songs, rock tunes, and stories at libraries, childcare centers, elementary schools, hospitals and town events.  Additionally, he leads small music and movement groups for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and offers workshops for teachers and parents to help them incorporate music into their classrooms and homes.

Scott is a member of the Children's Music Network (CMN), a national organization that celebrates the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas and creating community.

Scott has a B.S. in early childhood education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is EEC certified. He has two children, and absolutely loves being a dad. For more information about Scott, visit his website.

2014-15 Teaching Fellows

Navigators Teaching Fellow
lhobson@brandeis.eduLori Hobson

Lori graduated from Boston University in the Spring of 2013.  She majored in Early Childhood Education and holds an initial license for the state to teach Pre-K through second grade.  Lori is also certified as a Lead Preschool Teacher through EEC. 

While at Boston University, Lori was a student teacher at the BU lab school.  She was also a student teacher in a kindergarten class in Newton and then in a second grade inclusion class in Chelsea.  Since graduating last May, Lori has worked as a preschool teacher in an Early Learning Center in Brookline and has also covered a maternity leave in a kindergarten class in a Boston Public School.

Lori is very eager and excited to become a part of the Lemberg community!  She cannot wait to learn how to become a better teacher and to also share fun experiences with everyone at Lemberg.

Voyagers Teaching Fellow

Rachel Downs

Rachel graduated from Brandeis University in December 2012 with a degree in Education Studies, as well as minors in Early Childhood Education Teaching and Certification, and Creative Writing.  Rachel started at Lemberg as a Teaching Assistant in 2009, and has since worked in both classrooms in various capacities, including Student Teaching with the Explorers in the spring of 2012.

Rachel loves being part of the Lemberg community, and is thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow as a Teacher.  Some particular interests  include working with children with special needs, literacy and language learning, and art-integrated activities and exploration.

Office Staff

Director of Staff Development

Karen Eichenlaub

Karen came to Lemberg in 1983, has been a Head Teacher  preschool classrooms, and is now Director of Staff Development. She also works to monitor and address classroom safety and maintenance as well as coordinate and assist with program assestments and evaluations.

Karen also took a principal role in managing our successful 2010 NAEYC accreditation. She graduated with honors from Brown University and received her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College.

Having worked with all ages at Lemberg, Karen's skills span many areas. She enjoys working with parents and helping families with the transition between home and school. Mentoring Brandeis students and supervising student teachers is another important aspect of Karen's work at Lemberg.

Karen's own children attended Lemberg and have returned to work as teaching assistants. One of her outside interests involves working with the elderly, especially those with dementia, and helping support family caregivers.

Program Administrator

Anna Graves

Anna completed a women's studies program at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand before getting a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, MA.

Anna has worked in day programs and summer camps for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She focused her work on children; specializing with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also worked as a Martial Arts instructor for adults and children. Anna worked as an Operations Manager and store department manager for several years before coming to Lemberg. She is so happy to be a part of such a wonderful community.

Science and Math Facilitator
Yen Thieu

Yen has a B.A. in Economics & Management and International Studies from Albion College and a M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. Before joining Lemberg she worked in preschool education research, focusing on early language & literacy and early science & math. Yen believes in the importance of getting all children an early start in discovering and developing their interests in science and math. She is also interested in working with young English language learners. Yen enjoys reading with children about the world around them.

Additional Staff

Associate Director of ACT: Raising Safe Program

Karen Ciesluk-Gutterman

Karen devotes much of her time to helping toddlers and three-year-olds develop social sensitivity skills. In addition to helping the children learn to express themselves verbally, Karen teaches basic American Sign Language as a form of communication. Her room is filled with sensory activities, books, art projects and smiling faces.

Karen is also an ACT Raising Safe Kids facilitator. She leads workshops for educators and parents interested in raising safe kids.

Prior to joining the Lemberg staff, Karen worked for four years at the University of Connecticut Child Development Center with infants and toddlers.

Karen holds a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and a master's degree in early intervention from Wheelock College.

Associate Director of ACT: Raising Safe Kids Program

Kristina Irizarry

Sylvia Pena

Sylvia's research interests include how to bring awareness, understanding, and respect for multicultural diversity into the classroom experiences of children, and into the teacher training experience of the student workers. She monitors new early education trends and theories. Sylvia is a trained ACT Raising Safe Kids Facilitator, and leads workshops for educators and parents interested in raising safe kids. She holds a degree in early childhood from the University of California.

Sylvia retired from Lemberg in June 2014. She worked as a head teacher in the classroom for several years before taking on the role as Associate Director for Staff Development. She now lives in California but continues to stay part of Lemberg and train parents in ACT.

Lemberg Summer Program Director
Research Associate, Center for Early Childood Teacher Development

Bruce first taught at Lemberg from 1985 to 1989 when he was head teacher in the Explorers classroom.  In 1989 he moved on, spending the next 10 years in the Massachusetts early childhood community as a consultant in the area of educational reform, early childhood curriculum, teaching professional development and as an educational administrator in schools and programs for young children.  

In 1999 Bruce was recruited to help create an undergraduate teacher education program at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.  While continuing to teach overseas, since 2004 he has returned to Lemberg each summer to serve as the Lemberg Summer Program director.  In addition, Bruce holds the position of research associate at the Lemberg-based Center for Early Childhood Teacher Development.

He holds an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Substitute Lead Teacher, Drama Specialist and 

Director of Creative Connections Camp

Chandra PieragostiniChandra brings an extensive and diverse background in theater to her role as Lemberg’s drama specialist. She has studied theater arts at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

As a theater educator, she has worked in classrooms with children from elementary to high school for many years. Along with her part-time Lemberg responsibilities, she is the associate director for education for Boston’s City Stage Co. and, during the summers, is the Young Artists at Play director for the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Chandra’s acting credits include Clara in "The Nutcracker Players" (Boston Area), Alice/Kristy in "Fitkids" (New England and Indiana), The Wife in "The History and Adventures of Tom Thumb" and various roles in Shear Madness. She has also worked on numerous commercials, industrial videos, independent films and voice-over spots. She is a member of all three acting unions, AEA, AFTRA and SAG.

Chandra earned her B.A. in theater arts from Brandeis.

Speech and Language Pathologist

Julie SellaJulie is Lemberg’s speech language pathologist. She has worked in a variety of therapeutic settings including schools, clinics and early intervention programs, and in private practice. Julie has also worked extensively with children who are on the autism spectrum, use Augmentative Alternative Communication, and have sensory and motor-based feeding difficulties. She has worked with children and adults who have language/communication delays, motor speech and articulation concerns, and hearing loss.

Julie’s clinical interests include social pragmatic methods and approaches such as relationship development intervention (RDI), executive functioning skills, and the work of Michelle Garcia-Winner, Jed Baker and Sara Ward.

She values the relationship between sensory integration and communication and has developed clinical expertise in the area. She enjoys working with families to help build developing skills in settings that are meaningful for each client. She is excited to be part of the Lemberg team!

She received her master’s degree from the MGH Institute of Health Professions and a Certificate of Early Intervention Specialty (CEIS) through her work with the Cambridge-Somerville Early Intervention.