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 Baker

HOWARD BAKER
baker@brandeis.edu 

Howie, our Executive Director, has a 45-year career in early education and care as a childcare provider, university teacher, program administrator, policy analyst, advocate, marriage and family counselor, curriculum developer, mentor-teacher, and advisor to government leaders. In 2012 the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Center’s awarded him Director of the Year. A member of several professional associations, he is Co-President of the Council of Child Development Laboratory Schools (CCDLA). His career with the Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University began with teaching in September 1972. In 1979 he was chosen as Director and Executive Director in 1985. From 1979 – 1996, he taught early education course at Brandeis University, and continues to serve as the Brandeis Education Program’s Early Education Coordinator. In addition to providing professional presentations in US, he has been a guest presenter in the UK, Canada, Italy, France, and China. Earlier in his career he chaired several Massachusetts governmental committees charged with writing the first standards of care and was a doctoral fellow of the National Institutes for Health for the study of intellectual disabilities at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. He also is the Director of APA’s ACT Raising Safe Kids Boston Regional Center, a part of the Lemberg Center and a Master Trainer for the APA’s Violence Prevention Office.

 

Our Staff

AISLYN FAIR
Substitute Teaching Fellow, Hummingbirds (infants & toddlers)
aislynfair@brandeis.edu

Angela Garcia

ANGELA GARCIA
Head Teacher, Explorers (toddlers)
acg2489@brandeis.edu

Angela completed her M.A in Curriculum and Instruction (spec: ECE) in 2016. While working on her Master’s degree, she worked as a co-teacher at the Reggio Emilia inspired lab school - The NMSU School for Young Children. This is where Angela gained an in-depth understanding for the importance of continued communication and collaboration with colleagues, families, and community members. Prior to this, she worked as a curriculum and training consultant for the University of New Mexico. Today, she is a second year preschool co-teacher at Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University. The development of an emergent collaborative curriculum in a developmentally appropriate setting is at the center of Angela’s educational philosophy.

 

 

 

BECCA LEIBOWITZ
Teaching Fellow, Navigators (preschool)
bleibowitz@brandeis.eduBecca Leibowitz

Becca graduated with a B.A. in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University in May 2017. Originally from Westchester, New York, Becca has worked with both toddlers and preschoolers at Lemberg and had the special pleasure of transitioning upstairs with many of them. She has worked with children in a range of settings, from Tufts’ lab school to a summer reading program to nannying. Additionally, Becca spent a semester abroad in Denmark studying cultural differences in early childhood education.

Becca especially enjoys getting to know the children and families who make Lemberg so wonderful. She is thankful to have a job where she can laugh and play every day!


CATRINA COMBIS
Teaching Fellow, Adventurers (toddlers)
catrinacombis@brandeis.edu

Chandra Pieragostini

CHANDRA PIERAGOSTINI
Head Teacher, Voyagers (preschool)
Drama Specialist and 
Director of Creative Connections Camp
cpieragostini@brandeis.edu

Chandra 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, AFTER and SAG.

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

CHUNBO "JENN" ZHAO
Project Manager, Summer China Program
jennzhao@brandeis.edu

CLAIRE NATARO
Teaching Fellow, Voyagers (preschoolers)
cnataro@brandeis.edu

DITA MAZENKOVSKI
Teaching Fellow, Explorers (toddlers)
ditam@brandeis.eduDita Mazenkovski

Dita joined Lemberg CC in March 2018 as an infant teacher and worked this year as a first year teaching fellow with the Explorers toddler group. Her previous work with young children was at the Fessenden School in Newton. Dita has her BA in Education (teacher of English) from university in her native Albania. Where she taught for over 6 years in middle and high school. She also has 7 years of experience with infants and toddlers sitting for others, and working with her church community. Dita is an EEC Certified teacher for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and also holds a TESOL certificate for English language learners. Dita has two boys ages 5 and 11 and speaks Macedonian, and Albania as well as English. When thinking about her plans for this school year she wrote: “I’m looking forward to another school year where my goals are to provide a positive and nurturing classroom for the children and their parents, as well as learn and grow professionally.”

Hannah Kane

HANNAH KANE
Teaching Fellow, Butterflies (infants)
hannahkane@brandeis.edu

Hannah graduated from the University of Connecticut this past May with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies, concentrating in Early Childhood Development and Education. During her time there she completed a student teaching and field work practicum where she gained experience working in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms. Outside of the classroom, she has taught swim lessons to children of all ages and volunteered as a mentor/tutor for elementary and middle school students throughout her high school and college careers.

Hannah is excited to join the Lemberg community and grow as an educator, working alongside an amazing group of teachers. She hopes to develop close relationships with the children and families at Lemberg and support every child on their own developmental paths. She is looking forward to meeting the children in the Butterflies classroom and is excited to explore the world with them!

 

Jaimie ParnessJAIMIE PARNESS
Teaching Fellow, Butterflies (infants)

Jaimie is a graduate of The University of Connecticut with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies and a concentration in Early Childhood Development. While attending UConn, Jaimie worked in the NAEYC accredited UConn Child Development Labs with infant, toddler, and preschool aged children. For the past three years, Jaimie has worked as a Lead Preschool Teacher located in Sharon, MA, where she grew up.

Jaimie has a passion for working with young children and has a lot of fun doing it. You can tell with her ready smile, energetic dance moves, and love for singing songs! She is excited to become a part of the Explorers classroom as the Teaching Fellow in the Fall, and open young children’s eyes to many new concepts through play and hands on activities. Jaimie has also worked with young children at Camp Everwood in Sharon, MA. Jaimie is delighted to be joining us and to work with such a talented team of educators!

 

JENNIFER HEWITT
Speech Therapist

Jen is a licensed and accredited Speech-Language Pathologist in the state of Massachusetts. She began working with students at Lemberg in 2012, with responsibilities ranging from individual
speech-language therapy sessions, social pragmatics groups, English-language learners groups, and articulation group therapy. She also completes speech-language screens for students in the
Voyagers and Navigators classrooms. Before joining Lemberg, Jen worked at Stanley Elementary School in Waltham and at Cambridge Health Alliance.

Jen earned her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University in 2008. She graduated from the Honors College at the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Psychology
in 2004. When she is not at Lemberg or seeing other clients in her private practice, Jen is busy with her two young kids, her husband, and their cockapoo, Tiller.

 

Joshua Rose

JOSHUA ROSE
Head Teacher, Navigators (preschool)
joshrose@brandeis.edu

Josh has been working with children since the year 2000, getting his B.A. from UMass Amherst in 2006. He started in various after school and summer camp settings, including the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in the Berkshires, the Easter Seals Goodwill Industries' Family Learning Center in Connecticut, and iD Tech Camps at various locations in New York. While working with youth ages 8-18, Josh has led technical and philosophical workshops that promote creative growth and emphasize acceptance of others.

Josh is an EEC Certified Preschool Teacher at Lemberg. He has been working in Early Childhood since 2014, singing songs that he wrote specifically for this profession. Josh plays guitar and leads a group at Lemberg that focuses on mathematical and memory-retaining aspects of Music. He builds a positive, creative, fun environment that children look forward to experiencing every day in preschool.

Karen Eichenlaub

KAREN EICHENLAUB
Office, Director of Staff Development
eichen@brandeis.edu

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 assessments 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.

Katharine Braun-Levine

KATHARINE BRAUN-LEVINE
 

Associate Director
kblevine@brandeis.edu

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.

Kumiko Yamamoto

KUMIKO YAMAMOTO
Teacher, Adventurers (toddlers)
kyamamoto@brandeis.edu

Kumiko is new to Lemberg this year, and is a teacher in the Adventures room. Kumiko began her academic career by studying biology in her original home, Japan. Seventeen years later, she returned to school to explore her passion in Early Childhood Education. After finishing her studies in education, she worked in infant and toddler classrooms for several years before beginning work with preschoolers, whom she has worked with for the past 13 years. 
Outside of Lemberg, Kumiko works with "The Genki Spark", a Japanese Taiko drumming group. In addition to performing with the group, she teaches drumming and Japanese Folk Dancing at schools and universities. Kumiko also has a passion for animals, and worked at a farm when she was young.
She is very excited to work with the Adventures and to introduce Japanese culture to her new Lemberg family.

LINDSAY COOPER
Senior Teaching Fellow, Hummingbirds (infants & toddlers)
lcooper@brandeis.edu

 

MICAELA KILEYMicaela Kiley

Micaela joined the Lemberg family back in 2013 while she was a student at Brandeis. She started back at the old center on campus and moved with them to the new center, working as a TA primarily in the preschool classrooms. Micaela graduated from Brandeis in 2016 with degrees in Psychology and Anthropology and minors in Theater Arts and Education. After teaching at Lemberg for many summers, Micaela spent a year working as a head Pre-K teacher at another childcare center before returning to Lemberg in 2018 as a co-Head Teacher in the Voyagers room! When not at Lemberg, Micaela is a graduate student at Northeastern University working on a graduate degree in School Psychology with a concentration in Early Intervention. 

REBECA "BECA" COTTON-BAEZ
Teaching Fellow, Explorers (toddlers)
rebecacb@brandeis.edu

REBECCA "BECKY" SPARROW
Head Teacher, Adventurers (toddlers)
rsparrow@brandeis.edu

Roberta Adario

ROBERTA ADARIO
Head Teacher, Butterflies (infants)
roberta@brandeis.edu

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/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." -Roberta

SARAH DORFMAN
Teaching Fellow, Hummingbirds (infants & toddlers)
sarahdorfman@brandeis.edu

Scott Kepnes

SCOTT KEPNES
Head Teacher, Voyagers (preschool)
Associate Director of Music Education
skepnes@brandeis.edu 

Scott 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.

 

Sieara Lopez

SIEARA LOPEZ-JONES
Head Teacher, Hummingbirds (infants & toddlers)
sieara1@brandeis.edu

Sieara has been a part of the Lemberg community in various roles since 2012. She started as a teaching assistant as an undergraduate student at Brandeis. Then she was a teaching fellow who worked under the supervision of Katharine Braun-Levine and Hope Briggs. The 2018-2019 school year was Sieara’s first year as a lead toddler teacher. In addition to being a Lemberg teacher, Sieara is now also a Lemberg parent. She and her husband, Adam, are ecstatic to have their son, Khalil, join the Lemberg family!

Sieara earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in psychology and elementary education, and her M.S. Ed. from Wheelock College. She has been mentored by many amazing teachers over the years and has developed a teaching philosophy that is deeply rooted in the unique experience she has had at Lemberg.

In her time at Lemberg, Sieara has worked with every age group, and has found something to love about each group. She has discovered over the years that she is especially fond of working with older toddlers and preschoolers. Sieara loves developing social justice-infused curricula that create classroom spaces that are safe and meaningful for every child, family, teacher, and college student. Sieara focuses on providing developmentally-appropriate learning experiences and tools to support young children as they become the global citizens that our world so needs right now!

Additional Staff

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Additional Staff

ELIZABETH "BETH" LOWE
Firefly Scientists' Landscaping Manager
belowe@brandeis.edu

Janet FuchsJANET FUCHS
Environmental Education Program Director
janetfuchs@brandeis.edu

Janet, a progressive educator for over 30 years, became the Environmental Education Program Director at Lemberg in March, 2018. She comes to us with an extensive background in experiential education, thematic curriculum development, and music education. With an M.Ed. from Cambridge College in integrated, multi-disciplinary curriculum, she has guided students of all ages and facilitated teacher training workshops. She is also a Certified Sustainable Landscape Professional, a Green Building Professional and GreenPoint Rater who has worked with homeowners to design healthy, low-impact buildings and low-water native landscapes in California.

As an organic gardener and permaculture designer, Janet brings to Lemberg years of hands-on experience with low-maintenance, regenerative growing methods. She is thrilled to merge her passion for student-centered, active learning with the benefits of garden education as a gateway into connection with nature, healthy food choices, and essential life skills.

In other parts of her life, Janet is a musician, photographer, writer and sculptor. She loves travel adventures, ocean swimming, contemplative walks and the intricacies of human connection. Throughout her life, nature has been her inspiration and guide as she tries to do her part to sustain life on this fragile planet.

JENNIFER HEWITT
Speech & Language Consultant

LORI GOODRICH
Occupational Therapist