Meet the Carrot Patch Teachers!
Lori Callahan, B.A., M.A.
Head Classroom Teacher, Transitional Toddlers
Holding both a bachelor's and master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Connecticut, Lori also brings many years experience working with toddlers and preschoolers. She previously served as a Head Teacher at the Capital Child Development Center in Hartford, as well as at A Child's Garden in Fairfield, Connecticut. Lori is warm, energetic and athletic--a job requirements for a mother of three active boys!
Emily Cline, B.A.
CT-Certified K-6 Teacher
Head Classroom Teacher, Infants
Calm, soft-spoken Emily strikes the perfect note in "babyland," where her unfailingly calm, warm demeanor creates a welcome respite for our little ones. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from SCSU, and her focus on child development is a perfect foundation for her work in the infant room.
Rebekah Duperry, B.A., M.A. candidate
Head Classroom Teacher, Toddlers
Rebekah received her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a Neuroscience and Education minor from Smith College. She has been accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching program in Early Childhood Education at Tufts University, but has decided to defer attendance at this time. Rebekah brings varied and interesting experiences in the early childhood classroom which inform her work here at the Patch. She has worked with special needs children in Denmark, at the laboratory preschool at Tufts, as a classroom assistant with 1-5 year olds for many years at a program in Northampton, MA, and for three years as a camp counselor for 3-6 year olds. She has developed a special love and expertise in working with toddlers, and we have found her to be a stellar addition to our two-year-old classroom.
Christine Duran, B.A., M.S. candidate
RI-Certified Secondary Teacher
Head Classroom Teacher, Preschool & Pre-K Academy
Christine has nearly completed her Master's Degree in Education at the University of Rhode Island, with a cross-certification in Early Childhood Education. She student-taught U.S. History classes at the high school level, but it was her experience as a long-term substitute teacher in a Shepherd Glen first-grade class where her love for early childhood education was born. She brings this passion to the Carrot Patch, along with the classroom management skills that come from her experience working with various behaviorally-, physically- and learning-disabled young children.
Lauren Henderson, B.S.
Head Classroom Teacher, Transitional Toddlers
Lauren joined the toddler program at the Carrot Patch in 2008, having married and moved to Hamden from Tallahassee, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Family and Child Sciences. Before her arrival here, she had worked with young children for several years in a number of settings, including time spent working with underprivileged kids in Costa Rica. Her soft yet firm Southern charm seems to bewitch the little ones in her care!
Dana Lodhie, A.A.
Head Classroom Teacher, Toddlers
With a degree in Early Childhood Education and over 20 years experience in Oregon as a lead teacher with toddlers and preschoolers, Dana brings a wealth of knowledge regarding child development and age-appropriate classroom practices. She is especially well-versed in the areas of facilitating communication and problem-solving skills with young children. Her calm tone and seemingly endless patience, along with her creativity and maturity serves to enrich our toddlers' educational experience.
Kimberly Smith, B.A., MSW candidate
Head Classroom Teacher, Preschool
Originally from Maine, Kim comes to us via Fairfield University where she earned a joint degree in Psychology and Music. She initially planned to pursue music therapy with children, and as part of her focus she engaged in internships at various Bridgeport Head Start programs including a special class for DCF-involved preschoolers. Additionally, she spent a summer engaging in music therapy with children on the autism spectrum at a specialized program in Southport. Kim has been accepted into a Master's program, which she will pursue part-time while continuing as a full-time preschool teacher at the Patch.
Lauren Czaja, B.A. candidate
Lauren is currently a Psychology/Elementary Education major at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. Before starting, she completed a 40-hour internship in a kindergarten classroom at Bear Path Elementary School, and is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to gain experience with all different age groups. She works primarily with our transitional toddlers, but is an enthusiastic, flexible and fun addition to every classroom she enters!
Meghan McCool, B.A. candidate
Meghan is in her sixth year here at the Patch. She has several years of coaching experience in girls' volleyball, and has worked mainly with our preschoolers while attending school. Meghan brings her natural chemistry with children and maturity beyond her years. Long a "fan favorite" at the Patch, Meghan is a welcome addition in every classroom!
Katie Petersen, B.S., OTD candidate
Katie is working toward her doctorate in Physical Therapy at Quinnipiac University, and hopes to eventually work in the field of pediatrics. She has significant babysitting experience, as well as ten years experience teaching horseback riding to children ages five and up. She is calm and thoughtful, and her love of children clearly shows in the classroom.
Andrea Torrani, B.A. candidate
Andrea studies Elementary Education at SCSU, and has completed multiple semesters of fieldwork in classrooms ranging from preschool through third grade. She has nannied, including a stint with triplets (!), and has recently given up tutoring at Kumon to spend more time here at the Patch, with the kids she has so grown to love.
JANICE ROMO, B.S., M.S., 6th Year Certificate in School Administration (Miss Jan)
Education Consultant & Staff Developer
Jan Romo's educational career spans over 35 years. Her training background took place at both SCSU in New Haven and Bank Street College of Education in NYC. She received her B.S. & M.S. in Early Childhood Education and later her 6th Year Certification in Administration and Supervision. She has been mentored and inspired by some of our top educational leaders in the field.
Jan began her teaching career in 1970 as a first grade teacher. For nine years she enjoyed teaching both first grade and Kindergarten at the West Hills Magnet School, New Haven's first experimental program bringing Hamden and New Haven children together for instruction.
With its gradual expansion to a K-8 program, Jan's role shifted to Staff Developer where she became a 'teacher of teachers' for 13 years. She was responsible for the development and assessment of the school's core curriculum. Her active involvement with this "community of learners" brought yet another shift. She became the West Hills K-8 principal and was honored to work even more closely with all the components that affected its 700 children.
After 29 years at West Hills, she was appointed to Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, overseeing 4,000+ New Haven Pre-K and Kindergarten students. Her work broadened, yet brought her back to her Early Childhood roots. Involved with writing curriculum standards and a wide variety of School Readiness & Head Start initiatives, Jan was able to lead the city for three years in truly appreciating how important developmentally-appropriate early learning is, starting with its very youngest students--infants & toddlers.
After "retiring", Jan moved on to an adjunct professorship at SCSU, teaching "Integrated Curriculum for Pre-K & Kindergarten" and working as an educational consultant in area nursery school programs. She recently completed a two-year term as co-president of NHAEYC (the New Haven Chapter of the Association of the Education of Young Children), having formerly served two years as co-chair of the program committee.
We are lucky to have Jan as our Educational Consultant and Staff Developer, where she can work closely with the Carrot Patch staff, parents and management.