Children’s Center Staff
Founding Director: Susan Zucker
Susan Zucker has been a committed leader in the field of early care and education for approximately 40+ years, serving 33 of them as the Founding Director of the Virginia Marx Children’s Center at Westchester Community College. The Center is licensed by NYS, nationally accredited through NAEYC and has received a 5 out of 5 star rating from QUALITYstarsNY, a NYS quality improvement and recognition system.
A love of learning and a desire to gain experience in her field motivated Susan to earn her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and her School Administrator/Supervisor & School District Administrator Certification. She was also inspired her to share her knowledge with the students as an Adjunct Professor at Westchester Community College.
Susan is a recipient of the following honors; SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Professional Services, Endowed Faculty Chair-Virginia and Leonard Marx Chair for Child Development, the Child Care Council’s Joey Award and the Guidance Center’s Champion for Children Award.
Assistant Director: Kalsi Johnson
Kalsi Johnson is the current Assistant Director at The Virginia Marx Children’s Center at Westchester Community College and is an emerging leader in the field of early childhood education. As part of her lifelong dream of being an educator, Kalsi started her career at Westchester Community College pursing an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She graduated from Lehman College with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education, and holds a dual NYS teaching certificate in both Early Childhood Education and Special Education.
Prior to assuming the role as the Assistant Director, Kalsi’s 15 year tenure at The Virginia Marx Children’s Center began as a student-intern before becoming part of the teaching staff. Kalsi later accepted a position as a Teacher’s Assistant in the preschool classroom, then was promoted to the toddler room as the head toddler teacher where she taught for over 10 years.
As part of the leadership at Virginia Marx Children’s Center and the team of dedicated teachers, Kalsi is committed to providing children with a solid foundation and a safe learning environment that will stimulate their physical, intellectual, social and emotional growth.
Kalsi also works in an advisory capacity to develop innovative programs and technological tools that seek to enhance literacy skills in low income children.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Heather and I have been working here at The Virginia Marx Children’s Center since 2001. I attended Westchester Community College, where I received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I then went on to Mercy College, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in Behavioral Science. I have always worked with children in a variety of ways, from teaching swim lessons, working at the Nursery School I attended, and even coaching a swim team. I truly enjoy working with preschoolers.
Teacher: My name is Eileen Boyle. I have been working in the Toddler room for the past four months. Pervious to VMCC, I was a teacher of 3’s, 4’s, and Kindergarten. I have a BA and MA in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College. I am very happy to be a part of the VMCC staff. The toddler room is a unique place in which to learn. I look forward to helping your child flourish in this period of development.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Jennifer Goncalves. I joined the Virginia Marx Children’s Center in September of 2009, after completing an internship at Sarah Lawrence College and graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Teacher’s Assistant Certification from Westchester Community College. I began my career here in a preschool classroom while I continued my education at Cuny Lehman College, eventually receiving a Bachelor’s in History in 2011. I am currently pursing my master’s degree. In 2013, I became an Assistant Teacher in an Infant Room, where I worked until I was promoted in August of 2018 to Head Teacher of Preschool Room 121. I have been part of the VMCC family for more than 9 years now and it is still an absolute joy to walk into work every day and see smiles on the children’s faces.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Patricia but everyone knows me as Patty. I joined the VMCC family in 2005 while doing my internship for the Early Childhood Program at Westchester Community College. In 2006, I became a Part Time Teacher Aid in the Preschool Room, worked my way up to Teacher Assistant and now I am a Head Teacher in room 105. My passion for being with children and helping them learn and grow led me to graduate with an Associates in Early Childhood Education, and then I continued my education at ManhattanVille College. In the 14 years I have been at Virginia Marx, I fell in love with being able to guide and help children achieve their milestones, while learning, exploring and having fun. I love what I do and it’s a great honor coming to work and seeing all the happiness children offer me.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Helen Cox Walters. I am presently working at Virginia Marx Children’s Center, entering my twenty third year. I was given the honor to open the Infant Room 119. I have my CDA qualifications, which allows me to be a Head Infant Teacher. I absolutely love working with infants and their parents, helping them to grow and develop. A parent once told me the first years are important for infants to learn and that the classroom is a college for this. I enhance, encouraging children to flourish and thrive to their best capability.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Rita. In September 1996, I started my career at the Virginia Marx Children’s Center at Westchester Community College. I have held the position of Head Teacher since 1996, a position I believe to have been my destiny. During my career that has spanned over two decades, I have made a difference in the lives of the infants in my classroom. In 2018, I was awarded the staff excellence award. I received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1983 from Suny Farmingdale. I have taken several courses here at Westchester Community College including Infant and Toddler Assessment.
Teacher: Hi, my name is Grazia Avellino. I have been part of VMCC since 1998. Throughout my times at VMCC, I have worked with preschool for 6 years and with Toddlers for 14 years. My love for children grows each day as they teach me and moderate me. I have an Associate Degree in Early Childhood from WCC and a Bachelor’s Degree in Phycology from College of New Rochelle.