Center for Young Children

College of Education   /   Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology

Faculty and Staff


  • Administrators
  • Preschool
  • Kindergarten
  • Support Staff
  • Music Program

teacher photoDr. Mona Leigh Guha
Director
Curriculum Vitae

Mona Leigh Guha holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Human Development, an M.S. from Johns Hopkins in Early Childhood Special Education, and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Lock Haven University. Before returning to the University of Maryland to earn her PhD, Mona Leigh was a classroom teacher in the Maryland public schools. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and over 10 years of experience directing, managing, and coordinating teams of adults. 

Previously, Mona Leigh was the Interim Director of the University of Maryland's Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), an interdisciplinary lab focused on the experiences that adults and children have with technology, as well as Managing Director of KidsTeam, a team of adults and children who work together to design innovative technology for children. Through this work, Mona Leigh managed relationships and conducted research with partners such as the National Park Service, Pearson, Nickelodeon, and Google. Her past work includes five years of research with young children at the Center for Young Children. Her daughter is a proud, inquisitive, strong CYC alumna. 

teacher photoAnne Daniel
Assistant Director

Anne Daniel has a B. A. in Elementary Education from the College of William and Mary, and a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland. Extensive coursework beyond the Master's level taken at both the University of Maryland and Shenandoah University in Virginia has focused upon the field of children's literature.

Mrs. Daniel began her work at the Center for Young Children in 1976 as the lead teacher in a mixed-age group of preschoolers and continued in that role through 1979. After being home with her own two sons, she returned to the CYC as its kindergarten teacher in 1986. She continued in that capacity until 1992 when she became Assistant Director. Work experience prior to coming to the CYC includes teaching first grade in rural Virginia. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate children's literature courses and workshops at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and she taught the early childhood children's literature course at the University of Maryland for 17 years.

Mrs. Daniel served as the early childhood representative to the National Gallery of Art's charter Teacher Advisory Board which consults with the Gallery regarding its education programs and school outreach efforts. She has co-authored early childhood curriculum guides focusing upon career awareness, fire safety and burn prevention, and computer issues. Mrs. Daniel, head of student employment at the CYC, has been honored as the University's "Employer of the Year" for her work with student employees. Ms. Daniel was nominated for the University's Parent Organization's "Faculty of the Year" award in 2001. In 2005, she was honored as a Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholar "Mentor Teacher".

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teacher photoLeslie Oppenheimer
Curriculum/Enrollment Coordinator

Leslie Oppenheimer has a B. A. degree in Elementary and Special Education from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, and a M. Ed. degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ms. Oppenheimer has over twenty years of teaching experience. She has taught preschool (three and four year olds) and kindergarten in an independent school. In addition, she has held various Special Education positions-- Learning Disabilities Resource Teacher for Charleston County Public Schools, Early Childhood Special Education lead teacher for Easter Seals/Disabilities Board of Charleston County, and Inclusion Specialist for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. She has been a member of the Early Childhood Faculty at the College of Education at the University of Maryland, where she taught an undergraduate education course from 2001-2006.

Ms. Oppenheimer has been at the Center for Young Children since 1999. She taught in the Green Room for six years and the Purple Room for one year before taking on an administrative role. Currently she shares the enrollment process from initial inquiry to full admission with the Program Management Specialist, Jennifer Haislip. She also shares responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the CYC with the assistant director. Ms. Oppenheimer has presented at local and national (NAEYC) professional conferences on topics in early childhood literacy, math, and curriculum. Most recently Ms. Oppenheimer has served as a conference proposal reviewer for NAEYC and for the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Early Childhood(CEC-DEC).

teacher photoJennifer Haislip
Program Administrative Specialist

Jennifer Haislip has been at the Center for Young Children since 2001.  In her official supporting role, Mrs. Haislip is responsible for assisting Leslie Oppenheimer with the admissions, enrollment and scholarship processes.  She manages the flow of student observers through the Center, often scheduling hundreds of appointments per semester.  She handles the tuition billing process, and fields parent inquiries and special requests of every kind.

Mrs. Haislip is a native of the College Park area, and has held positions in several departments on campus, including Athletics, Chemical Engineering and Family Studies (now Family Science).  She is the mom of two boys, both of whom have attended the Center, and this has solidified her status as a lifelong fan of the CYC and its talented faculty.

    Red Room:
Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

   


Teacher PhotoKristen Bowman

Kristen Bowman holds a M.Ed in Teacher Leadership and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland. Mrs. Bowman began at the CYC as an undergraduate student aide in 2011 and then went on to be an aftercare and a summer camp teacher before graduating in 2014. This will be her fourth year teaching in the Red Room! Mrs. Bowman has also co-directed the CYC summer camp program for the past three summers. She is a registered yoga teacher and likes to combine her passion for early childhood education with yoga!

   


teacher photoMichelle Slough

Michelle Slough graduated from the University of Maryland in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Slough has previously worked as a student teacher in the Green Room and a co-teacher in the Yellow Room. She is very excited to be working in the Red Room this year!

   

Orange Room:
Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

   


Teacher PhotoSarah Hart

Sarah Hart graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in 2015. She completed her year-long internship in a Montgomery County Public School and in the Orange Room at CYC. Since September 2012, Ms. Hart continues to volunteer at the Children’s Developmental Clinic at Prince George’s Community College, where she works one-on-one with children with special needs.

   


Teacher PhotoAlison Hurst

Alison Hurst graduated from James Madison University in 2007 with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Hurst has been at the CYC since 2012 spending time in the Blue, Yellow, and Orange Rooms.

   

Yellow Room:
Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

   


Teacher PhotoErin Donn

Erin Donn graduated from the University of Maryland College Park in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. During this time she worked as a student aide and summer camp teacher at the CYC. She completed her year-long student teaching in 2nd grade in Montgomery County and her four-week placement in the Blue Room at the CYC. After graduating Miss Donn taught 2nd grade for one year in Montgomery County. Miss Donn is currently enrolled in graduate school pursuing her Master's in Teacher Leadership in the Schools. She is looking forward to another year in the Yellow Room!

   


Teacher PhotoAddie Anstine

Addie Anstine graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education/ Early Childhood Special Education.  While earning her undergraduate degree, Ms. Anstine worked as an aide and summer camp teacher at the CYC.  Ms. Anstine is excited to be teaching in the Yellow Room!

   

   

Green Room:
Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

   


Teacher PhotoSara Person

Sara Person began teaching at the Center for Young Children in the Green Room in 2005, following many years in the early childhood classroom at St. Luke Christian Day School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education from Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA.  
Mrs. Person is an experienced art educator who taught a variety of art classes to school aged children during her summer breaks.

   


Teacher PhotoCici Fowler

Cici Fowler has been at the CYC since 2003. She attended the University of Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has student-taught in various public schools in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Mrs. Fowler has also taught eight years of summer camp at the CYC. In 2009, at the NAEYC conference in Anaheim, California, she presented an in-depth recycling study conducted in the Green Room. In 2010, she presented a painting study at the Orlando, Florida, NAEYC conference. Her children are all alumni of CYC.


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Purple Room:
Part-Time, Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

   


Teacher PhotoMichela Denaro

Michela Denaro has been at the CYC since she was an undergrad aide and has been teaching since 2000.  She is entering her sixth year working in the Purple Room.  She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Walden University. She also obtained a Maryland Child Care Certification in Early Childhood Development.  Mrs. Denaro also served as the CYC Summer Camp Director from 2002 to 2013.

   
Teacher picLorelei Sampson

Lorelei Sampson (formerly Ciardi) earned both her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Maryland. Ms. Sampson has worked as a teacher at CYC since 2005. She taught in the Yellow Room for seven years, and is looking forward to a third year in the Purple Room.

   
Teacher picHana'a Malik

Coming Soon!

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Blue Room:
Kindergarten

 
   

Teacher photoAmy Laakso

Amy Laakso graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland in 2009.  She completed her student teaching at Takoma Park Elementary School.  After graduating she went abroad and taught English for two years in Seoul, South Korea.  Ms. Laakso started at CYC in 2007 as a student aide in the Orange and Green Rooms.  She has since taught at six CYC Summer Camps. Ms. Laakso is currently pursuing her M. Ed. in Reading Instruction.   Ms. Laakso looks forward to another great year in the Blue Room!

   

Teacher photoDanielle Miller

Danielle Miller is starting her tenth year teaching. She has been teaching kindergarten at the CYC since 2015. Previously Danielle taught 7 years in Montgomery County Public Schools. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2008. In 2013, Ms. Miller graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master's degree in Teacher Leadership. Danielle cannot wait to meet the new children coming to the Blue Room and looks forward to another fantastic year of learning!

   
   

Special Educator

   

Bernadette DalyBernadette Daly

Bernadette Daly graduated from the University of Maryland in 2000 with her BS and in 2002 with her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education. For the last 16 years, she has taught in Montgomery County Public Schools as a special educator working with children with disabilities in a variety of settings from birth through second grade, though her heart has always been in preschool. She is the proud parent of a Blue Room graduate and a current CYC preschooler. Mrs. Daly is very excited to be joining the CYC staff community.

   

Research Specialist

   

Kathleen FeeneyTeacher pic

Kathleen Feeney graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Psychology and is currently working towards her master's degree in Clinical Psychological Science at the University of Maryland. In addition to her duties at the CYC, she volunteers in two laboratories on-campus that conduct research with children who have ADHD, behavioral inhibition, and other emotional/behavioral difficulties. Previously, she has implemented behavioral interventions with children who have autism and ADHD and has led theater, music, and yoga activities as a camp counselor. Kathleen is excited to join the CYC this fall as a Research Specialist!

   

In-house Substitutes

   

Janice GonzalJanice Gonzalezez

Janice Gonzalez has been a member of the CYC community since 2005.  She retired in June 2005 after teaching kindergarten for thirty-two years in the Montgomery County school system.  Twenty-eight of those years were at Takoma Park Elementary where a former student of hers is now teaching.  Her most famous kindergartner was Dominique Dawes, the Olympic gymnast.

Ms. Gonzalez has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rochester in upstate New York.  She also has a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Ms. Gonnzalez has served as a University Supervisor for Early Childhood Education majors doing their internships. She considers herself the "Grandmother" of the CYC.

Amanda HollidayTeacher photo

Amanda Holliday graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in 2010 and a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education in 2012. Since then she has taught Infants/Toddlers through Pre-K aged children in both public and private school settings. She has been a part of the CYC family since 2014. She also loves to share her passion for music and movement by teaching Zumbini®, Zumba Kids®, Aqua Zumba®, and Baby Wearing dance classes!

Vera WiestVera Wiest

Vera Wiest has been a member of the CYC community since 2001. She graduated from Oklahoma State Tech and UMUC and earned the Child Development Associate credential (CDA). She has a 90-hour certificate in Child Care along with a 45-hour certificate for School Age Care.

Ms. Wiest has worked as a licensed Family Day Care Provider in her home taking care of children ages 3 months to 12 years old. Ms. Wiest is part of the CYC Green Committee and has been instrumental in helping the CYC become a Maryland Green School, an Eco-School USA and in attaining the Gold Office award through the UMD office of Sustainability. Vera Wiest is the CYC web developer.

Summer camp project websites by Vera Wiest:
   

Music Teacher

Teacher photoEric Maring

Eric Maring, known as “Mr. M” by the students, is thrilled to have been teaching music at CYC since 2007. He received his M.Ed from the University of Maryland and taught elementary school in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County for 6 years before becoming a full time music educator and performer. He’s the proud father of a CYC student and a CYC graduate.

Mr. M has created many videos to share with the children of the Center for Young Children, including two travel videos. Please take the time to enjoy these with your children here: Mr. M's Videos. Visit Mr. M's Web Site.

CYC CD's

Each year since 2009, Eric Maring has recorded and produced a CD with the CYC children singing some of the songs he has taught throughout the year. Here are the covers of each CD with a link to a sample mp3 selection from each.