The teaching staff is made up of dedicated professionals, many of whom have taught here for more than three years. Head teachers either have a Master’s degree or are in the process of earning one. Assistant teachers have a BA or AA degree. Some of the teachers are in school working on AA, BA or MS degrees. Each classroom has a Head teacher, two Assistant teachers and a Part-time teacher who works at the end of the day.
Additionally, we have Floater teachers at the CFC. Floater teachers are full-time Assistant teachers who move between classrooms to provide additional support. The Floater teacher gets to know all the children and families so that she or he is not a stranger to the children. Floaters are considered full members of the teaching team while in a room. They may also provide additional fill in for teachers who are absent.
Pamela Stark has been with The Rockefeller University Child and Family Center since July 2017. Before becoming Director of the CFC, Pamela worked the previous eighteen years as an Executive Director, early childhood special educator, clinical social worker, and consultant for numerous early childhood schools and programs in Manhattan. Pamela earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Bank Street College, a Master’s degree in Clinical Social work with Children and Families from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Pamela has been a presenter at conferences hosted by the New York National Association for the Education of Young children and the Bank Street College Infancy Institute.
In addition to being responsible for the overall direction of the CFC, Pamela directly supervises the preschool program. Pamela works with parents when their child is going to kindergarten and guides and supports them throughout the process.
Tamara Rowe is the on-site supervisor for the GSR2 classrooms, guiding the teachers in planning curriculum and supporting the philosophy of the center. She began working with children and families while earning a Masters in Social Work at Boston University and later served as a preventive services worker in Bedford Stuyvesant. After her first child was born, she opened a family daycare center in her home. Over the course of 17 years, the program expanded to serve both typically developing children and those with special needs in the NYU/Greenwich Village community. She went on to obtain a Masters in Early Childhood and Special Education from NYU. She has also been a parent advocate in the NYC public school system.
Alexa Pomales is the on-site supervisor for the infant and toddler rooms in our GSR building. Her love for teaching and working with children began early. As a child, she grew up watching her mother manage a family childcare program in her home. In 2002, Alexa began her tenure at the CFC as a part-time teacher. Before becoming Assistant Director, she held the position of Head teacher for four years. Alexa earned her BS degree in Psychology from Hunter College and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from City College. She works primarily with the teachers as well as with the children and their families in GSR. She guides the teachers in planning curriculum and supporting the philosophy of the center. She also assists the Director with the whole program at CFC.
Janiris William is the on-site supervisor for the CFC classrooms in the Sophie Fricke Building. Janiris started at the Child and Family Center in 2004. She began as a student teacher from BMCC and went on to be an Assistant teacher, then Lead Teacher, and now Assistant Director.
Janiris pursued her graduate degree in early childhood education from City College of New York-CCNY, her teaching philosophy is that children learn best when given a warm environment and the opportunity to play and build relationships. Janiris works closely with families to understand children and their family’s needs.
Laura Gonzalez-Conty, M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She was born in San Juan and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. She attended the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus in San Juan, graduating Magna Cum Laude in BSM in Biology and completed her medical education at the Ponce Health Sciences University. She trained in general psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. After completing her PGY3 year, she joined the NYP Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program associated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College. During her second year of training she ran parent-child groups in a Headstart program in Washington Heights through CARING at Columbia Headstart with Dr. Ian Canino and Dr. William Wu. Currently she is completing the Sackler-Infant Psychiatry fellowship and is part of the Faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College as an Instructor in Psychiatry. As a consultant at The Rockefeller University Child and Family Center, she spends time observing classrooms, and meeting with parents and teachers to provide recommendations regarding socio-emotional development in children and behavioral management.
Lisa Johnson is the CFC’s creative movement teacher. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota and a M.Ed. in Art Education from Penn State. With over ten years of working children and adults, her teaching emphasizes contemporary dance philosophy and Bartenieff Fundamentals, a movement method that works to strengthen the mind-body connection. Lisa brings her passion for dance, music and singing into each class she teaches. Toddlers and Preschoolers have movement weekly.
Owen Johnston is the CFC’s music teacher and works with all the infant, toddler and preschool children. Owen has a background in musical theater and spent 25 years in the Broadway companies or National Tours of 42nd Street, Shogun: The Musical, Miss Saigon, The King & I, RENT, and Allegiance: A New Musical. Owen holds a BA in Music and Theatre, an MA in Theatre, and is a Certified Level 1 Music Together® teacher.
The CFC has an art teacher who works with the older children in the preschool. The children in the Blue and Gold Rooms have a small group session in the art studio once per week September – June, and all the preschool classes have small group sessions in the art studio during July and August.
Work week, the week before Labor Day, is an important part of the teachers’ professional development. It sets the stage for the on-going meetings that happen monthly and weekly throughout the year. During work week, new teams are constituted. We have many meetings to bring new teachers into the culture of the CFC and learn more about the program. We have meetings about health and safety, curriculum and working with children as well as spend time cleaning and organizing the rooms.
Throughout the year each teaching team (the teachers in a room) meets weekly to discuss curriculum and children. Additionally, we have monthly whole staff meetings, building meetings, head teacher, and teacher assistant meetings. These meetings are about many topics: SIDS, epilepsy and seizure, team mission statements, health and safety issues, child development, workshops on curriculum areas such as clay and collage, individualizing the program for all children, etc. All these meetings provide professional development for the teachers.