• A Model for Learning


  • Play With a Purpose

    children develop confidence, competence and dispositions for future learning.

  • Teachers Who Inspire



Continuing School Placement

At Dillon we know how complicated navigating the world of Brooklyn elementary schools can be. That’s why we offer one-on-one placement guidance for your family.

Our Philosophy

You’re looking for a school that provides the very best for your child. At Dillon, we provide the essential tools to build young minds. Click here to learn more about the philosophy behind our curriculum.




Modern, bright and spacious classrooms foster growth and learning for every child.



Experienced early childhood specialists help develop each child’s uniqueness.



Dillon boasts a student-to-teacher ratio that ensures individualized attention.



A full range of additional programs appeal to our students’ various skills and interests.

Our Teachers

Susan Straut Collard, Ph.D.

Interim Director

Susan has been a professor in the Child Study department of St. Joseph’s College since 1988. She served as the Director of the Dillon Center from 2004-2013, and now she is back as the Interim Director. Susan earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from Columbia University. Working with children who have special needs has always been her passion. Susan has 4 children, all of whom attended the Dillon Center!

Danielle Endes

Assistant Director

Danielle Endes was the Special Education Teacher at the Dillon Center from 2013- 2017. She is now serving as the Assistant Director. Danielle received her M.A. in Special Education from St. Joseph’s College and is now working on a second Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Sameena Rahman

Head Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

Sameena Rahman was born in India and immigrated to the United States in 1983. She completed her M.A. in literacy and cognition at St. Joseph’s College. Sameena has worked at the Dillon Center since 1995.

Gina Guglielmo

Special Education Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

I am a graduate of St. Joseph’s College. This is my first year teaching at the Dillon Center. I love traveling. I have traveled through most of the US, Italy, and the Caribbean. I am also very passionate about animals and I have adopted a dog from the North Shore Animal League.

Merlina Pollidore-Joseph

Special Education Assistant Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

Merlina is the Special Education Assistant Teacher in Classroom One. She has been working in the Inclusion classroom since 2002.  She is the mother of three children, the oldest of whom is a Dillon Center alum. She has a passion for working with young children, and helping them to grow. She loves planning big art projects such as murals, paper mache, and puppet making.

Claudia Marriello

Assistant Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

Claudia is a wife, mother, friend, and has been a Teaching Assistant at the Dillon Center since 2000. She graduated from St. Joseph’s College in January 2016, with her B.S in Organizational Management. “The children of Dillon are a constant inspiration for me to remain young both in body and mind. Their inquisitive minds help me to remain a constant learner so that I can help them to discover the world in which we live.”

Emily Figueroa

Head Teacher in Classroom Three

Ms. Emily loves young children and enjoys learning from them as well as teaching them. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a Master’s in Literacy and Cognition. Ms. Emily is the mother of eight grown children and a Girl Scout Leader for over 25 years.

Victoria (Tori) Bender

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three

Tori has been at Dillon since 2016, and is originally from California. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, and horseback riding. Her favorite activities in the classroom are cooking, movement, and reading to the children.

Margaret (Peggy) Donovan

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three

Miss Peggy has been at the Dillon Center since 1995. Even after 22 years, she is still excited to play with all  children every day. She especially likes to bake and cook with them.

Liz Gabel

Head Teacher in Classroom Four

Liz grew up in the West Village of Manhattan. She graduated from Duke University and from Bank Street College of Education, where she got her Master’s in Early Childhood Education.

Liz still lives in the West Village where she is able to see her family and old friends often. Her interests, in addition to children and teaching, include cooking, animals, reading, and travel. Liz has taught at the Dillon Center since 2016.

Emily (Emmy) Sabando

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Four

Emmy has been at the Dillon Center since 2016, and is enrolled in a Master’s program for Early Childhood and Special Education. She loves working with younger children and enjoys cooking, singing songs and art projects!

Sister Patricia Dittmer CSJ

Head Teacher in Classroom Five

Sister Patricia Dittmer received her B.A. from St. Joseph’s College, her M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and her P.D. in Supervision and Leadership. She is the co-author of the book Look Listen and Plan — Developing Literacy in Young Children. Sister Patricia is also a Consultant at Catholic School Academy, and an Instructor of Early Childhood Education at St. Joseph’s College. She has a passion for art and creativity, music and movement, and learning.

Victoria Contreras

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Five

Victoria Contreras has been at Dillon since 2001. She enjoys singing songs, reading stories and cooking with the children. Sometimes she plans activities in Spanish because she is bilingual.

Katherine Goldsmith, RN, BSN

Executive Administrative Assistant

Katherine Goldsmith has been the school nurse at the Dillon Center since 2001. During this time Katherine also ran the Toddler playgroup as well as the After School Program. Starting in August of 2017, Katherine took on a new challenge of being the Executive Administrative Assistant at the Dillon Center.

Our Programs

Classroom One — INCLUSION

Classroom One — INCLUSION

A unique and child-driven class based on inquiry and discovery. Read more.

Class Size






Toddlers participate in a two-hour play session, once a week for 12 weeks in the Fall and the Spring. Read more...

Class Size



Caregiver Required

Classroom Three

Classroom Three

Designed for Dillon’s youngest learners, children explore the school environment and learn how to function and thrive with other students. Read more...

Class Size




Classroom Four

Classroom Four

In this classroom, children work on navigating the world of preschool. Read more...

Class Size




Classroom Five

Classroom Five

In Dillon’s Pre-K classroom, we involve the children in the study of things nearby that interest them and are worth knowing more about. Read more...

Class Size






Gymstars provides a fun-filled class with exciting skills to learn, brightly colored equipment and choreographed movement routines to motivate and challenge your child, all while offering a tremendous amount of fun! READ MORE

Music for Brooklyn

Young children will have enriching and vital musical experiences that help them gain a sense of themselves and a connection to the world they live in. READ MORE

Construction Kids

hands-on workshops for children Pre-K to 6th grade, in which students learn to use real tools and get to build real things in a safe and creative environment. READ MORE
  • The early threes classroom and teachers are phenomenal. What a loving and supportive environment it is & such a tremendous asset for St. Joe’s. Our son had the same teachers and, like a fine wine, they get better with age!

    Early Threes Parent
  • I love the Dillon Center and the gentle, nurturing environment with spacious classrooms and a beautiful outdoor play area. The thing I love most about the school is the warmth and genuine love from all the teachers I have gotten to know over the years. They are all so passionate and kind, giving honest feedback on the kids and also explaining developmental stages in a non-judgemental way.

  • The children in Sister Pat’s class have bonded very well. They are like a little family. Its a wonderful and nurturing environment. I am so happy that my son has continued on for one more year at Dillon.

  • Dillon has a beautiful outdoor play area for its pre-schoolers. The staff at Dillon ROCK!!!

  • My son absolutely loves going to school! He is learning how to be a flexible thinker, a curious investigator, a thoughtful problem-solver and a lover of life! And somehow the teachers make it all seem so effortless. Dillon is a wonderful community of educators who really care about teaching the whole child, we are thrilled to be a part of it!

  • “Our son has flourished at Dillon — first in the 3’s program and is having a fantastic year in the 4’s pre-K. He is one of the younger children in the class and we have watched him grow in confidence and develop fantastic friendships attending Dillon. There are excellent facilities and it is a beautiful and secure setting for children. In short, at Dillon they really support and see the whole child.”

  • “Our daughter’s enthusiasm and excitement for going to school every day is a testament to the incredibly caring, creative, nurturing, patient, and supportive Inclusion teachers. It has been remarkable, as parents of a special needs child, to watch her grow and we give tremendous credit to Dillon.”