Modern, bright and spacious classrooms foster growth and learning for every child.
TEACHERS AND STAFF
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.
Susan Straut Collard, Ph.D.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Emily (Emmy) Sabando
Head General Education Teacher in Classroom One - Inclusion
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!
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.
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.”
Head Teacher in Classroom Two
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.
Assistant Teacher in Classroom Two
Kellan was a Dillon student when she was a little girl, and now she is a teacher here! Kellan loves to paint and draw, and can’t wait to do that with her students.
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.
Margaret (Peggy) Donovan
Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three
Miss Peggy has been at the Dillon Center since 1995. Even after all that time, she is still excited to play with the children every day. She especially likes to bake and cook with them.
Assistant Teacher in Classroom 3
Stephanie attended St. Joseph’s College and did fieldwork in the Dillon Center. When she graduated, she knew she wanted to work there. Stephanie’s favorite things to do with the children involve music and movement.
Head Teacher in Classroom Four
Melyssa loves singing, reading books, and baking delicious goodies. She is excited to introduce those activities to your child.
Assistant Teacher in Classroom Four
Tiffani especially likes music, dancing, and artwork. Her children attended the Dillon Center, and she loved it so much that she came back as a teacher.
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.
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.
Classroom One — INCLUSION
Age Group: 3s and 4s — A unique and child-driven class based on inquiry and discovery. Read more.
Age Group: mixed 2s/3s — These oldest 2s and youngest 3s learn about going to school, perhaps for the first time, and expand on language and social skills. Read more.
Age Group: 3s — Designed for Dillon's younger 3 year olds, children explore the school environment and learn how to function and thrive with other students. Read more.
Age Group: 2s — In this classroom, children work on navigating the world of preschool. Read more.
Age Group: Pre-K/K — 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.
After SchoolThe After School program is run by the St. Joseph's College Athletic Department, and exposes children to a multitude of sports and games. Each day of the week has a different athletic theme.
MORE ABOUT AFTER SCHOOL
ToddlersThis program is designed for walking toddlers. It is a two-hour play session, once a week for 12 weeks in the Fall and the Spring.
MORE ABOUT ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS
GymstarsGymstars provides a fun-filled class with exciting skills to learn, brightly colored equipment and choreographed movement routines to motivate and challenge your child, while offering a tremendous amount of fun!
MORE ABOUT ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS
Music for BrooklynYoung 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.
MORE ABOUT ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS
Created by KidsCreated by Kids is excited to offer our ceramics class at the Dillon Center. The integration of art in a child’s development can advance creativity and imagination while refining important fine motor skills.
MORE ABOUT ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS
Dillon has been such a sweet, magical experience for Zian. It’s the first place that he has readily wanted to leave me to “go to big boy school” and just this past week, it’s the place that inspired a meltdown when he found out he was on “break.” He adores his teachers and his confidence as a learner has grown in leaps and bounds. When we drive by it, he declares so proudly that it is “[his] school.”
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-judgmental 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.”