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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.