Children's Center Staff
Director: Gina Van Kirk, B.S. El. Ed.
Assistant Director: Michelle Randalls, B.S. El. Ed
Administrative Assistant: Mary Beth Heller, B.S. ECE
Adams, Katie: Kindergarten Director/Teacher, Dolphins:
Katie earned her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bloomsburg University and has been teaching kindergarten at Dickinson College Children’s Center since its inception in 1989. Prior to her years at DCCC, Katie also taught 12 years in preschool.
Bennett, Alexandra: Aide:
Bennett, Sandra: Lead Teacher, Ducklings:
Sandra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Catholic University in Washington DC and worked as a family practice nurse over a period of 15 years, including five years as a certified childbirth educator. She has been working in the DCCC infant room since 2002 and received her Master's Degree in early childhood education from Shippensburg University in December 2009.
Bostic, Sarah: Assistant Teacher, Puppies:
Shortly after Graduating from Shippensburg University in 2010, Sarah started her career at DCCC. From Shippensburg University, She acquired a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood. Sarah currently lives in Shippensburg with her hubby Ben and two felines, Luna and Sol, and soon to be baby due in early February 2013. When Sarah’s not crafting, Sarah can be found running, hiking, biking, swimming, or doing the occasional triathlon or 5k. Sarah's feelings on teaching at DCCC are the same feelings her grandmother had as a school nurse, “If you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day of your life”.
Britcher, Cathryn: Lead Teacher, Puppies:
Cathryn has worked at DCCC since July 2002. Her family moved here in 1992 when her dad was transferred to the Army War College. She attended Harrisburg Area Community College and earned her Associate's in early childhood education in 2001. She is married and has 3 children: a boy and two girls. As a family they enjoy camping in their pop-up and having movie night Fridays. Cathryn says, "I have really enjoyed working at the Children's Center, as it has helped me grow professionally in many aspects. I also enjoy working with the staff and the children who make everyday a new adventure."
Fraker, Marsha: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Puppies: Marsha has 24 years of early childhood experience, most of which has been accumulated through her work at Dickinson College Children’s Center.
Geiling, Jody: Lead Teacher, Bees: Jody earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood from Harrisburg Area Community College. She has worked in the field since 1988 and has been employed by Dickinson College since August of 1992.
Gochenour, Kristen: Assistant Teacher, Blue Bears:
Kristen graduated from Shippensburg University in May of 2003 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Music. She has been with DCCC for 8 years; 5 years in the Bunnies and 3 years with the Blue Bears. In her free time, Kristen enjoys gardening, scrap booking, and spending time with her son, Rylan and two dogs. She also enjoys spending time at her family home in the Poconos on Lake Wallenpaupack.
Tory Natale: Aide: Tory graduated from Macalester College with a BA in History and received her teaching certificate from Seattle University. She was a preschool teacher at Middlebury College Children's Center in Vermont and Silver Spring Day School in Maryland before moving to Carlisle. She has worked here at the center for 2 years as a substitute before taking on the aide position in the infant and toddler rooms.
Gutshall, Mandy: Lead Teacher, Bears: Mandy is married and has two sons who attend Mount Rock Elementary. She has been working at Dickinson College Children’s Center since August 2004. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood from Shippensburg University. Mandy has been the Teddy Bear teacher since March of 2006 and, prior to that, was the Playful Puppy teacher. She also has substitute taught in the local school districts and worked in various child care centers since her senior year of high school. Mandy says, “in my opinion Dickinson College Children’s Center provides the best child care around. I feel very honored to be working here. I assure you that your child/children will be given the best care possible.”
Kennedy, Grace: Aide:Hi, my name is Grace Kennedy. I was born and raised in S. California . I attended CA State Fullerton and my major was in Speech Therapy. While attending college, I met my future husband.(a UCLA Bruin to this day!) We were married in 1981, and I decided to end my formal education. Three years later we started our family.We have 5 wonderful children. My husband's teaching jobs at University of Oregon and Oregon State started our travels. We also lived in Waterford, Ireland for 4 years. I had been a stay at home mom for most of my married life. Recently, I completed my CDA (Child Development Associate Degree). I am so happy to be working at the Children's Center. Caring for children and seeing the joy in their eyes as they learn and grow has been and continues to be the joy of my life.
Kocisko, Cheri: Assistant Teacher, Blue Bees:
Cheri is a 1996 graduate of Kent State University, where she earned her K-8 Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She has taught many different grade levels between Kindergarten to 4th grade in Ohio, Washington and Illinois State. She lives in Mechanicsburg with her other half, Kevin and her two children, Jake and Caitlyn and their dog Sully.
Lopp, Angela: Assistant Teacher, Blue Bears:
Angela (Ange) earned her Associate’s Degree in early childhood education from Harrisburg Area Community College in 2005 and has been working with children ages 2-5 since then. She enjoys working with all ages and even more loves watching them grow . She has been at DCCC since August 2009 working in the Blue Bear room and plans on staying here for a long time. My husband and I have been married since 2005 and have a son Jonathon who is four and Emily who is one.
Donna Lubold: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Bears and Kindergarten: I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two children. Amanda is 28 and lives in Tucson, Arizona where she is working on her Ph.D in Sociology. Nick is 20 and attends Rider University majoring in Accounting. We love spending time together whenever possible! Teaching is a second career for me. I received my degree in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University in May, 2003. After graduating I worked in several local school districts spending the majority of this time in the Big Spring School district. I love children and I am happy to be working here with such a caring and dedicated staff.
Brittney Polinka: Lead Teacher Bunnies: I graduated from Messiah College in May of 2011 with a degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education. I have recently enrolled in Graduate School at Messiah College to gain my Masters degree in Special Education. I have been working at DCCC since April 2007. I worked in every room in the center and have enjoyed all of them. Outside of work I enjoy reading, singing, dancing and scrapbooking. I love spending time with my family and am very excited to become an Aunt for the first time! I love everything about my job and I look forward to coming to work everyday!
Shevlin, Jamie: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Bees: Jamie graduated from Carlisle Area High School and Shippensburg University where she received her BA in Speech Communication with Minors in Women's Studies and Psychology. She has taught speech and English classes at Hagerstown Business College (currently Kaplan University) for 4 and 1/2 years and as a youth and young adult director for a church for 4 years. Jamie returned home to Pennsylvania where she taught two year olds for the past 4 1/2 years. Jamie says, "I love teaching and watching people grow. I have learned I can learn as much from my students as they can from me; no matter what their age is."
Snider, Carly: Assistant Teacher, Bunnies:Carly has lived in Carlisle her whole life. She attended Shippensburg University, where she received her bachelor's degree in social work and minored in early childhood education. She began working at DCCC in June 2009. Carly enjoys being a mother, a wife, playing volleyball and baking cakes/cupcakes. It's a busy life, but she wouldn't trade it for the world.
Sullivan, Lynn: Assistant Teacher, Ducklings: Lynn settled in Carlisle ten years ago after spending most of her adult life in Southern California. She is originally from the East Coast, but her father was in the Air Force so she saw a lot of the country. In California, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Cal State Dominquez Hills and worked in law enforcement. She then attended Pepperdine University and received her Masters in Psychology which she put to use working as a therapist with autistic children. When she moved to Pennsylvania, she met her husband of six years now and they have a daughter, Grade. She also became a mom to two step-daughters. Lynn loves working with children and being a mom.
Willow, Barbara: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Bees:
Barb graduated from Boiling Springs High School. She is currently working toward her CDA and plans to eventually earn a degree in Early Childhood Development.
Wimer, Laci: Assistant Teacher, Blue Puppies:
Laci received her Associates Degree in early childhood education from Harrisburg Area Community College and has been active in the field of early childhood education for the past twelve years. She has experience with infants, toddlers, and preschool aged children. Laci says, "I have found that my favorite place to be is with the infant and toddler age groups, and I love watching their daily growth and exploration. I am very excited to have this opportunity to learn and grow with your child."