Director: Gina Van Kirk, B.S. El. Ed.
Assistant Director: Cheri Truman, B.S. El. Ed
Administrative Assistant: Mary Beth Heller, B.S. ECE
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: Lead Teacher, Bunnies
This is Sarah's 8th year teaching at DCCC. In previous years I taught in the Yellow Puppy, Yellow Bee, and was the Pre-School floater. Miss Sarah graduated from Shippensburg University (Go Raiders!) in 2010 with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania and her family lives in Shippensburg. When she's not teaching or planning awesome things to do at school, she enjoys spending time with her husband Ben, son Jax, and two daughters Pippa and Penelope (also known as Penny). As a family they enjoy going on grand adventures; traveling, making art, trying new foods, and being active. Sarah also have a love for shopping, drinking coffee, and listening to music! 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 Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2001. She is married to Shawn who is a 6th grade teacher. They have 3 children: a boy, Evan and two girls, Megan and Kaelyn. As a family they enjoy camping in their trailer 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."
Carson, Kendra: Assistant Teacher, Blue Bears:
Kendra earned a BS in Elementary Education from Elizabethtown College. She taught for the Carlisle Area School District and Carlisle Community Nursery School before becoming a teacher here at the Children's Center. She lives in Carlisle with her husband and two teenage daughters. They also provide housing to two CPYB dancers through the school year. 'I'm so proud to be part of the DCCC team!'
Fahnestock, Alisha: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Pups:
Alisha was born and raised in Carlisle. She attended McCann School of Business and Technology, in which she earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She also babysat for many years and chose to make a career out of it because she really enjoys working with children. She plans on attaining a higher degree and wants to continue working in this field; 'I am glad to be part of such a great center!'
Geiling, Jody: Lead Teacher, Bees:
Jody is married, her husband's name is Rick and she is the mother of two children; a son Dakota and a daughter BreeAna. She 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.
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.”
Hoover, Cassie: Assistant Teacher, Blue Bees:
Cassie is originally from Mechanicsburg but recently moved into an old farmhouse in Carlisle. She received her Associates Degree in Education from Harrisburg Area Community College and has been working with children since she graduated from high school. While pursuing her education, she had the opportunity to travel to Romania to study child development and volunteer with children. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and kayaking. She is excited to be working in the blue bee room and to be part of a such a great center!
Truman, Cheri: Assistant Director
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 thru 4th grade in various states, including, Ohio, Washington and Illinois. Cheri has been here at the Children's Center for 8 years, and has been an assistant teacher in the Blue Bee room, the Yellow Bear room, and Kindergarten. She has also been involved with the Summer Camp for 3 years as the Director. She lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband, Kevin and her two children, Jake (14) and Caitlyn.(10) .
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. She and her husband have been married since 2005 and have two children, Jonathan and Emily.
Lubold, Donna: Assistant Teacher, Blue Pups:
Donna is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Amanda lives in Indiana where she is a professor or Socio. Nick is an accountant and lives in New Jersey. They love spending time together whenever possible! Teaching is a second career for her, she received her degree in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University in May, 2003. After graduating she worked in several local school districts spending the majority of this time in the Big Spring School district. Donna says, 'I love children and I am happy to be working here with such a caring and dedicated staff.'
Minnich, Jody: Aide:
Jody works in the afternoon at the center rotating between the toddler and infant rooms. She has been working in child care for 14 years; 8 of which have been at Dickinson. She and her husband, Mike, have two grown children and three grandchildren. Jody enjoys watching how quickly the younger children learn and change over time.
Natale, Tory: 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.
Patterson, Steph: Assistant Teacher, Ducklings
Steph graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in Psychology. She has worked as a residential counselor for high risk teens at Devereux Foundation and also as a vocational case manager for special needs adults. She took some time to raise her three children, now young adults and teenagers. She came to DCCC as a substitute for 3 years before becoming the assistant teacher in Ducklings. Steph is very excited to be working with infants and toddlers, but more importantly she's looking forward to caring for them, teaching them, and watching them grow!
Polinka, Brittney: Kindergarten Director/Teacher Dolphins
Brittney graduated from Messiah College in May of 2011 with a degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education. Brittney graduated from Capella University in June 2017 with a Master's Degree in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood. She has been working at DCCC since April 2007 and has enjoyed working in every room in the center, as well as the summer camp programs, and loves it all! Outside of work she enjoys reading, singing, dancing and photography. Brittney loves spending time with her family and her two beautiful nieces. She enjoys her job and loves coming to work everyday!
Shevlin, Jamie: Aide:
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 was a youth and young adult director for a church for 4 years. Jamie returned home to Pennsylvania where she taught two year olds for 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."
Smyers, Michelle: Assistant Teacher, Yellow Bees:
Michelle graduated from Penn State in 1995 with an Elementary Education degree. She has spent her adult career working in various special needs classrooms where she was privileged to work with children who have autism and Life Skills needs. Michelle lives in Carlisle with her husband, David and two teenage sons, Nathan and Benjamin. Much of her time is spent on the sidelines of soccer or rugby fields. When Michelle is not watching her boys play sports, She loves to be hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time with family or friends. She is excited to be a part of the Yellow Bee Room, and really looks forward to being able to see the world through the eyes of a toddler. These precious years go by so quickly and Michelle considers it a privilege to experience these moments with your children.
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.
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, Yellow 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."