Ilana Friedman, Head of Early Childhood Education.
Ilana Friedman is thrilled to be the head of Early Childhood Education at the Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ilana holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and a Master’s in Education from NYU. She has been teaching, coaching and developing curriculum for the past 17 years, including her first 15 years at PS 321 in Park Slope, followed by two years at CBE in Park Slope, where she served as the Associate Director of its pre-school. In addition to her teaching, Ilana spent several summers as theater director at Piper Theater Camps/Puck’s Playground, introducing Brooklyn’s youngest thespians to the works of Shakespeare. She has a passion for project-based learning in addition to creating and implementing rich, original and inspiring educational activities. Ilana lives in Kensington with her husband, Dave, and her son Noah, who will be entering first grade in the fall of 2016.
Shannon Lawlor, Associate PKA teacher
Shannon Lawlor grew up in a tiny Massachusetts town surrounded by dairy farms and graduated magna cum laude from Queens College with a degree in English. After a position in editing, she decided to revisit her passion and began working in education. Shannon joined the Kings Bay Y team in early 2014 and has worked in the after-school and summer programs. During the 2014-2015 school year, she worked in the Orange Room, teaching Twos. She also assisted the Director and led the Preschool after-school program. This year she is honored to be working in the Blue Room once again, returning as an Associate Teacher. Shannon is currently pursuing her master's in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving and writing stories. Shannon lives in Greenpoint with her husband, Joe, and their silly little dog.
Samantha Waller, Head PKA teacher
Samantha Waller (better known as Sam) was born and raised in New York City. She attended New York University where she graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in French. She spent several years working in the book publishing while also completing her MA in English Literature at Brooklyn College. Simultaneously, she spent much of her free time tutoring and volunteering with children, working for various non-profits. She soon decided to turn her love of teaching into her career. She began her MS in Early Childhood Education at Brooklyn College as part of the selective Pre-K Scholars teacher training program sponsored by NYC and CUNY. She joined the North Williamsburg Y as an assistant teacher and an assistant to the director in 2014. She completed her MS and received her teaching certification in August of 2015 and is thrilled to return to the Blue Room once again as Lead PreK Teacher. In addition to teaching, Sam loves yoga, hiking, chocolate croissants, and vegetarian cooking. She lives right here in North Williamsburg.
Annie Dizon, Office Manager
Annie Dizon came to New York from the Philippines at the age of three and just moved to Brooklyn this year! An aspiring writer, she studied English at Lehman College and her work has been featured in many online publications that discuss entertainment, art, millennial experiences, and more. Annie plans to continue growing with her writing and hopes to expand onto other creative media. Her first year working in the North Williamsburg Y has solidified her love for the kids and she definitely knows she will go on to either be a teacher or...at least write a few children's books! She is looking forward to another fantastic year! In her free time, Annie enjoys karaoke, reading, food adventures, ASL, and cats.
Yesenia Morales, Floater/Head of After Care Programming
Yesenia Morales was born and raised in Roosevelt Island, New York. She earned her B.A. in Child Development: Perspectives On Social Identities and minored in Sociology and Peer Education in Human Resources. Yesenia spent much of her time mentoring and advising prospective college students before revisiting her passion for early childhood education. She believes that exposure to early education is a critical factor in a child’s educational and social development. Yesenia joined the Kings Bay Y At North Williamsburg as an after-school teacher and enjoyed working with the 3's class as an assistant teacher in 2015-2016. This year she will return to our after school program, bringing with her a new sense of excitement. In her free time, she enjoys photography, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and exploring new places.
Julie Hindman, Head 3's
Julie Hindman was born in Albany, NY and attended Colgate University. With a love of studying education and psychology, Julie went on to complete a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from New York University, as well as a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.
Julie is incredibly passionate about working with children and their families, and she truly loves being a teacher. She prides herself in creating a nurturing, child-focused, play-centered, and constructivist style learning environment for all her students. When she's not learning and playing with her preschool friends, Julie loves to do yoga, read, and spend quality time with her grownup friends, husband and new kitten Luna.
Yarixa Rodriguez, Head Teacher 2's
Born and raised in Park Slope, Yarixa Rodriguez is excited to start her first year at Kings Bay Y as the Head Teacher of the orange room. She received her bachelor's degree in Children and Youth Studies from Brooklyn College and is working on her master's in Early Childhood Education. Yarixa realized her love for working with children at a young age and is thrilled to be fulfilling her passion. She worked for many years at Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center including the last three where she was an Assistant Teacher. During her free time, Yarixa enjoys her time with her seven-year-old daughter and loves being with family.
Robyn Siegel, Assistant Teacher 2's
Robyn Siegel is thrilled to be a part of the NWY community as the Assistant 2's Teacher. A midwest gal-at-heart, Robyn was born and raised in Cleveland and holds a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has been working with young children for the past decade, including children with special needs, which led her to pursue coursework in child development and early literacy at Bank Street College of Education, here in NYC. Robyn feels honored to witness and to support her students' growth and development from September to June through providing an enriching and fun environment.
Sherry Nohar - Assistant Teacher 3's
Sherry Nohar was raised in Brooklyn and studied at City College with a double major in psychology and early childhood education. She worked with autistic children for about five years, volunteered at various public schools and also worked at Congregation Beth Elohim for two years. She's looking forward to joining the Y family this year and having the opportunity to nurture kids' growth, self-confidence and independence. In her free time she loves to tutor children, read, cook and spend time with her family.
Katherine Sackman, Music Teacher
Katherine Sackman is a teacher, pianist, and singer/songwriter that is joining us this year for music! She is pursuing her degree in music education at the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College. Katherine began as Tkiya’s first intern in 2014, and now teaches Tkiya Tots & Tkiya Kids at Sid Jacobson JCC. She also helped launch Tkiya’s newest program, Tkiya For Life, for the elderly! Katherine loves to help students understand music’s connection to dance & movement through games, sign language, and more!