Meet The Teachers

Charlene Lee, B.S. Psychology
Early Learning and Child Care Director

Charlene has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for 20 years and has worked at Brooker Memorial since 2007. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood from the University of Connecticut. She has been a classroom teacher, a substitute and now an administrator. She loves working with the supportive staff at Brooker Memorial and getting to know the families and children. The kids make her laugh every day, and she thinks that the hugs are pretty nice too! Charlene enjoys camping with her husband and two children. They enjoy hiking and biking together. She also enjoys working in the garden.

Nicole DePaoli
Administrative Assistant

Nicole has been an early childhood educator for over 20 years and has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. Her roles have included classroom teacher, aide and director. Nicole has worked at Brooker Memorial for over 5 years now and has loved every minute of it! She feels that the teachers are supportive, the building and classrooms are gorgeous, and the parents are amazing! She loves to watch children grow to the point where they can be successful with a task that used to be a struggle! She loves to dance and goes to dance class once a week! She loves to go to concerts and is a huge Star Wars fan!

Paula Armstrong
Float Teacher

Paula has been at Brooker Memorial for over 10 years. She has worked in two other child care centers and within the public schools. She worked with the elderly as a CNA. Paula has taken classes at Danbury Hospital, Goodwin and Northwestern Community College with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She loves watching the children learn and grow. Paula enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She especially enjoys spending time with her 2 granddaughters.

Christine Donahue
Teacher/ Administrative Support

Christine has over 30 years experience working with children. She has worked at Brooker Memorial for over 30 years. She enjoys working with children no matter how her day is going. The children always put a smile on her face! Her outside interests include reading and going for walks.

Lacey Gover

Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Bay Path University, and holds a Lead Teacher Certificate from the Office of Early Childhood. In 2004, shortly after moving to Connecticut, Lacey discovered the joy of working in Early Childhood. She believes there is no greater joy than seeing young children grow and develop. One of Lacey’s favorite things about working in Early Childhood is seeing the children in her class go on to succeed in their formal education knowing that she helped build their foundation for success in life.

Ty LaRosa
Infant Teacher

Ty works in our infant room and has many years of experience as a babysitter, caregiver, has worked in childcare, and at PREP- a school for children with disabilities. Ty says “Caring for multiple children at once is definitely not an easy job, but I’ve had my practice. I’m super excited to get to know all the smiling faces in the classroom and the families as well, of course.” She dreams of going to school to study in Criminal Justice with the hopes of becoming a childcare social worker.

Devon Atkins
Infant Teacher

Devon joined Brookers team in February, 2024 with over 8 years of child care experience. She thoroughly enjoys every aspect of working with children, and even more so has a passion for learning new teaching techniques each and every day. She said “There is never a dull moment working with kids, and although I have worked with all ages ranging from 6 weeks to school age, I have mostly enjoyed working with infants.” Aside from work, some of her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, and taking her two dogs on walks and car rides. She is looking forward to many more years of making new friends, learning new teaching techniques, and making new memories at Brooker!

Arian Latimer
Toddler Teacher

Arian has been working in childcare for about 16 years. She has taken online classes through Rasmussen College. Her love for the outdoors, animals, music, and dance is very well known by anyone who knows her. She is well known for being very creative in the arts and crafts area. Arian is currently a toddler teacher. She enjoys getting right down on the kids’ level and getting to know each and every one of them for the little individuals they are.

Brandi Rivera
Float Teacher

Brandi attended Bay Path College for Elementary Education & has been working in the Early Childhood field for over 12 years. Most recently, Brandi was employed at the Simsbury Board of Education where she enjoyed working with children from Kindergarten all the way through High School. During that time, Brandi worked as a Special Needs Paraprofessional & for the SEED Program. Brandi loves the different experiences & milestones that come with each age group in the center.

Danielle Robison
Toddler Teacher

Danielle has an Associates Degree from Northwestern Community College in Child Study. She has been working at Brooker Memorial in the Toddler Program for over 10 years. She likes coming to work each day because she feels that she experiences something new everyday with the toddlers with whom she works. She enjoys watching them grow into the individuals that they are. She has learned to be flexible, because you never know how the day is going to run and she has learned to change plans at any given moment. Danielle enjoys being able to build long, trusting relationships with Brooker Memorial families. Danielle is a foster mom and enjoys helping children who need her. She has recently joined a volleyball team. She enjoys being challenged and learning new things.

Meghan Sampson
Toddler Teacher

Meghan has 2 years of previous experience working in early childhood with children of various ages. She has 2 children of her own and is hoping to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. Meghan absolutely loves being able to work with children and says watching them reach new milestones is amazing. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, walking, and just having fun with her children and husband of 15 years. She is looking forward to making lasting relationships with the children and families at Brooker.

Tammy Tronina
Preschool & School Age Teacher

Tammy has an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development. She has over 27 years of experience as a Head Teacher/Pre-K teacher. She has been at Brooker for over 5 years. Most recently Tammy has spent the last 2 years teaching Brooker’s new nursery school program. Tammy loves to see a child learning a new skill. The look of “I did it!” never gets old. She loves to read! Tammy also enjoys family time with her human family, and her pet family. Her pets include a dog, 2 cats, and a parrot!

Molly Weir
Preschool Teacher

Molly has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and an Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree focusing on Human Development and Family Services and Psychology. She loves working with children and feels that there is no greater reward in life than watching children grow and learn. She could not ask for a better family environment than that provided by Brooker Memorial. Molly likes being outdoors where she enjoys gardening, walking or fishing.

Support Staff

Christina Emery
Executive Director

Christina joined Brooker Memorial in 2024 and is excited to lead an organization dedicated to children’s health, wellness, and success. She brings over 20 years of community and non-profit experience to the role, formerly serving as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Torrington, the Director of Development for LARC, and Executive Director of Prime Time House.  Christina believes in giving back to her community and actively volunteers on the board of directors for Rotary Club of the Torrington/Winsted Areas, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, and the Torrington Development Corporation. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management from Simmons College and a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Trinity College. Christina and her husband Jason reside in Harwinton and have two children, a son enlisted in the United States Navy, and a daughter at Lewis S. Mills High School.

Thomas Lopardo

Tom recently retired, after 28 years, from the City of Torrington Public Works department. He was a mason and road crew foreman. Tom graduated from Wolcott Tech with a degree in HVAC. He has 3 grown children. His hobbies are fishing and antique cars.