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.

Christine Donahue
Assistant Director

Christine has over 30 years experience working with children. She has worked at Brooker Memorial for 26 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.

Paula Armstrong
Float Teacher

Paula has been at Brooker Memorial for 9 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.

Kendall Bilts
Child Care Staff

Kendall has been in the field of Early Childhood for 17 years and has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Applied Science. She is also working on completing the prerequisites for the Nursing program at Goodwin College. She has experience working with various age groups at other centers, and currently works as an Infant Teacher. She loves helping children get ready for the next phase in their life and watching them learn and grow. Kendall is married and has a son. She enjoys spending her free time going hiking, fishing, and spending time outdoors with family and her animals.

Nicole DePaoli
Toddler Teacher

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 one year 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!

Kimberly Gallo
Administrative Secretary

Kim has worked at Brooker Memorial for 16 years. She feels that Brooker Memorial has a great close-knit family atmosphere and enjoys working here. Kimberly enjoys music, yoga and spending time with her children.

Lacey Gover
Child Care Staff

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.

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 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.

Michelle Sliech
Toddler Teacher

Michelle has a Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Joseph College in Child Studies. She has had the pleasure of working in the toddler room since Sept. 2009. She is very proud of her “little ones” every day and is very happy to be their teacher. Michelle is glad to have the opportunity to watch them grow! She is very pleased and feels lucky to be a part of such a great group of teachers! Michelle enjoys spending time with her daughter Skyler and loves watching her grow and learn. She also enjoys teaching Zumba!

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

Cathy Coyle, M.B.A.
Executive Director

Cathy earned an Associate’s Degree from Northwestern CT Community College followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Services Administration with honors from Providence College. She received her MBA from the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining Brooker Memorial in 2004, Cathy was the Executive Director at the YWCA of New Britain. Cathy has more than 30 years of non-profit experience, including 20 in executive leadership roles. She enjoys working in a children’s organization where there is a smiling face around every corner. She also enjoys working with volunteers and likes the ever-changing challenges and opportunities of managing the organization. Her outside interests include running, hiking, traveling, flower gardening and cooking. She and her husband have two sons, the oldest is enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

Cassandra Weik, LMSW
Client Support and Program Coordinator

Cassandra (Cassie) has been working with young children and their families for seven years. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology as well as her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. Cassie has worked as a head and assistant teacher in childcare centers and a psychiatric clinician for an in-home program for young children and their caregivers. She loves working with children, being outside, and spending time with her family and dogs! Cassie finds joy in animals, laughing with friends, and meeting new people.

Carmen Quinones
Child Care Staff

Bio coming soon.

Michele Benson

Michele joined Brooker Memorial in June, 2019. Her Dad’s family grew up in New Hartford. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She received an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Tunxis Community College. Michele has been married 30 years and has two boys, a grandson and a granddaughter. She LOVES her Friday night sleepovers with her grandson and looks forward to her granddaughter joining him when she gets a little bigger. Her hobbies are gardening, sewing, taking walks and hiking.

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.

Add Comment