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.

Pablo Cruz
Assistant Teacher

Pablo started as a volunteer in the summer of 2014, and fell in love with the profession. He graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelors in Sociology and is now a full-time assistant Teacher! He loves working with kids and watching them grow and mature. Outside of work he enjoys reading, playing video games, and going for walks and adventures with his wife Aimee.

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.

Arian Latimer
Assistant 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. (Fun fact about Arian is …she is in the process of becoming a raccoon rehabilitator for the State of CT). She is also well known for being very creative in the arts and crafts area. 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. She takes pride in being helpful whenever needed and is enjoying her position here at Brooker so much. She gets to not only become part of all the classrooms but do all kinds of other helpful tasks for the center, a “Jack of all trades.” She is looking forward to this next chapter in my career journey at Brooker.

Brandi Rivera
Assistant 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 & is very excited to be working in the Infant Room.

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.

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!

Vicki Holly
Preschool Teacher

Vicki comes to us with over 10 years’ experience in early childhood education. She began her career here at Brooker in 2020, after living in the south, and working in two other childcare organizations. While living in Tennessee, Vicki was employed at the Tennessee Medical and Trauma Center as a Health Unit Coordinator in their Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She also graduated from Charter Oak State College in 2012 with a Head Teacher Certification. Vicki feels rewarded in knowing she is an integral piece to the growth of all of our unique, individual children. In her personal time, Vicki enjoys kayaking and activities that bring her around the water.

Emma Worden
Preschool Teacher

Emma is working towards an Associates Degree in Fine Arts with a Minor in American Sign Language from Northwestern Community College. She loves working with the children and seeing them accomplish their goals in the different classrooms. Outside of work, Emma and her fiance’ own a local food truck and attend the local fairs and festivals. She loves to be outdoors, go to the beach and hang out with friends!

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.

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.