Our Staff


Admin Team:

Director: Kara von Behren
Kara grew up in Vermont, then went to school in Virginia, studying English and eventually getting her Master's Degree in Secondary Education.  She taught high school English for seven years and taught Education classes at her alma mater, The College of William and Mary.  She moved back to Vermont to start her family, and returned to early education, a field in which she spent three years prior to going to graduate school.  She has her Director Credential and also holds a Level V Northern Lights Career Certificate.  She teaches Early Education classes at CCV and through Union Institute, as well as being a member of the Chance for Change Leadership Team.  She is the proud mother of two boys, born in 2011 and 2013, who attend the center and sister elementary school where she can get snuggles throughout the day!  She started at WEC in 2009.
 
 
Program Director: Rachel Warden
Rachel joined WEC is November of 2009 as one of our older toddler teachers and then moved to the Jitterbug room in July of 2010.  She grew up in a small town in southeastern PA, and she "escaped" to VT for college, then decided to stick around.  She worked at the local resource and referral agency, Child Care Resource, with the nutrition programs there for two years before returning to WEC as the Program Director.  She is convinced that one of the best sounds ever is the giggle of a 1 year old.  In her free time (ha!), she pretends to be fairies with her daughter and marvels at how fast her son is growing...and she wouldn't have it any other way!

Curriculum Director: Kate Paskevich

Kate is the Curriculum Director at WEC. She started at WEC in 2008 as an infant room teacher, then moved to the young toddler room (current chickadee room) about three months after that, where she stayed for roughly eight years. She and Rachel were co-teachers in that room for a handful of years, and she also worked in there with Amy.  Kate has her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Springfield college and recently completed her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Leadership from Champlain College.  Her passion is in working with teachers to help them discover their potential as well as helping to create beautiful, natural, and developmentally appropriate spaces for children.

 

Preschool Team:

Preschool Teacher (Tigers): Tamara Popovac

    Tamara was born in Sarajevo, former Yugoslavia and was raised in Augsburg, Germany. In 1998 she moved to Vermont with her parents and sister and after a couple of more moves within the state, settled in South Burlington. She graduated from UVM in 2009 with her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and concentration in German, and holds her Vermont Teaching License birth-grade 3. She started part-time over the summer of 2013 with us, and she joined us full-time in the fall helping to open up the second preschool classroom and working in our first preschool classroom as well.  Tamara enjoys traveling back to Europe, fiddling around with photography and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.



Preschool Teacher (Tigers): Ashley LaFountain

    Ashley joined the WEC team in June of 2014 after over 14 years of Head Start teaching experience in New Hampshire.  She is a true advocate for young children and early education, and she specializes in creating individual instruction for children using observation and goal setting.  Starting with our older toddlers, she moved to the Tiger room in 2016 where she has continued to build and honor children in all aspects.  She is fully trained in the Education with Insight Model by Master Trainer and International Educational Consultant Jeanine Fitzgerald, and she herself is an instructor for training approved through Northern Lights, Vermont's Professional Development System.  Her positive encouragement of children helps them accomplish more than they thought possible, and we are so grateful to have her as part of our team!  


Preschool Teacher (Lions): Lauren Bergeron

Lauren is a Vermont native who studied Early Childhood Education at Wheelock University. She moved back to Vermont and began working with us in the Summer of 2016 as the Lead Lion teacher. Lauren is passionate about the Reggio Philosophy, specifically observation and documentation. She can often be found working on literacy skills with her students! Lauren is a new dog mom to a rescue named Nala! 




Preschool Teacher (Lions): Shannon McCarthy









Preschool Assistant & Floating Teacher: Nick Raso


Toddler Team:


Toddler Teacher (Busy Bears): Olivia Fontaine











Toddler Teacher (Busy Bears): Tyler Bergeron
 
Tyler recently moved back to the Burlington area after residing in Boston for the past two years. Tyler is new to the profession and is thrilled to begin a career path in which he feels passionate. Tyler believes that being with the children is energizing and fulfilling. In his spare time, he has coached baseball for ages ranging from 10 to 17 and also plays for a Men's Softball League.  





Toddler Teacher (Cubs): Makayla Lambert










Toddler Assistant (Bears & Cubs): Suzy Throop









Toddler Teacher (Koalas): Amy Wagoner-Immen
    Amy joined our team in the Spring of 2016 as the toddler assistant teacher. She has a bachelors degree from UVM in education and is pursuing her Master's degree in Education as well. Amy is a skilled teacher and is incredible with our young toddlers. She can often be found with her students reading books, playing with play-doh, and engaging with our outdoor classroom. She has a three year old niece who she spends much of her time outside of work caring for. She is an avid dog lover and the parent of a golden retriever, Soleil! 

Toddler Teacher (Chickadees): Emily Holden
Emily began working for us in the fall of 2016 as a lead infant teacher. Emily is currently studying psychology at Goddard College in their accelerated bachelor's/master's program where she is able to focus her course work on child and developmental psychology. Emily has worked in a therapeutic child care center where she cared for children facing more obstacles than most. There, she fell in love with helping children learn, grow, laugh, and play! Emily spends much of her time studying for school, dancing, swimming and hanging out at the farmer's market with her family. 

Toddler Assistant (Chickadees): Elena Lloyd








Infant Team:

Infant Teacher (Minnows): Birte Gunnarsson









Infant Teacher (Minnows): Sophia Cordner










Infant Assistant: Hilary Van Benthuysen 

Hilary began working with us in the fall of 2016 as an infant/toddler assistant. She holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Champlain College but has found that over the years she’s been repeatedly drawn to working with young children. Hilary was born and raised in Vermont and, after spending several years in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, she came to realize all that our great state had to offer, and she has been back ever since.  She plans to further her education by eventually obtaining a Masters in Early Childhood Ed, and is thrilled to start the process. Hilary’s son Hudson, who attends The Barn School (our sister elementary school in Westford), is her co-pilot in life, and together you can find them cooking, exploring all corners of the state, and doing lots of art projects!




Assistant Teacher: Chris Immen