Facilitators and Presenters

Katy Botta

Katy Botta kids that she first came to Seedlings for the great food! And, in a way, she wasn’t kidding. She began as an administrative assistant who was in charge of organizing the food for the week, became a participant and moved on to being a facilitator for the preschool and k/1 groups. Katy taught Kindergarten at the Foote School for 7 years and prior to that, spent a year as a first grade assistant teacher at Bank Street School for Children. Her graduate work from Bank Street strongly shaped her approach to teaching and learning: Bank Street’s Developmental-Interactionist framework where children (and adults/teachers) learn best through authentic experiences with the social and physical world around them. Through a STEAM lens, with Katy’s guidance and support, teachers experience first-hand the rich natural resources of New Haven. Together, they question, experiment and problem-solve using tools that they will bring back to their classrooms. Katy cares deeply about educating young children and generously shares her beliefs and experiences. Saying it best, she tells us that the Seedlings week is “about sharing our findings together and tapping into our individual experiences to enlighten our work as a group. It is about reliving the joy of learning and remembering what brought us to teaching.”

Donna DaCosta

Donna DaCosta has been an early childhood educator for 37 years, and for the past 10, the Preschool Master Teacher at Cold Spring School.  Donna has been a Seedlings fan since the workshop's inception in 2005, when her former school director introduced her to it.  She participated in the 2010 workshop and became a facilitator in 2016.  For Donna, "the best thing about being a facilitator is meeting fellow early childhood educators who are eager learn new strategies to incorporate STEAM into their classrooms in an age appropriate manner."

Diane Huot

Diane Huot has been an educator for 34 years.  For the past 17, she has been teaching at New Haven's Conte West Hills.  Diane's first summer with Seedlings was in 2015 and since then, she has adopted and run with the resources and community and curriculum integration, and has become an inspiration for other teachers looking to reinvigorate their teaching.  After two years as a Seedlings Workshop participant, Diane spent the 2017-18 school year as a Seedlings Fellow, sharing her exciting integrated curriculum with others in her school and on our Seedlings blog.  She stepped up to become a Seedlings facilitator in 2018.

Eva Kibby

Eva Kibby joined Seedlings as a facilitator in 2018, but has been involved with SEC in other roles for the last few years.  Eva attended the workshop twice, and for the 2017-18 school year, she was one of three inaugural Seedlings Fellows.  Eva comes to us with a wealth of experience; she has taught preschool as well as grades 2, 3, and 5, and is currently the Science Coordinator for Six-to-Six Magnet School in Bridgeport.  In 2011, Cooperative Educational Services (CES) named her Teacher of the Year, and she was also nominated for a Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  Eva shares with us that,  "Seedlings has brought me back to the foundational ideas of developmental appropriateness, as well as learning through play and inquiry.” She looks forward to sharing her passion for teaching and learning with others this summer.

Leslie Long

Leslie Long is the Co-chair of the Science Department at the Foote School in New Haven, Connecticut, where she teaches eighth grade physical science and third grade STEM, and coordinates the Lower School science program. She has given professional development workshops on science inquiry and STEAM education through such organizations as the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the International Society for Technology Education. Through Seedlings she has taught workshops on inquiry-based science and is delighted to have been part of the last two summer workshops, which emphasized STEAM integration. Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana (high honors) and a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. Her professional memberships include the National Science Teachers’ Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. Leslie has been a science educator for more than 25 years. Her particular areas of interests are inquiry-based science teaching methods and the integration of science with technology and the other STEM disciplines.

Sue Matican

Sue Matican has been a New Haven Public School teacher for 30 years, the last 20 at Edgewood School in Westville. She has gained positive recognition as a dedicated teacher and life-long learner who continually thinks about ways to improve the education for all her students. H.O.T (Higher Order Thinking) School workshops, the visual literacy consortium at the Yale Center for British Art and participation in the Seedlings week, all have had a strong impact on her classroom practices. After 2 years with us as an enthusiastic SEC participant, we were excited to have her join us to facilitate the 2/3 grade group. Throughout her long career in New Haven Public Schools, Sue has successfully merged District curricula with teaching strategies such as project and place-based learning. A peek into her classroom reveals children collaborating in small groups on real-world projects that stem from their questions. SEC’s STEAM focus is a natural for Sue who is passionate about integrating subjects to help children make meaningful connections to the world around them. In addition, her warmth and great sense of humor are an added bonus for the teachers in her groups.

Winnie Naclerio

Winnie Naclerio is a well-known and highly respected early childhood educator who has been Calvin Hill’s kindergarten teacher for the last 38 years. Winnie has been with us since we began in 2005, first as a participant and since then as a facilitator. Beyond her classroom, Winnie has mentored many area teachers through workshops, and in her long-standing role on the Board of NHAEYC. Her educational philosophy has been greatly influenced by educators from Reggio Emilia, Italy, a site she visited in 2000 in recognition of her 20 years of teaching. As a master teacher and a facilitator, Winnie brings with her both experience and wisdom. Her classroom is a model where emergent curriculum is encouraged and respected, and where teachers are nurtured. She brings these same strengths and beliefs with her to the Seedlings week where she skillfully listens and learns from others, guides and supports their questions and makes all participants feel welcomed and valued.

Joshua Sloat

Joshua Sloat joined us as a facilitator in 2016 and prior to that, he was a workshop participant whose experience left him wanting to be more involved in the workshop planning.  He joined us as a 4/5 facilitator, just as we were changing our focus to STEAM education, and was able to share his unique perspective as a classroom teacher whose curriculum was project and place-based and integrated all of the STEAM disciplines.  Josh has been a 4/5-classroom teacher at Cold Spring School for the last nine years, and taught for five years at Amistad Academy before that.    He is an astute listener who encourages each teacher to share their classroom stories and pinpoint what they want to gain from the week, finding important commonalities among the teachers as they experiment, design, problem solve and plan together.  He is as interested in literature as he is in science and technology, and is a wonderful resource for like-minded educators.  He subscribes to both Choice Literacy (multimedia resource of articles, videos and professional development guides for teachers who are literacy leaders) and the Nerdy Book Club, an online group for those who love books, especially those written for children and young adults.

Karen Zwick

Karen Zwick, our amazing director of technology and science facilitator, has been with Seedlings since its start in 2005. She has been teaching for more than three decades and is a Master Teacher for grades 4/5 at the Cold Spring School in New Haven. Karen is the master of multi-tasking at our workshops and is irreplaceable!

Partners, Supporters and Friends

Nancy Close: Psychologist, Assistant Professor in the Yale Child Study Center; Associate Director of the Yale Program in Early Childhood Education

Sequella Coleman: Principal, John S. Martinez Magnet School, New Haven, Conn.

Carla Horwitz: Director of Yale University's Calvin Hill Day Care Center and Kitty Lustman-Findling Kindergarten; joint appointment in the Teacher Preparation Program, the Psychology Department and the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University

Jean Lamont: Former Seedlings Educators Collaborative Director, Jean has been a life-long educator, from teaching biology in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer to serving for 12 years as Head of School for The Foote School.

Joya Marks: Educational consultant; Docent, Yale Center for British Art; Board of Directors, Edith B. Jackson Child Care Center; Former Lecturer, Yale College

Alan Organschi:  Design principal at Gray Organschi Architecture,  New Haven, Conn.

Alan Plattus: Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Yale University School of Architecture.

Mary Schwab-Stone: Associate Professor, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, Conn.

Seedlings Staff

Judy Brennan: Summer Workshop Assistant.  Judy had 15 years of teaching experience in public schools in NY and TX and 10 years at Foote School in New Haven. She is presently a docent at the Yale Center for British Art.

Judith Cuthbertson: Seedlings Educators Collaborative Director.  Judy has been with the workshop since its inception in 2005. She is a former Mixed Age Group teacher at the Foote School in New Haven, CT and also consults to area public schools as a teacher-trainer.