JULIE BERNSON, M.Ed.

Julie Bernson is Deputy Director for Learning and Engagement at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln where she oversees indoor and outdoor educational programs and initiatives for families, youth, adults, schools, teachers, and access groups. She works in close partnership with the on-site Lincoln Nursery School to explore ways in which the Reggio Emilia approach can be adapted to museums and to K-12 and higher education. 

A graduate of the Tufts University Museum Studies Program and with a Master's in Education from Lesley University, she is also adjunct faculty in Brandeis University's Education Program teaching "Looking with Learner" through the Rose Art Museum. 

Prior to deCordova, Julie was Curator of Education at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover. There she focused on school programs and partnerships and helped design their Museum Learning Center to connect curatorial practice with education.

 

SARAH BISHOP, B.A.

Sarah Bishop grew up romping and wandering through the fields and woodlands of Lincoln and still finds delight in their many wonders. Children have always been at the center of her life whether babysitting as a young teen, working as a camp counselor, and teaching at Milton Academy, Ecole Bilingue, and The Park School. Sarah not only raised her own two children; she has been offering playgroups for two-year-olds for the past 20 years.

Besides the joys that accompany parenting her own children, Sarah is continuously amazed by the growth that she observes and helps develop in her playgroups of two-year-olds. In this early learning experience, Sarah helps children learn autonomy and self-reliance, and their compassion and empathy for others grow. Language skills increase along with a growing appreciation for literature. Creativity grows as they are exposed to various art media.

Sarah is currently on the Board of Codman Community Farms, and was a past member of the Lincoln Cultural Council, Lincoln Scholarship Committee, and the Lincoln Players. Degrees in Theatre and Elementary Education from Boston University and New England College paved the way for many of these experiences.

 

ERIKA CHRISTAKIS, M.Ed., M.P.H. 

Erika Christakis is an early childhood educator and New York Times best-selling author of The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups. Formerly on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center, she has written widely about child development from preschool through the college years, drawing on her hands-on experiences as a teacher, preschool director, early childhood consultant, and college administrator. Erika's work has been featured in media such as The AtlanticThe Washington Post and NPR, and for two years she wrote a column for TIME.com. An honors graduate of Harvard College, she holds master's degrees in public health, communication, and early childhood education. She is a Massachusetts-certified early childhood teacher (pre-K through 2nd grade) and licensed preschool director. 

 

NANCY FINCKE, M.A.

Nancy Fincke has been leading Lincoln Nursery School since 1995. She has a Master's Degree in Human Service Administration from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of New Hampshire. Nancy began her career as an occupational therapist working in both independent and public schools. 

Nancy recognizes that an important role for her as a school administrator is to foster relationships among children, parents, and teachers, so that everyone experiences a sense of well being in a democratic community. She believes that the highest quality of education is offered when children, teachers, and parents are engaged in positive interactions.

Nancy is very interested in the organizational dynamics of partnerships, particularly how organizations working together create new possibilities greater than their individual missions.  She was instrumental in developing the partnership between Lincoln Nursery School and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum that began in 2010.

 

JOANNE SZAMRETA, Ph.D.

Joanne Szamreta arrived at Lesley University having worked as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, an education supervisor and a program director of two different early intervention programs for very young children with special needs and their families. With these experiences and more recent experience conducting research, consulting with schools, publishing, and presenting at conferences, Dr. Szamreta integrates this knowledge and experience into her education and psychology courses. With a focus on hands-on activities, field visits and discussions as the centerpieces of her teaching, Dr. Szamreta facilitates students' creating their own knowledge and integrating important theories with practice. In addition, Dr. Szamreta works with a variety of different state agencies on public policy issues and initiatives affecting young children and their families as well as higher education programs.