The Open Center hires experienced and dedicated teachers from a variety of backgrounds that reflect the diversity of the families; several teachers are also bilingual. All teachers are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and have attained advanced certificates (Child Development Associate – CDA) or college degrees in the field. In addition, staff is required to continue their professional development by attending college-level courses, early childhood workshops and in-service trainings each year. Teachers are additionally certified in CPR and first aid to ensure each child’s safety. Our staff is dedicated to building strong partnerships with families to enrich children’s experiences.
Sarah Sian, Director,
Sarah has been the director at Open Center for Children since the summer of 2018. Having grown up in North Cambridge and graduated from Tufts University, Sarah felt like she was “returning home” when she started. She started her career as a kindergarten teacher in the nearby TAB building, once home to the Tufts Educational Day Care Center (now Bright Horizons at Teele Square). Sarah has worked in the field of early childhood education (ECE) for over twenty years as a classroom teacher, a teacher mentor and coach and as the Education Coordinator for a large childcare center in Lexington. Sarah’s favorite thing about being Director is the opportunity to work with the many interconnected systems of ECE: children, parents, teachers and policy. Sarah currently lives in Newton with her husband, two teenage children, two dogs and three chickens. When she’s not coordinating systems, Sarah enjoys reading, baking, watching her son play lacrosse, and spending time with family and friends.
Green Room (3:1 ratio, children 2.3-3.3 years-old)
Mercedes has been a Green Room teacher since 2001. Mercedes began her career with us as an assistant teacher and took classes, while working full-time, to become teacher certified. Prior to working at Open Center, Mercedes worked in the tourism industry in her native Dominican Republic, leading tours on catamarans, safaris and buses. As a teacher, she enjoys welcoming the children to school in the morning and seeing their bright and smiley faces, ready and eager to learn. When Mercedes is not smiling back at children, she is hiking, running, doing yoga, or her most favorite thing: vacationing with her family. Mercedes lives in East Boston with her fiance, her daughter (who used to work with us too) and her son.
Angie started teaching in the Green Room in January of 2018. Prior to working at Open Center, Angie was a preschool teacher for 11 years at Garden City Children’s Center in Beverly, MA. While working full-time, and raising twin nine year-old boys, Angie is pursuing her BA in early childhood development from North Shore Community College. Angie’s favorite thing about being a teacher is developing relationships with the children. She thinks having the opportunity to be part of their lives and early development is “truly amazing.” When she’s not interacting with toddlers, Angie enjoys spending quality time with her family. Together they like to travel, dine out and watch movies. She lives in Salem with her amazing twins and her partner, Josh.
Dorota is the newest member of the Open Center team. She started in September of 2018 after teaching infants for 6 years at Bright Horizons at MIT. She has also been a nanny and a teacher at a Polish Language Preschool. Dorota has a master’s degree in agriculture from university in her home country of Poland and an associate degree in early childhood education from Quincy College in Boston. She loves to share her enthusiasm for nature and gardening with the children in her care. When she’s not digging in the soil, Dorota likes to walk her two dogs in the woods, garden and dance with her Polish dance troupe, Krakowiak. She lives in Somerville with her husband and their dogs, Jack and Terrie the Terrier.
Visnavy, Assistant Teacher (M, W, F)
Visnavy is the afternoon assistant in the Green Room on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She is a junior at Tufts University where she is studying psychology, child development and French. She is a native of Medford and has worked at the YMCA in Melrose and as a babysitter for her neighbors. At Tufts she is a member of the Culinary Society, a sustainable development club that does work in India. When she’s not studying or caring for children, Visnavy likes to travel, hang out with her friends and spend time in the sun.
Kristina, Assistant Teacher (T, Th)
Kristina is the afternoon assistant in the Green Room on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in child development and pursuing a minor in cognitive brain science & computer science. She hails all the way from Milwaukee, WI where she has worked in the daycare at a rehab facility and as a summer teacher teaching computer science to elementary school children. When she’s not studying or coding, Kristina enjoys running, water skiing, swimming, cooking, painting, reading and hiking in the woods.
Blue Room (4:1 ratio, ages 3.3-5 years old)
Jen has been a Blue Room teacher since 2011. She left briefly to work at a childcare center closer to her home in Quincy, but missed the Open Center so much she returned after just a few months. Jen has been working in the field of early childhood education for almost 20 years, the last 14 of which were in Somerville. She started her education career as an after-school teacher, before moving into the world of early childhood. Jen graduated from Fitchburg State University with a BA in English Literature with a minor in early childhood education in 2005. Jen’s favorite part of teaching is introducing sensory experiences to the children. She enjoys seeing each child’s face when they touch a new substance, especially something ooey and gooey, for the first time. When Jen’s not filling the sensory table, she likes to spend time hiking, boating, travelling and working out. She lives in Quincy with her partner Jason and their cat, Boo Boo.
Wanda, Blue Room Teacher
Wanda has been a teacher in the Blue Room since 1994 when she started as an assistant teacher. She has been at Open Center the longest of the current staff, and her experience guiding so many children through our classrooms makes her our “resident expert.” While working full-time, Wanda studied at Wheelock College where she received her CDA (Child Development Association Credential). After that, she went on to take more classes to become Director II certified in Early Childhood Education. Wanda’s favorite thing about teaching young children is sharing the experience of learning. She lives for “the light bulb moment” when a child makes a new connection for the first time. Wanda has three daughters and a granddaughter. She lives in Chelsea with her youngest daughter, who is in high school. When she’s not helping children make new discoveries, Wanda enjoys going to the movies, playing pool, and listening to music.
Marcie has been teaching in the Blue Room since September of 2017. Prior to working at Open Center, Marcie was a nanny for 10 years and an elementary school teacher for three. Additionally, Marcie has traveled the world as a professional singer, taught drama and choreographed children’s musicals. She has a master’s degree in Education and Creative Arts from Lesley University. Marcie’s favorite aspect of teaching is telling stories and creating things with the children. She also loves to have dance parties. Originally from New York, Marcie now lives in Somerville. When she’s not dancing, Marcie likes to write music, sing, and play the drums. She also enjoys being outdoors, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Yashanna has been in the Blue Room at Open Center since the winter of 2018. She started her career in early childhood education as an assistant teacher at Two Little Owls Schoolhouse in Cambridge, where she then became a teacher and a program assistant. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood education from Cambridge College, graduating in August of 2014. In January of 2018, she became Director II certified. Her favorite part of being a teacher is watching children learn through play, while having fun. Yashanna lives in Somerville with her seven year-old son. When she’s not playing, she and her son enjoy doing family activities such as going to Chuck-E-Cheese, Boston Bowl and to the movies.