Our highly qualified educators hold degrees and represent a diverse background of early childhood education and the sciences. Our educators value learning and are provided with ongoing professional development opportunities to enhance leadership, support core competencies and integrate knowledge of early childhood education/child development. All Nature Center Preschool educators have completed numerous South Shore YMCA trainings including comprehensive Child Protection modules, CPR and First Aid certification. Additionally, Naturalists with Biology and Environmental Science degrees are part of our staff.
Diane Thureson, Preschool Director
A self taught naturalist and outdoor enthusiast, Diane has been a teacher at Nature Center Preschool for over 15 years. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University. Additionally, she has achieved Director Certification from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
- Melissa Kurkoski is a Senior Lead Teacher and Naturalist at SSNSC. She has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science, as well as an Early Education background, and has been with Nature Center Preschool for sixteen years.
- Sheila McCarthy is a Teacher with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a background in Early Education. She has been with Nature Center Preschool for nineteen years.
- Theresa Delahunt is a Teacher with seven years of classroom teaching experience. She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Classics as well as an Early Education background. This is her fifth year with Nature Center Preschool.
- Susan Gallagher studied Early Childhood Education at Bunker Hill and Cape Cod Community Colleges and is a Teacher with twenty-two years of teaching experience. This is her fourth year at Nature Center Preschool.
- Cory Noordzij has a Master’s degree in History and has been a substitute teacher for nine years. This is her fourth year with Nature Center Preschool.
- Jill Zielinski has a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology from Boston College and has been teaching for over thirteen years. This is her fourth year with Nature Center Preschool.
- Kim Cody studied Early Childhood Education at Quincy College and Wheelock College, and has been a preschool teacher and nanny for fourteen years. Kim worked for Nature Center Preschool in 2010-2011, left to nanny for a family member, and has been back at Nature Center Preschool for the past three years.
- Janine DiLorenzo has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Fine Arts, as well as EEC Lead Preschool Teacher certification. This is her third year at Nature Center Preschool.
- Mary Beth Hines has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as well as her EEC Preschool Teacher certification. This is her third year at Nature Center Preschool.
- Joan Gerhard has a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and has substitute teacher experience with Halifax Public Schools. Joan is a Girl Scout scout leader, a past Boy Scout leader, and has coached girls soccer teams. She is very involved in her community and is thrilled to be a part of Nature Center Preschool in her second year.
- Christina Walsh studied Early Childhood Education at Bates College. She attended Framingham State College during which she nannied and taught preschool for several years. After a decade in the non-Profit sector, Christina returned to her first love of teaching in 2013 and has continued working with preschoolers ever since. This is Christina’s first year teaching at Nature Center Preschool.
- Jennifer White has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Theatre Arts from Bridgewater State University. In addition to working in a preschool setting, she has also enjoyed her roles as nanny, mom and, most recently, foster mom. In addition, Jennifer has a lot of experience both performing and teaching vocal music and acting. This is her first year at Nature Center Preschool.
- Kathleen Amirault has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology, as well as teacher qualifications from the Department of Early Education and Care. She has been teaching for almost twenty years and has worked as an Environmental Educator/Naturalist, Kindergarten Teacher, and Preschool Teacher. This her first year at Nature Center Preschool.