Our Teachers

preschool-teacher-child-gardenOur 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 an educator at Nature Center Preschool for over 17 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.


  • Michelle Marquis is a Senior Lead Teacher and Assistant Camp Site Director at SSNSC.  She has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has been working with young children for 15 years and is excited to bring her passion for nature into the classroom.
  • Liz Kenney has a Master’s Degree in Education from UMass Boston and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Providence College. She has been a teacher for over ten years and this is her first year with Nature Center Preschool.
  • Theresa Delahunt is a Teacher with eight years of classroom teaching experience.  She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Classics as well as an Early Education background. This is her seventh year with Nature Center Preschool, currently as a substitute teacher.
  • Cory Noordzij has a Master’s degree in History and has achieved Lead Teacher certification through the Department of Early Education and Care. This is her sixth year with Nature Center Preschool.
  • Jill Zielinski holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology from Boston College. She holds Lead Teacher and Director certifications with the Department of Early Education and Care and has been teaching for over 18 years. She brings a passion for learning and outdoor exploration into the classrooms and is in her sixth year at 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 five years, most recently as a substitute teacher.
  • Kiki Pion has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in early care and Pre-K. She worked as a Pre-K teacher before becoming a full time nanny for several years. She is excited to return to teaching in the classroom at the 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 fifth 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 fourth year.
  • Christina Walsh studied Early Childhood Education at Bates College.  She also attended Framingham State College, worked as a nanny, 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 third year teaching 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 third year at Nature Center Preschool.
  • Kristin Achorn has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as her EEC Preschool Teacher certification. She is continuing her education to obtain her EEC Lead Preschool Teacher certification. This is Kristin’s third year at Nature Center Preschool.
  • Laura Lally has an Associates Degree in Secretarial Arts Business Technology as well as EEC Preschool Teacher Certification. She has taught in local preschools for 2 years and has watched children for 9+ years. This is her fist year at Natural Center Preschool.