Policies & Practices
There is no established hierarchy among us. All administrative and educational policy decisions are made by consensus. No decision is acted upon until all participants are at least willing “to risk it”. As a result, we communally assume responsibility for our successes and failures. Policies have evolved from felt needs and, occasionally, from the need to deal with a crisis.
Staff evaluation is a supportive peer exchange woven into the fabric of our daily life together. We all contribute to the analysis of problems and collaborate toward their solutions. There have been some staff changes, but our rate of turnover has been incredibly low, and several of our current staff have been with school since its inception.
BETTE BALDER, Director
Bette first came to NCCL as a parent. She taught enrichment classes and substituted before accepting a teaching position in 1986. Bette became Administrative Director in 1992. She has a M.S. in Child Development and a B.S. in Elementary Education, magna cum laude, with a math minor from the University of Delaware. Bette had 11 years previous teaching experience as a second grade teacher in public school and as a substitute teacher in many public and private schools. Her daughter is an NCCL graduate and her grandchildren are now attending NCCL. More about Bette
SUZANNE BURTON, Music Teacher
Suzanne Burton; professor of music education, director of graduate studies and coordinator of music education at the University of Delaware.
JAMES DOOLEY, Group 4 Teacher
Jim has been involved in math education for many years as an Instructional Coach, Middle School Mathematics Resource Teacher, Mathematic Specialist at the University of Delaware, and Middle School Mathematics Teacher. He has a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master of Instruction. He has been with NCCL since 2015.
LAUREN EVANS, Group 1 Teacher
Lauren has a B.S in Elementary Education with a minor in English/communication, fine arts concentration, magna cum laude, from Cabrini College. She has eight years previous teaching experience. Lauren has been with NCCL since 2014.
HEATHER HEALY, Administrator
Heather has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude, and is also certified to teach children’s yoga, sport yoga and aerial fitness. Heather is also an NCCL graduate. She is active in local theater and assists with the drama program at NCCL. She has been an administrator and yoga teacher at NCCL since 2013.
LISA HOWARD-SMOLA – Group 3 TeacherLisa has taught 5th grade, was the lead math and science teacher, coached the drama club, track, and the 5th grade team for the Science Stem Quest. She has also taught photography and was a graphic design instructor. Lisa has a B.A in graphic design and an M.S. in Education. She has been with NCCL since 2016.
LAURA KAHN, Spanish Teacher
Laura has a M.A. in Foreign Language Pedagogy with a concentration in Spanish and a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature. She has taught at Upper Moreland High School in PA and at Bishop O’Dowd High School in CA, as well as at the Kennett Area YMCA. Laura has been with NCCL since 2007.
KATE KERRANE, Group 4 Teacher
Kate has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Delaware. She was a social worker for an agency called Independent Living Inc. before returning to school to get her education degree. She taught at NCCL from 1991-1997 and returned in 2006. More about Kate
SEAN KERRANE, Group 3 Teacher
Sean Kerrane started teaching at NCCL in 1998 but has been with the school since 1993 when he worked in the child care program. He was the Child Care Director for two years before graduating from the University of Delaware with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Native American History. Before graduating, he won the “Student Teacher of the Year” award for Brandywine School District. After graduating, he took a job teaching English as a second language at La Universidad Tecnologica in Panama City, Panama. While in Panama, he also had a chance to teach for a month in a bilingual elementary school and after spending almost a year there, he now speaks Spanish fluently. More about Sean
TINA MACLARY, Treasurer
Tina Maclary first became involved in NCCL as a parent. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1979 and taught for a number of years in Cecil County Public Schools. She began teaching Kindermusik and preschool outreach music classes for The Wilmington Music School in 1991. She trained at the Reading Assist Institute in the summer of 2006. Most recently she has been tutoring students with reading difficulties at Avon Grove Charter School, Christina School District, and privately. Her two daughters are NCCL graduates. Tina began teaching at NCCL in 2008.
CLAIRE MARSHALL, Group 1 Teaching Assistant, Extended Care Director Claire attended the University of Maine and is proud of her Downeast roots and French heritage. From 1989-1998 she was an early education teacher at St. Joseph’s Child Academy. Relocating to Delaware with her husband and two children in 1998, she continued teaching and was program director at Nathalie B. Hammond Preschool. Believing in advocacy for children, she developed and instituted Personal Safety and Health and Nutrition programs. Additionally, she organized the school’s donation program to benefit local children charities. Upon closure of the school in 2015 Claire was introduced to NCCL. She fell in love with the children and supports the school’s philosophy and approach to teaching life long learners.
KELLY MARTONE, Group 1 TeacherKelly graduated with a BS in Human Resources, Early Childhood Education, from The University of Delaware in 1992. She received the honor “Student Teacher of the Year,” graduated Magna Cum Laude and successfully completed the PPST and NTE to earn her teachers’ certification the same year. She is also a Delaware Certified Naturalist. Kelly taught at NCCL from 1992-1997 and returned in 2004. Her two children are NCCL graduates. More about Kelly
JANICE TOOMEY, Group 2 Teacher
Janice has a M.F.A. in Visual Art, and B.A. in American Studies and Art. She was formerly an adjunct Professor at the University of Delaware, Goldey Beacom, Wesley College and West Chester University, and a Child Counselor at Terry Children’s Psychiatric Center. She has 16 years previous teaching experience and taught at NCCL from 1995-2003. For the next 4 years Janice and her husband lived and worked in England where she taught psychology at Gloucester College. Her two children are NCCL graduates. Janice returned to NCCL in 2007. More about Janice
ALESSANDRA VADALA, Group 2 Teacher
Alessandra has a M.A. in Teaching, B.A. in English, and Montessori training. She has previous experience teaching English as a second language and in a Montessori program. Alessandra is an NCCL graduate. She has been with NCCL since 2014.
CAROLINE WHISNER, Art Teacher
Caroline has a M.A. in Teaching from Maryland Institute, College of Art, and a B.S. in Art from UD. She has 10 years previous teaching experience as certified K-12 art teacher. Caroline has been with NCCL 2014.