Center for Early Childhood Faculty

Our team of early childhood educators is passionate about working with Léman's youngest learners, helping them to explore, create and grow each day. Together, Léman's Early Childhood faculty have more than 100 years of teaching experience and have taught more than 1,000 children.


Kate Sylvain
Head of The Center for Early Childhood Education
A seasoned New York City preschool director and nursery and
elementary school teacher, Mrs. Sylvain leads The Center for Early Childhood Education at Léman, serving children in grades PK3, PK4, and Kindergarten. Ms. Sylvain joined Léman in August 2016 after 10 years at The Mandell School, a 75-year old institution, where she most recently served as Director of The Mandell Preschool in Lincoln Square since 2012. In this role, Kate led all aspects of the school's operations, including admissions and kindergarten exmissions, management and professional development of faculty, and ongoing parent communications. In addition, Kate successfully drove enrollment growth and supported Mandell's expansion to a third preschool location.
Previously, Mrs. Sylvain was Director of New Program Development at Mandell, where she led the opening of individual preschool locations. From 2006-2011, Mrs. Sylvain held positions of Nursery Program Director, Nursery Head Teacher and Associate Teacher, where she created a developmentally appropriate, experiential, 
science-based curriculum for young children. Prior to Mandell, she was a first grade teacher for the New York City Department of Education. Mrs. Sylvain holds a B.S. in Child Development and an M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University.
Fretta Reitzes
Léman Advisory Board Member and Consultant to The Center for Early Childhood Education
Director of 92Y's Wonderplay Initiative
Director of the Goldman Center for Youth & Family
As a member of Léman Manhattan's esteemed Advisory Board, Ms. Reitzes serves as a consultant to our Early Childhood program, working closely with faculty to continually evolve the Léman program to best meet the needs of learners ages three through five. Ms. Reitzes brings more than 30 years in the field of early childhood education to Léman.  
Ms. Reitzes is the Director of 92Y's Wonderplay Initiative, and Director of the Goldman Center for Youth & Family. She began her tenure at the 92nd Street Y in 1980 as director of the groundbreaking Parenting Center which became a national model. More recently, she launched 92Y's WonderPlay Initiative to support the work of early childhood educators and to build a local, national, and global network and community of professionals in the field. She created the annual 92Y WonderPlay Conference and brings 1,000 early childhood educators together with leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world for a day of professional development. In addition, she established the 92Y Vivian Gussin Paley Award for Early Childhood Excellence as a vehicle to recognize the important role of the classroom teacher. She works closely with 92Y's Paley Fellows, a cohort group of New York City master teachers who meet regularly to address today's challenges in the classroom.


Eleanor Kim
Head Teacher, Pre-K 3
Mrs. Kim has more than 19 years of teaching experience with children ages two to six and joined Léman in 2005. Previously, she taught PreK at Claremont Children's School on the Upper West Side, now known as Montclare Children's School. 
She has had training in Responsive Classroom, Orton-Gillingham, and Handwriting Without Tears, and has attended The Early Years Forum at Instituto San Roberto in Monterrey, Mexico and the Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning conference at 92Y in New York.
Mrs. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Throughout her career, Mrs. Kim has taught approximately 330 students.
“I decided to become an educator because I was inspired by caring for all of my younger cousins as I was growing up. In spending time helping them to learn and grow, I realized how much I love working with young children and wanted to make a career out of teaching and playing with them all the time!"
Kim Johnson
Head Teacher, PreK 4
Ms. Johnson has over 23 years of teaching experience with
children ages three to five and joined Léman in 2007. Previously she taught Pre-Kindergarten at Notre Dame Academy.  She recently attended the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) conference in Rye Brook, New York and has presented at the 92Y’s Wonderplay Conference.
Ms. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from York College of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Science degree from the College of Staten Island.  Ms. Johnson has taught more than 500 students during her career.
"The minute I entered my kindergarten classroom to the warm welcome and smile of my new teacher I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. She was my first introduction to school, and my inspiration for entering the world of Early Childhood education. I knew I wanted to have the same positive impact on young children that my kindergarten teacher had on me. During my career, I have cultivated a learning environment for young children that allows them to grow and flourish socially, cognitively and creatively. I am very lucky to have the best job in the world!"
Maggie Staub
Head Teacher, Kindergarten
Mrs. Staub has nine years of teaching experience and has been a faculty member at Léman for six years. She has previously taught 1st, 3rd, and 4th grade as well as Technology classes.  Mrs. Staub is also a Grade Level Leader at Léman, where she spearheads opportunities for the Kindergarten faculty to collaborate and share best practices, as well as provide families with curriculum support. In this leadership role, she has helped develop Léman’s Kindergarten curriculum and serves as a resource for new and returning families. Mrs. Staub has attended the Teachers College Summer Reading and Writing Workshop and Orton-Gillingham training. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Education from Hunter College in New York.
“I come from a very artistic background, but also from a family of teachers. When I first moved to New York, I worked at an art gallery. When I called my mom and told her I decided to go to graduate school for my teaching certification, she said, “It’s about time - I knew you were a teacher all along!”  It was the best decision I ever made and I have dedicated my career to developing a warm classroom community.
I love making learning fun by fostering children’s interests and creating an environment for each child wants to take risks and share their love of learning with their peers. To be a part of that is an honor to me."
Addie Schoen
Head Teacher, Kindergarten
Ms. Schoen has been teaching children ages two to six for nine years. She joined the Léman faculty in September 2012.
Previously, she taught multiple ages at the Brownstone School on the Upper West Side and Kindergarten at The Chapin School on the Upper East Side.  She has been trained in Brain Gym, an internationally implemented movement-based program to enhance learning developed by the Education Kinesiology Foundation, and the PAF version of Orton-Gillingham, a phonics based approach to teaching foundational reading and writing skills. She has also attended courses on language acquisition and processing at the Windward Teacher Training Institute.
Ms. Schoen graduated from Hamilton College with a major in mathematics and minor in religious studies and is in the process of completing her Master’s degree.
“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old. I thought my teachers were the most amazing people I had ever met and that kindergarten was a magical experience! As a student who struggled as a learner, I appreciated the unwavering support of my teachers and was inspired by their compassion and dedication. I hope I can pass on the love of learning and wonder that they instilled in me to my students.”
Kathleen Gallagher
Head Teacher, Kindergarten
Ms. Gallagher has been teaching for four years and joined Léman in 2014.  Previously she taught PreK at a private school in Long Island. She recently attended the Responsive Classroom professional development workshop in New York.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from the University of Delaware. Ms. Gallagher also has a Master’s degree in Literacy Education from NYU.
“I aspired to be an Early Childhood Educator after witnessing the amazing and dedicated work of my younger brother’s early intervention teachers. My brother displayed speech and language difficulties as a result of a hearing impairment. The teachers were compassionate and caring for my brother and family and personalized their instruction to support his needs and ensure his success. I knew I wanted to support young children and families as they continue to grow and learn.”
More About Our Early Childhood Program

Pre-Kindergarten (Age 3)

Pre-Kindergarten (Age 4)


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