Victoria Ward, Executive Director
The Children's Early Learning Space is excited to welcome Victoria Ward to our community as the new Executive Director. She has over 13 years of experience in Early Childhood Education and taught for five years, before spending the last eight leading programs, supporting families, and mentoring staff in renowned schools in both Connecticut and Vermont. She has a Vermont Director's Credential with extensive coursework in child development, curriculum design, and program management. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Lehigh University and then went on to get a Master's Degree in Sustainable Land Use Planning from the Conway School.
While this may seem like a far cry from Early Childhood Education, Victoria is passionate about the multitude of educational opportunities available for children in the natural world an strives to connect future generations with the outdoor environment. She believes strongly that children are capable and curious, and strives to support each child's distinctive developmental profile. She believes that an engaged child is an educated child, and that their first experience with school should set them up for a lifelong love of learning.
Victoria resides in Waterbury Center with her husband, Andrew, daughter, Hadley, and their big, goofy lab, Miles. She is excited to get to know each and every family at TCELS and to help support the growth of their children, the program, and the Waterbury community.
Sandy Bettis, Office Manager
Sandy comes to us from a long career with the State of Vermont. She lives in Middlesex with a Chow named Simba. She handles TCELS bookkeeping and administrative duties. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring, tutoring, reading, movies and exploring new places.
Clara Wootton, Assistant Director & Infant Room
Clara grew up in Southern Vermont and earned her BA in Visual Arts from Marlboro College. She started teaching officially in 2003 after helping at the child care center her mother directed in her youth, and is working towards a certificate in early education at Central Vermont Community College. In 2005 and 2006, her first child and second child were born and she chose to take a break and stay home. She has been living in Waterbury with her family for the past eight years. In her free time, Clara loves to hike, swim, camp, ski, garden and share the beauty of Vermont with her own children and the children she works with, getting outside as much as possible.
Laura Ladieu, Infant Room
Laura has been working for TCELS since May 2018. She started working in child care centers as a substitute in 2012 after she graduated from the Human Services program at Barre Technical Center. Laura then went on to be a teaching assistant while taking college classes at CCV. Later on, she was married, had her first child, made the decision to be a stay at home mom for a couple of years, and then had her second child. After being home with them for a bit, she decided to get back to work and has been at TCELS ever since. She started as a floating teacher and was offered a primary teaching position two months later.
Cathy Casey, Toddler Room
Cathy grew up in St Albans and currently resides in Waterbury. She first came to the area after graduating from the University of Vermont with a four year degree in early childhood education. She began her career as an infant and toddler teacher at the Ben & Jerry’s Child Care Center. She has been teaching ever since. Cathy has enjoyed the relationships built with families throughout the years and finds this the most rewarding part of her career. She believes that supporting social and physical growth are the two most important factors of learning from birth through preschool. Cathy lives with her husband, daughter, son and two cats.
Tiffany Ladieu, Toddler Room
Tiffany grew up in Central Vermont and earned her AA in Early Childhood Education from CCV and her BA in psychology from Northern Vermont University. She started in the education line of work by working in a middle school as a paraprofessional for five years then made the switch to a toddler teacher. Tiffany believes that social, emotional and physical growth are an important stepping stone when it comes to learning. In her free time, she enjoys biking, swimming, reading, sewing and going for walks.
Raven LaRose, Preschool
Raven is one of the teachers in the preschool room at The Children's Early Learning Space. She has been in ECE for the past six, almost seven years. She recently completed a 2.5 year apprenticeship program that earned her Certificate as a Child Development Specialist from the Department of Labor. This was after completing six college courses and 4,000 hours of on the job training along with many observations from her mentor. Raven loves swimming, painting, spending time with her fiance and son, and taking care of her house plants.
Megan Macauley, Preschool
Megan grew up right here in beautiful Waterbury, VT. She comes to us with over ten years of experience of working in preschools. She graduated from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT, with a BA in Early Ed/Professional Studies and earned her teaching license through the Vermont Agency of Education. Megan enjoys hiking, kayaking, live music, and traveling. In her free time, you are likely to find her at a local book store, coffee shop, or farmers market. We are happy to welcome our newest member of the team!
Jazmine Franks, Program Teacher
Jazmine graduated from SHS in 2017 with two years of her high school career being in the Human Services program. She joined TCELS in May of 2016 and has since taken on a role as an infant/toddler teacher in the program, and recently became a float teacher in all rooms. Jazmine has taken a number of college courses for Early Childhood Education and is continuing to further her education in the field. She has always had a passion for young children as she has many young siblings/cousins that she cares for. Jazmine enjoys the outdoors, being on the beach and spending time with her family and friends.