Established in 1981, Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center is a preschool located in Katonah, New York, serving children ages 21 months to 5 years of age.

Established in 1981, Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center is a preschool located in Katonah, New York, serving children ages 21 months to 5 years of age.

Meet our staff


All of our staff are highly trained, seasoned educators who create engaging classroom environments through collaboration, monthly professional development sessions, and by attending professional development programs.

A Theme-Based Approach to Early Education

Gail Porter

Mother of two and grandmother of five, Gail Porter has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education and an MS in Family Counseling. She has had extensive teaching experience in various grade levels including a mainstreamed preschool, and has served as substitute teacher in the Bedford School District.


Gail has run parent support groups and preschool workshops on literacy, cooking, science and parenting. She has helped coordinate "Staff Development Day" for area preschools and the "Everything You Wanted To Know About ‘Getting Ready’ For Kindergarten" Meeting for preschool parents with the K/L School District. Gail has served on her church board and was a Cub Scout Leader. She started at KPCELC over 30 years ago, and is the co-director of the school.

jeannine dibart

Jeannine DiBart is a mother of 3 and a former Elementary School Teacher and staff developer. She holds a BA in Elementary Education and English, and an MPS in Special Education and Reading. Jeannine began her teaching career right here at Katonah Playcare ELC, in the Yellow Room! She then spent much of her career at the Wooster School in Danbury, CT, where she taught kindergarten and first grade.


Jeannine also worked for LitLife, a private consulting company where she worked as a staff developer and consultant to several Westchester area schools. Jeannine’s three children are all KPCELC alumni. She is so excited to come full circle as Co-Director of the school. Jeannine is an avid baker, she loves to read, and is an active member of her Book Club. 

Two's Program

Jessica Amico

Jessica Amico is the mother of 3 year old twin girls, who attend the 3's program here at KCPELC. She spent 5 years at Katonah Playcare as the 3s Head teacher. She took some time off to have her girls, and we are absolutely thrilled to have her back. Jessica holds her Child Development Associate’s certification in early childhood education from the Childcare Council of Westchester. She has over 10 years of experience in the early childhood field, and continues her professional development by attending early childhood conferences and workshops. Jessica believes in a child-centered, nurturing educational approach to teaching young children. She has a true understanding and respect for her students which is so important to a successful preschool experience. Jessica is currently the Head Teacher in the M/W 2's class.

laura Sunderwirth

Laura Sunderwirth is the mother of 2 girls, both of whom are Katonah Playcare alumni! Laura began her career at KPC as a substitute teacher in 2004 and became the Assistant 2's teacher in 2006. She then spent several years as the Assistant Teacher in the 3’s. She returned to the 2's and Toddlers as the Head Teacher in 2016. Laura has taught in the June Enrichment and Summertime Fun-time Programs in all age levels, as well as Optional Day and Extended Day Programs. Laura has attended many Early Childhood Education workshops over the years. She brings creativity and fun to her classroom and is a dedicated and nurturing teacher. She is presently the Head Teacher in the T/Th Yellow Room 2's class.

Karen Woodward

Karen Woodward is a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. She has been with KPCELC for over 25 years. She has experience as an Assistant Teacher in all age levels—Twos, Threes and Fours, including as an Assistant Teacher in the Fours Inclusion Class, which was held at KPCELC in the past for several years. Karen teaches in the Summer Enrichment and Summertime Funtime Programs, as well as Optional Day and Extended Day. She is also the energy behind the set-up and clean-up of the gym every day! Karen has attended many Early Childhood Education workshops over the years. She brings great cooking knowledge and is a dedicated and nurturing teacher. She is presently the Assistant Teacher in the Yellow Room Two's classes and is the "all around" School Helper.

Three's Program

Kathryn Lassen

Kathryn Lassen is a mother of three. She has a BS in business, concentrating in Marketing and an MS in Elementary Education, with a NYS certification for grades one through six. Her professional background includes being the Head Teacher of a Kindergarten for three years, in a school for the gifted and talented children on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In addition, Kathryn worked part-time as the Creative Art Teacher for students aged three through five, at the Somerset Hills YMCA in Basking Ridge, NJ. Kathryn has substituted in all age levels at Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center, as well as being a class parent and active in her district's PTA. This is Kathryn's fourth year as Head Teacher in the 3's Class. 

Christine Zimbelmann

Christine Zimbelmann holds a BA in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters Degree in Dance Movement Therapy. She has worked with children and adolescents in hospital settings, developing and implementing programs using dance and movement as therapy, and in preschools and after-school programs in NYC. Christine has led developmental movement classes for infants with their care-givers as well as mommy and me Creative Movement classes. She has worked in private practice as a therapist and supervisor/mentor as well as an adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute. Christine has led numerous professional workshops for educators and is particularly interested in incorporating movement, music, and dance in the classroom setting. Christine is the mother of three and is currently the chairperson of her PTA Green Committee. She was the Head Teacher in the Orange Room 2's class and is currently the Head Teacher in the Blue Room 3's. 

Ester Tunnell

Ester Tunnell is a mother of two and has an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Westchester Community College. Ester was an Art Counselor at the Rye Brook Camp in Rye for several years for diverse age groups. She has also been very involved with the Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader and Camp Program Liaison. She has been very active in her children's schools, is an avid crafter, and also enjoys reading, cooking, and baking. She has also taught several playgroups as well as preschoolers at a camp in Stamford, CT. Ester taught as an Assistant Teacher in the 2's and 4's and in the June Enrichment and Summertime Funtime Programs. Ester is currently the Assistant Teacher in the 3's class.


Chrissy is a mother of three and has been a long-time sub for us here at KPCELC. She is also a Katonah Playcare graduate! Chrissy has completed 2 years of child development classes and has a great deal of experience with children as a class mom for all of her kids, as well as, team mom for her son’s football and wrestling teams. Chrissy brings her warmth, natural instinct, and positive attitude to Playcare! Chrissy has been the Assistant Teacher in the 3's and the Assistant Teacher in the 2’s class. She is currently back in the 3's class as the Assistant Teacher and is the 2's Friday Co-Teacher.

Four's Program

Alli Brown

Alli Brown is a mother of 2 and has a BS in Psychology and a Master’s in Education, Pre-K-Grade 6. She has had many years of teaching experience including all levels of preschool—Twos, Threes, and Fours, primary school-age children, and children with special needs. She taught at such schools as Rippowam Cisqua, Mt. Kisco Elementary School, St. Patrick’s CCD, and Carmel Nursery School. Her natural teaching abilities are a great addition to the staff. Alli has been a frequent Substitute Teacher in all age levels and was the Assistant Teacher in the Blue Room Twos. This is Alli's sixth year as the Head Teacher in the Green Room 4's.

betsy lotto

Betsy Lotto, mother of three, has been at KPCELC for over 10 years. She has worked with all age groups from two to five years old, and has been the Assistant in the 4's for many years. Betsy has substituted and worked in several other programs at KPCELC such as the June Enrichment, Summertime Funtime, and Extended Day. She has attended many Early Childhood Education workshops. She was very active in her PTA and was a class parent and classroom volunteer at her children’s schools. She served as Treasurer and was on the Executive Committee of her sons’ Cub Scout Pack. Betsy brings warmth and a gift for organization to the Green Room 4's as its Assistant Teacher.

©2019 Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center

44 Edgemont Road Katonah, NY 10536

914 232 7825  

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