Our team of professionals have many years of experience in the field of Education. Our Administrators lead a variety of programs based on our knowledge of Early Childhood Education and Special Education practices. Our Teachers, Therapists and Teaching Assistants provide instructional experiences designed to support and guide every child’s learning and success.
Susan has worked in the field of education since 1987 both as an educator and administrator. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in education. Joining the agency in 2010, she brought with her the passion she has always found in the areas of teaching and learning. She is motivated in her position as Director of Education Services to meet the needs of children and families through supporting her dedicated team of employees. The two hundred employees she is fortunate to work with provide direct educational services and the support services that make A Child’s Place a stimulating environment. Staff opportunities for continuing education and trainings, focusing on best practices, provide the foundation for successful programming. Susan believes that all children deserve an educational program that meets their individual needs and that through a commitment to inclusion of all people, life is enhanced.
Sue began working with Unity House in 2013. Prior to joining Unity House, Sue was the Director of a local early childhood program for children with special needs for 13 years. Sue has always had a passion for working with young children with special needs. Upon graduation from The College of Saint Rose, Sue began her career as a special education teacher. Sue has worked in the field of early childhood special education as either a teacher or administrator since. In her current role, Sue oversees the special education program at all A Child’s Place sites and collaborations. Sue works closely with special education teachers, family support staff, program coordinators and clinical managers.
Sue has been with the program since January of 1981. At that time we had one location with a total of three classrooms. She has seen the program grow to eight locations and 32 classrooms since that time! Sue has had a number of roles during her long career including Teaching Assistant and Office/ Site Manager until 1998 when she accepted her current position of Billing Specialist. In her current role she interacts with multiple counties, school districts and staff in the Early Intervention and Special Education programs. Sue works closely with Therapists, School Psychologist, Social Workers and Teachers who provide the many services our program offers to children. Additionally, with her many years of service to our agency she is our resident historian! Sue believes in the mission of our agency and the valuable services our program provides to all children and families.
Gina has been in the agency since July 2014, and has been in Early Childhood Education since 1998. She has served in a number of positions including Preschool teacher at St. Jude’s the Apostle School, Director of Jack and Jill Daycare, CEO Head Start/Troy School District UPK teacher and Troy School District Special Education Kindergarten-grade 2.
Gina Couture attended Russell Sage College and Sage Graduate School earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and masters degrees in both Childhood Education and Special Education.
In her current role as an Assistant Director of Child Care, she oversees child care programs, including Universal Pre-K, curriculum, parent education programs, licensing through the Office of Children and Family Services, coordinates all professional development for staff and makes sure that children’s learning needs are being met. Gina believes that children learn best when they are actively engaged.
Kathi is currently the Childcare Manager at A Child’s Place @ YWCA.
A little background information about Kathi includes growing up in a small town consisting of approximately 2000 people. She attended SUNY Cortland, enrolling in their Elementary Education program. College was an eye opener for this girl from a small town. This is when she learned that educating children would become her passion.
Kathi graduated from Cortland with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Her true love were the youngest children and she came to believe the first five years of a child’s life are the most important: those are the years that mold a child into who they will become. She began her educational career as a Preschool Teacher for 8 years.
Her next journey was with the elementary age children, Kindergarten through 6th grade. She taught 1st and 2nd grades, but her heart was always with younger children.
She decided to return to the youngest children, infants through 5 years old. Her next 8 years would be as a Day Care Director.
Then, year 2006 brought her to Unity House as a Childcare Manager. Her educational experiences have come full circle. A Child’s Place @ YWCA, where she is currently the Child Care Manager, is in the exact same building where she started her Preschool teaching experience. Talk about a small world!
All in all, she has been in the Child Care field since 1988 and can’t imagine herself doing anything different.
Jane has been with this agency as a Child Care Manager since 2010. In that role, she is responsible for overseeing the childcare staff and children. She enrolls and welcomes new families to the program as well as maintains relationships with current families. Jane also hires and manages all of the child care staff and works with NYS OCFS to be sure the center meets all licensing regulations. Jane has been in the child care field since 1992, starting out as an infant teacher and preschool teacher before becoming Assistant Director and then Director. As the Child Care Manager, Jane enjoys being able to spend time with children and watching them grow while partnering with families and teachers to provide excellent care. Jane has an A.A.S Degree in Early Childhood Education from Maria College and a B.S. in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta.
Kristin has been with the agency since 2013. She has been in this profession since 1999 and has served at a number of our locations in both Troy and Albany. In her current role as Child Care Manager/Enrollment Specialist, she is responsible for managing the Albany location and assisting in enrollment and development of the enrollment process. What Kristin enjoys most about her job is the opportunity to assist parents in finding quality programming for the children. Kristin believes all children are to be valued, loved and cherished. She includes families in the educational process, creating successes for the children and families in her center.
Susan is a New York State Licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who has worked for Unity House since November 1998. Her roles and responsibilities include supervising speech-language therapists, managing caseloads, speech scripts, and supervising therapists completing their clinical fellowship year (CFY). Susan has worked in the field of Speech Language Pathology since 1993, completing her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh NY and then her master’s degree at the College of Saint Rose in Albany NY. Susan believes strongly in helping to ensure that quality speech and language treatment services are provided in a caring and nurturing environment to help children and their families be successful. It is truly inspirational to hear a child say ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’ for the first time and to see the joy that it brings.
Barbara was first employed in 1987 with Unity House as a Special Education Teacher and taught from 1987 to 2010. Barbara taught the first integrated classroom in 1991 at Unity House; Unity has since grown to 19 integrated classrooms available to over 23 School Districts. Barbara chose to be an educator to make a difference. She selected Unity House to become that educator as her mission blended with the mission of Unity House from the start. Barbara believes that the most rewarding career in the world is to be an educator working with all students and their families. Every student has a right to an appropriate education and to thrive in that environment. She wants each and every child to thrive. She wants every student to feel that they are worthwhile and have a teacher behind them as a fan. In 2010 she switched roles and became a Program Coordinator. Her role as program coordinator involves overseeing the special education center base program for our Albany site and A Child’s Place @ the YWCA. She also oversees our community collaboration sites at Samaritan Rensselaer Childcare Center, St Jude the Apostle, Sacred Heart School and Family Resource Center @ CEO. At times she continues to use her special education degree to provide outreach services as well as complete EI evaluations and CPSE evaluation. As a seasoned teacher she continues to enjoy being available as a resource to parents and teachers. She works closely with school districts and families to set up programming for children. Barbara has her Associate Degree from Hudson Valley Community College in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree from SUNY Geneseo and her Master of Science degree in Special Education from the College of St. Rose. Barbara holds her permanent certification in both Special Education (birth to 21) and Elementary Education (K-6).
Barbara has been at A Child’s Place since 1998, and is currently a Program Coordinator. She oversees the special education centerbase program for toddlers and preschoolers at the 435 4th Street site. In addition she coordinates the outreach program for Early Intervention and Preschoolers and manages the evaluation process for EI and CPSE. Barbara graduated from Ithaca College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree and is a NYS registered Physical Therapist. Pediatrics has always been her passion and she is honored to work with children and families to assist them in overcoming their challenges and advocating for successful educational services/placements. In 2015 Barbara received the Annual Women of Distinction Award for Education from Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
Kerrie has been the supervisor of the occupational and physical therapy department at Unity House since 1999. She attended Hartwick College for three years studying bio/chemistry before transferring to Russell Sage College to earn her Bachelor and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1997. Upon graduation from Russell Sage College, she spent two years as a treating pediatric occupational therapist at the Center for Disability Services in Albany where she served children and their families in early intervention through elementary school. She currently supervises the motor therapy department as well as providing evaluations to children birth to 5 years old. She believes that all children can succeed when provided with the right support and experiences.
Chris has been with Unity House since May of 1981. Chris held the position of Associate Executive Director alongside founder Mary Jane Smith until November 1991 when he became the Chief Executive Officer. Chris is a graduate of SUNY at Albany with an MPA in Public Administration. He is a past President of the Board for the Association for Community Living, and serves/has served on the Boards of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rensselaer County Federal Emergency Management Agency, Parsons Child and Family Center, Historic Troy 2020, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and the Troy Kiwanis. He is a member of the Rensselaer County Unified Services Mental Health Management Team and the Rensselaer County Homeless Plan Executive Committee.