Teacher Preparation Department
Teacher Preparation students and faculty with children
Teacher Preparation students and faculty with children Teacher Preparation students and faculty with children
Teacher Preparation students and faculty with children Teacher Preparation students and faculty with children

Faculty and Staff

Select a name below to find out more about our faculty and staff.

Department Chairperson

Full-time Faculty

Adjunct Faculty

Academic Advisors

Support Staff

Department Chairperson

Dawn KolakoskiDawn L. Kolakoski, Ed.D., professor and department chair, has taught at Hudson Valley Community College since 1991. She has a bachelor's and a master's degree in music education and a master's in early childhood education from The College of Saint Rose. Her doctorate in curriculum development and systemic change (Child, Youth and Family Studies) is from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Dr. Kolakoski has had a varied career in the field of education. She has taught K-5 music for Bethlehem Central Schools and has owned "The Magic of Music" music studios in Delmar and East Greenbush. Dr. Kolakoski also has presented her popular "Fostering Children's Creativity through Music and Art" workshops to over 3,500 teachers in 72 cities around the country! In addition, she has also taught in the Early Childhood degree program at Maria College and currently teaches occasional courses in the Integrated Teaching through the Arts graduate program at Lesley University. In Hudson Valley's Teacher Preparation Department, she enjoys teaching "Creative Arts for Children" as well as several online courses.

Dr. Kolakoski is a past president of NYS ACCESS (American Associate Degree Early Childhood Educators) and has also served on the national ACCESS Board of Directors. She is the author of the textbook, Write It Down: A Guided Journal of Ideas, Strategies, and Reflections for Beginning Teachers, published by Cengage/Delmar Learning.

She is the proud of mom of two adult daughters and one crazy cat. In her free time she enjoys taking classes in drawing and pastels, writing a children's novel, playing the piano and traveling with friends. She especially enjoys deep sea fishing as well as hiking in the national parks of the Southwest.

Full-Time Faculty

Antoinette HowardAntoinette "Toni" Howard, instructor, graduated from the University of Albany with a master's degree in curriculum development and educational technology. She received her bachelor's in elementary education/social science at The College of Saint Rose, her associate's in early childhood education from Maria College, and was awarded a Montessori teaching credential from the College of New Rochelle.

She spent nine years teaching in the South Colonie Central School District in both primary and intermediate grades. Prior to that, she helped to establish Albany's first Montessori Magnet School. A highlight of her career was the time she spent teaching non-English speaking students in Warsaw, Poland. Her most recent accomplishments on campus include accepting a position as a student advisor and distance learning educator.

When she is not involved in academics, she is busy raising her two young children and working as a fitness instructor and trainer in the Latham area.

Eileen MahoneyEileen Mahoney, associate professor, has been teaching in the department since 1979. She has taught three of the four student teaching classes, "Creative Arts," and currently teaches "Child Development," "Foundations of Education," and the first year student teaching courses.

Ms. Mahoney received her B.A. and M.A. in child development from the University of Dayton. She has also studied at Bank Street College, Syracuse University, and taken many courses in the reading department at the University at Albany. Her focus in graduate school was on early literacy. She worked as the director of the children's laboratory school at the University of Dayton, as a home visitor for Head Start, and as a nursery school teacher in New York City.

One of the treats of being at an institution for a long time is being able to work with former students in new roles: as parents, cooperating teachers, and as colleagues.

Ms. Mahoney is the proud parent of three children who have definitely humbled and inspired her teaching. When not engaged in school activities/parenting, Ms. Mahoney likes to read, play tennis, and ski.

Diana PaneDiana Pane, assistant professor, joined the Teacher Preparation Department in 1996. She currently teaches the field-based practicum courses during the day and in the evening. Prior to coming to the campus, Ms. Pane's work focused on the preschool child, particularly those from low-income communities. Her philosophy of education was shaped at SUNY Geneseo through her work at the Geneseo Migrant Center. It was there that she co-authored "Guidebook: Child Development Center," part of the Project Child Guidebook series. She had worked in Head Start programs as a teacher and an education coordinator for more than 15 years. During that time she had the opportunity to work as an advisor and a national representative for the National Child Development Associate Credential Program.

She received her master's degree in education from SUNY Cortland. While working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at SUNY Geneseo she began her studies in early childhood education.

If asked why she teaches, she would happily tell you, "I love to learn, I love how young children learn, and I love to share what I have learned. Teaching allows me to do all three."

Adjunct Faculty

Lestor Betor has a M.S. Ed. from The College of Saint Rose and is an instructor for "Creative Arts for Children."

Denise Bourdeau has an M.S. from The College of Saint Rose and is an instructor for "Child Development."

Laura BrewerLaura Brewer began her educational endeavors at Mission Bay Montessori Academy in San Diego, California. She also has had a variety of experiences counseling children from diverse cultural backgrounds as a counseling intern, teacher, social services coordinator and special needs coordinator for the Head Start program. She acted as a mental health coordinator for the Essex County Head Start program where she provided play therapy for children in the program and family counseling, before becoming an adjunct instructor at Hudson Valley Community College.

She has a M.S. degree in counseling from San Diego State University and is certified in school counseling, K-12. Additionally, Ms. Brewer has a bachelor's degree in education from SUNY Plattsburgh with teacher certification N-6.

She teaches "Child Development" online, on campus and at Shenendehowa High School. She also teaches "Classroom Management" and, periodically, our freshman student teaching course, "Guidance of Young Children" and "Techniques of Teaching Math, Science, and Social Studies Through Play."

Ms. Brewer volunteers as a parent advocate for children with special needs and is the proud parent of two boys who keep her life interesting and ever changing.

Tamara CalhounTamara Calhoun is a graduate of our Early Childhood program and returns as an adjunct instructor with a master of science degree in elementary education with a concentration in early childhood education from The College of Saint Rose.

She has more than 20 years of practical, hands-on experience in early childhood and elementary education which includes her own family daycare, working at area child care programs with infants through school-aged children, teaching elementary school grades K-5, as well as developing and administering area summer programs and early childhood education programs.

She has been educating adults in businesses since 1988, and teaching adults at the college level since 1998, in the topics of early childhood and elementary education. Teaching is her passion! She knows she is making a difference in the lives of children through the students that she has in her classes. Not everyone is a future teacher, but everyone can make a positive difference in a child's life!

Tina Daigle has a multitude of experiences in the education field. She was the owner and operator of her own licensed day care, Step by Step, and an adult education teacher for Albany-Schenectady-Schoharie BOCES. She served as an assistant director at Karner Day Care Center in Schenectady and as a substitute teacher within the Averill Park School District.

She has a master of science degree in elementary education/early childhood education from The College of Saint Rose and is pursuing her doctoral degree.

Amy KileyAmy Kiley graduated from The College of Saint Rose with a master's degree in literacy, PreK-12. She received her bachelor's in elementary education with a concentration in earth science from Saint Rose as well as her associate's degree in business administration from Hudson Valley Community College.

Ms. Kiley taught for eight years within the Lansingburgh School District. She has been with the Teacher Preparation Department for four years as an adjunct instructor, a distance learning educator, and a student academic advisor.

Casey Lensink began working at Hudson Valley Community College in October 1999 as an academic advisor and off-campus coordinator in the Office of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. She has taught for Guilderland High School (Grade 10) and Shaker Junior High School (Grade 7). She also has taught at Mildred Elley.

Ms. Lensink earned her associate's degree in 1993 at Hudson Valley Community College, her bachelor's degree in English at the University at Albany, and her master's degree in secondary education at The College of Saint Rose in 1997. She is currently an advisor in the School of Business Advisement Center and teaches both –"Foundations of Education in America" and –"Home, School and Community," online for the Teacher Preparation Department.

Ms. Lensink is the mother of two children, Olivia and Jakob.

Deanne Martocci has a master's degree from the University at Albany and is the director of the college's Center for Access and Assistive Technology and adaptive technology specialist. Ms. Martocci is an instructor for "Introduction to Assistive Technology."

Ann PlourdeAnn Plourde began her teaching career shortly after she graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh where she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. Teaching in central New York for five years at the first grade level, Ann gained a wealth of knowledge as well as experience concerning developmentally appropriate teaching practices. It was during this time that she earned her master of science degree from SUNY Oneonta. A move to the Capital Region, where Ann taught second grade and kindergarten, provided an opportunity to further her teaching experience.

In 2000, Mrs. Plourde joined the Teacher Preparation faculty as an adjunct instructor. Some of the courses she teaches at Hudson Valley include "Guidance of Young Children," "The Child in the Ever-Changing World," "Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Infants and Toddlers" and "Children's Literature, Language and Literacy Development."

Rebecca Wagner has held positions as a special education coordinator, special education teacher, academic enrichment program supervisor and co-teacher. She has worked at the New Covenant Charter School in Albany, Southgate Elementary School and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

She has a master's degree in special education and elementary education. She believes in community service as is evident by her involvement in tutoring programs, a reading program at Galway Library, and the Saratoga City Arts Center.

Elizabeth WhitemanElizabeth Whitemanholds a bachelor's degree in education from Boston College and a master's degree in history from the University at Albany.

Her professional interests include planning and implementing developmentally appropriate literacy activities, developing innovative thematic studies of historical topics, and educating parents on the development of young children.

In addition to her work as an adjunct in the department she teaches 3rd grade for the Guilderland School District. She also conducts training and workshops for various local agencies on topics such as classroom management, motivation, music and movement, and literacy learning.

Ms. Whiteman's hobbies include sewing, singing, traveling and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Academic Advisor

Diane TeutschmanDiane Teutschman holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a master's degree in elementary education from C.W. Post College. In 2003, serving as a Vista volunteer brought Ms. Teutschman to the Capital District area. After completing her project of implementing a family court program for abused and neglected children, Ms. Teutschman began teaching and advising within the Teacher Preparation Department. She has taught "Child Development" (on and off campus), "Guidance of Young Children," "Techniques of Teaching Math, Science, and Social Studies," and "College Forum." Currently, Ms. Teutschman is the full time advisor for the department in Higbee Hall, Room 105. Advisement appointments are available by calling (518) 629-7250. Evening appointments can be arranged to accommodate working students, as well as phone advising for our distance learners.

Prior to her position at Hudson Valley Community College, Ms. Teutschman worked as a preschool teacher, a special education tutor, a substitute teacher for all ages in her local district, and a nursery school director. She enjoys teaching and learning, and preparing future teachers (and assistants) for this rewarding field of education.

Ms. Teutschman is a certified trainer in the mandated New York State "SAVE" program (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education) and offers this training each semester through the Office of Community and Professional Education. She is also a certified trainer for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

In her free time, Ms. Teutschman enjoys outdoor activities (especially winter sports), time with her four grown children and grandchildren, and volunteering for her church and community.

Support Staff

Debbie O'Keefe

Debbie O'Keefe, program assistant, has a bachelor's degree from Endicott College in Business Administration. She has worked at Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School, FEMA and The Healthcare Association of New York State.

Marcy Smith, technical assistant, has a master's degree from George Washington University in management information systems. She works for two departments at Hudson Valley Community College - the Teacher Preparation Department and the Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Broadcast Communications Department. Previously, Ms. Smith worked at George Washington University, Russell Sage College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.