Meet Our Team

laura b. trust

Founder

alan litchman

Chief Financial Officer

vicki milstein

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Jaye Y. Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Jennifer Fischer-Mueller

Head of School

debra nickerson

Associate Head of School

aisha sanders

Lead Educator

denise johnson

Lead Educator

amanda villanova

Lead Educator

Ana Merida

Educator in Training

marc walker

Educator

tina bryant

Educator

laura bradford

Educator

sharlean davis

Educator in Training

courtney keilty

Director of Enrichment

rosane prior

Director of Human Resources

michael churwin

Vice President of Operations

Susan Gould

Director of Culinary Arts

zach sufrin

Vice President of Finance

Ginny Caroll

Afternoon Academic & Enrichment Coordinator

Julie Driscoll

Occupational Therapist

Mariana Merida

Family Engagement Coordinator

LAURA B. TRUST

Founder

Laura established and operates Trust Early Learners with the mission to re-imagine high-quality early education for all children. Laura also founded Global Early Education in 2019 with Vicki Milstein to develop a best practice early learners’ curriculum. Laura’s background is in business having owned and operated manufacturing and retail companies focused on consumer goods world-wide. Laura received her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Master’s from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Alan Litchman

Chief Financial Officer

Alan founded Trust Early Learners with his wife Laura. Alan’s background is in Finance and Real Estate. He has worked in finance for multiple businesses and has developed retail and commercial real estate all over the country –including the School’s building in Brookline. Alan received his Bachelors’ from the University of Wisconsin, MS from MIT Center for Real Estate, and MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Vicki Milstein

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Vicki was Principal of Early Education in the Brookline Public Schools for 21 years. Her experience includes teaching in Pre-K and Kindergarten, college instructor, and Early Childhood Coordinator. She is the author of Integrating Math in Early Childhood Classrooms (Scholastic 2007) and the Global Early Education Curriculum. Vicki has presented at national and international conferences. She holds degrees from Wheelock College and Lesley University.

Jaye Smith

Chief Executive Officer

Jaye is a nonprofit leader with 20 years experience strengthening educational and community-based organizations in Boston, most recently as the Chief Advancement Officer and SVP for Nurtury. Prior to that, Jaye held leadership positions at The Advent School, Mother Caroline Academy, The Dimock Center, and her alma mater Simmons College. She sits on the board of TSNE Mission Works and AFPMA.

Jennifer Fischer-Mueller

Head of School

Jennifer is a passionate educational leader with a demonstrated commitment to excellence and equity. Dr. Fischer-Mueller led the Canton (MA) Public Schools as Superintendent from 2016 – 2021. Previously, she served as Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in the Public Schools of Brookline (MA) for 13 years. With over 30 years in education, Dr. Fischer-Mueller’s experiences range from classroom teaching to administration, preK – 12.

Debra Nickerson

Associate Head of School

Debra was a Teacher and the Director for 39 years at Les Petits Nursery School in Brookline. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Speech Therapy from Salem State University. She has volunteered at Boston Children’s Hospital holding babies for 30 years and at the Boston Marathon for over 20 years. Deb truly enjoys enriching children’s lives.

Aisha Sanders

Lead Educator

Aisha has been working in early childhood for over 15 years most recently as Lead Educator at TSC Child Care in Cambridge, MA. She is licensed as a Director Level I and II and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Wheelock College. Aisha has taught children up to age 8, collaborates and engages with all families, and is passionate about creating meaningful and enriching classrooms and curricula.

Denise Johnson

Lead Educator

Denise has taught for over 30 years and holds three Masters’ degrees — from Springfield College, UMASS Boston and Wheelock College. For the last 6 years, Denise was Lead Educator in the UPK classroom at Nurtury and prior to that worked for the Boston Public Schools for 13 years as an After School Assistant Director and Cluster Substitute. She enjoys basketball and coaching Double Dutch.

Amanda Villanova

Lead Educator

Amanda has taught 1st grade, Kindergarten, and Pre-K including at a Montessori school with children ages 3 to 5 years old. She has a passion for early education and believes children need a secure and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow. Amanda received her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Social Sciences from Portland State University, and her Master in Education.

Ana Merida

Educator in Training

Ana always had a special love for kids. Most recently she was an educator at Little Children’s Schoolhouse in Brookline Massachusetts. Ana is working towards her BS at University of Massachusetts – Lowell in Biotechnology. She has a passion to improve medical patients’ lives which grew from mentoring children at Shriners Hospital. She hopes that every child feels supported through her caring personality.

Marc Walker, JR.

Educator

Marc originally from Washington DC, has extensive experience teaching young children, most recently at Cole-Harrington Early Learning Center in Canton (MA) and prior to that at the Freedom School in Boston. Marc received his certificate in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the University Medical School of South Carolina, and received his Bachelor’s in Child and Family Development from Benedict College in South Carolina

Tina Bryant

Educator

Tina has been in Early Education for 16 years, the last 8 at Nurtury Learning Lab. Prior to that, she taught at Grace Christian Academy and the John Hancock Child Care Center. Tina is a graduate of Wheelock’s Early Educators Program and will graduate with a B.A in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Nazarene College. Tina is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of six.

Laura Bradford

Educator

Laura was the teacher/director for the Clinton Path Preschool for eleven years. Her earlier experiences include ten years teaching at the Brookline Schools Staff Children’s Center. Laura also taught After school programs, Kindergarten, at the Early Childhood Center at Maimonides School and ran preschools from her home. She holds a degree from Wheelock College.

Sharlean Davis

Educator in Training

Sharlean has been in the early childhood field for 18 years and has always wanted to be an educator. As a high school student she studied early childhood education and knew then she would make it her career. Sharlean is currently continuing her education at Cambridge College with a focus in Special Education. She has a passion for early learning and teaching young children.

Courtney Keilty

Director of Enrichment and 2021-2022 Artist in Residence

Courtney was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has spent the last fifteen years working with children as an after school director, preschool and art teacher, set design and technology manager, and private consultant for families. Courtney practices a project-based learning approach which she believes leads to a deeper understanding and passion for learning.

Rosane Prior

Director of Human Resources

Rosane has been Head of Human Resources and Payroll at Finagle A Bagel for 16 years. Her experience includes recruitment, talent management, training, development, payroll, HR systems, benefit administration, dispute mediation, workers compensation, records management, HR policy development and compliance. Ms. Prior holds a Bachelor’s Equivalent in Arts with emphasis in Education from University of Espírito Santo in Brazil and is an HRCI-certified professional.

Michael Churwin, LCSW

Vice President of Operations

Michael has a long history working with children and families. For 21 years, Mike has helped build and has been the Assistant Director at a camp for children in Maine. He was a counselor and then administrator at a program for at-risk youth. Mike earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College.

Susan Gould

Director of Culinary Arts

Susan has for the last 20 years been running and growing the retail, catering and wholesale businesses at Finagle a Bagel. Susan is the creative mind behind all recipe and menu development and has catered events from 8 to 800. Food is her passion as is the understanding of food as a culinary and cultural experience. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

Zach Sufrin

Vice President of Finance

Zach has experience in the finance and accounting fields. Most recently, he worked for a family office where he was instrumental in the financial operations of the company. Zach is driven by helping others and ensuring that their financial goals are met. Zach earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Babson College with a concentration in Finance.

Ginny Carroll

Afternoon Academic and Enrichment Coordinator

Ginny was an elementary school teacher in the Brookline Public Schools for over 35 years. Following that, Ginny was the faculty mentor at an independent school, and taught graduate seminars at Wheelock College. Ginny was the recipient of the Goldin Foundation Award for excellence in education, and the Hope Found Hero Award for her work at The Shattuck Shelter. She is a graduate of Wheelock College.

Julie Driscoll, MA OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

Julie has 30 years of experience working with children ages 0-21 and was a recipient of a Maternal & Child Health Grant participating in USC’s University Affiliated Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Julie earned a Pediatric Leadership Certificate, Sensory Integration Certification and an advanced Master’s in OT and Occupational Science. Julie also holds a BS in OT from Boston University.

Mariana Merida

Family Engagement Coordinator