Director, Child Development Center
Shira joined the GMU CDC team in August of 2016. Having spent the past 12 years with international early care and education provider, Bright Horizons, nine of which she served as Center Director, Shira brings a wealth of experience and expertise in areas of child development, parent partnerships, client relations, and early childhood curriculum.
Shira earned her MS.Ed in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City, and has worked with young children and families for over 20 years. She is excited to share her knowledge and creativity with the CDC team, and develop new and exciting partnerships on the Mason campus to enhance and further develop the education program of the CDC, while meeting the diverse needs of Mason families.
In addition to her passion to support the development of young children in the classroom, Shira believes in nurturing the growth of each child from within. Having personally experienced the benefits of yoga and mindfulness, Shira obtained her certification in teaching yoga and mindfulness to children from Budding Yogis at Circle Yoga in Chevy Chase, MD. Through fun, child-centered games and activities, children develop skills that promote emotional awareness, conflict resolution and compassion for others. When not practicing yoga, Shira enjoys time with her husband and 2 children in their Falls Church City home and neighborhood, as well as hiking, writing, and cooking.
Erin Geiger 3-9751
Ms. Erin Geiger, began her career at the CDC in February of 2012 as the Lead Teacher of the Froggie Classroom.
She has a Bachelor of Art Degree in Sociology from Mary Washington College and her MA in Ed & HD from George Washington University. She currently holds a Professional Teaching License in Virginia with Severe Disabilities K-12 and Early Childhood Special Education endorsements.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Erin enjoys spending time at the beach, and walking with her dog, Charlie. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student at George Mason University. Ms. Erin became Assistant Director in May of 2014
Fiscal and Administrative Assistant
Karen Prodo 3-4645
Miss Karen joined the CDC in March 2015 as the Fiscal and Administrative Assistant. She has a B.S. in Management Science from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Miss Karen worked in human resources for twelve years before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. Prior to coming to the CDC, she spent the last six years as an administrative assistant at a local area preschool. In her spare time, Miss Karen enjoys reading, cooking, knitting and spending time with her family.
Food Service Manager
Supamas Viwatdechakul 3-3750
Supamas, or Miss Jinnie as she likes to be called, joined the CDC family in 2005. She studied Home Economics and Child Psychology at Rajamonkon University in Thailand, and currently holds a Northern Virginia food manager’s license. In her spare time she loves cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and daughter. Miss Jinnie also enjoys any opportunity to travel, especially to Thailand to visit family.
Mr. Ed joined the CDC in April 2013 as the Assistant to the Director. He has been working in early childhood education for over twenty years in multiple capacities and currently works with Fairfax County Public Schools as a special education teacher. Mr. Ed is pursuing a graduate degree in early childhood education with a focus on special education at GMU, from which he also earned an undergraduate degree in Communications. He leads teacher education workshops and is a member of NAEYC.
Mr. Ed is also Mr. Ed the Science Head, and loves preschool science instruction. He teaches Sunday school and enjoys singing in his church choir. He is honored to help support an orphanage and preschool in rural Zambia, Africa and has had the privilege to travel there and work with the children several times. In his spare time Mr. Ed enjoys outdoor sports, reading, writing, playing guitar and spending time with his two wonderful daughters.
Teddy Bears Lead Teacher
Dorothea Tyree 3-3753
A native of Romania, Miss Dorothea began her career in early childhood development at the Fort Hood, TX, Child Development Center in 1998. It was there that she received an Associate’s Degree in Child Development, and a two year specialized training with infants and toddlers. Currently attending Mason for a BA in Psychology, she also is a member of NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Miss Dorothea has been working at the CDC since 2001 and was the Assistant Teacher for the Teddy Bears and Polar Bears Classrooms prior to being named Lead Teacher. Additionally, Miss Dorothea is the CDC's Garden Operations Manager overseeing the CDC's gardening learning program. She enjoys working with young children and looks forward to meeting future Mason families and keeping in touch with the CDC graduates. In her spare time Miss Dorothea is the mother of two children and enjoys learning other languages and cultures. She also loves sports and reading.
Teddy Bears Assistant Teacher
Napha Pennington 3-3753
Napha Pennington graduated from Udon Thani Rajabhat University in Thailand with a Bachelor's Degree in Education, majoring in Early Childhood Education. Napha taught at a Kindergarten School in Thailand from 2003-2006. She then worked at a pediatric hospital in Thailand, comforting children undergoing medical treatment and teaching at their daycare facility. Prior to joining the CDC, Napha was working as a Montessori assistant for over 5 years. She genuinely enjoys working with young children. In her spare time Napha loves painting with acrylics and enjoys doing portraits. She also finds great joy doing art activities with children.
Bumble Bees Lead Teacher
Suzanne Hogan 3-3384
Miss Suzanne is a graduate of Western Kentucky University. Prior to coming to Virginia she was a Teacher Assistant for Community Action of Southern Kentucky. She also holds a Kentucky Commonwealth Child Care Credential. Miss Suzanne was also the Assistant Teacher in the Monkey Classroom for two years.
Bumble Bees Assistant Teacher
Daye Kim 3-3384
Miss Daye (Diane) is a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She started working at the CDC in May of 2015 as a teacher’s assistant in the bumblebees. Miss Diane loves learning alongside the children and interacting with them. She considers it a gift to be a part of the childhood of her students and watch them blossom in many aspects of development.
Owls Lead Teacher
Dixie Mauck 3-3751
Dixie Mauck has been with George Mason's Child Development Center for three years. She started in the Teddy Bear Classroom as an Assistant Teacher. She was also the Assistant Teacher in the Polar Bear Classroom before assuming the role of Interim Lead Teacher. Dixie worked for Stafford County Schools system in their Autism program for 8 years. She also worked for 2 years in a local day care center. As a Mom of four she clocked many hours of volunteering. Dixie has received her Child Development Associate and is continuing her education in Early Childhood Development. She is married, a mother of 4 and a Memaw to 6 grandchildren. Dixie enjoys music, reading, gardening and spending time with her husband and pets.
Owls Assistant Teacher
Thomas Coleman 3-3752
Mr. Tommy has been working at the George Mason CDC since May 2010. He has spent much of that time as a teacher's assistant in the Polar Bear (now the Owls) classroom. In the summer of 2015 he served as a Lead Teacher for the CDC summer camp. Mr. Tommy's latest scholarly endeavor has been to finish his classwork for the CDA teaching certification. In his spare time Mr. Tommy enjoys foreign art cinema, video and board games, and his record collection.
Elephants Lead Teacher
Courtney Craig 3-3384
Ms. Courtney is a graduate of George Mason University with a major in Early Childhood Education. Prior to coming to the Child Development Center in 2013, Ms. Courtney was an Assistant Lead Teacher in the Infant/Toddler classroom at Mount Olivet United Methodist Preschool. Ms. Courtney also volunteers on a monthly basis in the Infant/Toddler room at her local church and has previously lead children’s church on multiple occasions in the elementary classrooms
In her spare time, she enjoys decorating and crafting, baking, reading, spending time with her friends and family, and traveling to new places. She especially enjoys spending time with each unique, individual child in the classroom, and is grateful for the opportunity to encourage their growth, creativity, and laughter.
Elephants Assistant Teacher
Pleasure N. Onyemachi 3-3626
Ms. Pleasure joined George Mason University Child Development Center in July 2013 in the Polar Bears classroom as a teacher assistant, and a year later became the assistant teacher in the Teddy Bears Classroom. She is currently the assistant teacher in the Elephant classroom. She has her Bachelors of Science in Food Science and Technology, and a Child Development Associate certification. She was a 2015 CDA Scholarship Recipient and was designated by the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children, NVAEYC, a scholarship selection committee member for 2016. She has seven years of experience working in elementary and high schools abroad.
Ms. Pleasure volunteers as a first grade Sunday school teacher in Groveton Baptist Church, Alexandria. Her dream is to continue to share her passion for learning, her love for children, and her enthusiasm and dedication as a teacher.
Monkeys Lead Teacher
Jennifer Reagan 3-3752
Miss Jen is originally from New Jersey. She graduated from Caldwell College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She has over 10 years of experience working with children between the ages of one and nine. Ms. Jen has been the Monkey lead teacher since December 2010. In her free time Ms. Jen enjoys shopping, baking, spending time with her husband and baby, and going to the movies.
Monkeys Assistant Teacher
Katrina Cabatic 3-3752
Miss Rina is a graduate of George Mason University with a B.S. in Biology. As a child, she would tell people, "when I grow up I want to be a teacher." and to her amazement she is living that dream. The excitement of teaching, getting to know each child, and taking part in their educational and social development brings so much joy to Miss Rina. She believes being able to have fun, playing and laughing with her students is just an added bonus, especially when each day brings forth something new and different.
Froggies Assistant Teacher
Sandra Coleman 3-9736
Ms. Sandra has been a Teacher Assistant at the CDC since September 2009. She has also worked with children with special needs for Fairfax County Public Schools. Ms. Sandra loves making learning fun by incorporating music and cooking into her lesson plans. Her favorite children's books are Strega Nona and Where the Wild Things Are. Ms. Sandra enjoys spending time with her family and has two grown children.