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Laboratory Preschool

Meet Our Staff

Cynthia Paris- Director: cparis@udel.edu

The Director of the Laboratory Preschool is responsible for leadership in program development and maintaining high quality programming for children and families and for the UD student in clinical experiences. She provides leadership and oversight of research activities and supervision and evaluation of the staff. She is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies as well as a Faculty Affiliate in the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood. She has taught children from 3 through 8 years old in public and private early childhood settings, is a former Kindergarten Master Teacher of the UD Laboratory Preschool and was Director of The Martin Luther King Jr. Parent Cooperative Preschool. She earned a PhD in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Life Span Development and BS with Honors in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from the University of Delaware. She is a licensed teacher of Early Childhood/Primary K-4 in Delaware and Preschool through Grade 3 in New Jersey; an Early Childhood Administrator and School-Age Administrator in Delaware; a Supervisor in New Jersey; and a Certified Master Instructor in the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.

Sarah Kilpatrick- Administrative Coordinator: sarahk@udel.edu

The Administrative Coordinator provides leadership and guidance to ensure optimal day-to day operations and compliance with state licensing and national accreditation criteria and fiscal management.  She works with the director and master teachers to develop, implement and evaluate program policies and procedures and to support parent involvement. She schedules, supervises and evaluates support staff, work-study students and volunteers. Sarah graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Delaware in 2007, and she is currently working towards an MS in Public Administration. She is a licensed teacher of Early Childhood Birth-Grade 2, Elementary Grades K-6, and Exceptional Children Birth-Grade 12; and an Early Childhood Administrator with Specialized Training Credentials for School-age and Infant/Toddler. Sarah competed for the University of Delaware’s diving team and coached diving for children ages 4-18 for eight years.

Master Teachers

Master Teachers supervise and serve as model teachers for undergraduate student teachers and practicum students. They are responsible for curriculum planning and implementation that is aligned with the Delaware Early Learning Foundations and K – 12 Curriculum Standards.  They engage in daily observation and assessment of children’s learning and modifies activities based on that information, and ensure active two-way communication with families.

Debbie Torbert- Master Teacher- Preschool (2’s & 3’s): dtorbert@udel.edu

Debbie is an Instructor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, teaching HDFS 222, both in the spring and fall. She serves as the Master Teacher of the 3’s class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the 2’s on Tuesday and Thursday.  She serves as clinical placement supervisor for HDFS 224 students and as supervisor, as well as cooperating teacher, for student teachers.  She has worked with children for thirty-seven years, having taught children from 2 through 6 years old in private early childhood settings, and served as Program Director for eighteen years. She attended the University of Delaware, and graduated with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education with certification in Preschool/Kindergarten.  She begins her graduate career here at the University this fall.  She holds an Early Childhood Administrator Credential with Administration and School Age Specialized Training Credentials, from the Delaware Department of Education.   She is recognized as a Certified Master Instructor by the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIEEC), providing many community based workshops for early child care professionals in the field.   She has presented workshops here in the state of Delaware, as well as in Washington, DC for NAEYC. She contributed to the profession by serving on many state task forces for the field of ECE, including Delaware Early Learning Foundations for School Success, Partners in Excellence, T.E.A.C.H. Advisory committee, and the Office of Child Care Rules Revision Task Force. She served on the Board of DAEYC, and is a current member of NAEYC and DAEYC.

Laura Morris- Master Teacher- PreK/Kindergarten (4’s & 5’s): lauramor@udel.edu

Laura has a MS in Elementary Education from Wilmington University and a BS in Human Resources from the University of Delaware. Her major areas of study include Preschool and Kindergarten Education/Young Exceptional Children. She completed 34 hours of additional graduate work in Learning/Behavior Disorders at the University of Louisville. She has a Delaware Department of Education Early Childhood Administrator Certificate with Specialized Training Credentials for School-age and Infant/Toddler. She is a certified Master Instructor in the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood. Laura has 7 years experience as a Childcare Administrator, 16 years of teaching experience, and 7 years of experience supervising student teachers.

Sue Schmidt- Master Teacher- PreK (4’s & 3’s): junky07@hotmail.com

Sue Schmidt comes to us with many years of early childhood education experience and knowledge. Sue taught preschool and preK in inclusive classrooms for 25 years at Bush Elementary school in the Brandywine School District. Most recently, she worked as a trainer for teachers throughout the state through the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.

Diane Crossan Lawler- Master Teacher of Art: dlawler@udel.edu

Diane is an artist and instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. She serves as the art instructor and curriculum consultant in the UD Laboratory Preschool and The College School. She teaches courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education and Human Development emphasizing the importance of the arts in education. Diane was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware and is currently doing graduate work in art and education with a focus toward art therapy. She has worked with children and adults for over twenty years and is an accomplished painter whose work hangs in collections nationwide. She is recognized as a Certified Instructor by the Delaware Institute of Excellence in Early Childhood and an Early Childhood Teacher and School Age Teacher in Delaware.

IMG_2436 - Version 2Anabelle O’Malley- PreK/K Co-Teacher: aomalley@udel.edu

The PreK-K Co-Teacher is responsible for participating in the planning and implementation of curriculum and assisting in documentation and evaluation of children’s progress through the year. She will co-teach morning activities with the Master Teacher to ensure that all children are receiving individualized attention when needed. Additionally, the Co-Teacher will serve as site supervisor for pre-student teaching field placement students assigned to the Laboratory Preschool for undergraduate and graduate clinical placements and internships. Last year, Anabelle taught in the 4 year old program as a long-term substitute. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware. For sixteen years, she worked with young children in the public school system. She has developed and implemented trainings and has served as a teaching coach, traveling throughout the state to visit classrooms and support program improvement. Additionally, she has worked with UD students teaching an early literacy course in the HDFS department. Anabelle completed her practicum courses at the Laboratory Preschool as an undergraduate, and while her son attended the Laboratory Preschool, she was a part of the Parent Advisory Committee.

IMG_1505Katie Pollock- Teacher- Afternoon Preschool Class: kpollock@udel.edu

Katie worked as a Master Teacher at the Laboratory Preschool for six years teaching both the Kindergarten and 4 year old programs. Recently, she has served as our instructor for Play & Grow Together and the leader for our Family Partners Group. Prior to her time at the Lab School, she taught for the Christina School District. Katie earned an MS in Literacy from Wilmington University and a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Delaware. She is a licensed Delaware teacher of Early Childhood & Early Childhood Special Education, an Early Childhood Administrator in Delaware, and a certified Master Instructor in the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.

Ariel Perez- Play & Grow Together Instructor: aaperez@udel.edu

As the instructor of the Play & Grow Together program, Ariel is responsible for planning and implementing various interactive sessions for infants and young toddlers, while providing guidance to their parents/guardians. Originally from Long Island, New York, Ariel received a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at the University of Delaware in 2014. She is currently in the Exceptional Children and Youth Program at the University, pursuing a Masters of Education in Autism and Severe Disabilities. She’s very excited to lead the Play and Grow Together Group and cannot wait to graduate in May 2016 and begin teaching full time!

Kimberly Hill- Service Coordinator: kimhill@udel.edu

The Service Coordinator assists staff in the Laboratory Preschool and The College School to ensure optimal day-to-day operations. Responsibilities include preparing weekly snack menus and snack daily for all Laboratory Preschool classrooms, organizing and maintaining supplies and equipment, supporting in classrooms, and planning and managing school-wide activities and events. Kimberly also owns a wedding, events, and flower business.


Judy Bachman- Administrative Assistant: jbachman@udel.edu

Judy provides administrative support for The College School (75% of the time) and the Lab Preschool (25% of the time). Judy manages the daily operations of the front desk, assists the Director in the admissions process for The College School, manages financial activity for The College School teachers and staff, as well as other administrative duties. Prior to joining The College School and the Laboratory Preschool, Judy worked for the University of Delaware College of Engineering Finance Department.


Student Teachers

The Laboratory Preschool enjoys the benefit of one or two student teachers who are majoring in Early Childhood Education in each classroom throughout the school year. Prior to admission to student teaching, they must successfully complete course work and four prior practicum experiences in inclusive early childhood education. Student teachers are responsible for phased-in curriculum planning and implementation and work with families under close supervision of the Master Teachers. Master Teachers prepare the children and families for the introduction of new student teachers each nine weeks and prepare the children to say goodbye to those who are leaving.

Practicum Students

Students in UD’s Early Childhood Education major have their first practicum placement in the Laboratory Preschool.  One or two students are placed in each classroom for four hours a week through a full semester.  Students must be formally admitted to the Early Childhood Education program prior to being placed in this introductory practicum experience and enroll concurrently in an introductory inclusive curriculum course.  They are responsible for working with small groups or individual children under close supervision of the Master Teachers.  Master Teachers prepare the children and families for the introduction of new practicum students and prepare the children to say goodbye to those who are leaving.

Independent Study/Internship Students/Honors Assignments

Students in Early Childhood Education and related fields may request to conduct independent study, honors or internship assignments in one or more of the Laboratory Preschool classrooms. Requests must be approved by the administrators and staff. The responsibilities of these UD students will vary depending on the goals and credit hours of the independent study, internship or honors assignment.

Laboratory Preschool  •  459 Wyoming Road  •  Newark, DE 19716  •  USA
Phone: 302-831-2304  •  E-mail: labpreschool@udel.edu  •  ©2012