Meet Our Staff
Leslie Roesler, Director
Leslie Roesler is the Director of Professional Development (PD) Dimensions at Montgomery Early Learning Centers (MELC). With over thirty years of local, state and national experience in supporting early childhood and school-age program quality, Ms. Roesler oversees MELC’s professional development and technical assistance at MELC’s 19 locations. Additionally, she supports external providers through MELC’s contracts with the United Way’s Success by 6, the Southeast Regional Key, and individual programs throughout the region.
Ms. Roesler returns to MELC after most recently serving as the Associate Director for the Pennsylvania Key, where she partnered with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to provide a statewide system that supports program quality improvements and professional development to the field. Specifically, Ms. Roesler provided oversight to the program assessment, professional development and technical assistance initiatives that supports Keystone STARS. She also served as the co-lead for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant workforce initiatives and was instrumental in coordinating the development of the Pennsylvania School-Age Professional Credentials.
In 2013, Ms. Roesler was named as a State Afterschool Champion by the Afterschool Alliance for her impact on increasing the quality of PA’s afterschool program and her support for afterschool programs. She was one of 18 state champions from around the country honored by members of Congress and other national afterschool champions for supporting and working on behalf of afterschool programs and the children and families who benefit from quality programs. Ms. Roesler also served on the Pennsylvania 21st Community Learning Center Advisory Board and is a founding member of the Pennsylvania Afterschool and Youth Development Network (PSAYDN).
Ms. Roesler holds a Masters Degree in Human Services Administration and an undergraduate degree in Human Development (concentration in early childhood development), both from Drexel University.
Thomasine Washington, Senior Manager of Quality Advising
Thomasine Washington has been working in the child care field for over forty years as a classroom educator, program director/owner, workshop facilitator and technical assistant consultant. Currently she holds the position of Sr. Manager of Quality Advising for Professional Development Dimensions - an innovative program meeting the professional development needs of ECE and Out of School time programs and their staff.
Thomasine has spent much of her professional career advancing the principles of best practice and improving the quality of services delivered in child care, out of school time programs and the educational community. She has a great passion for strong administration of programs, and offers workshops and technical assistance that focus on reflective practice, pedagogical documentation, Communities of Practice, learning stories, and facilitating adult learning.
Thomasine is an inspiring technical assistance consultant that connects theory and practice in her engaging interactions with program staff. She sits as a Director of the Pennsylvania School Age Child Care Association (the state affiliate of National Afterschool Association), and is an active member of the Advisory Board of the ChildSpace Day Care Centers, Inc. in her community. She is available for technical assistance consulting and training in Southeastern Pennsylvania and is willing to travel outside of the area.
Pat Hess, Manager of Professional Development/Systems
Pat Hess is the Manager of Professional Development at MELC's Professional Development Dimensions. Pat received a BS degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and graduate work in the field of education from Temple University. She worked with school age youth in a classroom setting as an elementary school teacher and for over 29 years, she worked with the YMCA in the youth development field serving as a day camp director, school age and youth programmer, and child care director. While working at the YMCA, Pat received the following YMCA of the USA Certifications: Administration of Child Care and School Age Care, Day Camp Director, YMCA Principles and Practices I & II.The world of professional development beckoned and Pat’s role switched to that of an adjunct professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College in the early childhood department where she taught the Director Credential and Foundations of Early Childhood Education. Pat is a Certified Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Instructor (PQAS) and has presented at state and regional conferences which include the Early Childhood Summit, DVAEYC, LANEYC, and BAEYC. She was the recipient of the 2009 Keystone STARS Professional Development award.
As a certified “Play Coach” Pat brings her passion for play-based learning to her training sessions providing practitioners with hands-on, open-ended experiences that reflect the foundations of both school-age and early childhood learning. Pat has various professional development certifications: Work Sampling, Ounce, and School-age Environmental Rating Scale (SACERS), Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (PCAN) Zero to Three Curriculum, Ages and Stages Screening Assessment, Eco-Healthy Child Care Using Portfolios in School-Age Programs Links to Learning, CHANCE-Caregivers Helping to Affect and Nurture Children Early, Supporting Conversations about Race and Culture in Early Childhood Settings, Supervising Children in Child Care Centers and Homes , National Institute on Out-of School training Afterschool Program Assessment System (APAS), Resiliency Trainer and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) Curriculum trainer, Growing Up Wild and Project Learning Tree and environmental early learning curriculum. As a resiliency trainer, Pat helps school-age practitioners develop a “strengths-based’ focus when dealing with challenging classroom behaviors.
Pat's professional goal is to bring key content alive through hands-on activities and group discussion allowing professionals to play with new ideas and create their own discoveries. By creating a culture of inquiry, the expertise of adult learners sparked by curiosity will develop teachers as thinkers, asking why, as well as why not. Learning is truly a process of self-discovery,reflection, problem-solving ,and expanding your thinking.
Continual learning and program quality improvement go hand-in hand. As a member of NAEYC and the Pennsylvania School-Age Child Care Alliance, Pat, is active in promoting program quality and considering opportunities and next steps for creating public advocacy on issues affecting children and youth in their out-of school time.
Neshamah Maillard, Manager, SB6® Initiative
“When children feel they are cared for, when they care about others’ feelings, then they are less likely to turn to violence when they are frustrated; they are less likely to get out of control when they are angry; and they are more able to turn to others for support when they need it.”
~ Ross Thompson, University of California
“Children who are feeling happy and comfortable and safe and secure are able to feel curious and interested and focused.”
~ Megan Gunnar, University of Minnesota
Neshamah Dillard Maillard has worked with families and children for more than twenty years. She is currently Manager of Success By 6, a quality improvement program through the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Mass Media Arts and is actively pursuing her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, with a concentration in: Social, Emotional and Motor Development in ECE; and Trauma Competency.
Neshamah is certified as a: Trauma-Competent Professional; Playground Safety Inspector; and PA Quality Assurance System Instructor. She is also a Mind in the Making Facilitator through the Families and Work Institute (FWI). Her passion is in helping teachers and other adults understand that children need and thrive on positive relationships. Her motto is “service with a smile” as she helps Early Childhood and School Age programs improve their quality and provide a welcoming and nurturing setting for children and families. "Laughter is the best medicine!"
Donna Smith, Quality Advisor
Donna Smith has worked in the education field and with non-profit organizations for over 25 years and in a supervisor/management capacity for over 7 years. Donna has a strong desire to provide high quality elementary and early education. She is highly qualified to provide professional development to staff, as well as, parent workshops and technical assistance to early learning and school age programs. Donna has served as a team leader for education staff, providing supervision, direction, support, leadership and training. She is familiar with child development, developmental practices, curriculum expectations, and best practices and stays current on new research. She has a strong understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity, socioeconomic situations, learning styles, and the many ways people interact within a diverse setting.
Donna has extensive training in STEM curriculum development, understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards and how to connect them to practices. Her area of expertise is in guiding the Out of School Time (OST) community, Program administrators, staff, and parents to understand what STEM is about, connecting it to real world experiences and how STEM plays a major role in the nation’s economy by creating a rich, hands–on, fun STEM learning environment. Donna is a trainer for Dimensions of Success (DoS); An Observation Tool for STEM Programming for Out-of-School Time and is known as "Donna the Science Diva"!
Her education and experiences are comprehensive, with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education with a concentrated minor in Sociological Studies, and an Associate’s degree in Science in Education/Early Childhood Education. Donna has taught, trained, and provided workshops to early childhood and out of school time educators, children, and families in various areas from building relationships, connecting families and communities, to quality programming and curriculum development and implementation. She has developed tools and compiled numerous resources to support of educators including curriculum development, activity ideas, age and developmentally appropriate practices, system building, team building etc. Donna has presented at the PENN SACCA Conference and co-presented at the DVAEYC Conference.
Donna is a PQAS Certified instructor and provides professional development instruction to early and out of school time educators and administrators on various topics from child growth and development, the environment, curriculum and content, Links to Learning science and STEM, professionalism and leadership, families in society and effective communication. She is experienced in state and local child care licensing regulations, as well as health and safety regulations. Donna is certified in Leadership Building, Race Matters, Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, Community College of Philadelphia Leadership Certification, is a Certified Links to Learning Instructor, Certified School Age Career Advisor and Certified CLASS Assessment Monitor. Donna brings a wealth on knowledge, experience, professionalism, and charisma to the team.
Esther Moore, Information Specialist
“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson
Esther Moore serves as the Information Specialist at Professional Development Dimensions. She is
responsible for creating and maintaining the tracking data and updates to not only the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' data collection system, but also for other funding partners. She prepares monthly reports that are used for reporting, analyzing and invoicing.
Esther is also responsible for creating our bi-monthly PD Dimensions' Newsletter. The newsletter is one of the marketing tools used to keep our clients informed about the professional development
opportunities that are offered and any important information or updates. She is the Co-Coordinator of our annual Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Conference. The Conference is designed to provide our practitioners with the most innovative, standards based tools
in the field of STEM and is the culminating activity to a month of various STEM activities presented
throughout the city of Philadelphia.
Esther holds a BS in Communication from James Madison University and pursued a Master’s Degree in Television Production at Regent University.
Janine Joseph-Massenburg, Quality Advisor
Janine provides technical assistance as a Quality Advisor for the Success by Six project. Janine has earned an Associates of Liberal Arts with a Biology conentration, holds a BS degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies (Recreation Education) with a concentration in Community Recreation, and a Masters of Early Childhood Education.
She has many hobbies including crocheting, cross stitching, church activities and rhythm and blues line dancing. Janine lives in Quakertown, PA with her husband and has 3 children.
Joanna LaCorte, M.Ed, Quality Advisor
Joanna has over 10 years of experience working with young children and families as a toddler and school age teacher. She has another 10 years of experience as an administrator (director and assistant director) in early care and education, working with staff, families, and children.
A particular area of interest for Joanna, based on her studies of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, is working with staff and administrators to design curriculum that truly addresses the nature of young children, with a goal of creating a joyful experience for teachers, families, and children. Joanna also studies Bowen Emotional Systems Theory to better understand and improve human relationships in the personal and professional realm. She has been an active member of the Delaware Valley LEAP, Leadership Empowerment Action Project, since 1999.
Professional Development interests include Hands-on-Math, Rough & Tumble Play, Process Oriented Art, plus staff coaching and mentorship. Joanna received a BA in Humanities from Holy Family University, and her master degree with PA Teacher Certification in ECE from Chestnut Hill College. She is in the process of completing her Trauma Awareness Certification with IFP.
Kristen Kunkle, Quality Advisor
Kristin Kunkle is a Quality Advisor at Professional Development Dimensions. She provides Technical Assistance and instructs professional development. Kristin began working with children as a nanny in her undergrad and what began as a college job, grew into career in early education. Kristin went on to work as a toddler teacher, program director, and then at the Southeast Regional Key (SERK). At SERK she held several positions; STARS Specialist, Designator, and Designation Coordinator.
Her experience at SERK helped her to gain a deep understanding of Keystone STARS, PA’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. She has a wealth of experience helping early learning programs successfully navigate the STARS program, and has supported many early learning and school age programs in reaching higher levels of quality. Kristin has a BA in Psychology and is currently pursuing a MA in Human Development, with a concentration in Education Leadership and College Teaching at Pacific Oaks College, an institution that specializes in ECE. For her Master’s Thesis, Kristin plans to investigate the benefits of yoga in the preschool classroom. She is currently pursuing a certification in children’s yoga from Little Flower Yoga in NY.
Kristin holds a PQAS certification and enjoys training on a variety of topics including connecting children to nature, the importance of play, social-emotional development, process art, inquiry-based learning, proper supervision, and child observation.
Her favorite quote on education is by William Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” In Kristin’s work with early learning professionals, she hopes to ignite their fire for lifelong learning.
Monica Stanoch, Quality Advisor
Monica has been providing Stars Technical Assistance and professional development for Professional Development Dimensions since 2009. Monica has been a PQAS certified trainer since 2009 and truly enjoys presenting on a variety of topics. Her bachelor's degree in Communication and English from La Salle University was completed in 2001, and provided her with a foundation of skills that she utilizes as a trainer. She received her Master's of Science in Individual and Family Studies in 2003. This experience instilled in her a favorite motto that guides her work: "you can't do childcare without the parents". Parents as partners is a particular training module that she enjoys, and she hope her enthusiasm for families shines through.
In 2008, Monica attended extensive professional development in early childhood mental health. This coursework has guided her work with all children. By understanding that mental health can be supported by classroom design, interactions, and activities, Monica is able to provide technical assistance in classrooms where children are exhibiting problematic behaviors. She completed the CSEFEL pyramid modules training institute in 2012, and received training in the PAX approach to classroom management which has furthered her ability to help facilitate better social emotional climates in classrooms.
Prior to this position at MELC and PD Dimensions, she worked at the Southeast Regional Key where she was a Stars Specialist within Philadelphia in addition to various positions including professional development manager. Monica has an exhaustive knowledge of the Stars standards for all Star levels and extensive knowledge of the environmental rating scales. As the subject of her master's thesis, she examined the complex factors that drive quality indicators in early childhood classrooms. At the Southeast Regional Key, she had the opportunity to co-train with the state ERS assessors on all of the scales to practitioners in the region. All of her experiences have informed the professional development and technical assistance she delivers as a Quality Advisory, and she continue to seek out experiences that provide additional strategies and deepen her knowledge of the field.