Staff Biographies

Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development

Ms. Bartram

It is a pleasure to introduce myself as the director of the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development. I have 20 years of experience working with children and families in a variety of settings. Prior to accepting the director position at the ERCCD in July 2008, I served for 10 years as the Director of Children’s Programs for Easter Seals Florida, Inc. In my capacity at Easter Seals, I successfully and strategically managed program operations for all early childhood, special education, therapy and parent education/support programs for children birth to 6 years old and their families. In addition to receiving both my BSW and MSW degrees from Florida Atlantic University, I have an Advanced Director Credential and VPK Director Endorsement with the State of Florida. I am also registered with the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling and hold Master Trainer Certification with the Palm Beach County Early Childhood Training Registry. In 2005, the "Teach One, Reach Many" infant mental health program I coordinated at Easter Seals, in collaboration with All ’Bout Children, Inc. received a national award of excellence. In 2006 and 2007, respectively, I received High Performing Leader Awards from Palm Beach Community College and Children’s Services Council for exemplifying leadership in the field of early childhood and promoting quality program service delivery models. Other honors and achievements include the following: Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society- Florida Atlantic University, 2008; Who’s Who in Executives & Professionals National Recipient, 2008; National Scholars Honor Society- Florida Atlantic University, 2007; Delta Xi Chapter/Phi Alpha Honor Society- Florida Atlantic University, 1999; and Golden Key National Honor Society- North Carolina State University, 1997. My future plans include completion of a doctoral degree and obtaining state licensure as a clinical social worker.

I have served and continue to serve in a number of leadership roles within the community that focus on promotion and delivery of quality early childhood services, inclusion, training and mental health, including:

  • Personal and Professional Development Allies (PD2) Committee 2008-Present
  • Personal and Professional Development Allies (PD2) Sub-Committee: Sponsoring Agency
  • Framework Development March 2009-Present
  • QIS Director Advisory Committee: Chair 2006-07
  • QIS Director Advisory Committee: Regional Representative 2004-06
  • Institute of Excellence: SEEK Scholarship Committee
  • Provider Representative 2003-present
  • Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County
  • Early Childhood Social Emotional Wellness Committee
  • Chair, Program Subcommittee 2006-07
  • Association for the Education of Young Children, Palm Beach County Chapter
  • Executive Board Member: Secretary 2002-06
  • Early Childhood Conference Committee Member: Exhibitor Chair 2003-04; 2005-06
  • Council for Exceptional Children: Executive Board Member
  • Vice President 2003-04; Secretary 2002-03
  • All ‘Bout Children, Inc.: Honorary Board Member, 2003-Present
  • National Association of Social Workers 2006-Present
  • Association for Childhood Education International: Member-at-Large, 2008
  • People to People Citizen Ambassador Program: Member, 2008

I believe strongly in collaboration and bring strong connections and relationships with community partners that will further strengthen the vision and mission of the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development. In addition, I have expertise and experience in organizational/program development, international relief work, public speaking, research, training and grant writing.

From a philosophical viewpoint, I view the education of young children as a comprehensive approach to learning. All children of varying abilities and backgrounds deserve the same opportunities to learn, play and grow in a developmentally appropriate environment rich with diverse learning opportunities. It is important to create and sustain a learning environment that builds self esteem, fosters social competence and encourages interactions of children of all abilities, cultures and ethnicities.

I look forward to partnering with you as we work through a shared vision to develop your child’s full potential.

Ms. Gagula

Hello! My name is Svetlana (Lana) Gagula. I am the Lead Teacher for the Two year old classroom. I was born in Serbia and graduated from the University of Bosnia earning a Bachelor Degree in Architecture. I am married and a dedicated mother of two daughters; one is in college and the other in high school. I am very proud of their academic and athletic achievements. My family and I moved to the United States in 1998 and I have been working with toddlers ever since.

Working with young children is a great challenge and an enjoyable experience. I enjoy watching the children in my classroom grow and change. I strive for creativity and organization throughout all classroom activities.

In addition to my degree in Architecture, I hold a Child Development Associate credential and have completed masters level graduate courses in Multicultural Art Education and Art & Literacy in Early Childhood Education. I have received additional training in the following areas: Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Redirecting Child Behavior (RCB), Development of Children’s Art, Using Literature in Early Years, Project Approach, Promoting School Readiness, Assessment and Application Issues in Early Literacy and Language, High Scope, Managing Feelings and Behavior in the Classroom, Working with Children with Special Needs.

As an enthusiastic and caring educator I believe that all children can learn in an environment that is stimulating, comforting, and appropriate to children’s abilities. I will work hard to be a positive influence in the lives of children and families in my class. Should you have any questions or inquiries, please e-mail me at

Ms. Lee

I am pleased to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the Lead Teacher for Classroom B. My name is Yoonhee Lee. I came from South Korea as an exchange student to FAU in 2003. After finishing my Student Teaching Practicum in 2002, I taught both Middle School and High School in South Korea.

My desire to further my education brought me to the US, and in May 2005, I earned a Masters Degree in Social Foundation of Education with a specialty in Multicultural Education from FAU. In addition, I have completed the 40 Hour Child Care Certification, CPR/First Aid, Redirecting Child Behavior (RCB) and High Scope training.

In addition to my teaching role at the Karen Slattery Center, I have assisted the curriculum consultant in coordination and implementation of staff development trainings for teachers and presented the Project Approach curriculum at the annual Palm Beach County Head Start Staff Development Conference. My future goal is to participate in future community partnerships, research and training initiatives.

I am very interested in working with children with special needs. I am challenged to be creative, nurturing and, most of all, patient. It is my passion to consistently provide a warm, friendly, safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate environment for every child who comes through my classroom door. I truly enjoy working with your children and looking forward to a new beginning together. Should you need to reach me, please contact via e-mail at or via phone at (561) 297-2342.

Ms. Field

Hi! My name is Karen Field. I have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Family Relations from the University of Arizona and also attended the Early Childhood Masters program at Adelphi University. I am on my 23rd consecutive year working with young children, which included 5 years of Center Director. I am working on my 10th year at the Karen Slattery Center as Lead Teacher in classroom A. My passion for reaching young children’s minds and encouraging them to learn and express themselves grows with every year that passes. I truly love what I do for children each and every day.

Ms. Pervaiz

My name is Sumbla Pervaiz. I have been with the Karen Slattery Center for over three years as a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher. Prior to coming to Florida, I worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District in California for ten years. In my capacity there, I had the opportunity to teach different age groups with elementary schools. In addition to having both an MBA and BA, I have certification in child development and training in Project Approach curriculum, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, First Aid & CPR and a number of other early childhood education categories. It is truly a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with you and your child.

Ms. Chmielewski

Hello, my name is Tamie Chmielewski. I am the Assistant Pre-Kindergarten Teacher in Classroom D. I am a native Floridian having lived in Boca Raton for the past twelve years. I have been happily married the past twenty five years and the mother of two wonderful children, both now teenagers. I have been working for the Karen Slattery Center for almost two years and have found my experience with the faculty and children to be truly rewarding.

I am currently pursuing my certification to obtain a Florida Child Development Associate Credential. I have completed 40 hours of child care certification at Palm Beach Community College, which included training in rules and regulations, health and nutrition, observation and screening and preschool appropriate practices. I have also attended coursework in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Standards.

My goal is to assist children in their physical health, motor development and social emotional wellness to engage and learn in school and other social surroundings.

Ms. Reeves

Hello! My name is Sarah Reeves. I was born and raised in Florida and have two older brothers and one sister. I also have a nephew named Zachary and a niece named Lilli who attends the Karen Slattery Center.

I received all of my certification hours and Child Development Associate Credential from Olympic Heights High School and have been in childcare for ten years. Through the years, I have gained experience working with all age groups, from infants to school age, and I absolutely love working with children. I am currently enrolled at Palm Beach Community College and working on obtaining an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition, I also have training in Redirecting Children’s Behavior (RCB), High Scope, Project Approach, Developmentally Appropriate Practices and many others. I also hold current First Aid & CPR certification.

Ms. White

Hi! My name is Katharine (Kate) White and I am from Madrid, Spain. I lived there for seventeen years and later moved to the United States to continue school. I then moved to Boca Raton and graduated from Lynn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and a Minor in Education.

I suddenly found myself working at the ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) for children with special needs. After the preschool shut down, I heard about an FAU preschool and I have been working at the Karen Slattery Center ever since. The past five years I have worked in the two year old classroom as a Child Care Group Leader. If it wasn’t for FAU and the Karen Slattery Center, I would have never wanted to further or enrich my educational career.

I have been trained in many areas over the past 5 years. I am certified in First Aid & CPR, and have taken several training courses in Redirecting Children’s Behavior (RCB), and other Early Childhood Development courses. I have also been trained in clown therapy, creative movement and poetry therapy. More recently I have completed several Master level courses, including Curriculum in Early Childhood, Multicultural Art Education, and Art and Literacy in Early Childhood. My ultimate goal is to complete my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.

I believe my accomplishments as a professional have put me at a certain level that I thought I never would have attained anywhere else. I have learned so many different and wonderful things about this job and every day is different and challenging but rewarding. Early childhood education is not a job that everyone can do; one has to be caring, nurturing, patient, willing to learn and change the way you think every day. My main goal as a teacher is to nurture these children by building a social, emotional and educational foundation for them to grow as individuals.

Ms. Cruz

Hello, my name is Andrea Cruz. I am married and have two children. I have been working as a Teacher Assistant at the Karen Slattery Center for the past three year. For the first several years I worked with the four year olds and now I am working with the two year olds. Prior to coming to the Karen Slattery Center, I had experience working with and teaching two year olds. I have completed my Florida Child Development Associate in addition to receiving training in Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Project Approach curriculum and Health, Safety & Nutrition to name a few. I enjoy teaching young children and watching how they grow and learn. I look forward to working with you and your child.

Ms. Hova

My name is Shoshana Hova, an experienced and devoted assistant in the infant room at the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development since 2007. I have over ten years of experience in the infant care setting and bring valuable knowledge and experience from my studies in nursing, with a focus in newborn care. In addition, I have the 40 hour child care certification and current First Aid & CPR certification. My philosophy is to foster the cognitive and social development of each child in my care. Research has shown that the infants’ brain develops rapidly through interactions and activities and that development is something I take seriously. If you should need to reach me, please email at or call the classroom (561) 297-0333.