Our Team

MELC’s dedicated staff work as a team to provide the highest level of care and programming for the children we serve.

Our Head Teachers and Program Managers are required to have formal education in the field of education or child development and each location has staff trained in First Aid, CPR, Medication Administration and Epi-pen Administration.

Our Administrative Team:

Jennifer Wagner, Executive Director – Jennifer@melearning.org
Jennifer began working at MELC in 1999.  Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University.

John Layer, Director of Operations – John@melearning.org
John has been working at MELC since 2012.  John has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Central Connecticut State University.

Allie Strauch, Assistant Director of Operations – Astrauch@melearning.org
Allie began working at MELC in 2010. Allie has a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from UCONN.

Larisa Albrecht, Preschool Director – Larisa@melearning.org
Larisa has been working at MELC since 2002.  Larisa has a master’s degree in education from Quinnipiac University.

Ben Carlson, School – age Director – Bcarlson@melearning.org
Ben started at MELC in August 2018. Ben has a bachelor’s degree in community recreation and youth development from Southern Connecticut State University.

Jackie Olson, School – age Director – Jolson@melearning.org
Jackie began working at MELC in March 2021. Jackie has a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from UCONN.

Our Programming Team:

Ashley White, Owl Room Head Teacher – Awhite@melearning.org
Ashley began working at MELC in July 2021. Ashley has a bachelor’s degree in child studies from Post University.

Erin Osuna, Turtle Room Head Teacher – Eosuna@melearning.org
Erin began working at MELC in December 2019.  Erin studied early childhood education at Manchester Community College.

Chelsea DiNeno, Duck Room Head Teacher – cdineno@melearning.org
Chelsea began working at MELC in 2022. Chelsea has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central Connecticut State University.

Laura Smith, Fox Room Head Teacher – lsmith@melearning.org
Laura began working at MELC in 2022. Laura has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Westfield State University.

Heather Carey, Bird Room Head Teacher – Hcarey@melearning.org
Heather began working at MELC in August 2022. Heather has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Jayden Regisford, Bennet Program Manager – Jregisford@melearning.org
Jayden began working at MELC in August 2022. Jayden studied political science at Western Connecticut State University.

Annie Sullivan, Buckley Program Manager – Asullivan@melearning.org
Annie started at MELC in September of 2020. Annie has a degree in parks and recreation management from Southern Connecticut State University.

Emma Judy, Highland Park Program Manager – Ejudy@melearning.org
Emma has been with MELC since March 2017.  Emma has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Connecticut State University.

Karl Davis, Keeney Program Manager – kdavis@melearning.org
Karl began working at MELC in 2022. Karl has an associate’s degree in early childhood education from Asnuntuck Community College.

Sarah Thomsen, Odyssey Program Manager – sthomsen@melearning.org
Sarah began working at MELC in August 2022. Sarah has a bachelor’s degree in child studies from Charter Oak State College.

Joseph Whaley, Verplanck Program Manager – Jwhaley@melearning.org
Joseph has been with MELC since March 2013.  Joseph studied health & exercise science at Manchester Community College.

Katherine Stevens, Waddell Program Manager – kstevens@melearning.org
Katherine began working at MELC in 2022. Katherine has a bachelor’s degree in educational studies from Cabrini College.

MELC’s Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is comprised of members who are responsible for governance of our organization. Board members come from widely diverse backgrounds within the community. They bring with them a wealth of varied expertise, giving the Board a broad perspective in providing direction to our agency and overseeing our programs.  If you are interested in joining our board please contact our Executive Director, Jennifer Wagner at Jennifer@melearning.org.

Tanya Gill, Board President

Emanuel Jiminez, Vice President

Mark Stiner, Treasurer and Secretary

Bethany Babbitt, Board Member

Pari Ghetia, Board Member

Jim LaTaille, Board Member

Kristian Thomas, Board Member

What People Say

MELC runs a smooth program that offers all a parent could want in before / after school childcare. My children get to eat breakfast and burn some energy in an organized manner before they need to sit and learn all day. After school is filled with games, outside play, snack time, and assistance with homework.

Toni Zanks (Parent)

Over the last four years, Manchester Early Learning Center has been an instrumental contributing factor in what we deem in our household as successful balance. We are a household of two full time working parents outside the home and without the support of the MELC before and after school program, we would not have been able to excel in several areas of our life. My children have been cared for, played with, learned from and continue to enjoy their time with all the students and teachers of MELC.

Sandy and Joshua Nemet (Parents)

I enjoy working with MELC because it allows me to help Manchester students become quality citizens in our community. Growing up as a kid in Manchester, this is a way for me to give back to the community and mentor students of all ages.

Joseph Whaley (Staff member)

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the Directors, District Liaison, Program Managers and staff of Manchester Early Learning Center (MELC) for the past five years at Verplanck Elementary School, Keeney Street School and most recently at Buckley Elementary School. I can say with complete sincerity that MELC has directly impacted the lives of many children.

Ann Johnston (Principal)

My son has been at MELC preschool for over a year. The teachers, as well as the administrative staff have been so supportive and cooperative. I appreciate their collaboration not only with me but with other providers that have been involved. I have enjoyed working with them and will miss them as he transitions to kindergarten.

Michelle Rabinowitz (Parent)