Teachers & Staff

Our staff members are highly qualified and serve as positive role models and learning facilitators. All lead teachers have college degrees, including early childhood coursework. Additionally, all staff are required to attend continuing education training each year. Our assistants are experienced and educated in early childhood education. Teachers and assistants work together as teaching teams, facilitating a positive and rich learning environment.

We have dedicated office staff who also serve as a positive part of the ECC experience. They take the time to get to know the children and parents, and assist the teachers as needed.

Monica Berger

Monica enjoys helping children discover their strengths and independence through varied play experiences, and with lots of encouragement. She hopes to instill a “can-do” attitude in children, so that they keep trying even if something is difficult at first. She believes that preschool is a valuable place for children to develop connections with their peers, and the skills that will help them work and play happily with others.

Monica holds a BA in Biology and Music from Swarthmore College, and earned her 90-hour teaching certificate from Montgomery College. She has three children of her own, has taught music and movement classes, volunteered regularly in her children’s cooperative preschool for four years, and taught a three-year-old class for two years before coming to ECC. She is thrilled to be a part of our warm and welcoming school! In her free time, she enjoys walking, gardening, crocheting, and singing in The Washington Chorus.

Samantha (Sam) Berman

Samantha wholeheartedly embraces ECC’s philosophy of learning through play. She hopes to
instill a love of learning in her students while having fun. She enjoys helping and watching her
students make connections socially, developmentally, and academically.

After nearly a decade of working in a corporate environment, Samantha left to stay home and
raise her two young boys. She has spent the last 5 years co-oping and volunteering in her
children’s schools. There she discovered how enjoyable and rewarding it was to teach kids. She brings her experience, enthusiasm, and passion to ECC.

Lisa Biggs

Lisa believes in using unconditional positive regard when working with children.  She believes this helps them have a growth mindset early on and into their future.  She believes play, nature, music, and movement are essential to a child's growth.

Lisa graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Secondary degree in American Ethnic Studies and a Minor in Rhetoric/Communication.  For over 25 years she has worked with children and adolescents.  She has worked in recreation, mental health, child care, and educational settings.  Lisa lives in Rockville with her husband, 3 sons, and 2 cats.  

Pearl Chu

Pearl believes that it is important for children to know that their ideas and opinions are accepted, valued, and supported by their peers and adults. In her classroom, creativity and creative expression are not limited to one part of the curriculum or one area of the classroom, but are expressed continuously through the playful exploration of objects, language, and ideas in a nurturing environment.

She graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science and is now working towards another degree in Early Childhood Education. Pearl has had fourteen years of experience working with children, starting first at Gymboree Play and Music, Sunday schools, and then working as an administrator and preschool teacher for 8 more years. She now lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland with her husband, two children, and a miniature schnauzer. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and encouraging children to take risks that will inspire their learning.

Shashi Gupta

Shashi is committed to encouraging children to learn through play, loves working with kids, listening to their stories, and playing with them. Her favorite times of the day include free play and art projects. She also enjoys sharing her Indian heritage with the children, including celebrating Indian festivals, food, and dress. Shashi joined the staff in November 1996. She has taught two-year-olds, three-year-olds, and four-year olds.

She grew up in India, and has lived in the United States for more than forty years. She is married and has three adult children, and three grandchildren. One of her grandchildren was a student at the ECC. In her free time, she loves gardening, sewing, knitting, traveling and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Denise Harvey

Denise grew up knowing she was very interested in working with children. She graduated from college with a degree in Guidance Counseling. After moving to Arizona, her career goals shifted to Recruiting and then Human Resources where she focused on being trustworthy, honest and detailed. When she and her husband welcomed their daughter to their family in 2010, staying home to raise her was the number one priority. In 2013, the Arizona Harveys moved to Rockville with the desire to be in a diverse city as well as to be closer to family in New York.

In researching preschools for her own daughter, she saw various philosophies and heard feedback from other parents on what worked and didn’t work for them depending on their child, discovering that even siblings might have different learning environment needs. As a classroom volunteer and a co-op parent, she learned so much from other moms, dads and the children she worked with. As children are learning to communicate and develop their social and emotional skills, she believes it is important for teachers and parents to communicate in order to provide a strong continuous foundation to support their learning.


She is excited to be working at a school that promotes those building blocks and she is dedicated to being a positive, compassionate and supportive role model for families.

AnnMarie Kase

AnnMarie is committed to ensuring a nurturing classroom environment for children to learn through play. Her teaching style brings out opportunities for the children to express themselves, stimulate knowledge and develop an interest in learning. Her two daughters attended ECC and when they graduated to elementary school, she made the transition from ECC parent to ECC teacher. After taking a break from the work force to stay at home with her children, she has now returned to ECC.

From a very young age, AnnMarie knew she wanted to work with children. Originally from New York, she graduated from the University of Maryland and earned a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from The George Washington University. She began her career at the Arc of Montgomery County, teaching young children who had chronic medical conditions.

Cathy Lease

These younger years are so critical in a child's life, and Cathy is excited to be a part of and witness how children learn, grow, and develop through play. Cathy feels incredibly lucky that events of her life have brought her to ECC and such a special group of children and adults. After working in education research for 15 years, Cathy became a stay-at-home mom and volunteered extensively in her children's preschool. When both of her children entered elementary school, she decided she wanted to stay and work in a preschool environment. Cathy comes from a family of educators and feels that a good education is key to just about anything in a child (or adult's) life. At ECC, specifically, Cathy hopes to instill a sense of fun and safety in the children so they have a positive start to their education experiences!

Cathy loves reading, kayaking, walking, watching her children play sports, and spending time outdoors. She earned her 90 hour certificate in teaching and holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Political Science and a Masters Degree in Government.

Ann Posner

Ann truly embraces the school's philosophy that children learn through play and enjoys creating an environment that is warm, nurturing and fun. She has been an important part of ECC for over 17 years.

She started her teaching career as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore City and in Prince Georges County. She joined the ECC staff as a substitute when her son was a student at the school. While her son was young, she worked at The Potomac Village School as a teacher of three-year-olds. She returned to ECC in 1997 as a teacher.

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