Home   Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

Ruth Neale
Former Executive Director

No! That is not her ship in the background.
As a teacher who thoroughly enjoyed her college days at New York University, Ruth Neale completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the university and became a teacher for the NYC Board of Education. She was usually off during the summer and loved to travel. It could have been a ship that took her to far off lands or a plane that flew her to places of interest. One of her favorite trips continues to be the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
As a dedicated teacher she visited schools around the world always returning with thoughts on how to make the classroom more exciting and more enjoyable. As educated educators we must continue to promote good rel event education so that our children can be well prepared for a more demanding future.

Elzbieta Szura
Executive Director

Elzbieta Szura, better known as Ella, graduated from Jagiellonian University in Cracow with a major in Pedagogy. She has completed her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at Touro Collage and holds two teacher certifications (Birth -Grade 2 Early Childhood Education and Special Education) and Bilingual Extension in Special Ed. Since 2000, she has been dedicated to the field of early childhood at the Williamsburg Y Head Start program. She is passionate, energetic and enthusiastic and believes that school should be as welcoming and warm as home, where children feel safe and learn through play and exploration.

Nicole Bonuso
Education Director

Nicole Bonuso has worked at the Williamsburg Y Head Start since 2005 and was promoted to Education Director in 2013. Nicole has her Master’s Degree in Special Education/Early Childhood Education and her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Nicole holds a permanent teaching certification in Pre-K – 6 teaching. Nicole serves as the mentor for the educational staff at the Williamsburg Y. By offering support to our teachers and parents through trainings and consulation, she has a great impact on creating a unique, engaging and nurturing learning environment.

Bruna Balija
Group Teacher

Bruna Balija is a group teacher in a 3-year-old class and a parent of three former students. She’s been working for the Williamsburg Y Head Start for the past ten years. Her career started as a Teacher’s aide in 2009. In 2013, she became an assistant teacher and was promoted to group teacher in 2018. Bruna has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood from LaGuardia Community College and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Touro College. She is currently working on her Teacher’s Certification and planning on pursuing her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education & Special Education. She loves working with children and looks forward to working with them for many years ahead.

Felicia Forde
Group Teacher

Felicia Forde is a group teacher in a three-year-old classroom. She has worked in the Early Childhood field for the past four years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Queens College and a Master’s Degree in Education with a Minor in Early Education from Concordia University.

Jessica Lynn
Group Teacher

Jessica Lynn began working in the Early Childhood Education field after graduating college in 2009 and has been a group teacher at the Williamsburg Y Head Start since 2013. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education with a concentration in Spanish from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education from Brooklyn College. She finds it very rewarding to create engaging activities for children that promote a love of learning from a young age.

Maria Boutouzov
Group Teacher

Maria Boutouzov has been a group teacher in a UPK class at the Williamsburg “Y” Head Start since 1998. She is a former music teacher  and started her teaching career in Riga, Latvia teaching piano to children ages 1-5 year old. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education, which she completed in 2001. She also conducts evaluations for the children of 0-3 through NYS Early Intervention Program.

Melissa Rotundo
Group Teacher

Melissa Rotundo is a group teacher at the Williamsburg Y Head Start. She has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Development from BMCC and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College. She is halfway through her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education & Special Education at Touro College. Melissa has two children of her own, ages 10 and 6. She has truly enjoyed every minute of the two plus years she has spent in her current classroom at the Williamsburg Y Head Start.

Patrice Hamilton
Group Teacher

Patrice Hamilton is a group teacher in a 3 year old class. Before becoming a group teacher, Patrice worked at the Williamburg Y Head Start as an assistant teacher for over 10 years. She has a Master’s degree in early childhood education from Ashford University and is working toward a second Master’s from Ashford in Special Education.

Patricia Augustowski
Group Teacher

Patricia Augustowski has been working in early childhood for the past 8 years. She joined Williamsburg Y Head Start in 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a child and adolescent focus from the City University at Queens College. Currently she is completing her CDA Credential and will be beginning her masters in Special Education. Patricia enjoys reading in her spare time. She believes that “books aren’t just filled with words, they’re also filled with places to visit and people to meet!”

Paulina Gogolewski
Group Teacher

Paulina Gogolewski has been a Group Teacher at our center since 2017 . She received her Bachelor’s in Child Psychology from Hunter Collage and then completed her Master’s Degree in Childhood Education.  Her passion for teaching began as a child. Growing up, she spent all her free time pretending to be a teacher. She is committed to what she does and the knowledge she passes on to her children. Working with children brings her great joy and value. She feels blessed to be teaching in an amazing center where children can learn through play and she can watch them grow. Her two children attended the Williamsburg Y Head Start, so she treats our center like her second home.

Sarah George
Group Teacher

Sarah George has been employed by Williamsburg ‘Y’ Head Start for almost two years. In her first year she worked as an Assistant Teacher and she is now the group teacher for a three year old classroom. Prior to being employed by Williamsburg ‘Y’ Head Start, she worked as a group teacher at Jonathan Williams Daycare Center.  She holds NYS certifications in Early Childhood Education Birth to Second Grade and 1st to Sixth grade. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Special Education program with an estimated completion date of August 2017.

Yaniris Pineda
Group Teacher

Yaniris Pineda has been teaching at the Williamsburg Y Head Start for the last 16 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. John’s University and two Master’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Ashford University. Yaniris is mother to two sons, Miguel and Anthony. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys reading and watching old movies on TMZ.

Yelena Segal
Group Teacher

Yelena Segal is a group teacher at Williamsburg Y Head Start.  She has been teaching young children for over 7 years and has spent the last three years at the Williamsburg Y. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Long Island University and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College. She finds teaching children a very rewarding and fulfilling task.

Dianne Decker
Coach

Dianne Decker is our coach/mentor. She began at the Williamsburg Y Head start as a Group Teacher and has been working in early childhood education for over 10 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University and has a master’s degree in Childhood Education/Literacy from Long Island University. Her favorite classroom activities involve science and experimentation. She believes that children at this age are full of curiosity and finds it exciting to be able to help them explore the world around them!