Our Philosophy

You’re looking for a school that provides the very best for your child. At Dillon, we provide the essential tools to build young minds. Click here to learn more about the philosophy behind our curriculum.



Modern, bright and spacious classrooms foster growth and learning for every child.



Experienced early childhood specialists help develop each child’s uniqueness.



Dillon boasts a student-to-teacher ratio that ensures individualized attention.



A full range of additional programs appeal to our students’ various skills and interests.

Our Teachers

Susan Straut Collard, Ph.D.


Susan has been a professor in the Child Study department of St. Joseph’s University since 1988. She served as the Director of the Dillon Center from 2004-2013, and now she is back as the Director. Susan earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from Columbia University. Working with children who have special needs has always been her passion. Susan has 4 children, all of whom attended the Dillon Center!

Katherine Goldsmith, RN, BSN

Executive Administrative Assistant

Katherine Goldsmith has been the school nurse at the Dillon Center since 2001. During this time Katherine also ran the Toddler playgroup as well as the After School Program. Starting in August of 2017, Katherine took on a new challenge of being the Executive Administrative Assistant at the Dillon Center.

Gina Guglielmo

Special Education Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

Gina has been the special education teacher in Classroom 1 since 2017. She completed her M.A. in literacy and cognition at St. Joseph’s University. In the classroom, Gina loves to read stories, play pretend, and do cooking activities with her students!

Eva Jefferson-Page

General Education Teacher in Classroom One

Eva is the General Education Teacher in Classroom One. She completed her B.A. in Child Study at St. Joseph’s University, and is enrolled in a master’s program in special education at SJNY. Eva’s favorite things to do in the classroom are finger painting, making and using playdough, and matching games. She loves playing with children!

Merlina Pollidore-Joseph

Special Education Assistant Teacher in Classroom One — Inclusion

Merlina is the Special Education Assistant Teacher in Classroom One. She has been working in the Inclusion classroom since 2002.  She is the mother of three children, the oldest of whom is a Dillon Center alum. She has a passion for working with young children, and helping them to grow. She loves planning big art projects such as murals, paper mache, and puppet making.

Kelly O’Donnell

Assistant Teacher in Classroom One

Kelly is an Assistant Teacher in Classroom One. She enjoys cooking, doing puzzles and reading books. She got to know and love Dillon when she was a student at St. Joseph’s University.

Sameena Rahman

Head Teacher in Classroom Two

Sameena Rahman was born in India and immigrated to the United States in 1983. She completed her M.A. in literacy and cognition at St. Joseph’s University. Sameena has worked at the Dillon Center since 1995.

Roderick Jones

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Two

Rod is an Assistant Teacher in Classroom Two. Rod started at the Dillon Center in 2021 but has 9 years of experience working in early childhood. He loves to read books, explore nature and learn what fascinates his students. He enjoys doing messy art projects in the classroom that allow the children to express themselves.

Emily Figueroa

Head Teacher in Classroom Three

Ms. Emily loves young children and enjoys learning from them as well as teaching them. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a Master’s in Literacy and Cognition. Ms. Emily is the mother of eight grown children and a Girl Scout Leader for over 25 years.

Margaret (Peggy) Donovan

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three

Miss Peggy has been at the Dillon Center since 1995. Even after all that time, she is still excited to play with the children every day. She especially likes to bake and cook with them.

Cara Hayden

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three

Cara is an Assistant Teacher in Classroom Three. She started working at the Dillon Center in January of 2022, after graduating from St. Joseph’s University. She loves to play with children, and enjoys all of the various centers in the Dillon classrooms.

Emily Sabando

Head Teacher in Classroom 4

Emily has been teaching at the Dillon Center since 2016. She has an M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education with an extension in Special Education, from Brooklyn College. She loves to work with young children, nurture their curiosities, and plan activities and experiences based on their interests!

Candice Joseph

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Four

Candice is an Assistant Teacher in Classroom Four. She enjoys reading stories, doing arts and crafts, and music, and she is looking forward to doing these things with her students at Dillon. Candice has been involved with the Dillon Center for many years as a substitute teacher, and she also graduated from St. Joseph’s University.

Sister Patricia Dittmer CSJ

Head Teacher in Classroom Five

Sister Patricia Dittmer received her B.A. from St. Joseph’s University, her M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and her P.D. in Supervision and Leadership. She is the co-author of the book Look Listen and Plan — Developing Literacy in Young Children. Sister Patricia is also a Consultant at Catholic School Academy, and an Instructor of Early Childhood Education at St. Joseph’s College. She has a passion for art and creativity, music and movement, and learning.

Victoria Contreras

Assistant Teacher in Classroom Five

Victoria Contreras has been at Dillon since 2001. She enjoys singing songs, reading stories and cooking with the children. Sometimes she plans activities in Spanish because she is bilingual.

Our Programs

Classroom One — INCLUSION

Classroom One — INCLUSION

Age Group: 3s and 4s — A unique and child-driven class based on inquiry and discovery. Read more.

Class Size




Classroom Two

Classroom Two

Age Group: mixed 2s/3s — These oldest 2s and youngest 3s learn about going to school, perhaps for the first time, and expand on language and social skills. Read more.

Class Size




Classroom Three

Classroom Three

Age Group: 3s — Designed for Dillon's middle three year olds, children explore the school environment and learn how to function and thrive with other students. Read more.

Class Size




Classroom Four

Classroom Four

Age Group: 2s — In this classroom, children work on navigating the world of preschool. Read more.

Class Size




Classroom Five

Classroom Five

Age Group: Pre-K/K — In Dillon’s Pre-K classroom, we involve the children in the study of things nearby that interest them and are worth knowing more about. Read more.

Class Size






This program is designed for walking toddlers. It is a two-hour play session, once a week for 12 weeks in the Fall and the Spring.


Gymstars provides a fun-filled class with exciting skills to learn, brightly colored equipment and choreographed movement routines to motivate and challenge your child, while offering a tremendous amount of fun!

Music for Brooklyn

Young children will have enriching and vital musical experiences that help them gain a sense of themselves and a connection to the world they live in.

Created by Kids

Created by Kids is excited to offer our ceramics class at the Dillon Center. The integration of art in a child’s development can advance creativity and imagination while refining important fine motor skills.
  • “These teachers made my child feel loved and happy to go to school each day.”

    Classroom 2 Parent
  • Dillon has been such a sweet, magical experience for Zian.  It’s the first place that he has readily wanted to leave me to “go to big boy school” and just this past week, it’s the place that inspired a meltdown when he found out he was on “break.” He adores his teachers and his confidence as a learner has grown in leaps and bounds.  When we drive by it, he declares so proudly that it is “[his] school.”

    Classroom 4 Parent
  • “Classroom 4 and its teachers are phenomenal. What a loving and supportive environment it is & such a tremendous asset for St. Joe’s.”

    Classroom 4 Parent
  • I love the Dillon Center and the gentle, nurturing environment with spacious classrooms and a beautiful outdoor play area. The thing I love most about the school is the warmth and genuine love from all the teachers I have gotten to know over the years. They are all so passionate and kind, giving honest feedback on the kids and also explaining developmental stages in a non-judgmental way.

  • The children in Sister Pat’s class have bonded very well. They are like a little family. Its a wonderful and nurturing environment. I am so happy that my son has continued on for one more year at Dillon.

  • Dillon has a beautiful outdoor play area for its pre-schoolers. The staff at Dillon ROCK!!!

  • My son absolutely loves going to school! He is learning how to be a flexible thinker, a curious investigator, a thoughtful problem-solver and a lover of life! And somehow the teachers make it all seem so effortless. Dillon is a wonderful community of educators who really care about teaching the whole child, we are thrilled to be a part of it!

    Classroom 3 Parent
  • “Our son has flourished at Dillon-first in Classroom 1 and now is having a fantastic year in Classroom 5. He is one of the younger children in the class and we have watched him grow in confidence and develop fantastic friendships attending Dillon. There are excellent facilities and it is a beautiful and secure setting for children. In short, at Dillon they really support and see the whole child.”

    Classroom 5 Parent