PCCH Preschool Faculty Biographies
Carla DiOrio , MS Ed.
Carla began her directorial adventure in September 2018 at PCCH Preschool. She believes strongly in the importance of challenging the intellect, honoring differences, and nurturing each student’s mind body and spirit. Carla taught middle school for several years at the The Philadelphia School, a project-based progressive independent school in Center City, where she also served on the school’s diversity committee. Prior to that, she was the school counselor in NYC area schools including The Wardllaw Hartridge School, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, and Fordham Preparatory School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at Hofstra University in Human Development and Creative Studies and graduated at the top of her class at Fordham University with a Masters of Science in Education : Counseling and Personnel Services. Carla brought her ideas and enthusiasm to PCCH Preschool in 2017, where she taught in the four and five-year-old classroom and she established an innovative preschool social justice and diversity curriculum, now known as our Famous Folks school-wide curriculum. As a passionate advocate for multicultural curriculum and foreign language education, Carla implemented our inter-disciplinary Spanish immersion preschool curriculum. Carla is also committed to strengthening communications throughout the school with transparent and fun dialogue. She also looks forward to proactive team-building and peer support among faculty.
In addition to her teaching experience, Carla is an artist and designer by training. In 2013 ago she started her own custom furniture brand, Rocker Refined: https://www.instagram.com/rocker_refined/. Through founding, growing, marketing and eventually selling that company, Carla was able to accrue skills in the areas of customer service, social media marketing, and small business growth. She is also trained in the fine and performing arts and integrates music, dance, art, and play into our curriculum of early mathematics and early literacy as much as possible. Carla is bilingual in Spanish and English, having lived and taught for four years in Ecuador through Harvard University’s JFK School: World Teach Program. It is evident that working and living within many different cultural communities has shaped the person and the professional that Carla is today. It is her earnest wish to further the preschool’s growth within an inclusive worldview, more reflective of our global citizenry, while also deepening ownership of our community here in Philadelphia and our stewardship of the earth.
Kate Roehm, B.S. Ed., Lead Teacher and Assistant Director – When you spend your childhood playing school, it’s no wonder you become a teacher! Kate Roehm has been a teacher at PCCH for twelve years, and this is her second year as Assistant Director. She has taught all age levels in our preschool as well as a variety of after school enrichment classes. This year she will take on some additional administrative duties as Classroom Coordinator. She feels privileged to be part of this dynamic faculty and wonderful school. It gives Kate great joy to experience the excitement and enthusiasm that children enter school with each day. She feels the same way! Her goal is to ensure that children feel happy, loved and supported while they learn and play. She feels rewarded at the end of every year when she sees the progress children have made and is sad to see them move on to Kindergarten. Kate lives in Flourtown with her husband and two teenagers. Her son is a sophomore at Penn State and daughter attends Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, reading and exercising. Kate has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from West Chester University and is Pennsylvania Certified. She promotes best practices in Early Childhood Education as she stays current with ACT 48, Professional Development, Pennsylvania Learning Standards and is a member of NAEYC.
Megan McGowan, B.S.W., Lead Teacher, and Admin. Strategic Planning – Megan and her family live in Chestnut Hill. After graduating from Temple University with a B.S.W., Megan was the Program Director at Need in Deed, a non-profit where she helped to create and implement a K-12 service-learning curriculum for use in classrooms throughout Philadelphia. She took time off to stay at home with her children and then started back to work as a substitute and eventually a permanent teacher at PCCH Preschool. Megan enjoys teaching preschoolers because there is never a day in preschool without laughter and joy. (Fun fact: Megan attended PCCH Preschool as a child!)
Daisja Freeman C.D.A., Lead Teacher- Daisja Freeman was born and raised in Philadelphia and she began working with children while in high school. She immediately knew what career path she wanted to pursue! After high school she continued to work with children at a family daycare for one year. She then received a great opportunity from a company called, “Delta T” working with behaviors & special needs children. In working with Delta T she found the experience extremely fulfilling because of the impact that one can have on children’s learning. She gained much knowledge and wanted to go even further. She then decided to attend Community College of Philadelphia to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood. Daisja and her fiancé, Daquan, who is a chef in the King of Prussia area have a daughter, “My’laa” who attends PCCH Preschool. Daisja and her family are so excited to join the PCCH family!
Barbara Raser, BA, Lead Teacher- Barb is going into her 20th year of teaching at PCCH Preschool! She will be teaching the 3’s and early 4’s in the 5 days a week class. She holds a degree in liberal arts from Virginia Intermont college in Bristol , Virginia. After graduation she was hired as a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines and was based in NYC. Living in the “Big Apple” opened up a lot of opportunities and she became a traveling representative for Estee Lauder cosmetics and was featured in several Pepsi commercials filmed in Central Park! Barb met her husband, Wayne,and they were married right here at Ches Pres! Their life grew and they had two children, Eric and Becki. As a stay at home mom Barb became involved in her children’s school and was a homeroom mother, home and school president and the social event planner, and the love for early childhood education was born! As her children grew, Barb was a stylist at the Gap and also worked at Childventure in Fort Washington ( part of St. Thomas church) . In 2001 she was asked to join PCCH Preschool and the rest is history! Barb feels that watching the joy and excitement as a child learns a new word, color, person of interest, or shape is rewarding and inspirational. She says that being a small part of that development is magical and she is excited to be on this journey with your child. She is looking forward to an exciting school year with endless possibilities.
Owintier Charles, Assistant Teacher- Originally from the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago, Owintier has seven years experience in the Mortgage Industry Customer Service. She has been an assistant in kindergarten and first grade at her children’s elementary school for one year. There she was also a Lunch Room Mom, School Chaperone, Secretary of the Home and School Association and served two years on the Eighth Grade Graduation Board. Impresively, Owintier also works with children in the Philadelphia Flower Show! For the last 17 years, she has been the Sunday Sexton at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church. She is also studying for her Investment License. Owintier and her husband, Allan, live in Philadelphia and are the proud parents of six children; five girls and one boy ranging in age from Pre K to College. They both feel blessed to be able to Love, nurture and enjoy every moment with their children as they grow. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, reading and is obsessed with coupon-ing and would be delighted to help anyone interested in learning. She truly believes in early childhood education and in children being in an environment where they are able to share their feelings. She is excited to be retunring for her third year as a part of the PCCH Preschool faculty and is looking forward to meeting the students and parents.
Carmen Ortiz, B.A., Lead Teacher– Carmen grew up in Barcelona, Spain where she graduated and obtained her bachelor in Spanish, Italian and English at the Official School of Languages. She worked as an interpreter and translator at the Trade Fair of Barcelona, Milan and Florence, Italy where she lived for 17 years. Carmen came to the USA 7 years ago with her family and fell in love with Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy community where she currently lives with her 11 year old son. Carmen volunteered as assistant teacher at Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences and teaches Spanish and Italian for adults and children. She is very excited to be part of PCCH staff, and thinks that working with little kids is always magic and unique! Traveling, photography and yoga practice are her favorite activities. “There is always so much to learn everywhere and from everybody” is her lifeʼs motto.
Paula Andrade, BA+ is originally from Chile and after being awarded an Art scholarship she obtained her bachelor’s degree from The Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. She started her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Eastern University but is temporarily taking a break from her studies to focus on raising her son.
She first began teaching children at a psychiatric health center seven years ago where she taught Art Therapy. She enjoyed the experience of working with children so much that she decided to change her career path to working full-time with children. Before joining PCCH in 2017, her most recent job was at Nest in Chestnut Hill, where she have met many of the wonderful families that are currently attending PCCH. At Nest she created classes such as Sensory Art, Food Art, Science classes, and her most popular class, Spanish. At Nest, she was also in charge of creating collaborative art projects during special events for all the Nest families. She is very pleased to be working at PCCH as this enables her the opportunity to continue developing many of the young minds that she was previously working with and, she can begin working with other lovely children. She truly enjoys creating wonderfully engaging and creative lessons that facilitate the development of children’s minds and curiosity and she believes this will be evident to you as you work together in caring for your child.