ns toddlers team


Erin Stracuzzi

Erin Stracuzzi

I have an associate degree in early childhood education, and I joined Chestnut Children's Center in 1998. Starting out as an infant teacher, I’ve worked with many age groups and truly enjoy running the toddler program as both teacher and director. I love watching the children grow and learn over the course of the year—every day is a new adventure with them, and the joy they bring to the class each day is like no other. I live in Natick with my husband, teenage son, and our dog Luna. I enjoy going out with friends, watching my son play sports, perform in plays, and sing at his choir concerts. I also enjoy baking, doing word searches and being around family.


Patricia Dazet

Patricia Dazet

I have a bachelor's in elementary education and a master of science in traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve held a variety of roles including a reading tutor, elementary school teacher, preschool teacher, director of library preschool and story time programs, nanny, and acupuncturist. I was also a stay-at-home mother for years and considered it the best job I’ll ever have—although working with little ones in an early childhood program is a close second! I believe that children keep you in the present moment, and teach us the importance of being in the here and now. The emotions they express are genuine and unfiltered, and they're joyful learners.

I have three adult children and one grandchild. I enjoy reading, especially suspense and nature genres. I also love baking, gardening, walking/hiking, and being outdoors in all seasons.


Kellen Makuru

I grew up in Uganda, in East Africa. I attended university there, graduating with an associates degree in early childhood education, a bachelor’s degree in administration and psychology, and a master’s degree in diplomacy and international studies. I have since worked in childcare for over 10 years. I have a holistic perspective on learning and development, and hope to discover each child’s potentialities and help them learn that each day can be its own achievement. I live in Pepperell with my uncle’s family, and enjoy baking, dancing, and arts and crafts.


Nelya Groob

I have been working in early childhood education for over six years, in Newtonville and Brookline. In 2011, I completed the psychology program at Mass Bay Community College in Wellesley, and received my certificate in early childhood development. I lead my teaching practice with patience and compassion, striving to attend to each child’s particular needs and to respect them as individuals. I live in Chestnut Hill now, but I’m originally from Ukraine. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, take walks around my neighborhood, and go out for sushi with my friends!