Our Staff


Executive Team

Executive Director
Howard Milbert, Advanced Certificate in Administration and Supervision, M.S. in Special Education, Hunter College; City College of New York; B.A. in History, New York University.

Howard MilbertChief Executive of the Ossining Childrenfs Center since 1985, Howard Milbert is responsible for the Centerfs child-centered philosophy, its individualized approach to teaching and childcare, its signature enrichment programs, and its partnerships with other educational and community organizations. He is known throughout New York State as a leading advocate for high quality childcare and early childhood education.

In 2007-2008, Howard has led the Center through a strategic planning process resulting in a comprehensive plan for strengthening the Centerfs curriculum, expanding parenting support services, and bolstering the Centerfs administrative infrastructure and fundraising.

He was at the helm of the Center through a period of unprecedented growth and change in 1994-97, when the Center purchased 92 South Highland Avenue and transformed it into the Terry Crandall Infant-Toddler Center. That expansion almost doubled the size of the Centerfs physical plant, operating budget, and enrollment, which is now 150 children. As part of that expansion, he created the gStepping Stones to Higher Education Program for Teen-age Mothers,h in collaboration with Ossining High School, Open Door Family Medical Center, and Westchester Jewish Community Services. The program provides childcare, mentoring, counseling, and parenting classes, thereby enabling teen-age mothers to develop parenting skills and complete high school. Since the start of that program, more than a dozen teen-age mothers have successfully completed high school and have gone on to community college or entry level jobs.

As co-chair of the New York State Association of Directors of Not-for-Profit Child Day Care Centers and co-president of the Westchester Early Childhood Directors Association, he is a tireless advocate for children and families. He is a recipient of a gJoeyh Award from the Child Care Council of Westchester for his advocacy work. Recently, his advocacy efforts resulted in a major change in government regulations, making child care tuition assistance more available to single low- and moderate-income working mothers.

 

Assistant Executive Director; Infant-Toddler Program Director
Claudia Weger, B.S. in Education, Wheelock College, Boston

Claudia WegerOn the teaching staff of OCC since 1990, Claudia has directed the Centerfs Infant-Toddler program since its inception in 1996. In preparation for launching that program, she made a study of infant-toddler facility design and curricula at the finest infant-toddler centers in the northeast, incorporating the gbest of the besth into OCCfs Infant-Toddler Program. Claudia is a passionate believer in child-centered education, and works closely with OCC lead teachers to individualize their approach to meet each childfs unique learning needs and developmental pace. She has been quoted on child development issues in Parents magazine and Family Energy magazine. Claudia has devoted her career to early childhood education, having taught at the Technology Childrenfs Center of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oak Lane Child Care Center in Chappaqua, and Tots and Toddlers (now known as Timber Ridge) in Armonk before coming to OCC.

 

Director of Development
Shawn Kennedy Cribari, B.A., summa cum laude, Marymount College Tarrytown

Shawn CribariA 30-year veteran of gfriend-raisingh and fundraising for not-for-profit organizations, Shawn joined the staff of the Childrenfs Center in 1997, and has worked with the Centerfs board and executive director to build the organizationfs annual philanthropic operating revenue from $75,000 to $500,000, and to raise $1 million in Endowment gifts. A past president of the Association of Development Officers (ADO), she received that organizationfs gPeter J. Gallagher Award for Leadership and Serviceh in 2006.


 

 

 

Director of Childrenfs Services
Terry Becker, M.S.W., Columbia University; B.A., SUNY Binghamton

Terry BeckerTerry has been Director of Childrenfs Services at the Ossining Childrenfs Center for 19 years. At the Center, she provides psychological and social services to both children and parents, and also provides staff development workshops for the Centerfs teacher-caregivers. In addition to her graduate degree in social work she has training from the New York Freudian Society Psychoanalytic Institute. She worked at Belleview Hospital Center for five years in Pediatrics and in Child Psychiatry. In addition to her work for the Ossining Childrenfs Center, she has a private psychotherapy practice with children and families.

 



School-Age Director
Katrina Dzielak Rocco, M.S. in Education, Fordham University; B.S. in Education, Marymount College-Fordham University

Katrina Rocco joined the Centerfs staff leadership team in the fall of 2010 as Director of our Before- and After-School Program and our School-age Summer Day Camp. Katrina taught Sixth Grade for four years at St. Anselmfs School in the South Bronx. She grew up in Briarcliff Manor and earned her B.S. in Education from Marymount College | Fordham University, and her M.S. in Education from Fordham. She is excited to be working in an after-school and summer camp environment because the informal setting enables us the staff to encourage the childrenfs development, not just academically, but also socially, creatively, emotionally, and physically. The staff become mentors to the children. Katrina lives in Ossining with her husband Derrick and their eight-month-old son Joseph.

 

Lead Pre-School Teacher and Coordinator of Volunteers
Gerri DeSilva, B.A. in Psychology, Lehman College

Gerri DeSilvaGerri has been the Pre-School Head Teacher and Volunteer Coordinator at Ossining Childrenfs Center for over 16 years.  Her many responsibilities include running her classroom; supervising anywhere from 30 to 50 volunteers including community service volunteers, communion and confirmation volunteers, and high school interns; scheduling staff; and ensuring that the staff complies with training requirements for the state.  In addition to receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Lehman College, Gerri has her teaching certification for nursery school through the 6th grade.  Prior to her position at Ossining Childrenfs Center, Gerri worked as a pre-school teacher in New Rochelle and Bronxville, and worked as an after school teacher in Pelham.  Having always loved to teach, Gerri feels that teaching a 3 year old preschool class is one of the most important jobs in helping children move to the next step, by preparing them for kindergarten.  In Gerrifs case, her class is primarily Spanish; the majority of the children come in speaking little to no English and within 3 months they are speaking English fluently.  Currently, one of Gerrifs major job gratifications is seeing her former 3 year old students apply for jobs at Ossining Childrenfs Center as high school interns, or teaching assistants. 

See our Office Staff