I attended the University of Connecticut to acquire a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. My intention was to teach high school English. I had danced for 25 years (tap, ballet, jazz and Hawaiian) and taught children in my later years at the studio. Also, in college I became a teacher in a daycare center. I found that I loved the younger age groups.
Upon graduation, I was offered a full time position with the Hartford Region YWCA. I continued to work for the YWCA child care programs, transferring to Waterbury in 1994. I headed the department bringing enrollment from 55 children to 85 children. When the YWCA closed down unexpectedly in 1996, I went on to teach a program for childcare professionals at a business school. I missed working with children and had my own daughter by this time. I decided to look for space to open my own daycare center.
I opened my development center in December, 1997. It has now been over 25 years and we are still going strong. We are licensed for 145 children. I have had 4 of my own children go through my programs. My staff therefore, mean the world to me as they have taken care of my children as well as everybody else’s. I believe in running childcare programs in which every child can be successful. I want to utilize my degree, my knowledge of children and child development and make a positive difference!
I feel that I have had the best of both worlds; that of being a Mom and being able to see my children throughout the day, as well as a professional career. I have owned and run Once Upon A Time Development Center now going on 25 years. I am on premises every day to oversee the daily running of the center. I am also very involved in the community. I belong to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Milford Rotary Club, I have served as a board member of the Beth-El Center as well belonged to the Milford Chamber of Commerce. I have been a Founders Club member of the United Way.
Brianna DeLucca, Assistant Director
Brianna has been working at the center for 12 years. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2022 with a major in Child, Family and Community Services, and a minor in Psychology. She is certified in First Aid and CPR and Medication Administration. Miss Brianna has gained her experience leading the infant program as well as Prescool initially. Her love of the children and the center is evident in all that she does. As the owner’s daughter, she really grew up at the center, constantly interacting with children with a passion. Brianna understands that Early Childhood is an important time as it is the most rapid time for child development. While health and safety are her main goals for every room in the center, she is well versed on the development of children, their needs, and how to run stimulating programs with the individual child’s needs always being met.
Annalyse DeLucca, Office Manager
Latoya Smith, Lead Teacher/Head Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten
Latoya has been in the childcare field for 30 years and is the center’s Head Teacher and maintains her Child Development Credential (CDA). “My goal as a teacher is to understand the specific needs and personalities of the children under my care, provide a safe and nurturing environment for all children, lay a good foundation for literacy in early learning, encourage the children to achieve their development milestones and to communicate effectively with parents for the enhancement of the child.” She started working at Once Upon A Time in 2012 as Lead Teacher for in the one year old classroom. September of 2014 she became the preschool teacher. Previously, she was employed by Kids At Play as an interim Director and a Lead Teacher for the one year old room in Plantation, Florida. Latoya has not only acquired her Child Development Associate Credential, but also her Director Credential and Head Teacher Certificate. Latoya is First Aid, CPR, and medications certified.
Teeka Robinson, Lead Teacher, Preschool
Jennifer Nolan, Co-Lead Teacher, Twos
Venniesha Joseph, Co-Lead Teacher, Twos
Sydney Ellis, Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers II
Kathleen Dickinson, Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers I
Kayla Ferraiolo, Co-Lead Teacher, Toddlers I
Mariana Flores, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Pre-Toddlers
Shauna Lake, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Pre-Toddlers
Cassidy White, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Infants I
Victoria Apadula, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Infants II
Bela Duque, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Infants III
Michelle Piccirillo, Primary Caregiver (Lead Teacher), Infants III