Three Salem State alumnae awarded CAYL Institute fellowships

Three Salem State University alumnae, along with the director of the university’s preschool, were among the Salem team of early childhood educators recently awarded CAYL Institute fellowships. They are Deborah Bishop '74 of Boxford and Christin Hatch '78 and Beth Miller '83 of Salem. The preschool’s director, Beverly Gerson, is a resident of Marblehead. Diane Curtin, of Dorchester, is the fifth fellowship winner on their team.

Educators in over 30 districts across Massachusetts were awarded CAYL fellowships, which allowed their communities to field teams composed of elementary school principals, family child care providers, center directors, and community-based agencies. Fellowship recipients will attend three Saturday sessions led by internationally renowned educational leaders, with each team working together between meetings as part of the fellowship initiative.

According to Bev Gerson, “team members are looking forward to working together to focus on our Salem children and families. We hope to be able to develop systems to address our shared concerns and challenges. These include supporting children with behavioral challenges, meeting the needs of ELL/DLL children and their parents and developing systems for sharing information about children who move from one program to another.” 

Funded by both the Cambridge-based CAYL Institute and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, the fellowships enable those who reach all children regardless of setting to build a core knowledge base.

Recipient Deborah Bishop received an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education. She currently serves as the education success specialist at the YMCA of the North Shore.

Christin Hatch has served for the past thirty years as executive director of Salem Community Child Care, a state-funded nonprofit preschool serving low- and moderate-income families in the Salem area.  Hatch has also served as chair of the Salem Community Partnership for many years.

Lizabeth (Beth) H. S. Miller is currently the director and team chairperson of the Salem Public Schools’ Early Childhood Center, and holds certifications in special education, early childhood education, elementary education. She recently completed a certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS) in administration from Salem State.  

Beverly Gerson is director of the Salem State University Preschool, which serves as a laboratory school for the university and employs a Reggio-inspired curriculum.

Dianne Curtin, of Dorchester, rounds out the team. She serves as director of North Shore Head Start, which serves families from the cities and towns of Salem, Peabody, Beverly, Danvers, Middleton, Boxford, Topsfield, and Wenham. Curtin has worked in programs supporting children and families for the past 17 years, including efforts on behalf of migrant workers’ children in Oregon, advocacy for families living in poverty, coordination of a Mass Family program, and work to find permanent homes for children in foster care.