Meet the Staff
Rhonda Marikos, is the director of the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Rhonda, has been working in the field of early care and education for 40 years and has been the director of the IPCDC since 2000. She first joined the IPCDC in 1974, as a student assistant, then as a teacher, head teacher, and assistant director - “time flies when you love what you do.” She is proud to say that she now employs college students that were formerly in her care as young children, and provides care for children whose parents were also once in her care. Rhonda enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband live in Long Beach and have three grown children.
Maria Rivera, is the assistant director of the Preschool and School Age Programs at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Maria, first began working at the IPCDC in 1988. Her spirit was comforted by the way the center treated, understood and interacted with children, as the center’s philosophy on how children should be treated and respected was in alignment with her own personal beliefs. Throughout her 25 years at the center, Maria has worked in various positions as a student assistant, camp counselor, program teacher, head teacher and for the last 15 years as the assistant director of the Preschool and School Age Programs. There is not a year that goes by that she does not learn new ideas from the children and their families. When not at the center, Maria enjoys spending time with her family and friends laughing and relaxing.
Kathy Allison, is the office manager in the Administrative Office at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Kathy began working at the IPCDC in 1990, as the administrative assistant and in January 2013 she became the office manager. Prior to working at the IPCDC, Kathy worked for McDonnell Douglas for ten years as an executive secretary. Over the past 25 years she has performed almost every clerical administrative duty at the center at one time or another. She’s also had the privilege of having her three children grow and develop through each program at the IPCDC, including the School Age Summer Day Camp. Her youngest child currently attends California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and works at the Associated Students Business Office. The IPCDC and CSULB have been a big part in her life and the lives of her family for which she is grateful!
Dena Peru, is the administrative assistant in the Administrative Office at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Dena began working at the IPCDC as the administrative assistant in February 2014. Prior to working at the IPCDC, Dena worked as a program assistant for over 20 years with a Head Start agency in Orange County. She enjoys her work in the office and gets the added benefit of watching children learn and grow. She also looks forward to meeting families and matching names with faces.
Luz Lopez, is the eligibility specialist at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Luz has been on the campus of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) since 1996, and it feels like her second home. She gets to see the parents she has helped to achieve their academic goal and has been lucky to work here on the CSULB campus where she received her own education. When Luz is not at work she enjoys spending time with her own family.
Belinda Joy Voyles
Lisa Harris, is a program teacher in the Infant and Toddler Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Lisa first began working at the IPCDC in 1996, when she was hired as a student assistant for the blue side in the Preschool Program. In 2002 she became a program teacher and later in 2008 transferred to the Infant and Toddler Program. She received her B.A. in psychology from California State University, Long Beach in 2003. Lisa enjoys building close and supportive relationships with children and their families, and working with student assistants as they build a working knowledge of the IPCDC’s theoretical and philosophical approaches to early childhood education. Childhood is so fleeting and children have a brief time in their young lives to just be children before they are bombarded with traditional academic expectations and requirements. Children need to be able to play and it is through play that they learn about themselves, others, and the world around them.Through play they can create, imagine, explore and discover. During her free time she enjoys scrapbooking, jewelry making and reading. Lisa’s favorite quote is, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers
Belinda Joy Voyles, is the cook for the Infant and Toddler Program at the Isabel Child Development Center (IPCDC). Belinda Joy has been working at the IPCDC for seven years. Prior to working at the IPCDC, she worked for five years at a small private Christian school. The children make her day, especially when she comes in with their breakfast or lunch and they all cheer for her, and of course the food. Belinda Joy is so thankful to be at the IPCDC doing something she loves…feeding the children!
Erica Marie Grotsky
Lynette Gaskill, is the head teacher for the blue side of the Preschool Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Lynette first began working at the IPCDC in 1988, when she was hired as a student assistant while attending California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a multi subject teaching credential from CSULB. She also has a Child Development Master Teacher Permit. Prior to her position as head teacher, Lynette also worked as a program teacher. The one thing she enjoys the most about her job is getting to know the children, their families, and giving the children an early love of school. Watching children explore and learn is extremely rewarding. While not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, watching movies and crafting.
Nancy Aguilar, is the head teacher for the purple side in the Preschool Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Nancy first began working for the IPCDC in 1997, as a student assistant teacher. She has had various experiences that have given her the opportunity to grow in the field as a teacher, head teacher, assistant director and program director. It has been an adventure and great experience for her to work in various programs that all have that same foundation and mission; believing in the children’s interest and competencies as they learn and grow. It’s with passion that she goes to work every day knowing that a child’s life can be impacted by the interaction, connection and experience that she has with them and their family. While she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her two children and husband. Disneyland is her favorite place to go with her family and doing activities such as bowling and biking or walking along the beach. She also enjoys photography and editing. Nancy looks forward to the connections that she will have with the children and families of the purple side.
Connie Martinez, is a program teacher for the purple side of the Preschool Program at the Isabel Child Development Center (IPCDC). She has over 13 years of experience working with children. Prior to working at the IPCDC, Connie worked at the Walt Disney Children’s Center, Long Beach City College Child Development Center and Lab School and the City of Long Beach Department of Parks and Recreation Mural Arts Program. She obtained her B.A. in human development from Pacific Oaks College, and A.A. in early childhood education from Long Beach City College and a Master Teacher Permit in early childhood education. Connie knows that she has one of the best careers in the world because she has the opportunity to appreciate the innocence of children, expand their curiosity, nurture their development and play every day! She enjoys working with families and appreciates being a part of the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center community. She is also a proud mother of three: Jacob, Sunni and Abbylynn. One of her favorite quotes she finds great truth in is, “It takes a village to raise a child.
Eric Eyman, is a program teacher in the Preschool Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Eric first began working at the IPCDC in 2011, as a student assistant. He admires the IPCDC philosophy and how the teachers are so respectful of the children and their needs. Eric feels that he has been lucky to work with so many amazing teachers and children at the IPCDC!
Erica Grotsky, is a program teacher for the blue side of the Preschool Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Erica has been working at the IPCDC for six years. She has twelve years of experience in the field of child development and has her Child Development Teacher Permit and Family Development Permit. She would also like to earn her B.A. in child development. Erica is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Professional Women. Watching children learn and grow warms her heart and gives her hope for the future. The most rewarding feeling is to see the world through the eyes of a child and she firmly believes that play is the child’s way of learning and understanding. In her free time Erica enjoys antique shopping, going to concerts and reading. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and their four daughters. One of her favorite quotes is, “The child begins to practice with respect to himself the same forms of behavior that others formerly practiced with respect to him.”
Morgen Laffie, is a cook for the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Morgen has been working on the California State University, Long Beach campus since 1978. Prior to working at the IPCDC, Morgen worked in various food service venues for the Forty Niner Shops, Inc. Morgen first began working for the IPCDC in 1990, and 24 years later she still enjoys working with children. One of her favorite aspects about her job is watching the children and their families growing and learning together. She has known some children from the time they were a “twinkle in their parent’s eye” to adulthood, and it has been a wonderful experience.
Edra Velasquez, is the head teacher in the School Age Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Edra first began working at the IPCDC in 1989, as a student assistant in the Infant and Toddler Program. She has also worked as a program teacher in the Preschool Program. She often says that this center is the place she grew up. She knew she wanted a career in child development when she first began working here. She loved the way she was able to interact and build relationships with children in a different way than in the standard classroom setting. Some of her proudest memories come from running into former families or former students in the community. She gets to see the grown up faces of these children and observe them recall their time at the center and in those few moments, she sees them traveling back in time reliving playtime in the sandbox, climbing on the monkey bars or painting until their heart was content. And the best part is, she will continue to make new memories like this year after year.
Matt Jardim, is a program teacher in the School Age Program at the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center (IPCDC). Matt first began working at the IPCDC in 2008, as a student assistant for the School Age Program. Through Matt’s experience as a student assistant he recognized that working with children was not just a part-time job for him, but was truly his calling. In fact, the experiences and the unforgettable bonds he built with the children and families inspired him to change the direction of his academic career. In 2011, Matt received his bachelor’s degree in child development and family studies from California State University, Long Beach. He was rewarded with the position of curriculum coordinator of the Preschool Program’s purple side in early spring of 2013 and now he is working with the School Age Program. Matt believes he can make a difference because he is very connected to the emotional well-being of the children in our program. He also tries to incorporate his outside interests into the curriculum, including yoga, cooking, hiking and other outdoor and nature activities. His personal belief is that everybody has something unique and special inside of them, a special gift. His goal is to help the children realize what that gift is so they can develop it and share it with the rest of the world.