Head of Schools
Gina Farrar, PhD
Gina Farrar, PhD has been working in various roles in education since 1984. After graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, she taught math at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) for 5 years.After receiving a PhD in Clinical and School Psychology from the Derner Institute she worked as a Psychologist and Clinical Director at an early intervention center for 8 years and as the Program Director of a special education preschool for 10 years. From the time she left the classroom, Gina continued to tutor students in elementary school math through Calculus, as her love of teaching never waned.
Gina attributes the depth of her own love for education to her father who was an MD, Professor of Medicine and author of books and articles related to his field of Infectious Diseases. He was a scholar whose passion of learning never died. When remembering his incredible experiences at an elementary school that nurtured his own hunger for learning and just prior to attending a much more traditional school, he is quoted as saying “The damage was done, learning was fun.”
As the Head of Williamsburg Northside, since 2013, she has found the perfect use for all of her talents in an atmosphere that provides incredibly interesting academic challenges for its students, while nurturing their intellectual passions and interests. She is proud to be at a school whose entire community is so very thoughtful about everything they do in relation to educating children in a joyful environment. Gina was a key force behind bringing the international exhibit, the Wonder of Learning from Reggio Emilia, Italy to Williamsburg Northside, as well sharing the work of Williamsburg Northside at a meeting of educational leaders in China. In addition to educators from all over the country, many international educators have visited the three programs at WN including those from Italy, Brazil, Sweden, Argentina, Australia, England, Spain, and South Africa.
Head of Lower School
Tara Mastin, MA
Tara Mastin has been Head of Lower School at Williamsburg Northside since 2010. In 1994, her career began in the same building her own mother had attended Kindergarten in Massachusetts. Since coming to New York to earn her Master’s Degree from New York University, Tara has taught in both public and private schools, crafting her practice and solidifying a belief in a balance of traditional and progressive practice. This belief embraces the confidence and abilities of children to work in collaboration with teachers in learning experiences that are most meaningful. Tara is recognized as an expert in her field and has presented on curriculum development and best practices for teaching of literacy across New York City. She has also served as a guest expert for an online parenting course. Tara lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two boys who attend Williamsburg Northside Preschool and Lower School. She learns from them every day.
Head of Preschool
Bridget Lambrechts, MSEd
Bridget Lambrechts has been a member of the Williamsburg Northside community since 2002 and Head of the Preschool since 2009. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education from Skidmore College and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Brooklyn College. Bridget’s love of Early Childhood Education began in the 6th grade when she was a volunteer in the school’s prekindergarten classroom and loved every minute of it. She began her career as a Teacher’s Assistant working with children on the autism spectrum and went on to teach her own integrated class. While visiting the preschools and infant toddler centers of Reggio Emilia Italy, Bridget solidified her belief that all children have their own ideas and opinions early on and that respect for each individual is the foundation for a successful classroom. As Head of Preschool, it is her goal to create an environment where children feel empowered to explore and to make sure that every child’s voice is represented.
Head of Infant & Toddler Center
Yolanda Uzzo, MSEd
Yolanda Uzzo has been a member of the Williamsburg Northside teaching community for over 15 years and has served as the Head of the Infant and Toddler Center since its inception in 2009. She is proud to have dedicated the majority of her career to serving the very Williamsburg neighborhood where she was born and raised, making the program uniquely special to her on both a professional as well as personal level. Prior to her role as ITC division head, Yolanda earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from St. John’s University and worked as a preschool teacher, early intervention teacher, and librarian/literacy instructor for preschoolers. She finds daily joy in observing the various ways in which Williamsburg Northside’s students (a group which includes her son, Dante) investigate, derive meaning from, and discover the wonder of our world. She believes that infants and toddlers are highly capable individuals who construct their knowledge through interactions with adults, peers, materials, and the environment. Guided by this belief, Yolanda is committed to utilizing family, as well as academic and community partnerships to support children in their journey as life-long learners.
Teresa Smith has been the Admissions Director at Williamsburg Northside schools since 2009. She started her career at Williamsburg Northside in 2003 as a Head Teacher in the Preschool 2’s program. Prior to working at WNS Teresa spent time working in programs that supported children with developmental diversities. She has always been passionate about early childhood education and creating a sense of community among families with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Receiving her Associates in Early Childhood Education and doing her student teaching at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California further cemented her desire to move back to New York and finish her education at City College of New York with special interests in Social Work and Education. She considers herself a lifelong learner who frequently attends conferences and workshops related to the field of education and working with families.