Leadership Team

One of the aspects of Corning Children’s Center that sets us apart is our full-time, professional Leadership Team. Here’s a little bit about each of member of the Team:

Paula Detar

Executive Director

Corning Children’s Center welcomed Paula Detar as its new Executive Director in June 2019. Paula has her Masters in Arts in Early Childhood and Special Education. She comes to the Center with 8 years of administrative experience and 12 years of teaching experience in a variety of age levels and settings. Prior to joining the Center team, she worked as the Birth-5 Education and Staff Development Coordinator for Pro Action of Steuben and Yates County Head Start programs. Paula and her husband have two adult children.

Shanna VanPatten

Assistant Director – Corning Children’s Center West

Shanna VanPatten has worked at Corning Children’s Center since 2005. Her responsibilities as Program Director include overseeing developmentally appropriate classrooms for all age levels. In addition, Shanna participates in staff selection and supervision, curriculum development and implementation, and development of a positive working relationship with anyone who enters our facility. Shanna also maintains the role of the Pre-K Age Level Specialist. Her two boys are alumnae of the program.


Stacy Nickerson

People Operations Director

Stacy Nickerson came onboard in July 2021. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Development, her PHR certificate, and is in the process of completing coursework to receive her Senior HR certification. Stacy brings over 25 years of experience in staffing, hiring, compliance, and operations to the Corning Children’s Center.


Finance Director

Laura Fish


Education Coordinator

Laura Fish graduated from Buffalo State with a Bachelor’s degree in early and elementary education and joined the Corning Children’s Center in 2007. She was promoted to Child Development Specialist in 2011. Laura feels strongly that the first 5 years of life are the most critical since a child’s brain develops more and faster than at any other time in life and uses that belief to guide her in her role. Her main responsibilities include enrollment, coaching, and supervision of her staff. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, reading, and being outside.

Child Development Specialist

Corning Children’s Center employs Child Development Specialists to supervise the education of each age group. They are experienced in working with their age level in a group care/education setting. We believe it is important for them to remain close to the experience of working with children, so each CDS works as part of a classroom team two days each week. They spend the other three days meeting with staff and families, observing classrooms and providing resources to their teams.

 Kate Downing

Community Engagement Coordinator

Kate joined our the Center in September 2021. She has Bachelors degree in Business Administration from SUNY Delhi and comes to the Center with experience in administrative support, graphic design, and customer service. Prior to college graduation, Kate was employed at the Center as a substitute teacher.

Dakota Carr

Administrative Assistant

Dakota joined the Center in April 2018. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management and experience in organizational management, working closely to support our leadership team, staff, and families. His favorite thing about the Center is welcoming everyone each day.