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 M.A. 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. For the past five years she has worked as the Birth-5 Education and Staff Development Coordinator for Pro Action of Steuben and Yates County Head Start programs, and as such, had worked with our Early Head Start families and staff for the past four years. Through that work, Center staff have developed a deep regard for Paula’s vision, intelligence, heart and deep regard for children, staff and families during these critical early years.
Cindy Lewis-Black
Development Director
Cindy Lewis-Black joined the team in April 2019 as our full-time Development Director. Her main responsibilities include fundraising, public relations, marketing, and event management. Cindy currently serves on the Alfred University Employer Advisory Board. Cindy’s prior work history has given her vast experience in marketing, event planning, management of volunteers, and grant writing.
Stacy Nickerson
Operations/Human Resources Director
Stacy Nickerson, the Center’s Operations/Human Resources Director, came onboard in July 2021. She has a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development 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.
Kris Allen
Finance Director
Kristine Allen joined our team as the Finance Director in January 2019 and has worked in the Steuben County area for 22 years working for non-profits in finance and administration. Kris lives in the Corning area with her husband. They have two grown children – a daughter Sarah, who is an RN at Schuyler Hospital and son Jordan, who is currently attending Corning Community College.
Shanna VanPatten
Program Director
Shanna VanPatten has worked at Corning Children’s Center since 2005. Her responsibilities as Program Director include maintaining engaging developmentally appropriate classrooms for all age levels. In addition, Shanna oversees 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.
Lisa Barrett
Laura Fish
Age Level Specialist
Age Level Specialists: Corning Children’s Center employs Age Level Specialists (ALS) to supervise the education of each age group. These experts in child development 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 ALS 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.
  • Lisa Barrett, Infant Age Level Specialist
  • Laura Fish, Toddler Age Level Specialist
  • Shanna Van Patten, Pre-K Age Level Specialist
Dakota Carr & Kate Downing
Administrative Assistants
Dakota Carr and Kate Downing are the first two faces that you will meet when walking through our front doors. Both are committed to making every adult and child who enters our doors feel welcomed and appreciated. 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 has an Associates degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors degree in Business Management and was hired in April 2018. Dakota has experience in organizational management and customer service.