Directors

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Suzette Burdett
Suzette’s degrees are in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She graduated from New York University and did her graduate studies at Bank Street College. Suzette took her Montessori training here in New York. While working for the NYC Dept. of Education, she taught emotionally disturbed children. In addition to running parent workshops, and doing consultant work in open classroom curriculum, she specialized in language arts for young children. Suzette is also involved in teacher training for the American Montessori Society. She headed an advanced Montessori class at St. Michael’s Montessori School, and has lectured at the New School. For many years she served as a counselor for a child abuse hotline. Suzette has published articles on education. She has an adult son.

“My goals for parents are the same now as they were then: to change their frustration at the opening of our consultation into hope by the end. I form a partnership with the parent, and develop a plan of action to confront the issue: this empowers the parent. I treat both parent and child, neither of whom is in a good place, with compassion. I know that the conference is successful when we are both laughing at the end.”


jeffJeff Ramsay
Jeff received his BA at Dartmouth College, and his MA from the University of Chicago. Before coming to New York, Jeff taught French language and literature at the U. of C. and Dartmouth. He lived for several years in France, directing intensive language programs for Dartmouth undergraduates. In addition to his work at the V.P.C., Jeff has taught in the afterschool programs of other downtown private schools, including Corlears and Friends Seminary School.


brunieBrunie D. Surget
Brunie, our Educational Director, is a New York State certified teacher who received her MA in early childhood and elementary education from New York University. She joined VPC as Blue Jays head teacher in 2000. Brunie has expanded Suzette and Jeff’s core curriculum for all of our seven programs and specialties. Brunie combines not only a deep knowledge of child development but also a deep understanding, based on her experience, of working with young children, of what children of this age are able to receive. The result is our unique curriculum, and children who enter kindergarten with superior skills and preparation, and excel throughout their school careers. Brunie is the mother of two VPC alumnae who now attend the Lycee Francais, one of whom will enroll in John Hopkins in September.

It is essential for Brunie to get the children excited about learning. Brunie has structured a literature-based curriculum that installs language and books squarely at the center of the exploration process: “Reading, writing, and spoken language are interrelated, so I want our students to experience them in a rich, meaningful and positive environment. I believe that listening to and responding to books is a vital resource for building background knowledge and fostering language development. Our classrooms draw on a literacy-based social studies curriculum in which reading, writing, math and science, are integrated and extended by artistic experiences, drama, music and art projects.”


sueandruthRuth Selman
Suzette and Ruth co-founded the Village Preschool Center in 1979.
Ruth is a representative of the American Montessorri Society’s Non-Governmental Organization at the U.N. She organizes youth visits to the United Nations – a project where middle school children from every part of the United States tour the U.N. to learn that there is a non-violent, diplomatic option to deal with conflicts among nations.