Our Team

Looking Up to Our Leaders

Our teachers and aides possess a wide range of teaching experiences with children and families and are the cornerstones of the Creative Playschool team.

Early childhood teaching is a continuous process of planning and observing. Teachers plan activities and experiences that help children learn. As teachers observe, they learn about the children and can plan new activities and teaching strategies to challenge the children even further. We believe our teachers and aides, working in partnership with you, will enable your child to flourish.


Sarah Patterson head shot

Nicole Brooks
Office Manager

Nicole joined the Creative Playschool team in 2023. She graduated from University of New Haven with a Masters degree in Education. Since then she has worked as a Teacher, Customer Relationship Manager, and her most recent role was a stay-at-home mom with her daughter. 

Nicole is so excited to be part of the Creative Playschool team. Her daughter is a student at Creative and loves every minute!

Nicole loves spending time with family and traveling! 


Sarah Patterson head shot

Sarah Patterson
Head Teacher

Sarah received a B.A. in Family Studies from The University of Connecticut and her Teaching Certification and Master's Degree in Education from Sacred Heart University.  Sarah joined our staff in 2018. She is currently in her 5th year of teaching pre-k at our school. She is passionate about Creative's cooperative philosophy, and their play-based approach to learning.

Sarah was an active member of the Creative Playschool community from 2006 until 2008, serving as Enrollment Office and Vice President. Her son Mason attended Creative during that time and is currently in 4th grade. When Sarah is not teaching, she enjoys traveling, baseball, movies, and spending time with her family and friends.


Sarah Patterson head shot

Kimberly Dufrene

 Kim has been in education for for sixteen years. She got her teaching   credential from San Diego State, and is currently continuing her   education working on her Masters in Reading Literacy. 

 Kim’s husband is in the Navy, and they’ve lived on both coasts of the country, most recently in Hawaii where Kim took part in starting a cooperative preschool on Hickam Air Force Base.

Kim is happy to be a part of the Creative Preschool Family. Her philosophy on education is that children are natural learners, and should be encouraged to seek and discover through play and exploration base on individual interests. She looks forward to working with Creative preschool and practicing this philosophy. 


MaryLu Clark head shot

MaryLu Clark
Classroom Aide

Marylu Clark holds a BA from Eastern Connecticut State University. She is also certified from the school of Hartford Ballet and American Ballet theater’s Teacher Certification programs.

She has been working with children for 30 years and is happy to be joining the Creative Playschool team!



Doreen Rhein head shot

Doreen Rhein
Classroom Aide

Doreen received a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University. She worked as an ecologist for an environmental consulting firm for 12 years before leaving the corporate world to raise her triplet daughters. Her daughters attended Creative Playschool in 2017. Doreen has always loved working with children. After volunteering in her daughters’ preschool classroom often, she decided she wanted to be more involved and in 2018 she joined the Creative staff.

Doreen lives in East Lyme with her husband and three daughters. She also has an older son who lives in VT.  When she’s not in the classroom she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching movies, crafting, and of course going to the beach. 


Kristina Marino head shot

  Kristina Marino

  Classroom Aide

After graduating from CCRI with a degree in Criminal Justice, Kristina and her family moved to Connecticut. She had the opportunity to be a stay at home mother and raise her two boys Joey and Adrian. Her youngest son, Adrian attended Creative Playschool from 2020-2022 and graduated from the program. During that time she actively engaged in the Creative Program, volunteering and eventually became a substitute teacher. It was this experience that helped her find her passion for the classroom environment. She is proud to be a part of the Creative Playschool team and is eager to help implement Creative's play based philosophy. 

In her free time Kristina enjoys traveling, gardening, and exploring nature with her family.