Staff – Schoolhouse

Learn about the teachers and staff of  Discovery Schoolhouse childcare and preschool and the art instructor of Discovery Arts!

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Discovery Schoolhouse childcare and preschool

Here are our director and teachers for Discovery Schoolhouse; for information about volunteers, student teachers, and interns, click here.

Brian C. Scheff
Executive Director

Brian Scheff

Brian Scheff

Brian Scheff, Executive Director, Teacher, and Founder, has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College (Day Care Specialist & Pre-school/Kindergarten) with graduate coursewo

rk on integrating children with special needs, multi-cultural curriculum, and child care programming. Brian has a Massachusetts DOE K-3 Teaching Certificate and EEC Director II / Lead-Teacher Infants, Toddler & Preschool EEC Certification. Brian and Joanne live is West Newton with two of his three children, Skye (21) and Becky (19). His oldest daughter Mikeala (23) a lives in Quincy. Joanne Hiromura is a landscape architect and specializes in designing playgrounds and parks (including the new Cunningham Park!). Brian also serves as a Director on the Board of Discovery Schoolhouse, and founded the program in 1992 with a small group of parents and teachers. He is committed to providing an affordable, high quality, culturally diverse program for families. He is a member of the Steering Committee for the Milton 


Early Childhood Alliance (MECA), a

community service program of Discovery Schoolhouse.  He is committed to providing an affordable, high quality, culturally diverse program for families.  He particularly enjoys singing, playing guitar, building blocks, hammering, reading Dr. Seuss stories, and going on walks with the children. His dog, Shadow, comes to work with him every day.

Mary Sheilds

Mary Shields

We are very pleased to be able to announce that Mary Shields will soon be here full-time as Assistant Director and Teacher. Mary has been Acting Assistant Director since February and has been here most days late afternoons and even occasional nights and weekends. Mary has worked off and on for Discovery Schoolhouse since February 2012, and Brian has known her as a teacher since 1989, when he became the director of the program she was then teaching at. Mary knows the Discovery Schoolhouse program, philosophy, children, and staff well. She has 32 years of early childhood experience with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children. Mary has worked extensively in the classroom, but she also has six years of experience as a director, too. She has an easygoing nature, unflappable disposition, and professional attitude. She has great organizational skills, extensive knowledge of children’s development, and a solid familiarity with state regulations. When she’s not working, Mary enjoys spending time on the Cape, taking walks with her dog, and biking. Mary has a degree in Early Childhood Education from U-Mass/Boston. She has Teacher, Lead Teacher Infant/Toddler and Preschool, as well as Director I and Director II Massachusetts Dept. of Early Education and Care (EEC) certification.

Lisa Nelligan

Lisa Nelligan

Lisa Nelligan, Teacher, has an Associate’s Degree from Quincy College in Early Childhood Education. She has Infant/Toddler, Preschool, Teacher, and Lead Teacher EEC Certificate. Lisa has been at Discovery Schoolhouse since July 2013. She previously taught preschool for eight years, most of that time at Academy Day Care in Milton, and also some at Greater Quincy Childcare. She also had experience part time substitute teaching in the Brockton Public Schools. Lisa is in charge of the Red Team, and is typically here four days a week about 8:30 – 3:00 or so, however her schedule always changes a bit for the summer. She lives in Abington with her husband and four children, Jake (11), Bridget (13), Katie (17), and Lauren (18), who is heading off to Boston College this fall.

Mary Clare Blankenship

Mary Clare Blankenship

Mary Clare Blankenship,Teacher, has a Bachelors Degree in English from UMass/Boston. She has Teacher Infant/Toddler and Teacher Preschool Massachusetts EEC certification. Mary Clare grew up and lives in Milton, and is also a former Discovery Schoolhouse preschooler! She has worked here since September 2017. Mary Clare is in charge of the Blue Team, and usually is here 7:00-3:00. She has a background in art, and likes to focus on that with the children. She also enjoys music, reading, and writing. Mary also enjoys singing.

Shay Appleberry & Family

Shay Appleberry & Family

Shatiana “Shay” Appleberry, Teacher, has an Associates in Social Science from Roxbury Community College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Quincy College (and has about a year to go). She has Teacher Infant/Toddler and Teacher Preschool Massachusetts EEC certification. Shay has a 15 year old daughter and a 10 year old son, lives in Jamaica Plain, and loves traveling. She decided to pursue a career in early childhood education five years ago after her son overcame a serious illness. During this experience she saw how other people were able to help her son when she felt she didn’t know how. It was then she realized she wanted to learn how to help other children in the same way. Shay started at Discovery Schoolhouse in February 2018, and previously had about four years of experience as a teacher of infants and toddlers, and about two years as a nanny. Shay is in charge of the Yellow Team, and usually is here 10:00-6:00.

Motoko "Moco" Kinoshita

Motoko “Moco” Kinoshita

Motoko “Moco” Kinoshita, Teacher, has an Associates in Early Childhood Education from Quincy College. She has Teacher Infant/Toddler and Teacher Preschool Massachusetts EEC certification. Moco lives in Quincy with her husband. She is from Japan, but has lived in the area for about ten years. In Japan, she was a member of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra as a vocalist. She loves singing with the children. Moco is usually here Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

We are so glad to welcome back for the summer our Assistants, Lashmi Dowds and Darshelle Jean-Pierre. Both Lashmi and Darshelle volunteered for several summers during high school, and started last summer as officially on staff part time as Assistant Teachers while they are not at school. Both just completed sophomore year at UMass/Amherst, both grew up and live in Milton, and both are former Discovery Schoolhouse preschoolers! Lashmi is majoring in Communications, and Darshelle in both Pschology and Early Education. You’ll see Darshelle here most mornings until 12:30, and Lashmi most afternoons 12:30 until closing. Their role is to help Teachers however they can, do a lot of housekeeping chores, tie-shoes, help children in the bathroom, and, most importantly, play with the children.


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