Paula Heitman

Executive Director

Paula became the Executive Director of Families First in 2011. Previous to her current position, she was the School-Age Coordinator at The Warren Street Center, a local, publicy- funded childcare agency.  Paula has worked as a classroom teacher in both public and private schools and has held administrative positions at various non-profits, including TADA! Theater and Summerbridge, a program which provides academic summer and after-school programming for students attending under-resourced schools. She has also worked as an independent consultant to schools and non-profits, providing staff development workshops and curriculum design. She is actively involved in her childrens’ schools, volunteering as a class parent for several years, as member of the School Leadership Team and as a founding member of the Special Education Committee. Paula lives in Cobble Hill with her husband and two children.


Annette Sedgwick

Program Associate

Nan has been involved with Families First for over 9 years.  She joined Families First as a member when her first son was born in 2007.  As an active member, she volunteered at many events and was voted onto the Board of Directors in 2008.  She served for five years before resigning from the board to take on the role of Assistant Teacher in the classroom.  Nan has been teaching in the program for the past three years and recently took on the role of Program Associate.  Nan studied Early Childhood education at Metropolitan State College of Denver and worked as a Veterinary Nurse before moving to Brooklyn.  She currently lives in Carroll Gardens with her husband and two sons, both of whom are “graduates” of Families First.


Erin Burns

Practically Preschool Lead Teacher

Playgroup / Level 3

Erin has been teaching at Families First since 2011.  She has an associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Touro College and is CPR/First Aid certified. Since Erin was seven years old she has wanted to be a teacher.  Her goal as an educator is to continue growing as a professional: to give the children at Families First an enriching learning experience that will help them to develop the skills they need to be successful in Kindergarten and beyond. Erin lives in Red Hook with her husband and four children.


Nanette DeCillis

Practically Preschool Lead Teacher

Level 1 & 2 / Drop-In Art

Nanette came to early childhood education through the birth of her son in 1991.  In 1993, she pioneered the first Music Together program in Brooklyn, igniting the "mommy and me" class explosion in the borough.  From 1998 to 2013, she was Director of ArtsCetera - a Cobble Hill storefront teaching space and community hub for young families and children, with an emphasis on play-based, child-focused creative experiences.  She has had the honor of being "first teacher" to thousands of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and is thrilled to be a part of the Families First community.

Daniela Contreras

Practically Preschool Assistant

Level 3

Daniela has been a part of the Families First community since 2014. She has also worked as a caregiver for a local family in Carroll Gardens for five years. Daniela enjoys working with children and having the opportunity to watch them grow and flourish. She is thrilled when she observes her students applying skills that were taught in her classes. Daniela values patience and fun when working with little children and enjoys being a part of the community of Families First. She lives in Bay Ridge with her family, including her four year old daughter who has attended classes at Families First.

Jeanine Moss

Music Teacher

Drop-In Music

Jeanine's earliest childhood memories have always involved music and performance. A NYC native, she has been playing music practically all of her life: piano at age 4, flute at age 7, tenor sax at age 9, bassoon at age 14, guitar at age 16, and in college, the bass and the drums. During these years she was also very involved with her schools' concert/jazz/symphony/marching bands as well as their musical theatre programs. One notable band performance being at the esteemed Carnegie Hall on the flute at the age of 9. She received her bachelor’s degree in theatre performance and elementary education, and studied theatre for half a year in London.  Past credits include: nursery/music school teacher, music/play & learn teacher at Gymboree, church youth group band leader for 12-18 year old's, and music therapist for elderly people, adults with autism, and children in hospitals. Currently, she has her own rock band, j and the 9s in which she tours throughout the country and overseas with.