Gesell Staff

Peg Oliveira, PhD

Executive Director

Dr. Peg Oliveira is a child development expert and an activist. Since receiving her doctorate in developmental psychology from Brandeis University, Dr. Oliveira has advocated for fair pay for early childhood educators, child care assistance for working parents and equitable access to high quality education.

Peg is a member the Board of Directors of the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA, and serves as founding director of 108 Monkeys, a yoga service organization.

Click here to view Peg's CV

What have you enjoyed most about working at Gesell?

“Growing! I have learned so much from my colleagues here at Gesell. In my time here I have learned a great deal about how to connect with kids, how to imagine their intentions, understand their motivations, and empathize with their impeccable choices.”

How have you seen Gesell’s theory of child development at work in your own life?

“When my daughter Willow was finishing Kindergarten we were told that, unlike her peers, she was not falling in love with reading. It was suggested that some encouragement might be useful over the summer break. So, as a family we went swimming, crab catching, sea shell gathering, mountain climbing and camping. At some point during these excursions, I found her one rainy afternoon holed up in a blanket fort. She was reading The Trumpet of the Swan, a book I had read to her numerous times before. Dr. Arnold Gesell encouraged us to see each child as a unique being, and to allow them to find their own path & pace through the rituals of child development. Keeping this in mind allowed me to get out of the way, to put my own anxieties on the shelf and allow my daughter the space to find the deep connection she now has with story.”

Anju Mathew, MBA

Program Coordinator

Anju is the world’s connection to the office, as Program Coordinator for Gesell.

Anju completed her MBA at Quinnipiac University. She participates in MBA organizations and volunteers as an Emergency Medical Technician. Sometimes her cat comes to the office, too.

Who was your favorite teacher as a kid and why?

“I’d have to say second grade teacher Ms. Heller! She was absolutely the sweetest person ever! She would put homemade trophies and ‘Great job!’ certificates in my book-bag so I would see them at the end of the day.”

What was your favorite subject in school and why? 

“Science, specifically astronomy! I think I consider it my favorite subject because there's so much uncertainty with space, not to mention learning about the "unknown" and discovering anything new outside of Earth is just so fascinating. Our teachers also did a lot of fun activities so all of us could learn something new by interacting with the subject first-hand.”


Bailey Bunch

National Lecture Staff - California
Sally Coleman Keller, MAT

National Lecture Staff - Michigan
Cecilia Locke, MAC, LPC

National Lecture Staff - Texas

Cecilia Locke holds a Bachelor of Arts & Master of Counseling degrees from St. Edward's University in Austin TX.  She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and has a Montessori Teaching Certification.  She has worked in the educational field for over 30 years; 20 in Early Childhood.  She has retired from a private school where she worked as the Director of Students Support Services.  In this role she worked with children from Pre-K 3 to 8th grade who need extra guidance in order to be successful in school.

She was introduced to Gesell in 1999 where she attended her first GDO-R workshop in Grapevine, Texas.  In 2015 she joined the National Lecture Staff.  Over the many years of using the GDO-R she has seen the value of placing children with their developmental peer group.  She is fond of saying, “Viewing children through a developmental lens is life changing, it provides insight into developmentally appropriate behavior and academic expectations  for each child in your care.”

Cheryl Wolfe

National Lecture Staff - North Carolina