Early Childhood Education Faculty


Early Childhood Education Staff

Lori Valente Coffey (she/her)

Lori is the Early Childhood Education Coordinator at VMFA, stimulating learning experiences in children ages 3 months to five years old. Lori expanded the ECE programs to include infants and toddlers and implemented pedagogy from the Reggio Emilia teaching approach. She has extensive experience working with children of all ages in public schools and private settings. She holds a BA in Art Education and a BA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University.

April Heitchue (she/her)

April is an Early Childhood Educator at VMFA, coordinating the Preschool Group Visit program. She is a state certified art educator and has taught young children in a variety of settings, including public schools, and libraries. She holds a MA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Art History with a concentration in Museum Studies and received a BA in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Virginia.

Liz S. (she/they)

Liz is an Early Childhood Educator, and teaches the toddler program, Tots of Art. As a teaching artist, they believe in the formative and vital role of art in the first three years of life. Liz has worked with students of all ages and abilities, including infants, toddlers, teens and elders in community arts outreach. Liz holds an American Montessori Society Infant + Toddler certification, and a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCU. Liz is very excited to apply their process based, experiential art and education backgrounds to the ECE Programs at VMFA.

Blair Marasco (she/her)

Blair is the Early Childhood Education Assistant at the VMFA, supporting all administrative aspects of the program. Blair comes to the museum with a background of working in both public and private school settings supporting a wide range of children from ages 3 to 18. She holds a BS in Special Education from Vanderbilt University.

Adjunct Faculty

Kate Nesmith (she/her)

Kate teaches Curiosity Camps. As a state certified art educator, Kate has 11 years of classroom and studio-based teaching experience in preschool through collegiate settings. Kate strives to cultivate a studio environment where exploration, playful experimentation, and creative expression come together. She holds an MA from James Madison University in Art Education, and graduated Cum Laude from James Madison University with a BFA in Ceramics and Art Education.

Corrin Sheaffer (she/her)

Corrin is a nature-inspired artist and illustrator running a small business under the name 'Brevity Art' and a part-time teacher at Haven Forest School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Previously, she worked with children as an Early Childhood Educator on staff at VMFA, and now currently teaches Curiosity Camps in the summer. She holds a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Fine Arts in the Communication Arts field, as well as a Fine Arts Certificate from John Tyler Community College.

Alicia Strum (she/her)

Alicia teaches infants and preschoolers in the Wee-Kids weekend workshops. She has taught and contributed art works for various schools and outreach programs throughout Richmond as well as assistant teaching in a Montesorri infant and toddler classroom. She loves to watch and support the intuitive art children create through joyful exploration of the world and themselves. Alicia has a BS in Interdisciplinary Studio Art with a minor in Art History from Florida State University.

Maya Walters (she/her)

Maya teaches toddlers in the Wee-Kids weekend workshop. She has a variety of experience working with children of all ages. Previously, she has worked in Montessori and RPS classrooms, and continues to run outdoor experiential programs at Riverside Outfitters. Maya loves to blend academic disciplines to create unique learning experiences for children. She holds a B.A. in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Call for Teaching Proposals

Educators with early childhood and art education experience are encouraged to send in teaching proposals! Individuals interested in proposing a workshop not currently offered at Early Childhood Education Programs are encouraged to email earlychildhood@vmfa.museum. Please include a descriptive cover letter, resume, workshop description, and, if available, a website address or blog. All proposals will be considered. Please familiarize yourself with our current offerings before you submit a proposal. Course offerings are set at least six months in advance of each semester.