Early Childhood Education Faculty


Early Childhood Education Staff

Lori Valente Coffey

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

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.

Adjunct Faculty

Kate Nesmith

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.

Tiffany Glass Ferreira

Tiffany teaches Curiosity Camps and Wee-Kids Workshops for Preschoolers. She is an artist-teacher who loves making art in the community with people of all ages. She has enjoyed teaching art classes at VMFA since 2003, most recently focusing on Early Childhood Education and Elementary After School Art Classes. She has a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Radford University.

Alicia Strum

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

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.