• Principal Colleen Hardiman


    At the ELC, students are our top priority and our greatest source of joy. I am proud to be principal of this dynamic school and a part of the amazing Poughkeepsie community. It is exciting and rewarding to collaborate daily with families and staff to facilitate each child’s journey of exploration and wonderment, academic growth and achievement, and social and emotional development.

    I have more than 20 years of educational experience with diverse populations spanning grades K-8. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Syracuse University, a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from SUNY New Paltz. Literacy instruction, language development, and social-emotional learning are my areas of expertise, but I also have knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education. I'm trained in Reading Recovery through New York University and hold New York State certification in Literacy and in English as a Second Language. I'm also fluent in Spanish.

    I look forward to continuing to work closely with our families for the empowerment and success of our students. We know they can achieve anything!

    We look forward with great excitement to the year ahead at the Early Learning Center at Smith School. Our students at the ELC thrive as a direct result of the partnership between the school and our parents. We will look to engage parents throughout this year in workshops and activities, and we invite parents to visit our classrooms. Expanding oral language is the cornerstone of every student’s early learning. Families can support teachers in developing a love of words, playing with words, and asking ‘why’.

    This school year, the ELC will have an emphasis on developmentally appropriate practices for early learning. Play-based learning and a child’s self awareness are an important emphasis at the ELC. Students will explore the world through inquiry and their five senses. We will also provide learning experiences outside the classroom through trips and other activities. In addition, we will continue to expand our PBIS program with a focus on social and emotional learning. The 3 Bees of the ELC: Be Kind, Be Respectful, and Be Safe, will be our message.