Staff

Sunshine Learning Center is a chain of privately owned centers focused on providing the best Early Childhood Educational experience from infancy to preschool age. Our centers are conveniently located in Brooklyn, Manhattan and The Bronx, with the mission of creating a warm and stimulating atmosphere while inspiring lifelong learners.
Dr. Tolaison Hooks
Dr. Tolaison Hooks
I am originally from Albany, Georgia and attended undergraduate and graduate school at Tennessee State University. I earned my Doctoral degree from Argosy University in Educational Leadership. I have worked in the field of education for over 10 years. I've worked in a variety of educational settings and with an array of age groups; however my love for early learning was confirmed very early in my teaching career. I am certified as a Professional Teacher (Birth-2 and grades 1-6) in Tennessee and New York. I also hold an Administrator's license in Tennessee. My educational philosophy is driven by a quote from Nelson Mandela; "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Many theorists and philosophers weigh in on how we can change our world; I believe that we can change the world one child at a time. Through self-discovery, meaningful and relevant subject matter, and access to multiple perspectives, students can be equipped with the tools necessary to become contributing members of society. I believe that every child has something unique to bring to the world. At my Center, every classroom is a small community of learners who have diverse abilities, learning styles, and experiences. All of these things are incorporated into a well-rounded learning experience for the benefit of both students and educators alike.
Amy Billig
Educational Director
My name is Amy Billig and I have been a Special Educator for 29 years. I love to read science-fiction fantasy novels (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is my favorite), do crossword puzzles, play poker and travel. I am looking forward to a trip to Israel this spring to see my nephew, who plays professional basketball in Beer Sheva, Israel. I've lived in Flushing all my life except for the year I lived in Israel and 4 years in the city at Hunter College. I have a BA from Hunter College, where I majored in Elementary Education and Special Education. I have an M.S. Ed from Walden in Teacher Leadership. I have held many licenses including N-6 General Education, Special Education K-12 and Birth-2nd Grade, Special Education. I taught general education in a private school and older children (11-14 years old) for the DOE and was very unhappy. My first day in a preschool classroom (Sept 1992), was the best day ever. I had found my calling and I never looked back. I have taught under 5's exclusively for 26 years. I have been a classroom, teacher as well as a SEIT and am thrilled to be leading a school of under 5's today. My educational philosophy most closely aligns with the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. I believe that there are many and varied ways for intelligence to be expressed. I believe that exposure to as many experiences as possible, involving all modalities of intellect, are essential for a quality preschool program. My number one goal for Coney Island is to expose the children to a rich and varied curriculum that activates many intellectual modalities. I also believe that it is the goal of preschool to instill a life-long love of learning in our children.
Nicole Ickes
Educational Director
I am originally from Massillon, Ohio and attended undergraduate school at The University of Findlay in Northwest Ohio and graduate school at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, I have received my School Building Leader (SBL) and School District Leader (SDL) advanced certificates from The College of Saint Rose and am currently enrolled to finish a second Masters of Education. I am certified as a Professional Teacher (Birth-2 & grades 1-6) in Maryland, Delaware and New York. I have worked in the field of education for 10 years, working in public schools, as well as other educational settings with an array of age groups; however early learning has always been my passion. Over the years, I have worked as a teacher and teacher leader, but I consider my most important job to be that of a child advocate. I believe children are unique individuals who flourish when their educational environment guarantees that they are safe and secure, recognized, cared for, and intellectually challenged. In order for children to grow and mature emotionally, socially, intellectually, and physically we must focus on the whole child, providing a holistic educational environment. I believe that every person, child, teacher, and parent, has something unique to share with the world. At our Center, every classroom is a mini community of learners who have diverse backgrounds, learning styles, abilities, and experiences where all of those differences are incorporated into a well-rounded learning experience for the benefit of everyone. Our center's goals are to increase, student achievement, our center environment and climate, and family/community engagement.
Sheila Magyar
Educational Director

I have been an educator for over 17 years in a variety of roles. I was a teacher, Curriculum Specialist, Disabilities/Mental Health Manager, Center Director, Head Start Federal Reviewer, and now the School Director here at Sunshine. I have earned 2 Master's degrees; one in Early Childhood & Students with Disabilities (Certified Birth-2), and the other is in Education & Adult Education & Training. Educating all students has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and as a Director I can utilize my knowledge & experience for the children, families, and staff. I have 2 quotes that would sum up my philosophy on education. The first is an anonymous one that states, "The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see". The second one is by Benjamin Franklin, "Tell me & I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me & I learn".

 
My goals are to inspire the children and staff at my Center to be the best that they can be, and to have a love of learning that will stay with both the child and educator for a lifetime. Each child and classroom here at Sunshine of Mott Haven are unique, and I can't wait to see how each one will grow from day to day & year to year!!!
Latisha Linton
Educational Director

Throughout my years working in the education field, I have developed a passion for learning and helping children grow in all developmental areas. Prior to obtaining my M.A in Early Childhood Education, I started off as an Assistant teacher in a Head Start program. After only a year, I was promoted to Lead teacher within the same program. After five years of teaching in the Head Start Pre-K  classroom, I was then promoted to Education Coordinator. When I had reached the end of my higher education it was required that I have classroom hours doing student teaching, and that is when I joined Sunshine LC.; one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I taught UPK at sunshine for some time before accepting the position of Director. Here I am today, Leading my center with dignity, courtesy, and respect, working together for the good of all of our students!