Early Childhood Education Faculty


Early Childhood Education Faculty & 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.

Corrin Brewer

Corrin is an Early Childhood Educator at VMFA, curriculum specialist and teacher for the Tots of Art and Young @ Art programs. She has taught various art classes, camps and children’s programs in the Richmond area. She writes and illustrates children's books, and recently self-published her first book. 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.


Ariel Richards

Ariel teaches toddlers and infants in the various Early Childhood Programs. Her career in creative arts began in London, England as a design assistant and then as a Youth Campaigns Coordinator, using her design and illustrative talents to inspire and motivate children. Her experience and love of visual art, design and architecture drives her daily life and her eagerness to share that love with children. She holds a BA in Studio Art and English literature from San Diego State University.

Liz Swerdlow

Liz is a teaching artist, and teaches Wee-Kids Workshops for Toddlers and Wee-Enrich Camps. She has worked with students of all ages, including infants, toddlers, teens and elders doing community arts outreach. She loves how artmaking and play are synonymous to young children. She has an American Montessori Society Infant and Toddler Certification, and a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCU.

Charlotte Torrence

Charlotte teaches Wee-Kids Workshops for Infants. Charlotte is a graduate student in Art History and Museum Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is focused on increasing community engagement and participation in the art museum. She enjoys sharing the interdisciplinary nature of art, and connects art to science, math, and philosophy in her research. Charlotte holds a BA in Art History and German from St. Mary's College of Maryland.

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.

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 vmfapreschoolprograms@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.