Human Development Center

Early Learning Center


Early Learning Center

Who We Are

Maria Blanco headshot


Maria Blanco

Program Director, Early Childhood Initiatives

Maria Blanco is an experienced early childhood specialist. Driven by a desire to help all children reach their potential, she takes pride in building the capacity of systems to provide quality early learning experiences. As an early childhood advocate, her goals include working with communities to increase access to high quality, inclusive early childhood programs and supporting professionals and families to identify developmental concerns as early as possible. In addition to developing, implementing and evaluating early childhood programs, she provides training and technical assistance in early intervention, inclusive practices, and developmental screening and surveillance. Maria represents the interests of children and families with disabilities on numerous state and local boards and commissions. Maria and her husband enjoy entertaining friends, and spending time with their three daughters (the youngest of whom has autism), four grandchildren, and two Australian shepherds.

Kisha Petty headshot

Kisha Petty

Early Learning Center Director

Kisha Petty earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been in the education and early childhood education as an educator for Pre-K-4th, mentor for teachers, HS/EHS and Home-Based Education Specialist, and manager for 19 years working in the area of the public and private school systems and with four grantee head starts across Louisiana. She started working with early childhood education in 2006 and has always wanted to become a teacher which her passion is nurturing children. Kisha loves inspiring others to act justly, love mercifully, and walk humble in life with purpose. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children, serving at her church as Knights of Peter Claver Jr. Daughter Counselor, religion teacher, lector and Eucharistic Minister and reading.

Germaine Collins headshot

Germaine Collins

Lead Toddler Teacher for Mixed-Age Classroom

Ms. Collins has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Family Studies from the University of Southern at New Orleans. She has dedicated the last 20 year’s enriching children through teaching. Ms. Collins is also the proud mother of two daughters. Germaine enjoys shopping, eating out, and spending time with family in her spare time. She is the Lead Toddler Teacher at the LSU HDC Early Learning Center.


Susie Jones headshot

Susie Jones

Lead Teacher for Mixed-Age Classroom

Maria Konolige headshot

Maria Konolige

Assistant Teacher for Mixed-Age Classroom

Maria Konolige is an Assistant Toddler Teacher at HDC’s Early Learning Center. She earned an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Delaware County Community College.  Maria has worked in Early Childhood Education for the past 10 years. She believes that every child can succeed in life if they have a strong foundation in their early childhood education.  Maria is the proud mother of two grown children.  She enjoys trying new restaurants and going to the many festivals that our City has to offer.

Clarissa Carmouche headshot

 Clarissa Carmouche

Teacher Assistant