PCC veteran teacher Carla Casanga inducted into Early Education Hall of Heroes


For Carla Casanga, the best part about teaching preschool students is the connections she forms with her students as she works to create new and exciting experiences for them. She recognizes that it is a formative time for the ten or eleven students in her Pelham Children’s Center classroom each year. Every day is a new opportunity to connect for children aged three to four.

Casanga, a longtime PCC teacher, was inducted into Westchester County’s Early Education Hall by of Heroes by the Child Care Council of Westchester on June 4 for that commitment and effort she brings to her work. She was one of seven to enter the hall in 2021.

“I’m very proud of her and very happy that the Pelham Children’s Center is getting some recognition for the excellence that we are doing here,” said PCC director Stephen Madey, who nominated Casanga. “This puts Pelham on the map. I’m a firm believer in community-based activities and making us really a part of this community.” 

After working in a daycare center through high school, it became clear to Casanga that teaching was her passion. She went to Westchester Community College to earn an associate degree in early childhood education, then began working for the children’s center, where she has been for the past 13 years. She said she enjoys the community spirit and the connections she has made with the people there as a lead teacher. 

She said she has goals beyond Pelham’s young children, including one day creating a homeless shelter in El Salvador, her husband’s native country, in which she could provide financial and educational aid for children living in difficult circumstances. She is currently working in collaboration with her church to create programs for struggling children and brings children’s toys collected from various family members to El Salvador every year. 

“It brings a smile to them, any child I see on the street,” she said. “They don’t have what we have here, so it’s very satisfying to see them with something to make them smile.” 

Casanga’s efforts to help young children, both locally and internationally, cemented her place as one of the county’s premier teachers in early childhood education.