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Advisory Council Members


Deborah “Deb” Vilas, MS, CCLS, LMSW
Licensed Social Worker, Early Childhood Special Educator, Certified Child Life Specialist
Faculty Instructor & Advisor, Bank Street College of Education
USA, Mexico, Japan

Ms. Vilas grew up in rural Massachusetts, an environment rich with play opportunities in nature, at home and in school. She believes that these opportunities incubated and influenced a sense of joy, flexibility and creativity that continue to inspire her work and her life.

Ms. Vilas majored in Sociology at Georgetown University, and worked for several years as a paralegal in Manhattan, New York. Her experience as a volunteer coordinator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, along with her natural curiosity and desire to help children led her to Bank Street College of Education. She obtained a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education with a concentration in Child Life.

After working in the child life profession and teaching at a therapeutic nursery, curiosity called again and Ms. Vilas returned to graduate school to explore social work and psychotherapy at New York University (NYU). For the past ten years, she has taught and advised at the Bank Street College of Education, teaching courses in Child Development, Developmental Variations, Play Techniques, and Child Abuse Detection & Reporting. She is one of the founding advisors in the Child Life Masters Program, adores teaching and learning, and believes that, “in the end, only kindness matters” (Jewel).

Ms. Vilas is widely known and respected for her wisdom and kindness, spending countless hours volunteering as a professional mentor and clinical supervisor for colleagues around the world.

Ms. Vilas loves to express her creativity through writing, kayaking, and playing! And her colleagues are thrilled that she continues to love mentoring and teaching; supporting and challenging them along the way.

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