gloria&tomARising Star Children’s Center is the dream of Gloria Foster-Vayda and Tom Vayda who sought to establish a dynamic, personalized educational environment for children in the Croton/Cortlandt area. After assessing the limited availability of quality preschools/daycares in the area, they decided to use their life experiences in education, psychology, and child care to create a loving, fun space where children could be excited about learning. A Rising Star Children’s Center is a place where children can discover and develop their inner abilities to become happy, independent, confident, and successful in their life journey.


Gloria Foster

Gloria Foster is the Director and Primary Care Provider of A Rising Star with 35 years experience educating and caring for children. She is the mother of three and the oldest daughter of a seven-child family. She holds a BS from San Diego State University and a Masters in Education Administration from The State University of New York at New Paltz specializing in Early Childhood Education. Prior to becoming a licensed childcare provider, Ms. Foster worked for 20 years in the field of education — the majority of the time for colleges and universities. Before entering the world of education, in her early years, she spent five years in the Marine Corps where she learned how to set and achieve goals.

Ms. Foster has successfully spearheaded many projects during her career including building new educational programs. It has been her dream to use her wisdom and experience to assist children in finding their inner talents as they embark on their own unique paths. This dream stems from her love of children and the joy she experiences from helping them grow.


Tom Vayda

Tom Vayda earned his BA in psychology from Queens College and completed extensive graduate work in psychology at other institutions. He has 12 years of wide range teaching experience — preschool, elementary, high school, and college lecturing as well as in the corporate world. He also spent four years as a special education teacher. In addition, Mr. Vayda worked in the financial industry for over 25 years. He combines his extensive theoretical psychology knowledge with practical teaching experience and love of children to support Ms. Foster in developing and operating an effective, successful program. He shares Ms. Foster’s dream and loves watching children learn new skills, blossom, and have fun!