Meet Our Staff

MCPK's excellent administrators and teachers possess a depth of experience and qualifications. Our teaching faculty hold undergraduate and graduate degrees in early childhood education, humanities, psychology, educational leadership and related fields of education. Our Teaching Associates have extensive experience and many possess the Child Development Associates Certification (CDA). Many of our faculty members are also certified by the State of New Jersey in Early Childhood Education (P-3 Certification) or Elementary Education and have attended educational seminars and workshops including the Harvard University Project Zero Summer Institute with Dr. Howard Gardner and the Bank Street College of Education Summer Institute.


Administrative Team

Amy Dorr

Amy squareAmy Dorr is Executive Director of the Montclair Community Pre-K. The former Assistant Principal of P.S. 531 in the South Bronx, she brings almost two decades of experience in early childhood education and educational  leadership.  Amy began her career in corporate childcare as a teacher at Goldman Sachs and then as the Assistant Director of Pfizer's childcare center in Manhattan, before being selected as an NYC Teaching Fellow. After a decade as a teacher and instructional coach  serving high needs students, Amy assisted in opening a new public pre-k to 5th grade  school in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx. This past year, she was  awarded tenure as a School Building Leader. After eight rewarding years at Archer Elementary School, she moved back to Montclair and accepted her dream job at MCPK. Amy received her undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Cornell  University and she holds a Master degree in Education and  an Advanced Graduate degree in Educational  Administration. A Montclair native, Amy is the proud product of the Montclair public school system. She has returned home with her son Finn, who she looks forward to enrolling in MCPK Class of 2022!


Molly Brennan

molly squareMolly Brennan joined the MCPK in 2014.  Molly is responsible for development, enrollment management, and was instrumental in the implementation of the MCPK online registration and payment systems. Molly holds an undergraduate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Prior to joining MCPK, Molly worked as the head of merchandising and design for a backpack company.   Molly’s two children (now 10 and 13) attended the MCPK, and she has worked tirelessly since then to support the mission of providing an affordable pre-k experience for every child in Montclair. 



 Carolyn DeVito

carolyn sqyare

Carolyn is the Assistant Executive Director and was one of the “original” faculty members having joined the school in 1998 at it’s inception. Carolyn brings a long history of working in an Early Childhood setting; she was part of the start-up faculty for all three sites at which she worked - Hoffman La Roche Corporate Child Care Center and Bright Horizons in Lyndhurst as well as here at MCPK. Carolyn has both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Kean University in the field of Early Childhood Education. She is also on the adjunct faculty at Kean University in the College of Education - Early Childhood and Family Studies program. On a personal note, Carolyn is the mother of two girls; Alissa lives in Philadelphia and is the Director of Technology for a school there and Stephanie graduated from Montclair State University and works in a local hospital as a Medical Credentials Analyst. Carolyn is also “Nana” to two wonderful / beautiful / amazing (you get the idea) grandchildren.


Susan Bryant-Gaither

sue squareSusan Bryant-Gaither is the Family Services Director at the Montclair Community Pre-K. Susan has been here at the Pre-K since our doors opened for the first time in September 1998. She was part of the start-up team. Susan conducted some of the initial interviews of the teachers that were hired for the Pre-K. Susan brings almost 20 years of working in early intervention and family counseling to this position. She taught autistic children at the Sawtelle Learning Center and the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center in NJ. Susan has a B.A. in Urban and Metropolitan Studies with an area of emphasis in Educational Program Development and Evaluation. She earned her degree from Michigan State University. Susan also earned a post-graduate certificate in Infant and Preschool Mental Health. Susan is also a Certified Positive Discipline Classroom Educator and Parent Educator. Before teaching, she worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Ohio. This required intensive interaction with community agencies and businesses as well as an ability to have an awareness of the needs of families. Susan's three children have all attended the Montclair schools and she has been very involved in the Montclair School District. With Susan's understanding of the Montclair school system and her ability to bring a positive outlook to the position, she quickly puts parents at ease and gets them involved in the Pre-K program. Chelsea, her youngest daughter attended the Montclair Community Pre-k the first year. Class of 1998-1999. Susan is married to James and she has two other children, Anika and J.B. 


Melissa Groffman

Nurse Melissa 2

 Melissa Groffman joined Montclair Community Pre-K in 2016 as the part-time school nurse for both MCPK and the Developmental Learning Center.  Melissa became the full-time School Nurse in 2020. Melissa is a Registered Nurse (RN) and Certified School Nurse (CSN). She became a nurse as a second career after staying home with her four children while they were young. Melissa graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Biological Sciences degree and worked for many years in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Melissa went back to school in 2012 to become a nurse and later received her certification as a School Nurse. Melissa has lived in Montclair since 2006 with her husband, Laurence and their 4 teenagers; Amaya, Isaac, Samara and Caleb. Three of the Groffman kids were lucky enough to attend MCPK. Melissa is mom to two daughters who came to her family as foster babies and were later adopted, and two sons who were born to her and her husband. Nurse Melissa loves working with preschool aged children and their parents and delights in bumping into students and families around town.


Corina Slackman

corina squareCorina Slackman joined the MCPK in 2018.  Corina is a member of the MCPK development and communications team, focusing on fundraising, events and the playground renovation project.   Prior to joining MCPK, Corina held development and communications positions at Montclair State, New York University and Scholastic, Inc. At Montclair State, Corina managed fundraising and alumni relations for the College of Education and Human Services.  Corina earned an undergraduate degree from American University and a master's degree from New York University.  Corina is a passionate advocate for access to quality education for all children.



 Meliza Gonzalez

MelizaMeliza Gonzalez joined the MCPK in Fall 2018 as the PM Administrative Assistant. She graduated with a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Berkeley College. Meliza has been part of the MCPK family and looks forward to every exciting school year! She manages the front desk and supports the administrative and faculty team along with Sarah. 





 Sarah Wrede

sarah square

Sarah Wrede joined MCPK in the fall of 2020 as the Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper. She graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with her Bachelor's degree. With over 8 years of administrative experience, Sarah provides support to the administrative and faculty team. Managing the front desk, she excitedly looks forward to welcoming everyone to the school every morning! Sarah is proud to be part of the MCPK family, as she holds close to her heart the mission to make affordable early education more accessible to all children. 



Faculty and Staff 

Ashley Alberta

Alberta squareMs. Alberta has been a part of our MCPK learning community for 5 years. Prior to joining our school family as a staff member, she worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for 10 years beginning at the age of 15. Some of her previous experiences included after school program directing at both an elementary school and middle school level and serving as an after school program site coordinator for the Montclair YMCA at Edgemont Elementary School as Glenfield Middle School. Ms. Alberta resides in Montclair and has a 10 year old son who is a proud MCPK alumni and currently attends CHB. During her time here at MCPK, Ms. Alberta has served as a floating support teacher, lead extended care teacher and a teacher's associate. As we head into another year of exploration and discovery, she looks forward to guiding and supporting your children along their journey of development and growth!


 LaShawn Austin

IMG 20221017 181018 259 226x226Lashawn Austin was raised and educated in the Montclair Public School System. In 2000 she became a graduate of Montclair High School and almost immediately began working at the North Ward Center as a Teacher Assistant. While working there for six years she attended many trainings in Early Childhood Education and obtained her Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. In July of 2006 she came to work for the Montclair Community Pre-K. We have watched her grow as a professional and have seen her passion for teaching children blossom at the MCPK. She is the proud mother of two children. Ms. Austin had the opportunity to have her oldest attend the MCPK and watch him accomplish many new skills and have the confidence to try new things. Ms.Austin is looking forward to having her younger child attend the MCPK and watching all her new accomplishments.


Brianna Bouknight

Brianna Bouknight squareBriana Bouknight joined MCPK in 2021.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Advocacy and Policy from Montclair State University. Briana hopes to return to school to get her Master’s/Certification in P-3 Teaching. Prior to joining MCPK, she worked at several local early childhood centers and had fun and exciting internships at both Disney World and Disneyland. Briana was drawn to MCPK for several reasons including the school's focus on positive discipline and child lead learning. Her favorite thing about working in early childhood is seeing first hand how children love to learn. Growing up Briana thought that everyone learned one way, but working with young children has taught her that learning through play and touch opens up many possibilities for different lessons and learning opportunities.


Mariaelena Brown

Mariaelena Brown squareMrs. Brown has been with the Montclair Community Pre-K since its inception in 1998 after working several years at Watchung Elementary School located in Montclair. She has been involved in the early childhood field since 1990, where she worked teaching both preschoolers and toddlers while living in Okinawa, Japan. Over the past 15 years, her life has centered on working mainly with the three- year-olds. Her goal is always focused on creating a warm, loving learning environment for all children. Mrs. Brown has her C.D.A. credential and studied with Starting Points for two years as well as having attended Felician College. She continues to attend many workshops and trainings to further her growth and development in the field of Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Brown states "I enjoy watching the children grow and change, challenging them to be independent thinkers, and the hugs and smiles are great too."


Christine Caputo

Caputo squareChristine Caputo has been a lead teacher at the Montclair Community Pre-K for the past six years. During that time she has been an active participant in educating young children. Her work is inspired by educational researchers such as Lucy Caulkins, Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and Howard Gardner. The work of these individuals influences her lessons on a daily basis. The atmosphere and philosophy of education at the MCPK include a partnership between home and school. Mrs. Caputo has spent with last three years participating in a study of self-determination with educators from Montclair State University. This experience has further enhanced the importance of forming a partnership between parents and practitioners. Her educational background includes a BS degree in Elementary Education and her teaching certification from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She values continuing education by attending workshops and participating in educational research.


Jennifer Chapman

Jennifer Chapman squareJennifer Chapman graduated from Rutgers University (Newark) with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She holds a great love for children and has been working with them for 7 years. She is happy to be a part of our MCPK community and is excited to help support our students as they grow throughout the year.






Melanie Constantino

Melanie Constantino squareMelanie Constantino lives in Little Falls and has been working at the MCPK since 2005. She studied at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ms. Constantino has enjoyed being a part of the Montclair community and hopes to continue to create lasting relationships with the children and families of this community.






Kimberly Dias

IMG 6093-min 226x226Kimberly is very excited to join the MCPK family. She has a daughter 25, a son 18, and a 5 year old grandson who is the light of her life. She also had a grand doggie who loves going for car rides. Kimberly attended Bloomfield High School and knew from an early age that she  oved working with adults and children. She received her certification as a life coach from John Spencer Institute. Kimberly has worked in charter schools for 10 years, and has also worked as a director for a daycare/preschool. She is looking forward to advancing her career and she will be working hard to get her CDA. Kimberly says that children bring so much happiness- they are our future, and she is willing to do her best everyday to make sure their intelligence continues to grow.


Jennifer Estrella

Jennifer E squareMs. Estrella is very excited to teach at the MCPK! She has over eight years of experience working in early childhood education. Jennifer has lead toddler and preschool classes in a licensed center where she simultaneously served as supervisor. She has also obtained her CDA credential. Jennifer is a proud mother to a four year old boy who will be attending the MCPK this year! What she enjoys most about working with children is experiencing their growth over the school year; not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. She also loves arts and crafts, reading and dancing with her students.



Colette Fahmi

IMG 5639 226x226Colette Fahmi has worked with children for over 11 years. She has an Associate Degree from Bergen Community College. Colette also graduated from Montclair State University in 2020 with a Child Advocacy Degree and is pursuing a Master's Degree through Felician University for Early Childhood Education. She has worked with students with special needs as a paraprofessional for 5 years. Ever since Colette was younger, She always knew she wanted to become a teacher. Colette enjoys hands-on activities and activities that allow students to express themselves and be creative while learning. Colette is so excited to be joining Montclair Community Pre-K and can't wait for a great year ahead!



James Gaither

IMG 5669 226x226James Gaither (Mr. JB) began working with children as a camp counselor back in 2006 at the YMCA New Discoveries Camp. He has worked at the camp for 8 summers and has had a blast doing so. Mr. JB worked for the MCPK last year as a substitute and support teacher. Now, he joins the MCPK community as a Classroom Support Teacher and looks forward to a fun and exciting year.





James Goodger

James Square‘Mr. James’ first came to the United States in 1993 as an International Summer Camp Counselor and has been working in the field of education and recreation ever since.  With a degree in Theatre and Dramatic Arts and a love for all sports he has developed a Pre-School Physical Education curriculum that combines imagination, dramatics and physical activity.  Students become the central characters in his stories, and the classes work together on exciting adventures while learning about the importance of staying fit and healthy along the way.  James worked for the YMCA of Montclair for 15 years and is now the Executive Director at the South Mountain YMCA in Maplewood, a branch of the Metro YMCA of the Oranges.  He looks forward to helping children use their imaginations to learn, play and grow!


 Beth Gubitosa

Beth Gubitosa squareMrs. Gubitosa (Ms. G) joined the Montclair Community Pre-K in 2016 and was excited to be part of the diverse and nurturing school. She received her CDA in preschool in 2011 and joins the MCPK team with 14 years of teaching experience. She continues her education through attending both workshops and national teaching conferences. Ms. G. has worked with children 18 months- 5 years of age. She created a successful early childhood program at a local nursery school, where she was responsible for the development of the curriculum. Ms. G.  is passionate about the importance of early childhood education. She believes that mutual respect amongst teachers and their students is an essential part to a successful school year. Ms. G. recently worked as the assistant director of a childcare center from 2018-2021 and has just rejoined the MCPK. She promotes a strong focus on social and emotional learning and has a passion for mindfulness and empowering children with self-regulation strategies. Ms. G. has a 10 year old daughter in the Montclair Public School system and a four year old who is currently a student at MCPK.


Ligia Jervis

JervisLigia Jervis joined MCPK in the Winter of 2022. She has over 12 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. She has worked as a floater in The Northward Preschool and was a Lead teacher at the Little Neighborhood Learning Center for many years. She received her CDA in the year of 2012 and is working towards renewing her credentials. She continues her education by attending workshops and is always receptive to learning through experiences. She is all about being hands on and loves everything and anything that involves being creative and innovative. Ligia Jervis has an extraordinary love and passion for teaching and making a positive difference in young learners!


 Lauri Johnston

Johnston SquareLauri Johnston is very happy to begin working at MCPK! Mrs. Johnston has worked with children in the pre-Kindergarten-5th grade level for over 20 years on a professional and volunteer basis. She has served as a Girl Scout leader, chair of many fundraisers for her local school district, and "Class Mom" more times than she can count! A few years ago, Mrs. Johnston decided to go back to school to pursue teacher certification (K-5) and eventually completed her Master's Degree in 2014. In her previous position, Mrs. Johnston served as Lead PreK Teacher and Assistant Director of the school for eight years. Mrs. Johnston is the proud parent of three girls who currently attend college at Rutgers (New Brunswick), Ramapo College of New Jersey, and the University of Vermont. Mrs. Johnston hopes to become an active part of the positive impact that MCPK has on the Montclair community!


Fiorella Leon

Fiorella Leon squareHola! me llamo Fiorella Leon. I immigrated to the US at the age of 18 searching for better opportunities. I can proudly say that due to hard dedication I picked up the language pretty fast and due to this factor many doors opened for me. Initially I worked in Retail but decided that I was going to pursue my love for teaching and enrolled in college to earn my degree in education. I graduated in 2013 from Union County College with an Associates Degree in Early Child Education. My work experience includes working as a Lead Teacher in Kindercare Learning Centers. It was a wonderful experience in which I learned great tools I have applied successfully in my work with preschool aged students. Most recently I have worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional for the Montclair Public Schools Development Learning Center, which has been a rewarding experience. I felt passionate being able to help young children with special needs achieve their highest potential. I am very excited to start this school year as a Co-Teacher in the MCPK Dual Language Immersion Spanish 3's Classroom and wish to give the best of myself to transform these little minds into something so much greater.


ShelleyAnn Macklin

Macklin squareMs. Macklin is a long time Montclair resident whose children have gone through the Montclair school system. Ms. Macklin started at the Pre-K as a substitute/ Lunch aide when the school opened. She was hired as a Lead Teacher the following year. Her educational background include an undergraduate degree from Old Dominion University, Project Zero @ Harvard University, P3 @ Montclair State University as well as many workshops/ training to further her growth and development in Early Childhood Education, creating educational success for both her and the students.




Laura Marchese

Laura squareLaura Marchese (Related Arts Garden/Environmental Science) founded of the MCPK Garden Project 10 years ago when her second son was a student in Classroom 13. The last decade of digging in dirt has brought garden and environmental science curriculum to our students and the on-going development of our outdoor spaces which include The Butterfly Garden, The Four Season Garden, the Learning and Herb Gardens, and The Berry Patch. Miss Laura has a dual life in dance; she is a Teaching Artist with several arts organizations in NJ and enjoys sharing the value and importance of arts education with students, classroom teachers, and other artists throughout the state. She is the co-author of 'Dance to Learn', a developmental dance curriculum that encourages the emergence of each student's individual viewpoint by making art. She is a roster artist with Young Audiences NJ as an Arts Integration Consultant, and as a residency artist for workshops connecting science and dance.


Erika Martinez

Martinez squareMs. Erika is one of the new members of the Montclair Community Pre-K Family. She enjoys working with children because "everyday I get to be a part of the messy, amazing learning process and I get to celebrate the little things in life." Ms. Erika has worked in early childhood for 18 years. Before working at MCPK, she worked at two other preschool environments. She was a lead teacher in infants, toddler, preschool and pre-k classrooms. She also was a program specialist assistant at KLC. In addition to being a teacher in the classrooms, she has taught Kindermusic and Hooked on Phonics as electives. She is currently enrolled in college to become an Occupational Therapist Assistant. "I am proud to be a part of the MCPK and am looking forward to everything in store."


Delores Monteiro

Ms Monty squareDelores Monteiro has been an advocate for children for the length of her career in early childhood. She is a founding teacher at Montclair Community Pre-K. Ms. Monteiro has her C.D.A. credential, did work / study with Starting Points for 2 years and did course work at Felician College. At MPCK she has worked in both the 3 and 4 year old programs and has also worked as a float teacher.





Ali Nager 

Ali Nager squareAli Nager joined the MCPK in the fall of 2021.  She received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Rollins College in May of 2020.  Ali previously worked at the YMCA 's preschool program and was a dedicated student teacher during her degree program.  Ali became interested in working at the MCPK after reading about the school values around education and the importance of diversity.  Ali's favorite thing about working in early childhood is watching young children learn skills that are necessary to thrive in school. She also loves watching children succeed in areas they previously struggled with.  Ali moved to New Jersey last year and is looking forward to getting to know the area.  


Maritza Pavesio

Maritza Pavesio squareMs. Maritza discovered her passion for teaching with her husband Felipe after having their three beautiful children: Samantha, Ashley and Diego. She migrated to the United States from El Salvador and attended high school in Cliffside Park. Her passion for teaching young children led her to get an associates degree in early childhood education from Bergen Community College . She began as a teacher's assistant, eventually working her way up to become a head teacher in 2000. She has experience teaching children from 18 months-five years old. She taught at a private preschool for 15 years and had the privilege to touch the lives of many young children . She enjoyed seeing children learn new things and was amazed by how quickly they grasp a new language. She also believes that parents are an essential part of their children's life and growth. Her goal at the MCPK is to share her passion and knowledge with her students and to expose them to Latino culture through the Dual-Language Spanish Immersion program. In her free time she enjoys reading, crafting, dancing and traveling. She is thrilled to become a part of the MCPK team.


Zusette Perdomo

IMG 5659 226x226Zusette has had a passion for teaching children and helping them grow for years. She is a hands-on type of teacher who loves to have lots of fun while learning. She is creative and looks forward to contributing exciting activities and ideas. She is happy to support all the children and teachers in any way in her classroom. She is a proud mom of 3. Zoe, Zayne and Zuri.





Danielle Pointer

IMG 5672 226x226Ms. Danielle has worked in the field of early childhood for 13 years. She has taught infants, toddlers and preschoolers and has held positions including lead teacher and assistant director at multiple locations of the Kiddie Academy and the Goddard School, and at Village Babies Development Center. Ms. Danielle is passionate about teaching preschoolers because pre-k is the foundation for children's development. She enjoys her students because they are inquisitive, observant and funny, and she is proud to help mold and shape the minds of young children since they are the future. Ms. Danielle received her associate's degree in applied science with a focus on broadcast journalism from Kingsborough Community College and has attended Howard University and Marymount Manhattan College. She is currently pursuing a degree in sociology from Thomas Edison State College and plans to get a P-3 certificate and a master's degree. Ms. Danielle has been awarded a Certified Child Care Professional credential (CCP) and is trained in CPR and First Aid. Prior to her work in early childhood education, she worked in fashion and retail.


Dianca Polanco

Dianca Polanco squareMs. Dianca has been working for the Montclair Community Pre-K since February of 2014. She started as a lunch aide and worked in Extended Care. Ms. Dianca is one of the first teachers who helped us blossom our Dual-Language Spanish English Immersion program. She is now a Support Teacher for the four-year-old dual language classroom. She has worked with children for the past 18 years. Her passion for being a teacher came from being a mom at a young age. She is now the mother of two bright and handsome boys. Ms. Dianca received her CDA certification in Preschool Child Development and hopes to further her education in Early Childhood. She is a hands on type of teacher that is always looking for fun and educational projects to do with the children. She enjoys spending time with her kids, doing photography, and making beautiful handmade crafts.


Camilla Ramirez

IMG 9752 226x226Ms. Camilla is currently an undergraduate at Montclair State University majoring in Psychology with aspirations to become a certified teacher. She hopes to teach in NJ for a few years and return to school in the future to obtain her Masters in Education Leadership. She found her passion for teaching through babysitting little ones while she was in high school. Her favorite part of the school day is bonding with the children and creating forever lasting relationships with them! She is very excited to start her first year part of the MCPK family starting the 2021-2022 year! 




Rachael Sejuela

IMG 5640 226x226Rachael is super excited to join the MCPK family as a support teacher. She is happily married to her husband of 11 years, and they have 2 energetic daughters, 11 and 9. They also have 3 dogs, 2 of which were just rescued. Rachael has loved children since she was younger. She was the President of the Home and School Association at her daughters school for 6 years. Being so involved in her children's education and school, made her realize that early childhood education is what she wanted to explore on her career path. Rachael would like to work hard and earn her CDA certification to further her early childhood journey. 


Marylyn Smalls

IMG 6149 226x226Marylyn Smalls is the proud mother of two wonderful children, a son (Jonathon) and a daughter (Aaliyah). Marylyn was born on the Island of Trinidad and Tobago. She attended college in Trinidad and obtained advanced levels in accounting and business management. In 1996 she came to the United States with her husband. She was hired as a babysitter and took care of the children of three different families. She truly enjoyed taking care of young children. After 12 years of being a babysitter, Marylyn decided to take a step further into the exciting career of early childhood education. She enrolled in Bloomfield College in 2007 and earned her CDA credentials. She feels very fortunate to be a part of the staff at Montclair Community Pre-K. Marylyn has been employed at the MCPK since 2008. She is currently a Co-Teacher and she is eagerly looking forward to furthering her knowledge in early childhood education.


Kacey Studwell 


Kacey Studwell squareMs. Kacey is an MCPK alumni and excited to be back and part of the next generation's education. Watching how young children see the world has been inspiring and a great learning experience. Prior to working for MCPK she has worked for the YMCA of Montclair’s after school program for the past 12 years as well as being a Paraprofessional in Verona public preschool, and a one-on-0ne Aide in a special needs classroom. When Ms. Kacey is not working she likes to spend her free time outside, kayaking, hiking, and traveling with her son. Ms. Kacey looks forward to seeing your children every day! 



Melissa Ramsaywack

IMG 5660 226x226Welcome back to MCPK graduate Melissa Ramsaywack! Melissa began working in the MCPK extended care program in September 2022.  She is a Montclair resident and recent graduate from Montclair High School. Melissa is currently attending Essex County College, studying education. Previously, Melissa worked as a YMCA summer camp counselor.  Melissa has always loved working with children and has wanted to work at a Preschool since she was a child.  She credits great teachers and role models for her success in school and life. She says that they helped her to gain confidence and overcome a difficult childhood to become the person she is today. Melissa now wants to pay back the favor as a teacher, helping other children to develop their full potential, regardless of their background. Melissa lives with her parents and sister Aleah. She loves being outside and being with kids. They make her happier each and every day!


 Ariane Vozar

Ariane squareAriane received a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting from Arcadia University. She enjoys crafting, spending time outdoors and traveling. She found her passion for working with children while living in Cambridge, MA and has recently moved back to New Jersey where she was born and raised. Ariane loves exploring process art with young children and encouraging creativity and imagination. She is excited to be joining MCPK this year and being a part of the Montclair Community Pre-K.




 Katie Wassel 

Katie Kassel squareKatie Wassel has been teaching young children since 2004. Katie attended Connecticut College, where she studied Studio Art and Gender and Women’s Studies. Later, she attended Bank Street College of Education for her masters in early childhood education. Katie has taught Pre-K through 1st grade in New York City, California, and New Jersey. Throughout her career, she has taught in progressive classrooms, and shapes her teaching philosophy around Reggio-Emilia and Bank Street ideals. She is passionate about providing quality, progressive, inclusive, and accessible education to all young children. In the classroom, Katie aims to co-build a classroom community with young learners, where children are able to play, collaborate, listen, discuss, resolve conflicts, and identify their own feelings and the feelings of others, and teachers meet the emotional and learning needs of each child. This work hopefully builds a more peaceful, respectful, and equitable society. Thus, Katie views her work as a teacher as social justice work. Katie is also a proud mother of three young, wonderful children.


 Nerissa Waugh

IMG 5652 1 226x226Nerissa Waugh has been employed at the Montclair Community Pre-K since September 2001. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College and Kean University with a BA in Psychology. She is a certified Early Childhood teacher with her P-3 NJ State Certification as well as a diploma in Elementary Education. Prior to working at the MCPK, she worked in the elementary school system as a lead teacher for over fifteen years. Her natural ability and passion for helping children to excel has laid the foundation for the success of her students. Her philosophy is “children are our future, nurture them.” Her vision is to see our children being the best that they can be and her mission is to be actively involved in the training and development of young minds helping them to maximize their potential. 


 Heather Wilson

Heather squareHeather Wilson has been teaching at the MCPK since 2004.  She attended Boston College and recieved her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  Ms. Wilson says “teaching in Montclair has been a wonderful experience as every year the children bring a fantastic new adventure.  Each day is different and I have enjoyed growing and learning with each class here at the MCPK.”  Ms. Wilson is the proud busy mother of three fabulous children here in Montclair.  Her two oldest, Mya and Ian, are also alumni of the MCPK, and she and her husband look forward to the day when Tristan, her youngest will attend the MCPK as well!



 Maya Workman

Maya SquareMs. Maya Milenovic Workman and Reggie Workman joined the Related Arts Team at the Montclair Community Center in 1998. Through “Eight Steps to Creativity” Maya developed a conglomerate of movement, drumming, cultures and continents.  She originated “Moving Theater Methodology” for ages 3-10. Maya has a B.A. and M.A. from the “New School University” (Focusing on Film, Psychology, and literature) and BFA equivalent from “London School Of Contemporary Dance” (focusing on choreography). As ‘teaching artist’ she taught children, professionals, teachers, people with special needs and actors internationally since 1980. She directed two Dance Companies and is currently an Artistic Director of ‘Madlom’: in Montclair. Maya’s full length choreographed works include: I Hear with my Eyes (deafness), Guernica Continuum (cerebral palsy, paraplegics), Virtual Truth (abuse), Jokasta, Clytemnestra, Come and Go, H.P. Madame’s Portrait, Tristan and Isolda, Moon Above Mississippi to name a few. Her fulllength documentary ‘Perfect Blend’ deals with American racism. She is preparing ‘Dos Worlds’ (blindness, rape) and Orlando (Virginia Wolf) and writing her first novel. She believes that ART OF THE FUTURE is political and an emancipator. Check out her website:


Hassiba Zoghbi

Hassiba squareMs. Zoghbi is a wife and mother of 2 children, a college student attending Montclair State University and an elementary school student. Ms. Zoghbi began her career teaching biology in an elementary school right after graduating from the Lebanese University with a degree in biology. She began working in early childhood shortly after moving to the United States with her family. Ms. Zoghbi has her N.J. Certificate of Eligibility for K-8. She began working at Montclair Community Pre-K as a substitute teacher and later joined the regular staff. Ms. Zoghbi feels that the Pre-K is a wonderful school that provides a rich, stimulating and warm environment for its students and staff.