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Team

Join our team as an Extended Care Teacher!

Our enrollment in our Extended Care Program continues to grow; so we are hiring mid-year. Come join a caring educational learning community committed to providing quality preschool education. Provide creative, supportive and fun educational experiences for children ages 3-­‐5 years. Experience working with children in a classroom and/or camp setting required. Fluent in Spanish is a plus. Need to be available 5 days a week between 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Approximately 20 total hours per week. Potential for additional substitute hours. Growth opportunities are available. MCPK alumni are encouraged to apply (HS Diploma required). Email your resume and cover letter to Susan Bryant-Gaither at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested.

 

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

Stephanie Fitzgerald

Stephanie Fitzgerald is Executive Director of the Montclair Community Pre-K. She brings over 22 years experience in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade education leadership to this role. She began her career as a middle school teacher in Chicago, where she founded and led three different schools including two early childhood programs. Most recently, she served as a program executive director for New Leaders—a nationwide non-profit principal training program serving over 500 school leaders annually. Prior to New Leaders, she was the founding President and CEO of the acclaimed Rodel Charitable Foundation of Delaware. Her career also includes being a director at an education Internet company and as a management consultant at KPMG Consulting. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and holds education masters degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Delaware. She and her husband, Mike, live in Montclair and have four children, two of whom are proud graduates of the Montclair Communtiy Pre-K, one who is a current student and one who will call the MCPK her own starting in the fall of 2016.

Carolyn DeVito

Carolyn DeVito served as Interim Executive Director of Montclair Community Pre-K during the first half of the 2013-2014 school year. Carolyn is currently the Assistant 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 Pennsylvania and is the Tech Integration Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia School District (K through 12th grade) and Stephanie graduated from Montclair State University and works in a local hospital as a Medical Credentials Analyst.

Susan Bryant-Gaither

Susan 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. 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 work sensitively with 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. Susan is married to James and she has three children, Anika- 24, J.B.-21 and Chelsea-17.

 

Faculty and Staff

Lisa Alonso

Mrs. Alonso has been part of the MCPK team for 8 years. She came to the Pre-K as a float teacher and joined the staff one year later as an associate teacher. Mrs. Alonso has been living in Montclair for 18 years with her husband Alberto and their 2 daughters, Camille (19) and Lucia (15). Lucia is an alumnus of the Pre-K and both mother and daughter have very fond memories of Lucia's time there. Lisa has been active in the Montclair School System as PTA president and co-chair of various fundraisers. Mrs. Alonso has a secretarial degree from Berkeley Business School and, prior to joining the Pre-K, managed her family's manufacturing business, was a Personal Assistant to a fashion designer, and was an Executive Assistant in the A&R Dept. at Elektra Records. Currently Mrs. Alonso is studying to obtain her CDA (Child Development Associate). Mrs. Alonso loves to entertain and has a passion for cooking. She also loves to travel and has traveled extensively with her family throughout Europe.

 

 

Amanda Apap

Ms. Apap has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for 15 years. During that time, she has served as an aftercare director, one-on-one instructor, lead teacher, program coordinator, and most recently Extended Care staff at MCPK. She received both a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University. Currently, Ms. Apap is pursuing her certification in P-3 from Montclair State University. She is enthusiastic, creative, and passionate about early childhood development and is looking forward to using her skills and passion within the .School Day Program this school year.

Luana Ashe

Ms. Ashe has been employed at the Montclair Community Pre-K since 2006. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in studio art as well as a New Jersey teaching certificate. Born in the country of Guyana in South America, Ms. Ashe moved to Montclair when she was only a few months old. Since then she has had the privilege of attending the Montclair Public Schools ultimately graduating from Montclair High School in 1999. Upon graduation, Ms. Ashe attended St. Peter’s College in Jersey City for 2 years and then transferred to Montclair State University earning her B.A. in 2005. She is happily married and is the proud mother of 2 boys, Jahsil and Justin.

 

 

LaShawn Austin

Lashawn 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.

Joanna Baldissard

Joanna Baldissard was part of the "original" faculty that began the MPCK back in 1998.  She has worked in early childhood education throughout her college years.  After graduating William Paterson University with her N-8 certification and a BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Sociology, Joanna was a Lead teacher in a Pre-K program for several years.  In 1998, Joanna began at the MCPK and quickly made her way from Lead teacher to Mentor teacher.  As a Mentor teacher, Joanna was able to supervise other staff members and be a valuable resource to many.  During her second year, she left to start her family, raising her two boys, Jack now 14 and Charlie 12.  Joanna was very fortunate to have the opportunity to join us again in 2013.  She is now serving as a Master Teacher where she continues her passion for working with children and fellow faculty members.

Mariaelena Brown

Mrs. 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

Christine 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.

 

 

LaMonica Carter

An educator at the Montclair Community Pre-K for over 13 years, Mrs. Carter is a mother of four delightful children two girls and two boys and a resident of Montclair.  She has been in the field of education for over 20 years while working with children and mentoring youth in the community and at her local church. During her  career, she completed a two year certificate program (Apprenticeship) through the Department of Labor and Felician College, acquiring accreditation as a Child Development Specialist.  She also received her Associate Degree at Essex County College in Early Childhood Development Psychology and Social Work. After graduating Cum Laude( with Honors), she received her Bachelors Degree in Theology, and a Master of Christian Education from Bethel College, Mishawaka, Indiana.

 

 

Melanie Constantino

Melanie 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.

David Coto

Dave Coto was born, raised, and educated in Montclair. All the way from his elementary school years in Rand to his graduation day from Montclair State University. With both parents being artistic Mr. Dave was surrounded by creativity and culture ever since childhood, and began his own artistic endeavors at the young age of six. He believes in using art and creativity as a vital tool in the education of children. He is excited to be joining the Montclair Pre-K as a full time employee and looks forward to everything coming his way.

 

 

 

Asya Douglass

Miss Asya received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Bloomfield College. Before joining the MCPK, she was a Recreational Therapist. Although Miss Asya loved her work in the field of geriatrics, after surviving breast cancer, she wanted a change. She is a mother of a precious daughter and enjoys spending time watching children learn and evolve. In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and friends. She has flourished as a member of the Extended Care Team and will be transitioning into the School Day Program this school year. She likes being a part of the MCPK community and looks forward to everything that's in store.

Rocío Flores

Miss Rocío has worked at The Montclair Community Pre-K as a Spanish teacher since 2013. Rocio has been working with children for thirteen years, and she loves teaching and helping children accomplish their goals. She earned a Master's degree in Special Educación from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Rocío hails from Perú and is the mother of a five-year-old MCPK student.

Carla Gilruth

Carla Gilruth (Mrs. G.) is the Visual Arts teacher at the Pre-K. Her twin daughters were in the first class in 1998, and Carla joined the staff the following year. She has a BA in Psychology with a concentration in early childhood from Douglass College. She has continued her education in the arts and early childhood education whenever possible through workshops and conferences such as Project Zero at Harvard and Reggio Emilia at Virginia Tech. Montclair Pre-K offered her the opportunity to present the schools art program personally to Howard Gardner, who confirmed its excellence. In art classes, our focus is on “process vs. product”, and the act of creating art provides children not only with another language for expression, but is a way to connect them to the world, to others and themselves. They learn about artists that have helped change the world, and to appreciate that art is all around them. In this age of technology, Carla feels it is more important than ever to provide children the opportunity to have tactile experiences for expression, which in turn is vital in skill development in writing, reading and math.

Carla was also on the faculty of the Yard School of Art at the Montclair Art Museum for 5 years, teaching classes year round for children ages 4-10, and has also taught for organizations such as the Livingston Art Association, and helped run the Children Arts Studio in Montclair. She enjoys creating all types of mixed media art, and has sold some of her work at Art in The Park, and in specialty shops. She was co-owner of Terra Tea and Fair Trade on Church Street for five years.

Carla has lived in Montclair for over 20 years, and lives in the 100+ year old home in which her husband David grew up, and spends much of her time on woodworking and renovation projects. She was very active in the Montclair School system, from which her children were 3rd generation graduates. Her twins are now seniors in college, and her oldest daughter, 24, graduated in 2013, lives in Baltimore MD.

James Goodger

‘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

Mrs. Gubitosa joined the Montclair Community Pre-K in 2016 and is excited to be part of this diverse and nurturing school. She received her CDA in 2011 and joins the MCPK team with 10 years of teaching experience. She continues her education through attending both workshops and national teaching conferences. Mrs. Gubitosa 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. Mrs. Gubitosa is passionate about the importance of early childhood education. She believes mutual respect amongst teachers and their students is essential to a successful school year. Mrs. Gubitosa has a 5-year-old daughter named Adrianna who is entering kindergarten in the fall.

Fiorella Leon

Hola! 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.

 

Madeline Machuca

Madeline has been with the MCPK since 2010. She has a stong background working in childcare centers. She started 15 years ago as an administrative assistant in a childcare center and worked her way up to a director for an abbott center in Jersey City. She enjoys spending time with her family. You can always find her at one of her children's game cheering them on!

ShelleyAnn Macklin

Ms. 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 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.

Disha Modi

Disha Modi has joined the MCPK team this year and has been working in early child education since graduation.  She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University. After graduation she began work as a Lead Preschool Teacher at a day care center.  While working, she decided to go back to school for a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Montclair State University. After getting her Masters, Disha worked as Lead Preschool Teacher for maternity leave replacements in various townships. For the past three years, she was a Lead Preschool Teacher at an Abbott school in Jersey City, where she was able to receive training in the High Scope Curriculum. At MCPK, Disha hopes to create an environment where children enjoy learning and can grow as individuals. In her spare time she loves to read books and travel around the world with her husband.

Alexandra Monge

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Miss Alexandra moved to the United States 15 years ago. She worked as a nanny for many years in the Montclair area which allowed her to experience different schools, private and public, and she realized that she wanted to work with kids in a classroom. She obtained her Child Development Associates (CDA) in 2007. Beginning in 2012, Alexandra served as a volunteer, then Extended Care teacher, and last year served as an Associate Teacher during a maternity leave. She co-led the Spanish Extended Care Classroom last year. This year she is very excited to be joining the Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program Team and will be continuing her education in early childhood and bilingual education.

 

 

Delores Monteiro

Delores 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.

Maggie Newberry

Miss Newberry has been working with children her whole life. After successfully running a program in the the United Kingdom, she decided to jump across the pond and see what America had to offer. During the first 15 years she was in Montclair she worked as a private nanny and also took time raising and nurturing her own child. 5 years ago, however, she realized she wanted more and joined MCPK as part of the Extended Care Program. After experiencing great success in Extended Care, she decided to pursue her Child Development Associates, which she received this past year. She is currently an Associate Teacher and now has her eyes set on learning sign language, so that she can continue to build her skills to assist any student no matter the need.

 

 

Maritza Pavesio

Ms. 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.

Dana Pinto 

Dana Pinto is the school nurse at Montclair Community Pre K. She graduated from Felician College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a minor in Psychology. She has spent time working in a hospital and has spent many years in a private pediatric practice. She is currently working towards her New Jersey School Nurse Certification and Masters of Health Sciences with a concentration in School Health Education at NJCU. Dana loves working with children and their families and enjoys participating in community functions. In her spare times she loves spending time outdoors and traveling with her husband Joe.

 

 

Danielle Pointer

Ms. 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.

 

Marylyn Smalls

Marylyn 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.

 

 

Nerissa Waugh

Nerissa 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 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

Ms. 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’: www.madlom.org 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.www.mayamilenovicworkman.com

Hassiba Zoghbi

Ms. 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.