Meet Our Staff
Ms. Adefioye has enjoyed working at the Montclair Community Pre-K for 13 years. She has worked in many capacities such as float, associate teacher and lead teacher when the need arises. Ms. Adefioye is an advocate for children and believes they learn in many different ways. She has her C.D.A. credential and is presently working toward her bachelor’s degree at Bloomfield College. Her hobbies are making latch hook rugs and riding her bike.
Ms. Alonso has been a part of the Pre-K team for 6 years. She came to the Pre-K as a float teacher and joined the staff one year later as a teacher’s assistant. Lisa has been living in Montclair for 16 years with her husband Alberto and their 2 daughters, Camille (17) and Lucia (12). 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 very active in the Montclair School System as PTA president and co-chair of various fundraisers. Ms. Alonso has a secretarial degree from Berkeley Business School and, prior to joining the Pre-K, managed her family’s manufacturing business. Ms. Alonso loves to entertain and has a passion for food and cooking. She also loves to travel and has traveled extensively with her family throughout Europe.
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 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.
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
Tiffany Caccavale has been employed at Montclair Community Pre-K since 2005. She is a graduate of Felician College and received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education along with P-3 Certification. She also completed a minor in sociology. Ms. Caccavale has had field experience in various classroom settings including early childhood and special education. She completed student teaching in a public preschool where she had the opportunity to participate in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation process. Ms. Caccavale loves the nurturing environment at MCPK and is happy to be working in an early childhood setting.
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.
Lisa Marie Cataldo is the proud mother of two boys. Jeffrey is thirteen-years-old and in the 8th grade and Justin, a MCPK alumni is nine–years-old and in the 3rd grade. Both boys are enrolled in the Montclair Public School district. Ms. Cataldo started her career at the MCPK in 2005 as a lunch aid/substitute teacher. During the 2007 -2008 school year Lisa became a full time in-house substitute as well as an extended day teacher. It was then that she realized her true love for working with young children. Ms. Cataldo has taken classes on several topics including Promoting Healthy Social Emotional Development, Communicating with Hard-to-Reach Families, Portfolio Organization, The Language of Clay, Creating a Center-based Learning Community, and Guiding Young Children’s Behavior. Ms. Cataldo has her Childhood Development Associates Certification (CDA). Ms. Cataldo has been happily employed at the MCPK for seven years. Teaching is her passion.
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, NJ. 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.
Dianna D. Davis graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science degree as an Education major with a concentration in Spanish in 1995. After graduating, she worked in the public school system in Hudson County. She taught bilingual education for six years which she loved and enjoyed very much. In 2001, when she moved to Montclair she switched districts and began working in Essex County. In 2003, Ms. Davis left the teaching profession to stay at home with her newborn son. In 2006, she decided to go back to what she enjoyed and in September of that same year, she began working at the Montclair Community Pre-K. Dianna enjoys being around children and helping them learn and grow. During her leisure time, Dianna takes pleasure in scrapbooking, photography, biking, traveling, diving, the outdoors and appreciating the quiet moments. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends whether it is babysitting for her niece or cousins or enjoying a movie.
Carolyn DeVito is the Assistant Executive Director of Montclair Community Pre-K. Carolyn 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 there 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 a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher there and Stephanie is a senior at Montclair State University majoring in Justice Studies with the hope of working as a police officer in the special victims unit one day soon.
Ms. Germany-Wald started her career at the Pre-K as a substitute teacher in the fall of 2006. Currently, Ms. GW is happily working with Mrs. Muller in room 13. She has a BA in Psychology from Dickinson College and is working toward her P-3 Certification at Montclair State University. She is the mother of Nicholas (24), Alexander (22), Heidi (17), Scooby (the dog), and cats: Snoopy, Cupcake, Boris, and Toby. In her spare time, Ms. GW loves to curl up and read with her cats and Mr. GW.
Marilyn Giessen has been with the Montclair Community Pre-K since 2002 as a lunch aide and continues to work in that capacity. She is also part of our extended care faculty and can be seen at the school until 6:30 p.m. on most nights. After working in an office for many years and taking care of her ill husband, Ms. Giessen was a store manager for 11 years before coming to the MCPK. Ms. Giessen says “I enjoy this so much because I love and care for the children. It has been such a wonderful time of my life.”
Amarilis Hasani has always had a passion for working with young children. In 2004, she graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. From there, she worked in Jackson Heights, NY as a lead teacher in a Pre-K classroom. She enjoyed her time there very much, but was delighted when she discovered the Montclair Community Pre-K. Since joining the faculty, she has worked alongside wonderful colleagues and learned so much not only from them, but from the amazing students she has had the opportunity to teach. In 2009, Ms. Hasani was married and in July of 2011, she and her husband joyfully announced the birth of their beautiful daughter.
Susan Marro, R.N is our health director, and full time school nurse for the Montclair Community Pre-K and the Developmental Learning Center. She and her husband have lived in Montclair since 1985, and their two daughters (now college graduates) attended the Montclair Public Schools. Susan has been working at our school since 2001, and she has a broad range of nursing experience including critical care, medical-surgical nursing, corporate health nursing, school nursing, and medical writing. She is a member of the New Jersey Association of School Nurses, and the National Association of School Nurses, and often attends the NASN annual conferences.
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.
Carissa Olivi is a new addition to the Montclair Community PreK and comes to us with over 16 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She believes strongly in the lifelong benefits of an enriching and engaging Pre-school experience. After growing up in Montclair and attending the public schools, she graduated from Montclair High School. Carissa attended Seton Hall University earning a BA in Liberal Studies and continued to earn her NJ teaching certification and MA in Early Childhood Education from New Jersey City University . While earning her MA she worked as a PreK and Kindergarten teacher in Montclair. After ten years in California, she returns to Montclair with experience as an Adjunct Instructor of Early Childhood and developer of products for the ECE classroom. Carissa has one son; Gio who will begin Kindergarten this year at the Charles H. Bullock school. She is active in the community and runs a small, local business teaching yoga to children. She loves being a mom, cooking, yoga and spending time outdoors to remind her of the all the beauty in life.
Ms. Muller graduated from Caldwell College with a BA in Education and certification in P-3 / K-8. Ms. Muller has always wanted to be a teacher and was very happy to join the staff of the Montclair Community Pre-K in 2006. When she is not teaching, Ms. Muller loves spending time with her husband, horseback riding, swimming and thinking about new ideas to bring to her classroom. She is currently working toward her MA in Education / Early Childhood Education and looks forward to many more years in a field that has given her much joy.
Bria Pierre hails from Montclair and so she understands the customs and cultures of it’s residents. Mrs. Pierre attended the Montclair Public Schools and upon her graduation from high school she attended Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida. After graduating with honors with a degree in Elementary Education, Mrs. Pierre realized “there is no place like home” and returned to Montclair. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Montclair Public Schools for a year and later taught first grade in East Orange. She came to work at the Montclair Community Pre-K in 2004 and has enjoyed working with and fostering many relationships with the MCPK families.
Shelley Showell is a 32 year resident of Montclair and Pre-K Mentor teacher. Shelley attended Douglass College and received her BA in Psychology from Montclair State University. After a 15 year career as a graphic artist, Shelley entered the early childhood environment as a volunteer in her sons' classrooms in the Montclair Public Schools. She has enjoyed working with young children as a swim and gym instructor at the Washington Street YMCA, as an Assistant Teacher at a local Montessori School, as a Basic Skills teacher in the Glen Ridge Public Schools, and as an Inclusion Assistant in the Summit Public Schools. While employed as a lead teacher at the Pre-K, she earned her NJ N-8 teacher certification from the Montclair Consortium's Alternate Route Program. She enjoys being outdoors and loves participating in water sports. She is an avid reader who also loves animals and gardening.
Marilyn Smalls is the proud mother of two wonderful children, a son (Jonathon) and a daughter (Aaliyah). Marilyn 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. Marilyn 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. Marilyn has been employed at the Pre-K since 2008. She is currently a teacher associate and she is eagerly looking forward to furthering her knowledge in early childhood education.
Ms. Trabucco has been a teacher for several decades and has taught every age group from pre-k through 8th grade. She has also taught in every type of school setting from public to private and everything in between including the very first Newark Head Start Program which she helped to initiate. Her tenure with Montclair Community Pre-K began on the very first day we opened our doors in September, 1998. It is her pleasure as curriculum director / master teacher to help teachers maintain the high program standards for which MCPK is so well known.
Nicole Vilardo has been at the MCPK since 2006. She studied education at New Jersey City University in Jersey City. During her tenure her, Ms. Vilarsdo has spent time as a teacher assistant in both the three-year-old and four-year-old classrooms. This year as a float teacher, Ms. Vilardo enjoys getting to know all of the children and the families in the whole MCPK community. Ms. Vilardo lives in Kearny with her husband Anthony and bulldog Gus.
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 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!
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.