The RPNS staff is made up of 25 caring, competent and experienced early childhood educators. In addition to two co-directors, our staff includes 20 teachers, an art studio teacher, a school nurse, and a business manager. Our music/movement teacher, physical education teacher, child psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist provide additional support services
Kristin Kumar is Co-Director of Rye Presbyterian Nursery School with Margaret Sculti. Previously, Kristin was a part of the RPNS administrative team as the Director of Admissions, Marketing, and Technology, and she was a co-teacher for ten years. As Co-Director, Kristin continues her work with registration and admissions. Kristin is head of marketing, technology, and finances. Both Directors support all RPNS families and work with every member of the faculty. Kristin graduated from Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Science in both Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. Kristin has completed her Masters of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education and Literacy at Long Island University. In addition, she has her Post-Master’s degree in Special Education. Kristin has her Professional New York State Teaching Certifications in Early Childhood Education, Literacy, and Special Education. As a member of the Bucknell Dance Company, Kristin holds a Minor in Dance and greatly enjoys teaching creative movement to young children. Kristin is thrilled that her daughter, Brooke, is a current RPNS student!
Margaret Sculti is Co-Director of RPNS with Kristin Kumar. Formerly, Margaret was the Assistant Director of RPNS and has been a part of RPNS since 1999. Margaret is the primary contact for special education needs and the RPNS Parent Organization, which includes fundraising and outreach. She is also the school’s liaison with Rye Presbyterian Church. Margaret has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College and is NY State Certified N-6. She was a teacher at RPNS for thirteen years and she has worked in the 2s, 3s, and 4s. She has extensive experience working with young children and their parents in special education. Helping children reach goals is her passion.
Gail Walter is our Studio Teacher. Gail works with small groups of children in the studio, as well as in the classrooms, listening to their ideas and supporting the classroom teachers in researching, designing and implementing project work based on those ideas. She collaborates with the teams to support their investigations and special school wide interests. Gail also provides administrative support to the program through parent activities, communication, supervision and staff development. Prior to joining RPNS, Gail was a studio teacher and head teacher in the 2s, 3s, and 4s at Bridges Early Childhood Program, a “Reggio” inspired preschool in Old Greenwich, CT. Gail has her B.A. and CDA and continues her educational journey through programs at Bank St., Lesley University, Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville.
Mary Canneto is our Business Manager working at RPNS for thirty years. She brings with her many years of business and accounting experience, a wonderful smile, a calm assurance and a willingness to do all that is necessary to manage the business and financial needs of RPNS.
Kathy Bellotti is our School Nurse and Administrative Assistant. She has worked at RPNS for fifteen years. As a Licensed Practical Nurse, Kathy manages the daily health issues of our children and staff, as well as assists the Director each day with the safety supervision in front of the school building and other pertinent administrative responsibilities. Kathy looks forward to greeting new and returning families from our front office!
Two & Three Year Old Staff
Beverly Carducci has been a two-year-old teacher for twelve years. Beverly is a NYS Registered nurse with her RN Degree. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics, OB-GYN, Psychiatry, and Medical-Surgical. Before joining RPNS, Bev taught religion to young children and worked as a tutor for many years. Beverly's newsletters are well known for her "Chuckle of the Week," her very own celebration of two-year-old humor in the classroom.
Melinda Zambrano has been teaching at RPNS for three years. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from American University and a Master's in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining RPNS, she worked at several independent preschools in New York City. She also has experience teaching Kindergarten and spent two years at The Windward School working with students who have reading and writing challenges. Melinda has a calm, positive, and thoughtful energy, and she is very passionate about working with young children.
Kathy Henk is a two year old teacher working at RPNS for thirty years. Her previous experience includes teaching elementary and special education classes in New York, Illinois and California. Kathy holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and New York State Permanent Certification in Nursery through sixth grade, as well as Special Education. She has attended the international study leave in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Kathy has a deep understanding of two year old development and cherishes making connections with her students.
Shirley Llanes teaches two year olds. She has been part of the RPNS staff for thirteen years. Shirley has her B.A. in Asian Studies from the University Of Santo Tomas Philippines, her Certificate in Childcare from New York University and her CDA from the Council for Professional Recognition, Washington, D.C. Shirley is well known around RPNS for her cooking and baking, which stems from her own interest and her Certificate in Pastry and Baking from the Institute of Culinary Education, NYC. She is a member of the Rye Storyteller’s Guild, where she develops the many stories that she shares with our RPNS children.
Melissa Quinn is a teacher of both two year olds and three year olds. She has taught at RPNS for five years. Before becoming a full time teacher at RPNS, Melissa was a permanent substitute teacher at the Nursery School for six years. Melissa has her Bachelor’s Degree and is currently working on her CDA (Child Development Associate) from New York State. Melissa has attended Bank Street Graduate School of Education to add to her professional development. Melissa brings patience, love, and understanding to some of our youngest students.
Marybeth Laux teaches both two year olds and three year olds. She has taught at RPNS for four years. Before joining the RPNS team Marybeth was a head teacher at the Reggio inspired Community Nursery School in Westport, CT for fifteen years. Marybeth has her B.A. from Fordham, and has completed 24 credits in Early Childhood Education from Norwalk Community College, as well as her Connecticut Head Teacher Certification. Marybeth enjoys incorporating music into the curriculum. The music she shares with the children is contagious and is sure to travel home to the class families!
Three & Four Year Old Staff
Dawn Mytych is a three year old teacher working at RPNS for twenty nine years. Dawn has her Early Childhood Certificate from SUNY Purchase and she has attended the international study leave in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Dawn’s dedicated listening skills with young children have enabled her students to investigate and create the wonders of such varied subjects as a Submarine, Firehouse, Rescue Helicopter, Pizza Kitchen, Suspension Bridge/Tugboats, Air Traffic Control Towers and Trains!
Megan Wardle is a three year old teacher. She has taught at RPNS for two years. Megan has a B.A. from Michigan State University and a M.A. in Education, Teaching, and Learning from DePaul University in Chicago. After earning her degrees, Megan worked in elementary schools primarily as a lead Kindergarten teacher in Illinois and Michigan. Megan has also served as the PTO president at Milton Elementary School in Rye, NY and has worked closely with teachers, parents, and administrators to build programs in the RCSD. She has also worked as a substitute teacher at RPNS and has worked in all of our classrooms. Her gentle and kind ways ensure smooth teacher/child connections.
Traci Fiore has been a teacher at RPNS for twenty-three years. She has taught in all our age levels over the years and has been a three-year-old teacher for over thirteen years. Traci has her Early Childhood Certificate from SUNY Purchase and her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the College of New Rochelle. In addition, she has worked as the art program coordinator/instructor at several summer camps throughout Westchester County. Traci's strong creativity allows her to develop curriculum experiences that are unique and highly engaging for young children. Traci brings a great understanding of how to integrate learning goals throughout the children's classroom day and create opportunities for her students to be successful.
Jessica Fishman joins the RPNS teaching faculty in the morning and afternoon threes co-teaching with Traci Fiore. Jessica holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and has nine years of experience working with preschoolers at the Christ Church Day School in NYC. Throughout her time there, she led several different emergent studies that reflected child-centered learning and expressed how learning goals are reached throughout the curriculum. Jessica enjoys working closely with preschoolers and values their voices in helping to drive curriculum experiences. Jessica brings an upbeat and caring attitude to RPNS, and we look forward to having her be part of our school community!
Mary Szamborski teaches three and four year olds. She has taught at RPNS for nineteen years. She has her Bachelor's Degree from Drew University and has earned credits towards a Master's Degree in Literacy Education from Long Island University. Mary has attended the week-long study leave in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and she has also studied the Reggio Project Approach at many conferences at progressive preschools throughout the country. During her years at RPNS, she has taught both three and four year old classes. Mary values that every learner is different, and she adapts her teaching to meet the needs of all her students.
Angela O’Keefe is a three and four year old teacher working at RPNS for ten years. She has a dual Master's Degrees in Early Childhood and Special Education from Manhattanville College and is New York State Certified in Special Education. Throughout her years at RPNS, she has taught both three and four year old classes. Her love of working with young children shines, and she enjoys making connections with families. Angela looks forward to building a dynamic and challenging curriculum for both age levels.
Holly Bonner teaches three year olds and four year olds. She has taught at RPNS for thirteen years. Holly has her B.A. in Early Childhood from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, as well as her Illinois State Teaching Certificate and her NYS Teaching Certificate. Her first teaching experiences included interning at the Chicago Commons Reggio Emilia School and pioneering a parent cooperative preschool, “Lil Street”, in Chicago. Since moving to New York, Holly has attended Bank Street College, working towards her Masters and has taught locally at Ridge Street Country School and Resurrection Grammar School. Holly brings creativity to the curriculum that our RPNS students truly benefit from!
Angela Speakman will be joining the RPNS faculty in the morning four-year-old and afternoon three-year-old program with Mrs. Bonner. Angela comes to us from Elements Preschool in lower Manhattan. Her professional experience lies within preschool administration and early childhood teaching. In the past, she held the titles of Program Director of Youth and Family Services, Senior Early Childhood Director, and teaching professional for 8 years at the Greenpoint YMCA in Brooklyn. She holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College with her New York State professional certification, Birth-2nd grade. We are looking forward to having Angela share her extensive experience working in early childhood classrooms and her passion for providing children with emergent curriculum experiences!
Four & Five Year Old Staff
Julie Cotter teaches four year olds. She has been a part of RPNS for nineteen years and has taught both four and five year olds throughout the years. Julie received her BA from SUNY New Paltz and her Master's in Education from the College of New Rochelle. Prior to her joining the RPNS staff, Julie was a mathematics teacher and finding creative ways to integrate math into the preschool curriculum is an area of great interest in her. Julie has led her classes in project studies on shadows, sharks, African animals, and mapping, just to name a few. Recently, she participated in professional development at the Museum of Mathematics, Mo-Math in NYC. Julie is a reflective curriculum planner who brings great knowledge and experience to the four year old age level.
Allison Prata is a four year old teacher working at RPNS for eleven years. Before working at RPNS, Allison was a teacher at Horace Mann School in Riverdale. She has her Master's Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Manhattanville College. Allison is a teacher that puts her heart and soul into every experience with the children. She has put extensive time into implementing journal writing in her classroom in order to enhance her students' fine motor development and writing skills. Allison has a warm and welcoming teaching style and values the connections she makes with her students and families throughout the years.
Nancy Barbero teaches four year olds. She has taught at RPNS for five years. She has her M.A. from Manhattanville College in Special Education and Reading and she is NY State certified, N-12. Nancy received her B.A. from Iona College/College of New Rochelle in Psychology/ Elementary Education (certified N-6) and Special Education (certified N-12). Her prior experience includes nineteen years of teaching at various preschools, as well as Heathcote Elementary school in Scarsdale. Nancy finds value in the voices and actions of young children and holds classroom memories close to her heart!
Cathy Cunningham is a four year old teacher working at RPNS for fifteen years. She is also our Music and Movement teacher. She has her Master of Science in Education, N-6, from Hunter College and her Bachelors and Masters Degrees of Fine Arts in Dance from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. Cathy is also an instructor for the Rye School of Dance. Cathy’s interactions with students are melodic and filled with fluidity. Cathy looks at each student as a whole and enjoys getting to know everything about them.
Lisa Keegan teaches the morning fives and the afternoon fours/fives. Mrs. Keegan has been a beloved RPNS professional for the past seven years. Lisa has worked with all the ages at RPNS and has great experience working with our early childhood population. Lisa has been a Rye Youth Council board member for three years, she has managed after-school clubs for Milton School, and she served as a PTO Board Member for four years. She comes to us with a Master's Degree from New York University. Parents and students adore Lisa's upbeat and positive energy, and we are looking forward to having Lisa continue to teach our oldest students next school year.
Candace Faucher joins the RPNS teaching faculty in the morning and afternoon co-teaching with Lisa Keegan. Candace holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood and has formally taught Pre-Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade in different parts of Massachusetts. She has a passion for emergent curriculum and participated in a student internship at the Cambridgeport Children's Center. There she used the Reggio-Emilia teaching model to construct activities driven by student interests. Most recently, Candace worked as a full time professional for the Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School in Croton-on-Hudson. We are looking forward to sharing Candace's enthusiasm and confidence with our students and families.
Additional Staff Support
Harvey Frierson, Security Monitor, is the friendly face that greets RPNS families each day. Harvey brings extensive experience in security to RPNS and works diligently to keep our school a safe and secure place. For over 11 years, Harvey has worked for NJB Security Services, the security company that is used by the Rye City School District. Harvey is incredibly enthusiastic and warm and the students adore him! He is a special part of our RPNS family!
Dr. Paul Donahue, Ph.D. has been our Consulting Psychologist for over fifteen years. Dr. Paul is a licensed Clinical Psychologist who brings services in staff training, teacher consultation, child observation and assessment, as well as individual consultations with parents. As the Director of Child Development Associates in Scarsdale, Paul authored Parenting Without Fear and coauthored Mental Health Consultation in Early Childhood. Paul is a sought after lecturer on a wide array of child development topics. He has been active in designing mental health services for Head Start and has served on a national committee charged with rewriting the federal definition of mental health in childhood. Dr. Paul has also served as a consultant to the Columbia University School of Public Health, the Georgetown University Child Development Center and the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
Donna Eduardo, Licensed Speech / Language Pathologist (SLP), provides speech and language services at RPNS. She will be serving children at our school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will be available for informal speech evaluations on those days, as well. Donna is a Speech and Language Pathologist who received her B.S. in Education and M.S. in Speech & Language Pathology from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She has been working with children in a variety of settings for many years.
Margaret Leddy, Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist, works at RPNS as an occupational therapist. She will be serving students every Wednesday and is a fabulous resource for teachers and parents. Margaret works collaboratively with the facility based therapists at Creative Wonders to provide consistent and child-centered treatments. She joined the staff at Creative Wonders in 2014 and has been providing facility, home and school based treatment for students in the Early Intervention and CPSE programs. Margaret has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Frostburg State University and an Associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College. She formerly was Leader Teacher in the Young Fours Program at Mamaroneck Community Nursery School. Margaret resides in Mamaroneck with her husband and three grown children.
Donna Massari, Licensed Physical Therapist, works at RPNS as a physical therapist. She has twenty-one years of experience in her ﬁeld and ﬁnds working with young children to be most rewarding. She joined the staff of Rye Therapies of OT, PT & SLP, PLLC in early 2017 and has been providing facility, home, and school-based therapy for preschool children as part of the CPSE program. Donna earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her treatment approach is closely aligned with the Reggio Emelia philosophy embraced by RPNS, of child-led learning and development through play. Donna works collaboratively with parents, educators and other therapy disciplines to provide treatment plans tailored to each child’s speciﬁc needs.
Dina DeSanto is our Physical Education teacher. Dina brings a passion for working with young children, a strong knowledge of development, and a ton of energy and enthusiasm. She has worked in all the RPNS classrooms throughout the years. She has also served as our outdoor education teacher for the past 5 years and is very passionate about this role. She holds a Master’s Degree from Hofstra University and she is New York State certified in physical education. Dina has a B.A. in Social Science, which focused on education and psychology. Both of her children are RPNS alumni.