The RPNS staff is made up of 24 caring, competent and experienced early childhood educators. In addition to two co-directors, our staff includes 20 teachers, 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.
Kathy Bellotti is our School Nurse and Administrative Assistant. She has worked at RPNS for seventeen 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
Geri Peacock will be joining our faculty! Many of our families know Geri as a former Rye Playschool teacher. In addition to Geri teaching preschool children in our building, she has led small social distance children's groups through Little Learners Studio in Rye, NY over the summer. Before becoming a classroom teacher, Geri worked as a flight attendant. Geri is upbeat and full of energy, and she has a strong understanding of young children's development. She always finds the positive side to a situation and enjoys building confidence within her students each day!
Patricia Sheahan begins her first year at RPNS and is joining our two-year-old teaching teams on the first floor! Patty has taught toddlers at The Montessori School of Manhattan for over 14 years. She values Early Childhood development and enjoys promoting a nurturing and warm environment for students during their first year in preschool. Patty holds a Bachelor's Degree from Fordham University and is an English major. In addition, she holds a certification in Infant/Toddler Development. She is looking forward to developing a strong sense of community with her two-year-old families. Her gentle and kind way with the students will be sure to make for a memorable first school experience!
Shirley Llanes has been part of the RPNS staff for fifteen 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.
Jenny Prosser officially joins our faculty! Jen has worked at RPNS for the past two years as a leave replacement and additional support teacher in several of our classrooms. Her enthusiasm, positivity, and love for children make a classroom so upbeat and special! Jen would like to share with the RPNS community that being part of RPNS is A Dream Come True! She is thrilled to start her journey as a co-teacher at our school. Jen holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and has twin daughters that attend Milton School in Rye. We look forward to seeing Jen's smile welcome us each day!
Stephanie Brice begins her first year teaching at RPNS. Stephanie has a Master's Degree in Educational Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. Stephanie has six years of experience as a preschool teacher. Most recently, Stephanie worked as a Head Teacher at the Children's Garden Center in Tarrytown. We are thrilled to have her warm and welcoming personality at RPNS! Both Mrs. Brice and Ms. Filardi have experience working together in the past, and we are excited to have them as a teaching team that will work very successfully together.
Lisa Filardi also begins her first year teaching at RPNS. Lisa has extensive experience working in Early Childhood Education in a variety of roles. Throughout the years, Lisa has been a classroom teacher for students ages 2-10 in both preschools and elementary schools. Most recently, Lisa worked as an educational coordinator at the Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County where she assisted the director in curriculum advancement, teacher reflections, and licensing procedures. Lisa holds a Master's Degree in Reading and Literacy, as well as, a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She brings a sense of calm, infectious reflection, and great respect for children to our school!
Three & Four Year Old Staff
Dawn Mytych has been a teacher at RPNS for thirty one years. Dawn has her Early Childhood Certificate from SUNY Purchase and she 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! Dawn's attention to detail and her strong understanding of child development make the curriculum experiences in her classroom complex and meaningful.
Megan Wardle has taught at RPNS for four years. Megan has a B.A. from Michigan State University and an 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. Megan's gentle and kind ways ensure smooth teacher/child connections.
Traci Fiore has taught in all our age levels over her twenty five years at RPNS and she has been a three-year-old teacher for over twelve 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.
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 has taught at RPNS for twenty one 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 attended a 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.
Pasqua Broccole begins her first year teaching at RPNS. Pasqua previously taught three and four year olds at Greenwich Catholic School. She holds a Master's of Science in Childhood Education from Pace University. In addition, Pasqua is an experienced tutor and has experience running an engineering program for students. She is thrilled to be teaching in a Reggio inspired educational setting and is eager to pursue emergent curriculum with her new students. Pasqua's warm and meaningful student interactions promote respect for young learners.
Angela O'Keefe has been a teacher at RPNS for twelve 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.
Darlene Dahlgren will begin her first year at RPNS. Darlene is well known by so many RPNS students and families since she was our teacher intern for the past two years. She has spent extensive time observing and supporting all of the ages at RPNS and has embraced our Nursery School philosophy and daily routines. In addition to her teaching experience at RPNS, Darlene has taught preschoolers at Community Synagogue in Rye, N.Y. this past summer. Darlene holds her Childhood Development Associate Certificate and continues to further her education through additional professional development. Darlene brings energy that draws children into learning! She enjoys making curriculum fun and engaging for young children.
Four & Five Year Old Staff
Allison Prata has worked at RPNS for thirteen 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 enjoys 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.
Alessandra Praino begins her first year at RPNS. Alee previously taught four-year-olds at World Cup Nursery School in Chappaqua, N.Y. In addition to her head teaching experience at World Cup, Alee conducted the following enrichment classes: writing skills, science enrichment, children's yoga, and music and movement. Alee holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Mercy College and is also NYS Certified. She is proficient in running engaging and interactive distance learning programs for preschoolers and her passion is creating meaningful curriculum experiences for young children. Alee discovered her love for teaching by reflecting on her mother's work experience as a seasoned classroom teacher. Alee is thrilled to start her journey at RPNS and looks forward to an amazing school year filled with memorable experiences!
Angela Speakman begins her third year teaching at RPNS. Angela formally worked at 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 Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College with her New York State professional certification, Birth-2nd grade. Angela has extensive experience working in early childhood classrooms and her passion is providing children with emergent curriculum experiences!
Shelby Camardella begins her first year teaching at RPNS. Previously she taught four-year-olds at The Children's Center at Suny Purchase where she provided a teaching approach that included project based learning and the Creative Curriculum. Shelby also mentored college students that majored in education on teaching expectations, classroom management, and child development. She has additional preschool teaching experience at Brunswick school where she taught Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten for two years. She is trained in Responsive Classroom that promotes effective social emotional development for students throughout the classroom day. Shelby is NYS certified and holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College. She brings extensive knowledge on different approaches in early childhood education and a true understanding of childhood development.
Nancy Barbero has taught at RPNS for seven 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 has been teaching at RPNS for seventeen 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 in Fine Arts/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 has been a Co-Teacher at RPNS for three years. Prior to teaching the fives and fours, Lisa served as a leave replacement teacher and an additional classroom support teacher at RPNS for five years. Lisa has worked with all the ages at RPNS and has great experience working with our early childhood population. Lisa volunteered as a Rye Youth Council board member for three years, she has experience managing after-school clubs for Milton School, and she served as a PTO Board Member for four years. Lisa has 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.
Candace Faucher begins her second year teaching at RPNS. 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. Candace's enthusiasm and confidence support our students and families to make for a successful school year.
Additional Staff Support
Margaret Leddy, Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist, works at RPNS as an occupational therapist. Margaret works collaboratively with the facility based therapists at Creative Wonders to provide consistent and child-centered treatments. Margaret has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Frostburg State University and an Associate’s degree in OT from Mercy College. She formerly was Leader Teacher in the Young Fours Program at Mamaroneck Community Nursery School.
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.
Caitlyn Canevari, Speech and Language Pathologist, works at RPNS as a speech and language therapist. Caitlyn works collaboratively with the faculty based therapies at Creative Wonders to provide consistent and child-centered treatments. Caitlyn has a Master’s of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Mercy College. She has provided speech and language services for children in an around Westchester County for the past few years. Caitlyn is also a member of the national student speech-language-hearing association and has worked with individuals with various speech and language needs.