STAFF

Park Street Academy preschool in Montclair, New Jersey, prides itself on having a professional faculty that facilitates learning using a positive, multi-modal and hands-on approach. Our Team Teachers are NJ State Certified in Early Childhood or maintain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. All remain current with teaching methodologies by participating in continuing education courses and seminars.

Each teaching team works together to provide an exciting learning experience in all the content areas for our students. While each teacher has his/her own style, the goal is always to develop self-esteem and love of learning.

Directors

Lisa Raphael

Director

Lisa is the Owner and Director of Park Street Academy, founding the school in July 1996. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and is New Jersey State Certified in Special, Elementary & Early Childhood Education, both through William Paterson University. She earned her National Administrator Credential from the National Child Care Association (NCCA) and Orton-Gillingham certification and is a member of the Learning and the Brain Society, the National Autism Association, the Association of Supervision of Curriculum & Development (ASCD) and the American Camp Association. In 2015, Lisa became a member and certified instructor with New Jersey Workforce, a statewide initiative implementing systems to enhance preparation and continuing education of early childhood and afterschool practitioners.  She is a recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) instructor and Professional Development Specialist with the national Council for Professional Recognition. Lisa has earned her advanced certification as a Nurtured Heart Approach Certified Trainer. As Lisa’s first love is being in the classroom, she teaches PSA’s Fine Arts and Sign Language classes to our Pre-K and Kindergarten students.

Sandy Weber

Business Director

Sandy joined PSA in 2000 after years in the fields of women’s health administration, small business management, general medical administration, family planning research and community organizing. She has worked as the Coordinator of Outpatient OB/GYN services at Kings County Hospital Center and as the Director of the Community Family Planning Council’s Mobile Clinic program in the boroughs of New York City. Sandy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Social work from Adelphi University and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University, where her focus was women’s and children’s health.

Christine O’Gara Mazzacca

Assistant Director / Freshman Team Teacher

Christine earned her BA in Fine Art from Montclair State University and has over 20 years of experience working with young children. After working with us as a Freshman teacher from 2006-2010, she worked at the Newark Museum running programs for children and families. Christine also served as the Assistant Director of a daycare in Florham Park and was Assistant Director of Nemnet Minority Recruitment, a national teacher recruitment agency. Fortunately, Christine rejoined our Freshman team in 2015 and as of 2020, holds a dual role as a teacher and Assistant Director, applying her exceptional administrative and organization skills for the benefit of the school.

Freshman Team Teachers

Alexa Davis

Freshman Team Teacher / Summer Camp Coordinator

Alexa has been a vital member of the PSA staff since 2000 when she became a teacher on our Freshman team. She earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential and teaches two afternoon clubs, Kids’ Café and Dance Club. In addition to her continuing role as a Freshman teacher, Alexa plans, organizes and oversees our exciting summer camp program.

Brianne Gerne

Freshman Team Teacher / Professional Development Coordinator

The unflappable Miss Brianne joined our Freshman team in 2001 after attending Montclair State University and the Nursing Program at Mountainside Hospital. She holds a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Brianne employs her insight and experience to curate professional development opportunities for our staff to maintain continuing education credits and to stay current on new research and techniques in early education.

Christine O’Gara Mazzacca

Assistant Director / Freshman Team Teacher

Christine rejoined our Freshman team in 2015 and as of 2020, holds a dual role as a teacher and Assistant Director, and is applying her exceptional administrative and organization skills for the benefit of the school. Read her full bio above.

Elena Camp

Freshman Team Teacher

After working briefly as a substitute teacher at PSA, Elena joined the Sophomore Team in 2016 and has been a Freshman Team Teacher since 2018. Elena’s prior experience includes working in management in the corporate world for twenty years. Seeking a change, she completed her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential to pursue a career in early childhood education. Her spicy humor keeps us laughing!

Freshman Support Staff

Ashanti Jackson-Smith

Freshman Team Support

Ashanti joined our afternoon staff in 2018 as a senior at Immaculate Conception High School. Currently she attends St. Peters University studying Political Science and Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Honor Society. Upon her graduation from college, Ashanti plans to attend law school. Until then, we are lucky to have her as an important member of our Freshman support staff.

Dylan Martinez

Freshman Team Support

Dylan joined the PSA staff in 2018 through participation in the Bloomfield High School Co-op program, which gives upper classmen real work experience while attending classes. Now Dylan is a full-time, invaluable member of the Freshman support team and he plans and teaches Make & Take, our afternoon arts & crafts club. Dylan is considering a future in either early childhood education or criminal justice. We hope he chooses education as he is a natural teacher!

Emerald Cowan

Freshman Team Support

Miss Emmy is a member of the afternoon Freshman Team. A graduate of Glen Ridge High School, she currently attends Montclair State University majoring in Psychology. Emmy was a counselor in the Bloomfield Summer Recreation Program for five years in addition to holding other jobs throughout high school. We are glad she has brought her love of young children and strong work ethic to our school. 

Amber Pereira

Freshman Team Support

Kean University student Amber Pereira joined our Freshman Support Staff in early 2021. She has experience in private childcare and tutoring young children, as well as in customer service for a family-owned business in Newark. Amber is a talented and responsible addition to our team!

Sophomore Team Teachers

Brittany Stapp

Sophomore Team Teacher

Brittany first joined our staff in 2006, after working as a Camp Counselor in the Glen Ridge Summer Recreation Program. Originally hired as an afternoon Assistant Teacher and Summer Camp Counselor, she soon became a Team Teacher in our Sophomore class and earned her CDA (Child Development Associate) certificate. She left PSA for a brief time to attain her certification as a Medical Assistant and to work in the medical field, but fortunately she rejoined the Sophomore team in 2015. Miss Britt remembers everything and serves as the collective memory for the PSA faculty!

Eunice Wright

Sophomore Team Teacher

Sophomore Team Teacher Eunice Wright joined the PSA staff in 2016 after studying early childhood education and earning her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from Essex County College. She developed her love of teaching by working in private childcare and volunteering in the Head Start program in Orange, NJ, for many years. Although Eunice originally joined us as a member of our Afternoon Team, she moved to the Freshman Class and has now become a permanent fixture on our Sophomore Team!

Sabrina Hodgson

Sophomore Team Teacher

Sabrina attended County College of Morris and Montclair State University, majoring in Early Childhood Development. She was a head teacher at Executive Kids in Cedar Grove for three years and holds a CDA (Child Development Associate) credential. After working in our summer program, we drafted Sabrina into our permanent faculty as a Sophomore Team in 2016. She has co-taught Wiz Kids and Make & Take, two of our terrific afternoon clubs.

Devin Beyer

Sophomore Team Teacher

Originally a substitute teacher at PSA, Devin joined our Afternoon Team in 2015 and became a Sophomore Team Teacher in 2020. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology with a minor in History from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Devin plans and teaches Wiz Kids, a hands-on science club for our full-day students.He is also the resident baker for the PSA staff!

Sophomore Support Staff

AnaGabriella Coe (aka Miss Gabby)

Sophomore Team Support

Gabby has been a member of Park Street Academy since she was a two-year old student in our Freshman class! A graduate of Buxton School in Williamstown, MA, Gabby studied journalism at Rutgers University for two years, while working as an afternoon team member and summer camp counselor at PSA.  She is a natural with young children and now assists both the Sophomore and Senior South classes. Utilizing her entrepreneurial acumen, Gabby has developed and sells her own line of cosmetics while attending cosmetology school when she’s not corralling our children!

Emily Hamberland

Sophomore Team Support

Emily is a full-time student in the Nursing Program at Seton Hall University, having graduated from Science Park High School in Newark in 2019. She has worked as a Classroom Leader in a private daycare and provided in-home childcare and tutoring services. She has also volunteered at a program for special needs children. Emily is fluent in Portuguese, which has come in handy in our Sophomore team!

Daniela Wahlers

Sophomore Team Support

A student of Early Childhood Development at the County College of Morris, Daniela works with our afternoon team in the Sophomore class. She gained experience as a teaching assistant at First Mountain Preschool through her participation in the career training program at West Orange High School, from which she graduated. Daniela has also been a camp counselor in the West Orange Summer Recreation Program.

Christina Miltner

Sophomore Team Support

A Senior at Bloomfield High School, Christina joined the Sophomore Team as an assistant in our afternoon program. In addition to her experience as a babysitter, she has been a coach in the North Arlington Recreational Cheer for two years.

Senior South Team Teachers

Gwen Abreu

Senior South Team Teacher

Gwen first came to PSA in 2005 as a camp counselor and to assist with our afternoon programming. She attended East Stroudsburg University and Montclair State University majoring in Physical Education/Health and holds a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Gwen trained as a basketball coach for kids K-16 years through the Knicks USA Youth Development program and she continues to coach AAU basketball (travel program) in Millburn, NJ. In the afternoons, she co-teaches our Dance Club and was the obvious choice to teach Super Sports. Gwen is the Pied Piper of PSA!

Carmel Mansfield

Senior South Team Teacher

Carmel was born in Southern Ireland, County Tipperary, and moved to the United States as a teenager. Employed as a nanny for a Montclair family for twenty years, she later attended Dover Business College and received her Patient Care Technician certification for nursing. Fortunately for us, Carmel redirected her career to early childhood education and earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential before joining the Senior South team in 2016. 

Amanda Rooney

Senior South Team Teacher

Amanda joined the Senior South team in early 2021. She has been an early childhood educator since 2005, teaching Special Education, Kindergarten, and 1st and 2nd grades, in several private schools and public school districts. In addition, Amanda was the Center Director at Kiddie Academy in Florham Park for more than three years. She holds a BA in Spanish with a Business minor from the College of Saint Elizabeth and has a K-8 Teaching Certification from Caldwell College. Amanda is the perfect complement to our Senior South team and we are thrilled to have her on board!

Senior South Support Staff

Alisa Norman

Senior South Team Support

A former and current PSA mom, Alisa began working at PSA in 2019 as a member of our Senior South afternoon support staff. She has studied criminal justice and sociology at Caldwell College and worked as head paralegal and office manager for a law firm in Newark for seventeen years. Alisa writes short stories and poetry, making her a perfect fit to teach Book Crew, our afternoon children’s literature club.

Ted Shachtman

Senior South Team Support

Ted started working in PSA’s afternoon and summer camp programs in 2016. Currently a Junior at Vanderbilt University majoring in Early Education, he rejoined our afternoon team after returning to Montclair to take classes virtually. While in Nashville, he worked as an Assistant Teacher at Susan Gray Head Start. We are happy to welcome Ted back to PSA!

Mike Reda

Senior South Team Support

Mr. Mike quickly became an invaluable part of the Senior South team. After attending Montclair State University for a year, he took a break from online studies to determine his future course. Having enjoyed working in the Little Falls Summer Recreation Program for several years, he joined our early morning and afternoon staff where he lends support to the Senior South Team teachers.

Senior North Team Teachers

Rose Marie Petrucelli

Senior North Team Teacher

“Miss Ro” graduated from Kean University with a BA in Early Childhood Education and has been a preschool educator since 1980. Prior to joining PSA’s Senior North Team in 2011, she was a teacher and director at Suburban Hills School, a teacher and director at the Essex County Child Care Center, and a preschool teacher in the Totowa and North Caldwell public school systems. She has expertise in teaching, management and curriculum development.

Kathy Elker

Senior North Team Teacher

Kathy joined PSA in 2007 as a Senior North Team Teacher and maintains a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked in the medical field for 30 years at St. Barnabas Medical Center as well as for several private physicians. She graduated Lyons Institute of Technology with a certification as a Medical Assistant. Kathy is our in-house “go to” for all things medical!

Latarsha McCall

Senior North Team Teacher

Latarsha joined our Senior North Team in 2020 with extensive experience in early childhood education. Since 2001, she has worked as an Assistant Teacher, a Lead Teacher and as Assistant Director of Precious Kids Daycare in Vauxhall, NJ. She has also been a paraprofessional in special education in Allentown, PA and in the Maplewood School District. She holds a BA in Sociology from Kean University as well as Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. We are delighted that Miss Tarsh has brought her talent and gentle touch to our Pre-K/Kindergarten class!

Senior North Support Staff

Lenka Schoonfield

Senior North Team Support

Lenka became part of the PSA family in 2020 as an afternoon teacher for our Senior North students. She was an Assistant Teacher at the Early Learning Center in Fairfield, NJ, for 22 years gaining a wealth of experience and skills. We are thrilled that Lenka was ready for a change, becoming a full-time member of our vital support staff!

Vicky Fonseca

Senior North Team Support

A native of Peru, Vicky immigrated to the US in 1985 where she raised her two children while working in a variety of personal homecare and childcare positions. After being part of the PSA family since 2001, we are delighted that Vicky has become a steadfast member of our Senior North support team each afternoon.

Lucas McClendon

Senior North Team Support

A graduate of Montclair High School, Lucas is a student at Essex County Community College where he is studying Physics. He worked at the Montclair Kimberley Academy Star Camp for two summers where he was a camp counselor and taught robotics to children 6 to 12 years of age. Lucas is fluent in French.

And last but not least…

Maria Pena

Custodian

Being responsible for the cleaning and sanitizing of a preschool is no small task anytime, let alone during a pandemic. A native of the Dominican Republic, Miss Maria worked for several years as a Home Health Aide. She joined us in July 2020 and ensures that our facility and its contents are clean and safe. She does an exceptional job, and we are grateful to have her in the PSA family!