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Meet our Team!

Our team is what makes First Pres special.  We believe strongly in the power of building relationships with our students and their families. 

We are a team of passionate, certified teachers who work together to meet the needs of each individual student. In small group settings, we help lead children toward being kind, capable and creative people. We help children gain self-esteem and a love of learning.

We are proud of the fact that many of our staff members have backgrounds in theater, the arts, mathematics, and history.  We have practicing artists, musicians, and parents.  Our staff has a wide variety of backgrounds, talents and interests which are shared with our school community.

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  • Kathleen Carlson, Director
    Kathleen is our Director and she brings with her nineteen years of teaching experience as well as a rich history with First Pres. Kathleen first began her relationship with First Pres as a school parent when her children were students here. She has a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Fairfield University as well as an M.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from NYU. Kathleen's teaching experience includes preschool, kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, and high school English. In early 2013, Kathleen was appointed as the new Director of First Presbyterian Nursery School. Kathleen has been with First Pres Nursery School for 14 years.
  • Kori Mattia, Business Manager
    Kori has been teaching with First Pres since 2010 but has been affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church and Nursery School since 2001. Kori is our Business Manager and an assistant teacher. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Business School, has a Certificate of Eligibility for Elementary School with specialization in Mathematics, and her a CDA certification. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Business School, has a Certificate of Eligibility for Elementary School with specialization in Mathematics and completed Self-Reg Early Childhood Certification Program and CDA course.
  • Joy Garden, Admissions Director, Teacher
    Joy is a graduate of Seton Hall University with certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education and Early Childhood Education. She started her career teaching young students in the field of special education. In addition to her role as a 2s teacher, Joy shares in administrative duties for the school overseeing curriculum, classroom management and welcoming new families through the enrollment process. Joy has been a part of the staff here for over 20 years. She joined the FPNS family when her children attended the nursery school and has been here ever since!
  • Katherine Guantez, Teacher, Music Teacher
    Katherine teaches in our 3s program. She graduated with a BA in theater and music from Carroll College in Montana. Katherine also teaches music classes here at FP and shares her musical talents.
  • Emily Fellner-Zeig, Teacher, Music Teacher
    Emily is a teacher in our 2s program and teaches music. She graduated from the University of North Colorado and has a Master in Music from Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. Emily is a co-creator of MaestroTales, a children’s classical music program and brings with her a rich musical background.
  • Maria Dotter, Teacher
    Maria graduated with a B.S. from the University of Scranton and went on to receive a Masters in Special Education from Marywood University. She has taught in the New York City department of education for many years. Maria teaches in our Pre-K 4 program.
  • Lauren Evers, Teacher
    Lauren has a BA from Rutgers University with certifications in Elementary Education, N-8 as well as a Master of Education (Teacher of Reading) from William Paterson University and a Special Education Certification from Caldwell College. Lauren has been a teacher in our 3s program for many years.
  • Meredith Meli, Teacher
    Meredith graduated from Susquehanna University with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Meredith has taught in many of our classrooms here at FP and has experience with children from ages 2 to 5. She now teaches our Pre-K 5s class.
  • Tiffany Osmanski, Teacher
    Tiffany teaches in our Pre-K 4 program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from William Paterson University and then went on to The College of Saint Elizabeth for her New Jersey Certification in Elementary Education. She has taught first grade, kindergarten and pre-school before deciding to join the FPNS team.
  • Jillian Widmayer, Teacher
    Jillian graduated from Pace University with a BFA in Musical Theater. Her love of the arts and education has led her to teaching music and movement classes across NY and NJ and now here at FP in our 3s program.
  • Nicole Colello-Kim, Support Teacher
    Nicole is an assistant in our Pre-K 5 Program.
  • Madelyn Derderian, Support Teacher
    Madelyn is an assistant in our Pre-K 4 Program.
  • Aimee Jacobs, Support Teacher
    Aimee is an assistant in our 3s Program.
  • Claudia Lagunes, Support Teacher
    Claudia is an assistant in our 3s Program.
  • Mariyana Moreiro, Support Teacher
    Mariyana is an assistant in our Pre-K 4 Program.
  • Anabela White, Support Teacher
    Anabela is an assistant in our 2s Program.
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