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Meet our staff!



Kathleen Carlson: 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 pre-school, 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. 


Business Manager


Kori Mattia: 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 has also completed the Self-Reg and Early Childhood Development Certificate Program. 

Lead Teachers


Joy Garden: Joy is a graduate of Seton Hall University with certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education and Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching for over 30 years and has been with the First Pres family for 21 years.   


Lauren Evers: Lauren has a B.A. from Rutgers University with a New Jersey Teacher’s Certification in Elementary Education, N-8 as well as a Master of Education (Teacher of Reading) from William Paterson University and a teacher of the Handicapped Certification from Caldwell College. She has been teaching for over 30 years and has been at First Pres since 2013. 

Meredith Meli: Meredith attended Susquehanna University  and has a degree in Early Childhood  and Elementary Education. She has been teaching for 7 years and this her her 7th year at FPNS. 

Katherine Guantez: Katherine graduated with a BA in theater and music from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. She has been working at First Pres for 6 years and both of her children attended FPNS too. 

Jillian Widmayer: Jillian graduated from Pace University with a BFA in Musical Theater. Her love of the arts, education, and children led her to begin teaching music and movement classes across NY and NJ for the past 7 years. This is Jillian’s first year teaching at First Presbyterian Nursery School, but she is no stranger! Both her children have or will be attending the school. She is so excited to join the incredible team at First Pres, there is no place quite as special!

Tiffany Osmanski: Tiffany 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.  This is Tiffany's second year with us and she is so happy to be here!

Nicole Colello-Kim: Nicole received her B.A. in Secondary Education English from The College of New Jersey and her Masters in English Literature from William Paterson.  She taught High School English before joining FPNS.  Her two children recently finished at FPNS as well!

Emily Fellner Zeig: Emily comes from a musical background, receiving a Bachelor in Music from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master in Music from Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, both specializing in vocal performance. Since having her daughter in 2016, Emily shifted her professional music career focus and began hosting singalongs for the local babies and toddlers. In 2019, Emily co-created the children's classical music program MaestroTales and her love of kids grew tenfold. This is Emily's first year as an assistant teacher with First Pres and is very excited to join the school, having fallen in love with it after sending her daughter here!

Support Teachers


Madelyn Derderian 

Claudia Lagunes

Beth Guiliano

Anabela White

Cara Bannon

Mariyanna Sengelieva


Teaching Specialists


Music Teacher- Katherine Guantez


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