Teachers & Staff at the preschool
The Co-Op is fortunate to have a highly trained, talented, and dedicated teaching staff whose enthusiastic and supportive approach helps preschool children develop self-esteem and respect for others. The Director and many of the teachers also have a special relationship with the preschool, as their own children attended the Co-Op. Each teacher conducts a meeting with parents at our "Back to School Night" at the start of the school year to make them familiar with the classroom and with class policies. Parent conferences are held mid-year but can be requested at any time. Communication between parents and teachers is always welcome and encouraged.
Katherine Gammer, Director
This is Katherine's 6th year as the Director at the Ridgewood Co-op. She has a Bachelor's degree from Penn State University in Marketing and Psychology and attended graduate school at New York University for Counseling Psychology. All three of her children are Co-Op alumni and for 9 years while they were enrolled Katherine served on the Board as Fundraising Chairperson, Parent Advocate, and Class Parent.
Mary Ellen Sabatino, Head Teacher, and 4s Teacher
Mary Ellen is currently in her 27th year teaching at The Co-op. She previously held a preschool teaching position at the Cooperative Nursery School in Fair Lawn. Mary Ellen earned her degree in Early Childhood Education at Rowan College, formerly known as Glassboro State University. Mary Ellen is our Head Preschool Teacher. She teaches our 4 year olds. All three of her children are Co-Op alumni.
Caroline Liston, 4s Teaching Assistant
Originally from Ireland, Caroline has worked in the childcare field for more than 20 years. She joined the Co-Op 11 years ago and is beloved by all the children in our school.
Mary Porterfield O'Connor, 4s Teacher, Enrichment Teacher, Extended Day Teacher
This is Mary's 3rd year teaching at the Co-Op. She loves working with other Pre-K students in her class and the younger students in Lunch and Play and Enrichment. Mary has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a Master's in Education from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Mary is an active volunteer in the Ridgewood Public School system and she was a parent here at the Co-Op before she became a teacher at our school, even acting as the Co-Op Board President. Both of Mary's children are co-op alumni.
Punam Katiyar, 4s Teaching Assistant, Extended Day Assistant, and Enrichment Assistant
Punam has been working with us at the Co-Op for 9 years. She is the assistant in our 4s Pre-K Class, and also works in our Extended Day and Enrichment programs. Her children are Co-Op alumni and she has stayed involved with our community since her youngest graduated. She loves our preschool and working with the children.
Diana Mazza, Group Teacher, 3s Teacher, Discovery Fridays Teacher, Enrichment and Extended Day Teacher
Diana is happy to be a part of the Co-Op and is currently in her 10th year here. Diana has her A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education and has had diverse experiences working with preschool-aged children. She has several roles here at the Co-Op working as a Teacher in a class of 3 year olds, teaching the Discovery Friday Enrichment Program, supervising the Extended Day Lunch & Play Program, and assisting with our enrichment programs.
Tammy McCarthy, 3's Teaching Assistant, Extended Day Assistant, and Enrichment Teacher
Tammy is in her 6th year as part of the Co-Op staff, serving as both an assistant teacher in our 3s class, as an assistant in our Lunch & Play program, as teacher in our French and Spanish Enrichment Classes, and as an assistant in the other enrichment classes. Tammy graduated from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor's Degree in French. Both of Tammy's children are Co-Op alumni and she was an active member of our school while her children were enrolled here. She has also been a Girl Scout leader and class parent for many years in the Ridgewood Public School system.
Nicole Torielli, 3s Teacher, Enrichment Teacher and Extended Day Teacher
This is Nicole's 6th year teaching at the Co-Op. She is a teacher in one of our classes for 3 year olds and she also teaches Enrichment classes. Nicole has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, and a Master's degree in Special Education, both from Clemson University. Nicole also has a Master's degree in Supervision and Administration from Seton Hall University. She has taught 1st and 4th grades at Ridgewood's Travell Elementary School- and she has also taught 2nd grade- for a total of 7 years teaching. She has been an Adjunct Professor at William Paterson University, and a University Supervisor for Elementary and Special Education Student Teachers. Nicole has four Co-op graduates.
Peggy Bonaccorsi, 3's Teaching Assistant, Extended Day Assistant, and Enrichment Teacher
Peggy was a parent here at the Co-Op for many years. She has two daughters who are both Co-Op alumni, and Peggy even served as Co-Op Board President. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in Psychology. She has been an assistant teacher at our school for 6 years now. She loves working with the children, helping them to develop and grow, and being a part of our Co-op family.
Jan Emmett, 2s Teacher , Discovery Fridays Teacher, and Enrichment Teacher
This will be Jan's 21st year teaching our 2's program. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Plattsburgh State University College. Jan still uses her creative talents not only in the preschool classroom and as a teacher in our Discovery Friday and Enrichment programs, but also by teaching sewing to children in the community. Jan's youngest child, Jennifer, is also a Co-Op graduate.
MaryAnn Weston, 2s Teaching Assistant, Extended Day Assistant, and Enrichment Assistant
MaryAnn Weston has studied at both Berkeley College and Fairleigh Dickenson University. She has two children and has been an active member of the Ridgewood Public School system for many years while also working as a volunteer at the Ridgewood Public Library. Her 5th year with the Co-Op, MaryAnn is the teaching assistant in both the Monday/Wednesday 2s class and the Tuesday/Thursday 2s class. She is also an assistant for our Extended Day Lunch & Play program and our Enrichment classes. Mary Ann loves working with all of the children and being a part of their first preschool experience.
Marlene Pillow, Music Teacher
Marlene has been the Music Teacher at the Co-op for 17 years. Her two children both attended the Co-Op. Graduating from the Eastman School of Music with a major in Voice, and from the New England Conservatory with a Master's Degree in Voice. Marlene is also a much-loved piano teacher in town and runs several of the drama programs for the local elementary schools.
Krystin Vecchione, Gym Teacher
Krystin is happy to be joining the Co-Op staff as the gym teacher this year. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Long Island University, and has previously worked as an assistant kindergarten teacher as well as a head preschool teacher in Rockland County, NY after graduating. She has also spent several years as a nanny. Krystin is a life-long athlete and has coached several age groups in basketball, softball & soccer. She has two children currently at the Co-Op.
Stacey Lewis, Mommy & Me Teacher
Stacey Lewis is very excited to join the Co-op this year. She was a teacher for seven years with the New York City Board of Education after earning her degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Rhode Island. She also has two young children who attend a local elementary school in the area. She loves working with children and watching them learn.
JoAnn Romano, Substitute Teacher, Extended Day Assistant, and Enrichment Assistant
Ms. Jo joined the Co-op two years ago as a One-On-One Aide and fell in love with the kids and the school. She has a BS in Marketing/Advertising and retired from the Cinema Advertising World in 2007. Since then she enjoyed being a stay at home mom raising her 5 children and being active in fundraising and volunteering in her Franklin Lakes Community. Ms. Jo loves children. She has a grandson and adores being a part of the Co-op and a part of our students' day.
Lauren Lewis, Administrative Assistant
Lauren Is happy to be joining the Co-op this year. She earned a BA in Art from Penn State University and worked in publishing and advertising. She has spent the past 18 years at home raising her two daughters. During that time she was very active in her local PTO. She is excited to be working again and is looking forward to meeting all the Co-Op families and getting to know their children.