Faculty

Lynn Kulik Director/Head Teacher

Lynn Kulik: Lynn has been in education for the past 25 years. She holds a B.S. in Early and Middle Education from Radford University and most recently graduated from New Jersey’s Directors Academy in the fall of 2013. She joined the UCWNS Community in 1998 as a parent, served on our Nursery School Leadership team, and later joined our faculty in 2008. She has taught Kindergarten and a multi-age loop classroom of Kindergarten/1st grade at a progressive public school in Chapel Hill, NC. Lynn serves on the Board of the NJEEPRE and is actively involved in the United Way Montclair Directors Network. She is passionate about how children construct knowledge and the Reggio Philosophy Approach to educating children.

Office Administrators

Susanne Cantalupo:
Susanne has a BS in Elementary Education from Trenton State College.  She has worked as an elementary educator for over 10 years in the surrounding area.  Both of her children attended UCWNS and she is an active volunteer in the community.

Sue Lotz:
Sue joined the faculty of UCWNS after her own children graduated from the Nursery School in the early 90’s. She has a B.S. in Nursery School/Kindergarten Education from the University of Delaware. Sue splits her time between classroom and office

Catherine Sweeney:
Catherine rejoined the office staff in January of 2015, with emphasis on admissions, marketing, and communications. She has a fine art degree in photography from Syracuse University and over 15 years experience working in school settings. Both of her children attended the nursery school.

Lead Teachers:

Anne Marie DeMasi:
Anne Marie has a BA in Liberal and Performing Arts from Brooklyn College and holds a MA in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. She was a delegate on a Study Tour to Reggio Emilia in 2003 funded by a Geraldine R. Dodge Teaching Fellowship. She taught as Lead Kindergarten Teacher in the School District of the Chathams for 26 years. Anne Marie holds NJ State Certification – Nursery through Elementary School and joined Union Cong in 2015.

Paula Fields:
Paula joined UCWNS in 1998 and holds an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Montclair State University. Paula holds NJ State Teacher certification. Paula was a delegate on a Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 2003.

Jennifer Galati:
Holds herB.A. from Montclair State University, with a concentration in Family/Child Studies. Jennifer also has her NJ State certification in Elementary Education. She has nearly 20 years of teaching experience in a variety of public and private school settings.

Emma Hellman:
Emma joined our faculty in 2004 and received her M.S. in Educational Psychology from Montclair State University. She has also studied at William Paterson University.  She became acquainted with UCWNS as a parent when her daughter started in the Young 3 program.

Krista Leonte:
Krista joined our faculty in 2007 and earned her M.S. from Montclair State University with highest honors. Krista holds NJ State Teacher certification. She is an active alumna of Pennsylvania State University, and has been an involved parent volunteer and Studio Teacher when her son and daughter were students at UCWNS. Krista was a delegate on a Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 2013.

Brittany O’Neill:
Brittany, a seasoned educator, was a preschool museum educator at the Montclair Art Museum and a private reading specialist before joining our staff. She has also been a Union Cong substitute teacher. She holds a Master of Science in Education from Bank Street College of Education and holds a NJ Teaching certificate.  Brittany, while new to our faculty, has been a familiar face to our school; she attended our program as a child and is a current parent.

Nancy Palmisano:
Nancy holds a BS in early childhood Education from Seton Hall University. She is certified in New Jersey to teach Nursery through Elementary School. She has worked in education for over 15 years in public and private school settings before joining our faculty in 2018.

Carol Stoddart:
Carol holds her B.A. in Early Childhood from Kean College (now Kean University) and has completed course work at Bank Street College of Education. She has taught in Vermont, Washington, D.C. area, and she worked as a teacher of three-year-olds at the Montclair Cooperative before joining us here in 1999.  Carol is currently working toward certification in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell College.  Carol was a delegate on a Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 2013.

Support Teachers:

Susanne Cantalupo: Susanne has a BS in Elementary Education from Trenton State College.  She has worked as an elementary educator for over 10 years in the surrounding area.  Both of her children attended UCWNS.  She has been volunteering at their elementary school as a class parent and at various school events.

Ailis Groves:
Ailis holds a BA from Montclair State University. Ailis taught middle school in NJ Schools and was a permanent sub for our school for many years before joining our faculty in 2015. In the community Ailis has coordinated service learning projects and is an avid volunteer for the Montclair Public Schools.

Judy Karp:
Judy has a variety of experiences with children including provider of in-home childcare for children when her own child was young and work as a teacher’s aide for the Kearny Board of Education.  In May 2003, Judy received her CDA from Montclair State University. She joined our faculty in 1999.

Sue Lotz:
Sue joined the faculty of UCWNS after her own children graduated from the Nursery School. She has a B.S. in Nursery School/Kindergarten Education from the University of Delaware.

Judith Leporati:
Judith earned a B.F.A. in Theatre from Montclair State University with a minor in Mathematics. She joined Union Cong in 2008.

Susan McIntosh:
Susan joined our faculty in 2000 and has her LPN from Overlook Hospital School of Nursing.  Susan is our School Nurse as well as a Support Teacher, Lead for the 3’s Explorers Club, and Camp Teacher.  She received her CDA from Montclair State University in 2004.

Liz Rivera:
Liz has a BA from Goddard College and Graduate coursework in Special Education from New Jersey City State University. She joined our school in 2015. She is bilingual and was the Spanish teacher for the Montclair Cooperative School for many years. Her progressive teaching techniques align beautifully with the Reggio Emilia approach.

Vera Roebuck:
Vera joined UCWNS in 2001 and studied psychology at Rutgers University. She has 13 years of experience working in special education classes in the Verona school system and area preschools.  She received her CDA from Montclair State University in 2004.

Eileen Sammon:
Eileen has taught at UCWNS since 1995 when her children attended the school. She has completed courses in Recreation Therapy at Montclair State University. In May 2003, she received her CDA from Montclair State University.

Erica Villavizar:
Erica holds a Child Development Associate from the US National Credentialing Program. After raising her own children Erica has worked in preschool settings since 2012 and joined our faculty in 2015. As a dual language speaker, Erica has a passion for sharing her second language with children in a developmentally appropriate way.

Studio Teachers:

Cathy Grupper:
Cathy has a B.A. in Art History from Cornell University and an M.S. from Bank Street College in Museum Education. She has worked in Central Park, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Cathy is also a Lead Teacher with Young 3s. She joined UCWNS faculty in 2008.

Myra Lango:
Myra holds a B.A. in Art with minors in Art History and Psychology from Hofstra University. She has worked in publishing, and has had extensive experience with special education programs in the Verona public schools. She joined our faculty in 1995.

Ginger Nufrio:
Ginger joined UCWNS in 2008. She has a B.A. in Advertising Design from Trenton State College (now known as The College of New Jersey). She has extensive experience as a Graphics Designer and also does mural work for children’s rooms. Ginger has worked with children as a counselor and has used her creative skills and graphic arts experience to teach specialty classes. She has taken classes in puppet production and performed shows for children ages 3 to 7.

Teaching Specialist:

Liz Rivera – 4/5 Spanish:
Liz has a BA from Goddard College and Graduate coursework in Special Education from New Jersey City State University. She joined our school in 2015. She is bilingual and was the Spanish teacher for the Montclair Cooperative School for many years. Her progressive teaching techniques align beautifully with the Reggio Emilia approach.

Ariana BullardMusic, all classes:
Ariana fell into the world of children’s music in 2012 when she took a Music Together class with her then-four-month-old son. Loving the philosophy and the warmth of the program and singing her heart out for years, it was a natural progression to become a Music Together and preschool music teacher. Ariana brings with her a 20-year history of dancing flamenco as a performer and arts educator in New York and the surrounding areas. Her flamenco experience embodies the value of communal music-making, as the dancer uses her whole body as an instrument to make music alongside the guitarists and singers. She hopes to pass on a love of singing, music-making and dancing to her preschool kids, whose energy, enthusiasm, and uninhibited voices inspire her every time.

Christine Brendel- Music, all classes:
Christine, a Music Together teacher for the past 15 years, is thrilled to be back at Union Congregational Nursery School, where both of her sons, Luke and Sam, attended. Singing and dancing with the children is the highlight of her day.  Leading a class through their first musical experiences is as fun for her as it is for the children. She truly enjoys being a positive influence and introducing music into each child’s life. She is a natural leader, with a gift for working with children. Chris lives in North Caldwell with her husband, Bob, and their two sons.