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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 teachers are N.J. State Certified in Early Childhood and/or Elementary Education and stay 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.

  • ADMINISTRATION

    Lisa Raphael

    Director

    Lisa is the Owner and Director of Park Street Academy and is New Jersey State Certified in Special, Elementary & Early Childhood Education 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 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 and oversees and teaches PSA’s fine arts and sign language program to the 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 NYC. Sandy has a Bachelor’s degree in Social work from Adelphi University and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, where her focus was women’s and children’s health.

    Christine O’Gara Mazzacca

    Development Coordinator

    Christine Mazzacca earned her BA in Fine Art from Montclair State University, and has over 20 years experience working with young children. She was a Freshman teacher from 2006-2010, and afterward worked at the Newark Museum where she ran programs for children and families. Christine also served as the Assistant Director of a daycare, and a national teacher recruitment agency. She is excited to be back on the PSA family as a Freshman Class as a team teacher and Staff Education Coordinator. Christine rejoined the PSA staff in 2015.

    Brianne Gerne

    Professional Development Coordinator

    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 certification and draws from her extensive skill set and experience to facilitate professional development opportunities for our staff throughout the school year.

  • FRESHMEN

    Alexa Davis

    Alexa has earned her Child Development Associate Certification and has been teaching at Park Street Academy since 2000. In addition to team teaching in the Freshman Class, she teaches Kid’s Cafe, Dance Club and Spanish. Alexa has also been an integral part of our summer camp staff.

    Brianne Gerne

    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 certification and draws from her extensive skill set and experience to facilitate professional development opportunities for our staff throughout the school year.

    Park Street Academy Staff

    Christine O’Gara Mazzacca

    Christine Mazzacca earned her BA in Fine Art from Montclair State University, and has over 20 years experience working with young children. She was a Freshman teacher from 2006-2010, and afterward worked at the Newark Museum where she ran programs for children and families. Christine also served as the Assistant Director of a daycare, and a national teacher recruitment agency. She is excited to be back on the PSA family as a Freshman Class as a team teacher and Staff Education Coordinator. Christine rejoined the PSA staff in 2015.

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    Elena Camp

    Elena was a substitute teacher in 2015 and joined the morning team teachers in 2016. She has completed her Child Development Associates Credential. Formerly from the corporate world, Elena worked as a manager for Gendant Corporation for 20 years. She is excited to embrace the Early Childhood Education profession as the next stage in her career and is especially happy to be a part of the PSA family.

    Gabby Coe

    Gabby Coe is no stranger to Park Street Academy! She is an alumni as well as the daughter of Miss Alexa and has worked as a counselor in summer camp as well as a substitute teacher assistant in all of the classrooms. Gabby is currently attending Rutgers University in Newark, NJ and is pursuing a degree in Journalism.

    Ashley Jenkins

    A Washington, DC native, Ashley holds a B.S. in Sociology from Shenandoah University. An accomplished actor and vocalist, Ashley has worked on and off Broadway in productions including The Lion King, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, and many more. She has experience as a Teaching Artist at the Harlem School of the Arts, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and has worked as a Theatre & Literacy Instructor in Washington, DC. In addition to teaching a Musical Theatre class to our Freshman and Sophomore students, Ashley has become a member of our Freshman Team while continuing to pursue her career in film and theater.

  • SOPHOMORE

    Brittany Stapp

    Brittany Stapp started working at Park Street Academy in 2006 as an Afternoon and Sophomore team teacher as well as a summer camp counselor. She left PSA to attain her certification as a Medical Assistant and has returned to rejoin the Sophomore team! Brittany recently completed her CDA (Child Development Associate) national accreditation.

    Sabrina Hodgson

    Sabrina was a head teacher at Executive Kids in Cedar Grove for three years and has attained her CDA (Child Development Associate) credential. Though she has only been a permanent team teacher at PSA since 2016, Miss Sabrina is not new to PSA, having served as a summer camp counselor and substitute teacher in all of our classes for many years.

    Lisa Howard

    Lisa has a BA in Business Administration and has 20 years of experience working in finance and managing computer information systems. Once it became clear that her heart and passion was in Early Childhood Education she changed career paths and earned her Child Development Associate Credential. Lisa has been a PSA teacher since 2005.

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    Eunice Wright

    Sophomore Team Teacher Eunice Wright joined the PSA staff in 2015 after studying early childhood education and earning her Child Development Associate credential from Essex County College. She developed her love of teaching young children by working in private childcare for many years. Although Eunice originally joined us as a member of our Afternoon Team, she subsequently moved to the Freshman Class and has now become a permanent member of our Sophomore Team!

  • SENIOR SOUTH

    Denise Rakowitz

    Denise has been teaching for over 20 years. Shegraduated from William Penn University with a BA in Elementary and Special Education. She has taught at Wildwood Elementary and The Wilson School. Denise first came to Park Street as a tennis instructorin 2003 and began teaching on the Senior team in 2005. Miss Denise continues to teach tennis to PSA kids in our Afternoon Enrichment Program.

    Gwen Abreu

    Gwen first came to PSA in 2005 as a camp counselor as well as a Teacher Assistant in Dance Club, Kids Cafe & Tennis. Gwen graduated from Montclair State University majoring in Physical Education/Health and continues to lead a host of activities in and out of the classroom at PSA. She has also completed her CDA (Child Development Associates) certification.

    Carmel Mansfield

    Carmel was born in Southern Ireland, County Tipperary and moved to the United States as a teenager. She attended Dover Business College and received her PCT certification for nursing. She has also earned her Child Development Associate National Credential and has been a member of the Senior Team since 2016.

  • SENIOR NORTH

    Rose Marie Petrucelli

    Rose Marie graduated Kean college of NJ with a BA in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching pre-school for over 20 years. Miss Ro’s experiences include Teacher / Director at Suburban Hills School, Teacher / Director at Essex County Child Care Center, and a pre-school teacher in the Totowa and North Caldwell public school systems.

    Kathy Elker

    Kathy graduated Lyons Institute of Technology with a certification as a Medical Assistant. She worked in the medical field for 30 years in St. Barnabas Hospital and for various private physicians. Kathy has been at Park Street Academy since 2007 and has earned her CDA (Child Development Associates) certification.

    Maria Bello

    Maria worked in the hotel industry for nearly 20 years before she decided teaching young children was what she really wanted to do. She obtained a P-3 Teacher’s Certification from MSU and joined the PSA family in 2011. Maria holds a BA in psychology from Rutgers University. She has also worked for Montclair Public Schools as a substitute teacher.

  • AFTERNOON

    Devin Beyer

    Originally a substitute teacher at PSA, Devin officially joined our Afternoon Team in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology with a minor in History from Fairleigh Dickenson University.  Although much of his afternoons are spent with the Sophomore Class, Devin co-teaches Wiz Kids and Kids’ Café, two of our afternoon enrichment clubs to all of our full-day kids.

    Wendy Morris

    Wendy came to Park Street in October, 2013 as a substitue teacher and then a permanent afternoon staff member! She attended Queens College where she majored in English. Wendy has provided child care for the Montclair Board of Education as well as parent outreach for nine years.

    Ashanti Jackson-Smith

    Ashanti came to PSA as a high school senior at Immaculate Conception High School.  She now attends St. Peters University studying Political Science and Criminal Justice.

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    Jessica Korgen

    Jessica first came to PSA as a student in 2005. She returned as a volunteer in 2016 and became a staff member in 2018 as an afternoon teacher for the Freshman class. She attends Montclair High School and is looking forward to starting her college career soon.

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    Delyse Howard

    Currently a student attending Bloomfield High School, Delyse is not only a former graduate of PSA, but the daughter of Lisa Howard, Sophomore team teacher! Her passion is music, playing violin for 7 years as well as singing in her school and church choir. Delyse also loves volunteering at soup kitchens as well.

    Ashley Jenkins

    A Washington, DC native, Ashley holds a B.S. in Sociology from Shenandoah University. An accomplished actor and vocalist, Ashley has worked on and off Broadway in productions including The Lion King, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, and many more. She has experience as a Teaching Artist at the Harlem School of the Arts, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and has worked as a Theatre & Literacy Instructor in Washington, DC. In addition to teaching a Musical Theatre class to our Freshman and Sophomore students, Ashley has become a member of our Freshman Team while continuing to pursue her career in film and theater.

    Demetria Abanto

    Demetria began working at PSA in 2008 and loves helping the afternoon teachers. She also helps keep our school clean and is adored by staff and students alike!

    Alisa Norman

    A former PSA mom. Alisa joined our afternoon team in 2019. She 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. In her free time, Alisa writes poetry and short stories.

    Peggie Yan

    Born in China, Peggie grew up in New York City, lived in Singapore and Shanghai before returning to the US in 2015. She studied liberal arts at Pace University and subsequently spent time raising her children. Peggie joined our afternoon team in early 2019.

    James “Irvin”

    James “Irvin” joined the Park Street family in 2018 as an afternoon teacher. He earned his CD over 20 years ago and has taught at the Newark Preschool Head Start and the Community Development Institute. Mr. Irvin is a wonderful addition to our afternoon team and we are so happy he is with us.

    Vicky Fonseca

    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 member of our afternoon team.

    Dylan Martinez

    A Senior at Bloomfield High School, Dajae came to our afternoon team through participation in the school’s Co-op program, which gives upper classmen real work experience while attending classes and applying to college. He is considering majors in either early childhood education or criminal justice.

    Dajae Stokes

    A Senior at Bloomfield High School, Dajae came to our afternoon team through participation in the school’s Co-op program, which gives upper classmen real work experience while attending classes and applying to college. Dajae plans to study biology and anatomy when she attends college next year.