One of St John’s most valuable assets is our teaching staff. Each teacher holds a college degree, is certified in CPR and First Aid, and is a certified Early Childhood Educator. This team of dedicated individuals brings in excess of 90 years of experience teaching young children. The average tenure of our staff is over 10 years. Additionally, each staff member brings to St John’s a rich background of prior experience including teaching preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and running an after school program. The school is guided by a Director and seven teachers and governed by a volunteer parent board. We have an amazing student–teacher ratio of 5:1. Your child will be interacting with a nurturing team of Early Childhood Professionals. Day-to-day operations of the school are handled by the Director.
I have been working with young children for over 31 years. I have always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. I am the third generation of Kindergarten/Preschool teachers in my family. I started out teaching Kindergarten in 1986 in Westwood, after graduating from Wheelock College. One of my favorite things to do as a teacher was to read to the children and to help them develop the skills they needed to learn to read and write. I loved seeing their eyes light up as they learned the letters of their name, or when they were able to read a simple predictable book to me, and were so proud!
As a result of this love of books and reading, I acquired a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature, and another Master’s Degree in Reading. I also worked for more than 15 years at the Children’s Bookshop in Brookline, MA, where I acquired many Children’s books for my collection. I loved sharing these books with the children in my classes, and continue to do so. After teaching Kindergarten for nine years, I stayed home to raise my four children. My husband and I have lived in Westwood for over 23 years! I did some tutoring in reading during that time, and was invited to become the Literacy Specialist at Clapboardtree Nursery School in Westwood in 1999. Clapboardtree has always been a “sister school” with St John’s Nursery School. My own four children attended both schools, and I was so happy to be asked to be the Director of Clapboardtree in 2009. I continued in my role as the Literacy Specialist, as well. I remained there until 2015, when we merged with St John’s Nursery School. I have been a Literacy Specialist here ever since and recently became the Director. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of both schools for over 17 years. I truly enjoy coming to work everyday!
I have been teaching nursery school for 33 years. I started out teaching in Needham for two years and then joined the Watertown Cooperative Nursery School. I worked as the three year old teacher for eleven years and added Director to my responsibilities for the last two years there. After becoming a mother of twin boys, I was fortunate to stay home with them for seven years. I returned to teaching at the Clapboardtree Nursery School in Westwood, teaching four year olds. Including the merger of our school and St. John’s, this is my twenty first year teaching in Westwood.
I like that I am one of the first teachers who may influence a child’s love of learning. I feel strongly that young children need opportunities to learn social behaviors, where sharing and negotiating take place with adult supervision. As a result, teaching kindness and positive social behavior is an important part of our time together. Music and creativity is also evident every day in our classroom. How lucky am I to be able to sing, create and laugh with others every day at work?
It is my great pleasure to be teaching at St. John’s Nursery School. I am married with 4 children and a dog. My 2 youngest children attended the preschool and had an incredible experience. The friends they made at SJNS are still their best friends. I was always impressed with the rich curriculum, literacy program and warm and loving teachers. It is a magical place. Now I get to create some of the magic with my students. How lucky am I!
Before getting married and raising my children, I received my Master’s in Education from Wheelock college and began teaching at the elementary level for 6 years. One of my favorite parts of teaching is introducing them to the magic of books. I remember reading aloud the first Harry Potter series (before they even hit the shelves in the US). I read a chapter a day. Those 20 minutes were our favorite part of the day. We loved talking about the characters, anticipating what would happen next, and enjoying the incredible story. As a teacher at SJNS we love sharing some of our favorite authors, from Eric Carle, Jan Brett to Laura Numeroff. Books make us laugh, bring joy and sometimes sadness, empathy and above all, a book can connect us with one another. I love hearing from my students, “Ah, that was a great story, can you read that again” or “My painting reminds me of the Eric Carle book we just read” or just hearing their laughter… it is magical.
My happiest moments are those spent working with children. After graduating from high school, I worked with special needs children and later went on to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. I’m originally from central New York, but also resided in Connecticut before moving to Westwood five years ago. In the past, I have worked as a Preschool Teacher, a Kindergarten teacher and 1st and 2nd grade teacher. I have also worked as a Remedial Reading Teacher and Tutor.
After becoming a mother myself, I was fortunate to enroll both my son and daughter into St. John’s and Clapboardtree Nursery Schools and fell in love with the school and its caring and warm staff. I can’t imagine a better home for myself, as I dive back into the workforce after staying at home with my own children for the past few years. When I’m not enjoying all the smiles and sweet stories I hear from my students at SJNS, I love spending time traveling with my own family. My husband and I are both avid Syracuse University sports fans and you may see our family wearing ORANGE on any given game day. We also love the beach and enjoy spending some of our summer days in Martha’s Vineyard.
My journey at St. John’s Nursery School began in 2004 when I became a teacher in the 3 -year- old classroom. Arts and creativity are my passion and my greatest joy is to instill this passion for exploration in children with paint, glue, crayons, paper, and more! My experience includes a BFA in Art Education, Preschool Lead Teacher certification, and over 15 years as a program coordinator for wonderful child care afterschool programs in both New Bedford and Newton. In my free time I enjoy reading, traveling, exploring the great outdoors and spending quality time with my family and friends. Each year I learn something new from the children, staff and parents I work with, and I am honored to work in the wonderful community of Westwood!
I have been teaching preschool for 18 years, first inspired by visits to my own children’s preschool in Holliston, where I’ve lived for the past 30 years with my family. While working as a teacher’s assistant in Hopkinton, I earned lead teacher certification, then took a co-teaching position with three-year olds in Sherborn, before spending ten-years here at St. John’s. Two years ago, I left St. John’s when offered a chance to work in a pre-K classroom; now, I could not be happier to be back, teaching those three-year olds once again with Mrs. Cuoco, creating an environment that believes in the power of play. I love watching the children as they gain confidence, become independent, and learn how to believe in themselves and “play nicely” with others, all while embracing the wonder of the world around them. I want them to look forward to coming to school, to enjoy their time here, to explore and discover, to create and imagine. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy reading, baking, the beach, my family, and my grand dog, a lemon beagle named Buddy.
I believe that learning should be regarded as a lifelong process. I learn so much each day from the incredible staff, wonderful parents and inquisitive children at St. John’s Nursery School. My favorite preschool activities are: sitting with a child in my lap reading an exciting story, exploring with watercolors at the art table with a small group of children, and laughing and singing with the whole class. I started teaching Kindergarten after receiving my degree in Education. I continued learning by working at laboratory schools such as Wellesley College, Northeastern, and Connecticut College. I was so fortunate to move to Westwood in the 90’s, where my two daughters grew to be wonderful women, while I worked at Clapboardtree Nursery school for 13 years. I joined St John’s Nursery with the merger and continue to love, laugh and learn everyday!