Primary Faculty

 

00002Cassandre Hall – Primary Head Teacher

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Cassandre Hall holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a masters’s in Early Childhood Education Montessori (AMS) from Barry University. She joined the staff of WHMS in 2006. Her previous experience includes work as an assistant teacher in a Florida Montessori Preschool and as a Kindergarten Teacher at Pine Hills Montessori Day Care for three years. During her third year at Pine Hills, Cassandre served as the Interim Director.

 

00242Lourdes Ortega – Primary Assistant Teacher

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Lourdes Ortega received Montessori training from Princeton Montessori Center in New Jersey. Lourdes joined WHMS in 2003 as a summer camp instructor. Lourdes also served as our School Care and Enrichment Director for five years. Currently, she is the assistant teacher in Cassandre’s class and serves as co-director of our summer program.

 

 

 

00244Jessica Pelizari - Primary Assistant Teacher

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   Jessa Pelizari is working as an Assistant Teacher in Chris Caruso’s class. Jessa is Speech Language pathologist and has worked at Story Place preschool and at Language Fundamentals, working with the elderly. Jessa has also been a children’s choir director, and has taught piano, French, and yoga. Jessa has a master’s degree from the College of St. Rose in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

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Jennifer Graham – Primary Head Teacher

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Jennifer Graham has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Elmira College. She has her Early Childhood credential from the Center of Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, NY. Jennifer is coming to WHMS from Our World Montessori, which she owned and directed since 2004. She was also a previous teacher at Woodland Hill (but then we were called Montessori School of Albany), and the Montessori Toddlers’ and Children’s House.

 

00090Ashley Ciccone - Primary Assistant Teacher

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Ashley Ciccone assists Jennifer Graham in Primary. Ashley began working in our afterschool program in 2007. Prior to joining the staff at Woodland Hill, Ashley worked for three years as an assistant teacher at Children’s Corner Daycare Center. Ashley has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the College of St. Rose.

 

00064Liz Cahrenger – Primary Head Teacher

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Liz Cahrenger has been a teacher at WHMS/MSA since 1988. With a bachelor’s in education from SUNY Cortland, Liz was Montessori-certified in 1995. During her tenure, she has been a Primary Head Teacher, Primary Coordinator, and Board Representative. She has presented workshops for the Greater Capital District Teachers Series at HVCC and at the College of St. Rose. Liz also served as a field consultant for CMTE and NMI. In December 2002, Liz was chosen as “Educator of the Week” on Newschannel 13.

 

00205Kristen McDermott – Primary Assistant Teacher

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Kristen McDermott holds an associate degree in Early Childhood from HVCC and completed her student teaching at Woodland Hill. She works as Liz Cahrenger’s teacher assistant. Kristen has been working at WHMS since 2004. She began working in the summer program continuing with us as a substitute before becoming an assistant teacher.

 

00267Stephanie Puchner – Primary Head Teacher

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She has a bachelor’s from the University of Vermont in Human Development and Family Studies and a master’s in Social Work from the University at Albany. She has worked in a variety of roles helping families as a social worker, with kids in day camp, and as an advocate for children and families at the Berkshire Center for Families and Children. She also served as a substitute for WHMS for two years, before she began working with Chris Caruso in 2013.

 

00235Erin Mergil - Primary Head Teacher

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Erin is an experienced Montessori teacher, previously working at Escuela Montessori del Valle in El Paso and Castle Island in Albany. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany in Spanish and linguistics.