Primary Faculty

Hall 2018Cassandre Rowe – Primary Head Teacher

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Cassandre Rowe holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a masters’s in Early Childhood Education Montessori (AMS) from Barry University. She has been a Primary Head Teacher since 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.

 

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 Cassandre Rowe's teacher assistant. Kristen has been working at WHMS since 2008. She began working in the summer program continuing with us as a substitute before becoming an assistant teacher.

 

Graham 2018

 

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 previously owned and operated Our World Montessori. 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.

 

Ciccone 2018Ashley 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.

 

00029Liz 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.

 

000177Mary Dame - Primary Assistant Teacher

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Mary Dame assists Liz Cahrenger in Primary. Mary started working at WHMS in 2016, working in the aftercare, summer camp, assistant teacher in Toddler, and as Assistant Director of Childcare. Mary has a bachelor's degree in history from the State University of New York at Oswego with a specialization in American History.

 

Puchner 2018Stephanie Puchner – Primary Head Teacher

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Stephanie Puchner 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. Stephanie started working at WHMS in 2013. She became credentialed through the Northeast Montessori Training Institute. 

 

Lenihan 2018Nicole Lenihan - Primary Assistant Teacher

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Nicole Lenihan is the assistant teacher in Stephanie's class. A WHMS parent since 2012, Nicole has previously served as Toddler assistant and as a substitute teacher at WHMS. Nicole has a bachelor's in Psychology from the Sage Colleges, and a master's in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Capella University. Nicole has her Early Childhood credential from Northeast Montessori Institute. 

 

Mergil 2018Erin 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. Erin is credentialed from the Center of Montessori Teacher Education. She recently completed her master's in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Montessori studies.

 

000087Jessica Pelizari - Primary Assistant Teacher

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Jessa Pelizari is working as an Assistant Teacher in Erin Mergil'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.