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Debbie Abitante

Debbie Abitante

Debbie Abitante

Director of Enrollment Management

Department: Admissions

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Emory University, B.A., B.S.; Columbia University, M.S.

About

Debbie began teaching in Chilton House in 2008 and joined the Admissions team in 2017. Before EMS, she worked in college admissions at Emory University, and as director of college advising at Westover School in Middlebury, Conn., with lots of teaching in between. Debbie earned a master’s degree in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and finds that people and stories are at the center of her work. Debbie enjoys traveling and cooking with her husband, Pete, and children, George ’08, and Elle ’13, and exploring with their 95-pound Berna-doodle, Ollie.

How to reach Debbie Abitante:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7309

Email Debbie

Laura Adams Stiansen

Laura Adams Stiansen and family

Laura Adams Stiansen

Associate Director of Content Strategy and Storytelling

Department: Communications and Marketing

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.A.

About

Laura joined the Communications and Marketing team in January 2020, after working for more than 11 years as a magazine editor for North Jersey Media Group. She has also worked for HarperCollins Children’s Books and Gannett newspapers. She enjoys making memories with her husband and their two children. Their favorite things to do are travel, spend time with family, relax at the Jersey Shore, and enjoy movie nights and dance parties in their living room.

How to reach Laura Adams Stiansen:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7219

Email Laura

Tugba Akyol

Tugba Akyol

Tugba Akyol

Assistant Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Fashion Institute of Technology, B.A.

About

This is Tugba’s second year in Chilton House. She was an assistant Kindergarten teacher last year and joined the 2’s classroom this school year. She previously worked in the special education field and was affiliated with various boards of education in New Jersey and multiple private companies before becoming a teacher’s assistant at EMS. She lives in Bergen County with her husband, two teen daughters, and her dog. Traveling, reading, and taking long walks with her dog are her favorite activities.

How to reach Tugba Akyol:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7315

Email Tugba

Gerard Allen

Gerard Allen with his son

Gerard Allen

Assistant Head of Middle School

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: The Evergreen State College, B.A.

About

This is Gerard’s 10th school year at EMS! He began his time here as a middle school English teacher. In 2018, he became the Middle School Dean of Student Life, and this year, he is working as the Assistant Head of Middle School. Gerard enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his son Joseph, a student in Chilton House. Gerard loves to listen to human interest podcasts, cook, and travel.

How to reach Gerard Allen:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7153

Email Gerard

Alycen Ashburn

Alycen Ashburn

Alycen Ashburn

Director of Communications and Marketing

Department: Administration, Communications and Marketing

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A.; Columbia University, M.S.

About

Alycen joined the Communications and Marketing team in January 2021. Prior to her arrival at The Elisabeth Morrow School, her communications career led her to work at top universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University. She enjoys cooking for friends and family, gardening, traveling, playing the saxophone, and learning to play the guitar. She lives in Washington Heights with her fiancé and large, orange cat.

How to reach Alycen Ashburn:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7220

Email Alycen

HyunHee Heather Ban

Heather Ban

HyunHee Heather Ban

Math Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: SUNY Binghamton, B.A.; Teachers College of Columbia, M.A.

About

Heather joined the Morrow House faculty in 2019. Prior to her arrival at EMS, she worked as a math teacher for 11 years in the public school system in New York City and New Jersey. Heather is an EMS parent to a son in Morrow House and a son in Little School. She loves hiking and playing board games with her family.

How to reach HyunHee Heather Ban:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7188

Email Heather

Lorra Baylis

Lorra Baylis

Violin Teacher and School-wide Assistant

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Houston, B.M.; San Francisco Conservatory, M.A.

How to reach Lorra Baylis:

Email Lorra

Marek Beck

Marek Beck

Marek Beck

Head of School

Department: Administration

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Oneonta State University, B.S.; University of New England, M.A.; Columbia University, M.S.; Fordham University, Ph.D.

About

Marek is celebrating his 27th year in education. During this time, he has been a teacher and leader at the elementary, middle, high school, and college levels. He is also a frequent speaker at national conferences. Marek was raised in a family of professional musicians and enjoys playing the drums. While Marek grew up competing as a nationally ranked tennis player, he has now discovered a love of running. This year, Marek will complete his third marathon at the NYC Marathon. More than anything, Marek enjoys spending time with his family and three dogs.

How to reach Marek Beck:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7103

Email Marek

Valeria Bonasorte

Valeria Bonasorte

Valeria Bonasorte

Spanish Teacher, Foreign Language Department Chair

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: St. Peter's University, B.A.; Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, M.A.

About

Valeria joined EMS in 2004. She has 23 years of language teaching experience, specializing in fifth through eighth grade. Valeria holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Spanish Language and Literature with minor studies in French and Business Marketing. Inspired by her first career in international banking, Valeria is passionate about teaching languages and culture to young learners as a path to developing world-readiness communication and intercultural competence. Valeria enjoys playing the piano, traveling with her husband, and spending time with her son, daughter, and baby grandson, Joey.

How to reach Valeria Bonasorte:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7174

Email Valeria

Jon Boudrot

Jon Boudrot

Jon Boudrot

Guitar, Ukulele Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Keene State College, B.S.

About

Jon has been teaching guitar, electric bass, keyboard, and ukulele at EMS since 2018, joining the music faculty in 2020. He’s taught music lessons since 2001, privately, at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music, and at after-school programs in Tenafly and New Milford. Jon loves all styles of music and has recorded, toured, and performed with a wide spectrum of artists since the early ’80s. He loves to draw faces, play frisbee, ski very fast, climb mountains in winter, and collect and play instruments from all around the world.

How to reach Jon Boudrot:

Email Jon

Christine Brennan Davis

Christine Brennan Davis

Christine Brennan Davis

Middle School English Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Colby College, B.A.; Brooklyn College, M.A.T.

About

Prior to joining the faculty of the Elisabeth Morrow School, Christine was a chief program officer at the National Center for Teacher Residencies, collaborating with teacher educators from across the country to innovate teacher preparation. Christine taught English and history in both public and charter school settings in Chicago, New York City, and greater Boston.

How to reach Christine Brennan Davis:

Email Christine

Jenice Brown

Jenice Brown with family

Jenice Brown

Assistant Director of Digital Content

Department: Communications and Marketing

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: William Paterson University, B.A.

About

Jenice joined the Communications and Marketing team in November 2022. Prior to her arrival at EMS, she worked in e-commerce and marketing for four years. She enjoys cooking for friends and family, traveling, reading, game nights, and movie marathons. She runs her own bakery business, FrostedbyJenice, on Instagram. Her favorite pastime is trying out new restaurants and eateries with her fiance.

How to reach Jenice Brown:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7204

Email Jenice

Sybille Bruun-Moss

Sybille Bruun

Sybille Bruun-Moss

Director of Student Success Services

Department: Administration

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of East Anglia, B.A.; Teachers College, Columbia University, Ph.D.

About

Sybille Bruun-Moss has more than a decade of experience in both public and independent NYC schools and conducts research in cognitive science in education at Teachers College (Columbia University). With a background in special education, Sybille has served as a learning specialist and the director of learning research/student success at both public and independent schools, supporting students and families as they navigate the complexities of evaluations, disabilities, and support. Sybille grew up all over the world and, in a previous life, was a Shakespearean actor and director.

How to reach Sybille Bruun-Moss:

Email Sybille

Millie Castano

Millie Castano

Millie Castano

Administrative Assistant to the Head of Middle School and Administrator, Summer String Festival

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Berkeley College, A.S.

About

Millie joined the EMS community in 2004. She is the administrative assistant for Morrow House and the administrator for the EMS Summer String Festival. Millie has three daughters — twins Chelsea (a teacher) and Tyler (a nurse), and Kassidy, who is a junior in college and an EMS alumna. Her “baby boy,” as she refers to him, is her 16-year-old Shih Tzu rescue, Poochie. Millie loves the beach, antiquing, thrifting, garage sales, and spending time with family and friends.

How to reach Millie Castano:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7108

Email Millie

Michelle Cha

Michelle Cha

Accounts Receivable Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

Department: Administration, Business

Credentials: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA

How to reach Michelle Cha:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7105

Email Michelle

Janey Choi

Janey Choi

Music Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: The Juilliard School, B.M., M.M.; Rutgers University, D.M.A.

How to reach Janey Choi:

Email Janey

Cindy Cohrs-Brandt

Cindy Cohrs-Brandt

Cindy Cohrs-Brandt

Librarian

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Drew University, B.A.; Montclair State University, M.A.T.; Emory University, M.L.S.

About

Cindy joined the EMS community as the Little School Librarian in 2015. Before EMS, Cindy worked for more than 20 years as a librarian/trainer in the pharmaceutical industry. She lives in Essex County with her husband, son, and two cats. Cindy enjoys cooking, board games, going to the beach, researching her family tree, frisbee golf, and exploring new places. One of her goals is to visit all the national parks.

How to reach Cindy Cohrs-Brandt:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7769

Email Cindy

Jennifer Dare

Jennifer Dare

Jennifer Dare

Lower School Learning Specialist

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Boston University, B.S.; Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A.; Lesley University, M.Ed.

About

Jenn is delighted to join the EMS community for her 17th year of teaching and return to her home state of New Jersey! Prior to EMS, she spent 16 years working at an independent school in New York City. She taught kindergarten students for a decade, directed the annual eighth-grade spring musical, and, most recently, provided literacy and math support to kindergarten through second grade students. In her free time, Jenn enjoys reading, going to see Broadway shows, baking sweet treats, and improving her pickleball game.

How to reach Jennifer Dare:

Email Jennifer

Alexander Roland Diaz

Alexander Diaz

Alexander Roland Diaz

Theater Director

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: University of the Arts, Philadelphia, B.F.A.

About

Alexander Diaz joined the EMS community in 2015 as the theater director. Prior to joining the EMS community, Alexander performed, produced, and directed musicals and concerts all over the tri-state area. Alexander is the executive director of the Bergen Performing Arts Center and producer for American History Unbound, an organization that produces historical, multimedia shows at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and for the Boston Pops Orchestra. Alexander is the proud husband of Nurse Desere and father to Deliah ’29 and Alexander ’31.

How to reach Alexander Roland Diaz:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7115

Email Alex

Desere Diaz

Desere Diaz

Desere Diaz

School Nurse

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Thomas Edison State University, B.S.N.; New Jersey City University, C.S.N.

About

Nurse Desere joined the EMS community in August of 2018. After becoming a nurse in 2011, Desere worked in the oncology department at Holy Name Medical Center. She then took some time off to raise her children, Delilah and Alexander, and be with her family. Her family has strong ties to EMS as both children are students in Chilton House and Little School and her husband, Alexander Diaz, is the theater director. She enjoys family time the most but also loves art, music, helping people, and coaching volleyball and softball.

How to reach Desere Diaz:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7302

Email Desere

Melissa Ebeling

Melissa Ebeling

Melissa Ebeling

Second-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Roanoke College, B.A.; Iona College, M.S.

About

Melissa joined the EMS community in 1998 after working for more than 9 years as a public school teacher in New York City. She is delighted that both her daughters are EMS alumni. Her hobbies include games, tennis, pickleball, kayaking, and reading.

How to reach Melissa Ebeling:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7762

Email Melissa

Sarah Ehatamm

Sarah Ehatamm

Sarah Ehatamm

Mathematics Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Villanova University, B.S.; Vanderbilt University, M.B.A.

About

Sarah joined the EMS Math Department in 2010. She has taught fifth through eighth grade, and she is currently teaching sixth-grade math, pre-algebra, and geometry. Prior to teaching math at EMS, she worked in investment banking. Sarah has lived in New Jersey with her husband and two kids since 2002, but now both kids are in college in Canada. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, tennis, skiing, traveling, cooking, and walking her dog.

How to reach Sarah Ehatamm:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7175

Email Sarah

Andy Escala

Andy Escala

Andy Escala

Athletic Director, Fourth–Eighth-Grade Physical Education Teacher,

EMS Class of 1983

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Jacksonville University, B.S.; Columbia University, M.A.

How to reach Andy Escala:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7171

Email Andy

Trish Felix

Trish Felix

Trish Felix

Development and Stewardship Manager

Department: Advancement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Richmond, B.A.

About

Trish joined the Advancement team in 2014. Previously, she worked in development for a small non-profit in Union County, and prior to that, she spent 17 years in corporate communications at Booz Allen & Hamilton. When not at EMS, Trish can be found in Westfield, where she’s lived for 25 years, with her husband and 1-year-old rescue puppy, Pepper. She loves planning adventures with her three grown and flown children, along with running, hiking, pickleball, book club, and pizza.

How to reach Trish Felix:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7210

Email Trish

John Ferrari

John Ferrari

John Ferrari

Percussion Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: SUNY Stony Brook, D.M.A., M.A.

About

Joining the EMS music faculty in 2013, John, a percussionist and drummer, has enjoyed a varied career as a performer and educator in the New York area since 1987. Performing/recording has included symphonic, rock/pop/jazz, Broadway, film scores, and touring internationally with his own chamber groups. Other teaching posts include Manhattan School of Music, Princeton, and William Paterson universities. John lives in Fair Lawn with his wife, daughter, and their Yorkie, Toby, who they adore. John loves traveling, great movies, stand-up comedy, and being awe-inspired by others’ excellence.

How to reach John Ferrari:

Email John

Paul Foelding

Paul Foelding

Maintenance Staff

Department: Maintenance

How to reach Paul Foelding:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7138

Email Paul

Carissa Garcia

Carissa Garcia

Carissa Garcia

Early Childhood Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Temple University, B.M.; Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A.

About

Carissa joined the Chilton House faculty in 2018. Prior to her arrival at EMS, she worked as an early childhood educator in various schools, most recently at Tuxedo Park School. She is an avid reader, multiple marathon finisher, and an enthusiastic baker. She lives in Highland Falls, N.Y. with her husband, Andrew, and children, Henry and Aurelia.

How to reach Carissa Garcia:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7331

Email Carissa

Amelia Gold

Amelia Gold

Amelia Gold

Associate Head of School, Acting Head of Lower School & Director of the Arts

Department: Administration

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: The Juilliard School, B.M.

About

Amelia is beginning her 31st year at EMS! Her students win numerous awards and competitions; perform at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, and opened up and performed live with amazing musicians. Amelia’s music programs are profiled in “The New York Times,” and “The Wall Street Journal.” A lifelong Englewood resident, Amelia resides with her husband, Dr. Brian Benson, and their four children, who attended EMS. They all study string instruments and perform as The Benson6. Amelia is also the founding director of our Summer String Festival and Eagles Arts Academy.

How to reach Amelia Gold:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7139

Email Amelia

Emma Gold

Emma Gold

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Rowan University, B.A.

About

Emma joined the EMS community in 2023. She has been working with children since 2015 and has previous experience as a preschool teacher. In the summer she works as a swim instructor and swim coach at her local town pool. During her free time, she likes to read, cook, go to concerts, and spend time with her family in Maine.

How to reach Emma Gold:

Email Emma

Jacqueline Gomez

Jackie Gomez

Jacqueline Gomez

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Saint Peter's University, B.A.; Widener University Delaware Law School, J.D.

About

Prior to joining EMS, Jackie worked in the legal field.

How to reach Jacqueline Gomez:

Email Jackie

Amy Goodwin

Amy Goodwin

Amy Goodwin

First-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Framingham State College, M.A.; University of Nevada, B.S.

About

Amy joined EMS in 2017. She has been teaching for 16 years. Prior to EMS, she taught special education, Kindergarten, and first grade in various schools around the country and around the world. She taught in Nevada, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Thailand, Turkey, and New York City. Amy loves traveling the world, learning new languages, and eating delicious foods. She shares this enthusiasm for travel with her husband, Mike and their two daughters, Oona, 7, and Kira, 2, who attend EMS. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, surfing, running, and reading.

How to reach Amy Goodwin:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7251

Email Amy

Victoria Greenway

Victoria, Greenway

Victoria Greenway

Assistant Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: University of Barcelona, B.S., M.S.

About

Victoria joined EMS in 2021. After studying fine arts, she worked as a digital effects artist in Barcelona, London, and NYC, before moving on to raise her two children. In 2012, she was asked to develop an art course for The Montessori House and enjoyed it so much that she has been teaching ever since. She finds great joy in encouraging each child in their unique creative work. Her free time is spent traveling with her family, walking her dog, and spending summers back in her hometown in the Pyrenees mountains.

How to reach Victoria Greenway:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7314

Email Victoria

JieYu Gu

Jieyu Gu

JieYu Gu

Early Childhood Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Hong Kong Baptist University, B.S.; Oklahoma City University, M.A.

About

Jieyu Gu is excited to join the EMS. This is her first year here, but her eighth year as an Early Childhood teacher. She has a master’s degree in education and an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential. She lives with her husband, son, and their dog, Lele. Besides teaching, she loves cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

How to reach JieYu Gu:

Email JieYu

Liza Hards

Liza Hards

Liza Hards

Director of Auxiliary Programs

Department: Auxiliary Programs

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Cornell University, B.S.; William Paterson University, M.Ed.

About

Liza has been a member of EMS since 1992 while working in various roles as classroom teacher and now as Director of Auxiliary Programs. Liza is a proud mom of two children, Tyler ’22, and Dana ’25. In her free time, she enjoys crafting and spending time with her family in the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes.

How to reach Liza Hards:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7334

Email Liza

Elizabeth Harriman

Elizabeth Harriman

Elizabeth Harriman

Language & Learning Specialist

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Lewis and Clark College, B.A.; MGH Institute of Health Professions, M.S.

About

Elizabeth is a Korean bilingual speech-language pathologist, and is also trained as a reading specialist and an ESL teacher. She joined EMS in 2019. Elizabeth has two teen daughters. One is a K-pop and hip hop dancer and the other loves math, art, and being on the stage crew in her high school drama department. Elizabeth has a background as a Waldorf teacher, and is passionate about dancing bachata, tango, kizomba, and tribal fusion bellydance.

How to reach Elizabeth Harriman:

Email Elizabeth

Erin Hennessy

Erin Hennessy

English Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: Randolph-Macon Woman's College, B.A.; University of Pennsylvania, M.S. Ed.; Drew University, A.S.

How to reach Erin Hennessy:

Email Erin

Andrea Hughes

Andrea Hughes

Andrea Hughes

Registrar/Database Manager

Department: Technology

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Union County College, A.S.

About

Andrea joined the Technology department in June 2020. Prior to her start at EMS, Andrea served as the registrar & database manager at The Hewitt School for 14 years. Andrea continues to keep abreast of the latest technological advances in education. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and her two dogs. She also loves to travel. Andrea is honored to be a parent of EMS alumna, Kayla, class of 2023.

How to reach Andrea Hughes:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7130

Email Andrea

Annie Hur

Annie Hur

Annie Hur

First-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Cornell University, B.S.; Bank Street College of Education, M.S.

About

Annie joined EMS in 2005 as a Kindergarten teacher. After teaching Kindergarten for 14 years, she moved up to being a first-grade teacher where she is currently teaching. Annie is also an EMS parent of three boys: an alumni, an eighth grader, and a fourth grader. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her children play football, basketball, and baseball.

How to reach Annie Hur:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7216

Email Annie

Andrea Hutchins

Andrea Hutchins

Andrea Hutchins

Kindergarten Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Susquehanna University, B.S.; Manhattanville College, M.S.

About

This is Andrea’s first year at EMS. Previously, she worked at Riverdale Country School and Tuxedo Park School teaching pre-k and kindergarten. She loves spending time with her family outside, especially at the Jersey Shore. Andrea lives in Bergen County with her fiancé, daughter, and two stepsons.

How to reach Andrea Hutchins:

Email Andrea

Krisztina Jarratt

Krisztina Jarratt

Krisztina Jarratt

Middle School Learning Specialist

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: James Madison University, B.A.; Social Studies Education: Grade 7–12, New York University, M.A.; Political Science: European Union Policy Studies, New York University, M.A.

About

Krisztina is excited to start her 11th year of education at EMS! She has been teaching in New York City for the last 10 years. She is passionate about ensuring students learn in a way that is engaging and filled with joy. Born and raised in Canada, she also speaks Hungarian and is active in the local Hungarian community. Krisztina loves camping, baking, and spending time with her husband and two kids.

How to reach Krisztina Jarratt:

Email Krisztina

Ned Jefferies

Ned Jefferies

Administrative Assistant to the Head of Early Learning

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

How to reach Ned Jefferies:

Email Ned

Ani Kalayjian

Ani Kalayjian

Head of Cello Department

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Mannes College of Music, B.M.; Royal Northern College of Music, England, M.M.

How to reach Ani Kalayjian:

Email Ani

James Kanal

James Kanal

James Kanal

Assistant Director of the Arts, Arts Division Administrator, Violin Faculty

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Montclair State University, B.M.; Ithaca College, M.M.; Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Graz Austria

About

James began as a violin teacher at the Summer String Festival in 2017 before becoming a part-time violin teacher in 2019, Arts Division administrator in 2020, and Assistant Director of the Arts in 2022. In addition to managing administrative tasks for the Arts, Summer String Festival, and Eagle Arts Academy, James also teaches violin, both during and after school. He also guest teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music, NYU, Montclair State University, and presents at international conferences. James lives in Jersey City and loves to travel.

How to reach James Kanal:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7133

Email James

Chris Kapsalis

Chris Kapsalis

Director of Technology

Department: Administration, Technology

Pronouns: He/Him/His

About

Chris joined EMS in 2019 as a technology support administrator. He moved up to director of administrative technology in January 2022. Prior to working at EMS, he held many technology roles, including software engineer, head of software engineering, and IT director. He’s participated in amateur sports, including baseball, mountain biking, snowboarding, windsurfing, and tennis. In his spare time, Chris enjoys listening to and recording music, playing guitar, and doing home improvements. He hopes to play other instruments in the near future and looks to improve his carpentry skills.

How to reach Chris Kapsalis:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7110

Email Chris

Elly Kim

Elly Kim

Elly Kim

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.A.

How to reach Elly Kim:

Email Elly

Puja Kothari

Puja Kothari

Puja Kothari

Fourth-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Boston University School of Management, B.S.

About

Puja joined The Elisabeth Morrow School in 2020. Prior to this, she worked with children in different educational settings such as Montessori, as well as within the ​​International Baccalaureate. She enjoys spending time with her three children, traveling with her family, and making the moments count.

How to reach Puja Kothari:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7207

Email Puja

Rebecca Kwok

Rebecca Kwok

Rebecca Kwok

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.S.; Hunter College, M.S.

About

Prior to joining EMS, Rebecca was a preschool teacher at Bridge Community Playschool in New York City. In her spare time, she loves running, cooking, and traveling with her family. She lives in Orangeburg, New York, with her husband, two daughters, and a puppy.

How to reach Rebecca Kwok:

Email Rebecca

Kelly Lati

Kelly Lati

Kelly Lati

Director of Annual Giving

Department: Advancement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Asia & Pacific, B.S.

About

Kelly joined the Advancement team in 2022. Prior to this, she worked in Diocesan fundraising, both for the Archdiocese of New York and Newark. Kelly lives in Jersey City with her husband, Tommy, and their two children, Tristan, 4, currently in Chilton House, and Noelle, 1. On holidays, they enjoy island hopping around the Philippines.

How to reach Kelly Lati:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7230

Email Kelly

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee

Lower School Science/STEAM Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: The Evergreen State College, B.A.; University of Pennsylvania, M.LA

About

Jenny is excited to be teaching at a school with an outdoor campus. Jenny has taught science at independent schools in New York City for the past 12 years. Prior to teaching science, she was a design educator, applying her experience as a landscape architect to enrich the educational experience of K-12 students throughout NYC. Her first career as a landscape architect culminated at the Bronx Zoo, where she was a senior member of the design team for the Congo Gorilla Forest and many other incredible exhibits.

How to reach Jenny Lee:

Email Jenny

Jerina Logan

Jerina Logan

Jerina Logan

Assistant Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Susquehanna University, B.S.N.; William Paterson University, B.S.

About

After graduating, Jerina worked as a pediatric RN at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, before moving on to raise her five children. Fifteen years ago, a friend asked her if she could help out at a local preschool. She enjoys working with this age group because the children are eager to learn. She finds teaching them life and academic skills a huge responsibility and very rewarding. Her greatest joy is being a mother and having a big family. She is passionate about playing competitive tennis, cooking, music, reading, and spending time on Martha’s Vineyard.

How to reach Jerina Logan:

Email Jerina

Gene Love

Gene Love

Third-Eighth Grade Physical Education Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: Montclair State University, B.S.

How to reach Gene Love:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7178

Email Gene

Lori Lowell

Lori Lowell

Lori Lowell

Kindergarten Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: SUNY at Purchase, B.A.; Columbia University, M.A.

About

Lori Lowell became a Chilton House teacher in 1994, but EMS has really been a part of her life since the 1970s when her mother was hired by co-founder, Constance Chilton. Lori observed a beautiful campus, deep mutual respect within the community, and an atmosphere of joyful learning. When Lori had children of her own she enrolled them in EMS. Over the years, the school has become her home away from home. When Lori is not teaching, she enjoys being outdoors and hiking with her husband and friends.

How to reach Lori Lowell:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7785

Email Lori

Lauren Mactas

Lauren Mactas

Lauren Mactas

Head of Early Learning

Department: Administration

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Pratt Institute, B.A; Bank Street College of Education, Dual M.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education; Hunter College, post-grad degree, School Administrations and Leadership

About

Lauren has been the Head of Early Learning since July 2019. Before that, she ran early childhood programs in New York City. Born in New York City and raised in Providence, R.I., Lauren identifies as both a New Yorker and a New Englander. When she is not working, Lauren is likely to be looking for antique typewriters to add to her collection, or spending time with her family.

How to reach Lauren Mactas:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7304

Email Lauren

Michelle Margolin

Michelle Margolin

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Fairleigh Dickinson University, A.S.; New York University, B.S.

How to reach Michelle Margolin:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7311

Email Michelle

Fred Meehan

Fred Meehan

Maintenance Staff

Department: Maintenance

How to reach Fred Meehan:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7138

Email Fred

David Messler

David Messler

Math Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: SUNY Stony Brook, B.A.; B.S.

About

David joined EMS in 2014. He has taught math to fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. He also coaches the co-ed soccer and girls lacrosse teams. Prior to joining EMS, he was a math teacher, department chair, and acting middle school head at Harford Day School in Bel Air, Md.; adjunct math and math methods instructor at Harford Community College; and alternative education teacher for Harford County Schools. When he is not at EMS, he is home to be at the beck and call of his dogs with his wife.

How to reach David Messler:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7118

Email David

Lisa Moghab

Lisa Moghab

Lisa Moghab

School Nurse

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: Rockland Community College, A.S., Nursing

About

This is Lisa’s first year working as the nurse for Morrow House. She started at EMS in June, helping with Summer Explorations. Most recently, she worked at Dwight Morrow High School and has been substituting for the past 10 yrs at other schools in the county. She was a pediatric nurse at Englewood Hospital for more than 30 years. She has three grown sons and one grandchild. Her favorite activity is spending time with her family.

How to reach Lisa Moghab:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7109

Email Lisa

Samantha Morra

Samantha, Morra

Samantha Morra

Technology Integrator

Department: Technology

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Montclair State University, B.A.; Montclair State University, M.A.; New Jersey City University, M.S.

About

Samantha joined EMS in the fall of 2015. She is a Certified Apple Learning Coach, Google Certified Innovator, and a RaspberryPi Certified Educator. She has presented at international, national, and state conferences, and has written articles for magazines and contributed to books, newspaper articles, and TV shows. She is a globally-recognized educator for her work on digital storytelling and is known for multimedia creation, STEM/STEAM, makerspaces, 3D printing, and using technology to develop empathy. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling across the country.

How to reach Samantha Morra:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7181

Email Samantha

Poonkothai N-Ma

Poonkothai N-Ma

Poonkothai N-Ma

Middle School Learning Specialist

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Diploma in Education; Open University, UK, B.A.; University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), M.A.

About

Poon joined Morrow House in 2023. She has 23 years of both local and international teaching experience. Prior to teaching at EMS, Poon was a middle school math/science teacher and a Singapore Math specialist at Haddonfield Friends School in South Jersey, taught at Revo Academy in California, and was a homeroom teacher at an all-girls mission school for first grade through sixth grade in Singapore for 17 years. She enjoys hiking, visiting National Parks, traveling, and enjoying international cuisines with her husband and daughter, who is a student in Little School.

How to reach Poonkothai N-Ma:

Email Poon

Stephanie Nebel

Stephanie Nebel

Stephanie Nebel

Science Faculty, Sixth-Grade Team Leader

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Bryn Mawr College, A.B.; University of Delaware, M.S., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, M.S.Ed.

About

Stephanie joined the EMS community in 2014 teaching middle school science and working as the program coordinator for the EMS Summer String Festival. A marine and coastal geologist, Stephanie studied climate change, sea level rise, and storm impacts on coastlines before arriving at EMS. Stephanie coaches ski racing in the winter, and loves to row, read, play the violin, bake, travel, spend time with her family, and do ceramics in her free time.

How to reach Stephanie Nebel:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7120

Email Stephanie

Chelsey Noyes

Chelsey Noyes

Chelsey Noyes

Early Childhood Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Fairleigh Dickinson University, B.A., M.A.

About

Chelsey is new to EMS but not new to teaching. She got her bachelor’s degree in graphic design and started as a lunch aid in Teaneck, but soon developed a passion for teaching. She completed her master’s in teaching this year. Chelsey is energetic and loves to be silly. You can often find her singing, dancing, playing the ukulele, or roller skating.

How to reach Chelsey Noyes:

Email Chelsey

Seth Odei-Danso

Seth Odei-Danso

Executive Assistant to the Head of School

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Greenhill College (GIMPA), B.S.

How to reach Seth Odei-Danso:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7122

Email Seth

Anna Osei Owusu

Anna Osei Owusu

Anna Osei Owusu

Lower School Administrative Assistant

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Ghana, B.A. and M.A.

About

Anna Osei is celebrating 10 years working as administrative assistant in different roles as a receptionist, admissions assistant, and, more recently, as a middle school assistant. She loves to spend her time as a volunteer on mentorship and community clubs. When she is not in school, she loves to decorate cakes and coordinate events.

How to reach Anna Osei Owusu:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7202

Email Anna

Rita Papagian

Rita Papagian

Middle School Science Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

How to reach Rita Papagian:

Email Rita

Everhard Paredes

Everhard Paredes

Violin Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: Manhattan School of Music, B.M.

How to reach Everhard Paredes:

Email Everhard

Isaac Park

Isaac Park

Cello Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Manhattan School of Music, B.M., M.M.

How to reach Isaac Park:

Email Isaac

Keila Pernia

Keila Pernia

Keila Pernia

Director of Human Resources

Department: Administration, Business

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Caldwell College, B.S.

About

Keila joined EMS in 2018. After 14 years in a corporate setting, she wanted to move to a completely different field where her work would make a bigger impact. When she isn’t at EMS she is spending time with her kids, reading, listening to music or watching horror movies.

How to reach Keila Pernia:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7104

Email Keila

Samantha Pianko

Samantha Pianko

Samantha Pianko

Third-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Monmouth University, B.S.

About

Samantha joined the third-grade team at EMS in 2015. She loves working with children and has experience with first through fourth grades, including teaching in special education and gifted classrooms. Samantha enjoys spending time with her family and friends in her free time. During school breaks, she especially likes traveling, exploring new places, and trying new foods.

How to reach Samantha Pianko:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7236

Email Samantha

Patricia Pignatiello

Patricia Pignatiello

School Nurse

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

How to reach Patricia Pignatiello:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7109

Email Patricia

Natasha Pronga

Natasha Pronga

Fourth-Grade Teacher, Little School DEIB Coordinator

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Saint Joseph's University, B.A.; Saint Joseph's University, M.A.

About

Natasha joined Little School in 2016 and is currently in her seventh year teaching fourth grade. Prior to EMS, Natasha taught Kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade at an independent school in Philadelphia. There, she was also the Pre-K through 12th-grade Diversity Committee coordinator, coached high school basketball and field hockey, and was the director of the sports camp. She received her master’s in special education as a reading specialist. Natasha loves traveling, gardening, athletics, reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Taylor, and their two sons, Malakai and Taycen.

How to reach Natasha Pronga:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7239

Email Natasha

Cheyenne Pronga Cruz

Cheyenne Pronga Cruz

Cheyenne Pronga Cruz

Director of Community Life, Equity & Belonging

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: University Of Connecticut, B.A, M.A.; Mills College, M.Ed.

About

Cheyenne joined EMS in the winter of 2022. Prior to EMS, Cheyenne served as a consultant, administrator, and instructional coach in independent and public schools on both coasts. Throughout her career, DEI has been a central focus of her professional development, including serving as a board director and chair of People of Color in Independent Schools of Northern California. Outside of work, Cheyenne practices yoga and loves any kind of outdoor adventure from traveling, hiking, or scootering to work.

How to reach Cheyenne Pronga Cruz:

Email Cheyenne

Giovanni Pucci

Giovanni Pucci

Middle School Humanities Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Cornell University, B.A.; University of California (San Diego), M.F.A.

About

Giovanni is excited to be at The Elisabeth Morrow School. He spent the last 17 years teaching at the Calhoun School in New York City. He is passionate about civic engagement and preparing youngsters to think critically about the vital questions that face us as a community and a society. Giovanni, along with his wife, Melisa, are the proud parents of four children.

How to reach Giovanni Pucci:

Email Giovanni

Andrea Rankin

Andrea Rankin

Third-grade teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Credentials: Mount Holyoke College, B.A

How to reach Andrea Rankin:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7214

Email Andrea

Melanie Reich

Melanie Reich

Controller

Department: Business

Credentials: University of Miami, B.B.A.

How to reach Melanie Reich:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7106

Email Melanie

Jacqueline Riley

Jackie Riley

Jacqueline Riley

Fifth-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Cook College, B.S., William Paterson University, M.A.T.

About

Jackie has been at EMS since 1992. She first worked as an assistant first-grade teacher for two years and then moved to teach fifth grade. During the summer, she joins the Summer Explorations staff as a Kindergarten teacher. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching college football (Roll Tide!), exercising, and taking walks with her dog, Ellie.

How to reach Jacqueline Riley:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7179

Email Jacqueline

Julia Rios

Julia Rios

Julia Rios

Advancement Services Manager

Department: Advancement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Pace University, B.A.

About

Julia joined the Advancement team in August 2019, after a long career in the corporate sector, having worked at American Express and ALM: a media/publishing company. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling the world (she has visited Australia, England, Italy, France, Spain, and most of the Caribbean islands). She is looking forward to crossing off all the destinations on her bucket list. A native New Yorker, she and her husband moved to Bergen County 14 years ago.

How to reach Julia Rios:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7225

Email Julia

Jon Roth

Jon Roth

Trombone Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Montclair State University, B.M.

How to reach Jon Roth:

Email Jon

James Ruff

James Ruff

Director of Facilities

Department: Maintenance

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.A.; Montclair State University, M.A.

About

Jim came to EMS in October 2014. Prior to that, he worked in environmental consulting, as well as both public and private school systems. He lives with his wife, Marion, and son, James, in the same town where they were all born and raised. Jim enjoys all things outdoors and is thankful to be on EMS’s beautiful campus throughout the year. When he is not working, he loves to be on the water fishing.

How to reach James Ruff:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7138

Email James

James T. Ruff

James T. Ruff

James T. Ruff

Technical Support Specialist

Department: Technology

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: University of Scranton, B.S.

About

James joined EMS in the fall of 2021 as a technology support specialist. He had the opportunity to assist the organization in his high school and college years, working with both the facilities and technology groups. This year, he will remain in his role and continue to sharpen his skills with the help of his supervisor and colleagues. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family and occasionally building personal computers.

How to reach James T. Ruff:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7213

Email James

Claire Saal

Claire Saal

Claire Saal

Librarian

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.A.; Rutgers University, M.L.I.S.

About

Claire joined EMS in the fall of 2014 as the Morrow House librarian. She is passionate about supporting in-depth, meaningful, and ethical research processes. She currently teaches 5/6 Library class, 7/8 Latin, and assists various research projects and reading initiatives in the division. Supporting Service Learning initiatives, coaching volleyball, and supporting the PA’s Book Fair & Storytelling Festival are her annual highlights. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fantasy books with her cat nearby, camping with her husband, and spending time with her nieces.

How to reach Claire Saal:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7114

Email Claire

Misako Sato

Misako Sato

Violin Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Mannes College of Music, B.M., M.M.

How to reach Misako Sato:

Email Misako

Theresa Schneider

Theresa Schneider

Theresa Schneider

Gardening & Kindergarten Science Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Delaware, B.S.; San Francisco State University, M.A.; Baylor University, M.H.A.; US Army War College, M.S.S.

About

Theresa joined EMS in the spring of 2017 as a gardening teacher. Born and raised in Bergen County, she spent 30 years as a physical therapist and health care executive working in the federal sector. She transitioned careers, becoming a master gardener and horticultural therapist. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family.

How to reach Theresa Schneider:

Email Theresa

Christine Shoyinka

Christine Shoyinka

Christine Shoyinka

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Mercy College, B.A.

About

Christine joined the EMS community during the summer of 2022. She started at Summer Explorations and is now an associate teacher of 3- and 4-year-olds. She was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. Prior to this time, Christine taught at a Special Education school in the South Bronx for nine years. She loves to go on new adventures with her husband, Paul, and their four children, Aidan, Amelia, Ariana, and Andrew. She enjoys traveling, music, sports, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

How to reach Christine Shoyinka:

Email Christine

Joe Sidney

Joe Sidney

Maintenance Staff

Department: Maintenance

Pronouns: He/Him/His

How to reach Joe Sidney:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7138

Email Joe

Nicole Siegel

Nicole Siegel

Nicole Siegel

Fifth-Grade Teacher, English Department Chair

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Cornell University, B.A.; Lesley College, M.A

About

Before joining Morrow House in 2018, Nicole taught in several other independent schools, most recently the Town School in New York City. She and her family enjoy hitting the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter. Nicole is an avid reader and loves to travel. She lives in Glen Ridge with her husband and two daughters.

How to reach Nicole Siegel:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7177

Email Nicole

Julie Silverman

Julie Silverman

Julie Silverman

Early Childhood Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Indiana University, B.S.

About

Julie joined the EMS community in 2020 and is a head teacher for the 3- and 4-year-olds. Prior to that, she was the director of a preschool program for 10 years. Julie, her husband, David, and their daughter, Margot, enjoy spending time together, cooking, working on jigsaw puzzles, and building Lego sets.

How to reach Julie Silverman:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7306

Email Julie

Jed Silverstein

Jed Silverstein

Jed Silverstein

Head of Middle School and Director of Secondary School Placement

Department: Administration

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Credentials: Harvard College, A.B.; Tufts University, M.A.; Stanford University School of Education, Ph.D.; Brown University, Ph.D., M.A.

About

Jed is joining EMS this year to teach eighth-grade history and serve as the Director of Secondary School Placement. He has worked for 14 years in a number of independent day schools including Moses Brown, Riverdale Country School, Latin School of Chicago, and The Derryfield School. Before his teaching career, he spent too many years earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Jed enjoys watching his two children grow up. His favorite things to do are take his kids to The Bronx Zoo, travel, hike, and go swimming.

How to reach Jed Silverstein:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7167

Email Jed

Rachel Simonson

Rachel Simonson

Rachel Simonson

Kindergarten Head Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Pace University, B.A.; College of Santa Fe, B.A.

About

Rachel began teaching kindergarten at EMS in 2004. Before coming here, she taught at public, charter, and independent schools in St. Louis, Mo., Santa Fe, N.M., and The Bronx, N.Y., where she had students from 2 years through sixth grade. But her real joy is in Kindergarten. The magic that happens with our 5- and 6-year-olds never ceases to fill her with awe. When she is not teaching, she is reading, working on an artistic endeavor or home improvement project, or in pursuit of the perfect dessert.

How to reach Rachel Simonson:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7766

Email Rachel

Jacqueline Sirgo

Jacqueline Sirgo

Jacqueline Sirgo

Associate Director of Enrollment Management

Department: Admissions

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Buffalo State College, B.A.; Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A.

About

Jackie has recently joined the EMS community in the summer of 2024! Before serving as an educational consultant for the past two years, she was the director of admissions and financial aid at the Speyer School. Prior to her role as director, she was the associate director of admissions and secondary school placement director. She also served as the secondary school placement director at The School of Columbia. Jackie enjoys the outdoors, studying weather patterns, and spending time with her children. She lives in New Jersey, where she co-parents three children.

How to reach Jacqueline Sirgo:

Email Jacqueline

Brittany Sklar

Brittany Sklar

Violin Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Curtis Institute of Music, B.M.

How to reach Brittany Sklar:

Email Brittany

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Maintenance Staff

Department: Maintenance

Pronouns: He/Him/His

How to reach Craig Smith:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7138

Email Craig

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Art Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: University of Hartford, B.F.A.

About

Sarah joined EMS as a part-time art teacher in 2019 and became the full-time middle-school art teacher in the fall of 2020. She is currently getting her masters in Special Education and Art Education at Montclair University. Sarah runs the yearbook and our middle school’s LGBTQ+ club called GLOW. She spends her free time knitting, crafting, and playing with her 12-year-old dachshund.

How to reach Sarah Smith:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7180

Email Sarah

Sam Smithline

Sam Smithline

Art Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Syracuse University, B.S.; Columbia University, M.A.

How to reach Sam Smithline:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7749

Email Sam

Emily Spaeth

Emily Spaeth

Emily Spaeth

Twos-Fourth Grade Music Teacher

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Ithaca College, B.A.

About

Emily has been the Lower School music teacher since 2004. She is also the director of the third- and fourth-grade chorus, runs Chilton House’s weekly sing-along, and is the musical director of Kindergarten Circus, our Little School concerts, and the fourth-grade musical. During the summer, Emily is the early childhood coordinator for Summer Explorations. She is a proud EMS parent, with a seventh grader in Morrow House and an EMS alum in high school. She lives in Teaneck with Mr. Spaeth (aka “The Tie Dye Guy”) and lots of animals!

How to reach Emily Spaeth:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7745

Email Emily

Dorianne Steele

Dorianne Steele

Humanities Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Credentials: Columbia University, B.A.; Bank Street College of Education, M.S.Ed.

About

Dorianne loves being a member of the humanities department at EMS. She has been teaching for almost 20 years in New York City area independent schools. She is truly passionate about working with middle school, both as a teacher and advisor. Dorianne also loves spending time with her family (husband, two daughters, and two cats). She enjoys cooking, reading, meandering around the city, and going to see live music.

How to reach Dorianne Steele:

Email Dorianne

Haley Stello

Haley Stello

Haley Stello

Middle School Spanish Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: The University of Rhode Island, B.S. expected 2024

About

Haley has spent time giving ESL classes to underprivileged children in Mexico, as well as working closely with students with disabilities. Growing up with two Spanish teachers for parents has truly inspired her and sparked a natural passion for learning and connecting with others. Outside of school, she has a big love for animals, food, music, and travel. You can often find her walking her three dogs, spending time with her husband, or enjoying various international cuisines.

How to reach Haley Stello:

Email Haley

Hong Su

Hong Su

Hong Su

Kindergarten-Fourth Grade Computer Science Teacher

Department: Technology

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten, Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Rutgers University, B.A.; New Jersey City University, M.A.

About

Hong has been teaching for more than 20 years and joined the EMS community in 2006. She has worked in Chilton House teaching 4-year-olds and Kindergarten. She has also served as the Chilton House technologist for the past three years. She is excited to join Little School this upcoming year to teach computer science to Kindergarten through fourth grade. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys traveling and exploring new cities.

How to reach Hong Su:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7733

Email Hong

Briana Then

Briana Then

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: New Jersey City University, B.A.; Hudson County Community College, B.A.; City College of New York of The City University of New York, M.A.

About

Briana joined EMS in 2020 as a second-grade associate teacher. Prior to that, she was a classroom assistant for five years, supporting Pre-K and Kindergarten students in the Englewood Public School District. In 2021, she taught special education to sixth- and seventh-grade students in the South Bronx, while taking graduate courses at The City College of New York. Briana enjoys getting to know her students and supporting them where they most need it. She spends her free time with her family and friends, reading, and trying new foods.

How to reach Briana Then:

Email Briana

Dinka Varaiya

DInka Varaiya

Dinka Varaiya

Associate Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: SNDT College, B.A.

About

Prior to joining EMS in 2021, Dinka was a substitute teacher in Norwood for one year and then was hired as an instructional aid for two years. Dinka is an extremely dedicated and motivated teacher who is able to easily connect with her students. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports (badminton and cricket), spending time with family and friends, and traveling (she spent a month in India this summer).

How to reach Dinka Varaiya:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7222

Email Dinka

Michael Virzi

Michael Virzi

Chief Operating Officer

Department: Administration, Operations

Credentials: University of Massachusetts, B.S.

How to reach Michael Virzi:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7115

Email Michael

Hanita Walia

Hanita Walia

Director of Strategy and Advancement

Department: Administration, Advancement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Annamalai University, B.A.; Punjab University, B.A.

How to reach Hanita Walia:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7221

Email Hanita

Janis Wein

Janice Wein

Janis Wein

Third-Grade Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Barnard College, B.A.; Bank Street College of Education, M.A.

About

Janis joined the EMS community in 1988, as did her children. She taught Kindergarten and first grade before moving to third grade. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her three grandchildren. History and travel are her passions, which she combines as she travels the world during vacations.

How to reach Janis Wein:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7720

Email Janis

Margot Wilsterman

Margot Wilsterman

Margot Wilsterman

Associate Teacher, Kindergarten STEAM specialist

Divisions: Chilton House, Age 2–Kindergarten

Credentials: Connecticut College, B.A.; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, M.S.

About

Margot Wilsterman is starting her second year at EMS as an associate teacher in Chilton House working with 3- and 4-year-olds. She will also be teaching Kindergarten science. Before coming to EMS, she got her master’s degree in marine science and technology and worked in sustainable seafood sales. She enjoys the ocean, traveling with her family, and playing with Legos and her dog, Olive.

How to reach Margot Wilsterman:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7312

Email Margot

Seojin Yang

Seojin Yang

Cello Teacher

Divisions: Little School, Grades 1–4, Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Yonsei University, B.M.; Mannes College of Music, M.M.

How to reach Seojin Yang:

Email Seojin

Chris Zhu

Chris Zhu

Chris Zhu

Assistant Director of Enrollment Management and Data Systems

Department: Admissions

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Beijing Institute Of Technology, B.S.; University of Pennsylvania, M.S.

About

Chris received a bachelor of science degree from the Beijing Institute of Technology and a master of science degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Admissions team at EMS in January 2022, she worked for three years at an educational consultant organization in New York with both local and international families. Chris loves the outdoors, mushroom hunting, heavy metal music, and volunteering at animal shelters.

How to reach Chris Zhu:

(201) 568-5566 ext. 7313

Email Chris

Pat Zuber

Patricia Zuber

Pat Zuber

Flute Teacher

Divisions: Morrow House, Grades 5–8

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Credentials: Temple University, M.M.; University of Illinois, B.A.

About

Patricia has performed with major orchestras in the New York area, including American Symphony Orchestra, New York City Opera, and New York City Ballet. She appears regularly with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center, having performed with them at Carnegie Hall, on tour in Japan, and in the Grammy award-winning DVDs. She has also performed on Broadway in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Swan Lake,” “Ragtime,” and “La Boheme.” She plays in Duo Zuber, with her husband, percussionist Greg Zuber. Their album, Blackbird Redux, is available on Belarca Records and Spotify.

How to reach Pat Zuber:

Email Pat

EMS prepares students for an impressive range of top-tier secondary schools.

Our students cultivate the ability to learn, think, explore, empathize, and lead. They graduate with the ability, mindset, and competencies to navigate a global world and are well-prepared to face an unknowable future.

Accustomed to a challenging academic environment, EMS students welcome the demands of competitive secondary schools and are often placed in advanced sections where they perform very well.

YOUR CHILD WOULD THRIVE AT EMS. SCHEDULE A TIME TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT JOINING OUR COMMUNITY.

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