Faculty and Staff

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Marc Allen Room 3 Teacher / STEM Specialist

Marc Allen

Room 3 Teacher / STEM Specialist

After 30 years as an engineer and a Montessori parent, Marc left the high-tech world and became a Montessori Guide.  Since 2013, Marc has been an assistant teacher and has developed STEM education at Walnut Park,  implementing curriculum in electricity, climate change, construction, and more.  Marc’s avocations include spending time with family and friends, two labradoodles, skiing, dancing, boogie boarding, traveling, obstacle course racing, building, reading, and music.

Jean Behenna Grade 6 Teacher

Jean Behenna

Grade 6 Teacher

Jean began her career teaching French at Walnut Park, before becoming a sixth-grade teacher at Jackson, where she also serves as the upper school Math Coordinator. For Jean, the most rewarding part of teaching is watching her students grow and develop throughout the year. Her greatest passion outside of the classroom is spending time with her family.

 

Kathleen Berube, CSJ Latin Teacher

Kathleen Berube, CSJ

Latin Teacher

Sister Kathy is driven by the excitement her students experience while they learn and discover new things. One of her favorite aspects of teaching is working with and learning from new teachers.

Catalina Bortone Toddler Lead Teacher

Catalina Bortone

Toddler Lead Teacher

Catalina was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. After moving to the United States, she discovered the Montessori method and began her career as a Montessori educator while her sons attended Walnut Park. She feels very fortunate to spend her time with these young children and see the joy on their faces when they accomplish a new work.

Alison Brooks Grade 5 Teacher

Alison Brooks

Grade 5 Teacher

Alison strives to instill a thirst for knowledge in her students each and every day. When not  inspiring her fifth-grade students to “think outside of the box,” Alison enjoys discovering new literature and history.

Stephanie Budenstein Room 3 Lead Teacher

Stephanie Budenstein

Room 3 Lead Teacher

Stephanie taught as a lead Primary directress in Key West, Florida, for 13 years before moving to Boston and joining WPMS in 2014. She is passionate about Peace Education, and believes each child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Stephanie’s favorite thing about working at Walnut Park is the dedication and love the staff here has for each other. It is like having a second family.

Alexandra Corbett Grade 4 Teacher

Alexandra Corbett

Grade 4 Teacher

Alexandra is devoted to fostering students’ “Aha” moments, those instances when minds light up and students become more passionate about their work. When Alexandra is not working with students, she spends her time diving into novels, going to the beach, and searching for new dinner recipes.

 

Carolann Costello Room 5 Lead Teacher

Carolann Costello

Room 5 Lead Teacher

Carolann’s three adult children are all alumni of Walnut Park Montessori and Jackson. She is beginning her 18th year at WPMS and feels so fortunate to be working in such a caring community with dedicated faculty and supportive families. Carolann is certified in MACAR (Montessori Applied to Children at Risk) and Musikgarten (early childhood music education). Her passions include music, nature, and yoga.

Cheryl Cremens Learning Center Teacher

Cheryl Cremens

Learning Center Teacher

Cheryl’s appreciation for the way children light up as they learn is displayed in  her energetic teaching style. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Pauline Curley, CSJ Walnut Park Learning Specialist

Pauline Curley, CSJ

Walnut Park Learning Specialist

Sister Pauline is a Sister of St. Joseph of Boston (CSJ) and the Walnut Park Learning Specialist. She loves teaching the children reading and creative writing. She loves being able to open the door to her classroom and look out over the playground and watch the children laugh and have fun.

Nicole Delaney Activities Director/Phys. Ed, WP

Nicole Delaney

Activities Director/Phys. Ed, WP

Nicole joined  JWP in 2011 as the Activities Director. Since then, she has also served as the physical education teacher for Walnut Park.  She values the sense of community on our campus and the lifelong friends she has gained here. Nicole enjoys helping families and children derive the best possible school experience here. When not at JWP,  Nicole enjoys traveling, all sports, and all kinds of music.

 

Katy Denning Director of Admissions

Katy Denning

Director of Admissions

Prior to becoming Director of Admissions for JWP, Katy served as Director of Mission and Ministry for two other schools sponsored the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. She has a passion for sharing the CSJ mission of unity and ever-widening circles of relationship. Inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph’s spiritual gift of gracious hospitality, in her current role she enjoys welcoming families into the JWP community. Katy loves hiking and getting outdoors with her husband and two children. She travels back to her home state of Montana every summer to sleep out under the “Big Sky.”

Fang Ding Room 2 Teacher / Mandarin

Fang Ding

Room 2 Teacher / Mandarin

Fang Ding has been with JWP for three years. She appreciates how Montessori develops concentration and independence in children, and she enjoys serving as a helper/translator for Chinese families on campus. She loves JWP because of the lovely children, staff, and families here.

Lauren Faber Literacy Specialist

Lauren Faber

Literacy Specialist

Lauren is passionate about reading, especially the Harry Potter series, because of the way it transforms reluctant readers into avid ones. She loves having conversations with students when they start reading Harry Potter, and sharing in their excitement.

Tracey Fiasconaro Kids' Corner Coordinator

Tracey Fiasconaro

Kids' Corner Coordinator

Tracey began working at Walnut Park Montessori in 1998, when she created and directed the After-School program known as Kids’ Corner. Inspired by Montessori philosophy, as well as the children and colleagues she worked with, she completed her Montessori training in 2002.

Elizabeth Ferrera Spanish Teacher

Elizabeth Ferrera

Spanish Teacher

When she is not traveling and learning about new cultures, Elizabeth encourages her students to challenge the world they live in, teaching them to be creative and critical thinkers. Elizabeth is committed to having an impact on her student’s lives that inspires them to change the world.

Maureen Fico Room 1 Lead Teacher

Maureen Fico

Room 1 Lead Teacher

Maureen joined Walnut Park in 2007. She enjoys the camaraderie, collaboration, and spirit of the JWP community. She believes Walnut Park is an amazing environment for children to begin their journey and develop a lifelong love for learning. Away from school, she loves to golf, bike, attend sporting events, and spend time with her family.

Nancy Fowler Fish Head of School, WPMS

Nancy Fowler Fish

Head of School, WPMS

Nancy joined JWP in the summer of 2012 after 25 years successfully administering Montessori schools and Early Childhood programs. Nancy attended a Montessori inspired school in her home town of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Edward Gillen Custodian

Edward Gillen

Custodian

Ed came to Jackson Elementary in 1996, after 26 years of bridge construction on the Mass Turn Pike. For the past 23 years, he has loved working aside the teachers, students, and wonderful families. Ed enjoys sports, dancing, good dining, and traveling.

Nicole Giroud Kids' Corner Teacher

Nicole Giroud

Kids' Corner Teacher

Nicole has more than eight years’ experience working with children and a genuine way of nurturing and leading them by example. She is passionate about fostering their love for themselves, others, and nature. Nicole holds a degree in Business Administration from Johnson and Wales University and a degree in progress in Human Services from Lesley University. She is certified by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care as a Family Child-Care Assistant. She is also trained in First Aid, CPR and AED.

Amanda Greenwood Guidance Counselor

Amanda Greenwood

Guidance Counselor

Amanda enjoys the opportunity to work with students and families and loves offering students a place where they feel safe. Her counseling work energizes and fulfills her.

Alison Guilmette Grade 5 Teacher

Alison Guilmette

Grade 5 Teacher

Alison is passionate about bringing knowledge to others. Whether it’s through a STEM activity or a book that she is reading, she loves to bring awareness to others. Alison’s passion for teaching is fueled by her students’ responses to each lesson plan.

617-969-1537
Julia Hardy Room 2 Lead Teacher

Julia Hardy

Room 2 Lead Teacher

Julia grew up in Mexico City. After working for the United Nations and realizing the need for peace in the world, she decided to become a teacher. In 2003,  after witnessing the wonderful education that her children were receiving, she began teaching at Walnut Park Montessori. She loves the peace curriculum and the commitment of the whole school community to caring for our planet, animals, and human beings.

Meg Hildreth Toddler Teacher

Meg Hildreth

Toddler Teacher

Meg has been familiar with Montessori philosophy and pedagogy for many years, as two of her own children attended Montessori school. She enjoys reading, gardening, and traveling. One highlight of her travels was riding a camel in the desert of Northern Africa.

Lauren Hillberg Physical Education and Health

Lauren Hillberg

Physical Education and Health

What Lauren loves most about teaching is seeing how excited students are to come to class, learn new skills, and try new activities. As a physical education teacher, she is grateful for the opportunity to indulge her lifelong passions for sports and activity every day.

Samantha Houle Administrative Assistant, Jackson

Samantha Houle

Administrative Assistant, Jackson

Samantha loves working at Jackson because she feels a part of a community where every member aspires to better the young minds around them. Samantha enjoys reading and writing science fiction, music, painting, and spending time with her six younger brothers and sisters.

Dona Jayasundara Room 3 Teacher

Dona Jayasundara

Room 3 Teacher

Dona was born and raised in Sri Lanka and speaks the native language, Sinhalese.  Her love of the Montessori philosophy led her to become a Montessorian. She has been teaching at Walnut Park for 15 years. She is passionate about working with young children and helping them reach their full potential.

Yoon Hee Kang Room 5 Teacher

Yoon Hee Kang

Room 5 Teacher

Yoon Hee joined Walnut Park in 2010 after 25 years of teaching and directing early childhood programs in South Korea. She brings a wonderful spirit to the classroom and loves working with all the children, especially our Year One students. She lives in Weston with her daughter and husband. She also loves to Karaoke!

Binita Kapadia Room 2 Teacher

Binita Kapadia

Room 2 Teacher

Binita enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and working out. She speaks English, Hindi, and Gujarati. Binita loves and enjoys the Walnut Park community, particularly the passion of her colleagues and their dedication to helping their students to learn and grow. She is Yoga certified and an ACSM fitness specialist.

Diane Kelly Grade 2 Teacher

Diane Kelly

Grade 2 Teacher

Diane admires the progress each student makes over the course of a year and loves that she can be apart of their progression. When she is not in class, Diane enjoys spending time with her family, friends, reading, music, and dancing.

Virginia Kennedy Room 1 Teacher

Virginia Kennedy

Room 1 Teacher

Virginia grew up in New Jersey, where her first school experience was in a Children’s House Montessori classroom. As a Montessori child she can attest to the value and beauty of a Montessori education. In her adult life, she finds herself driven by the curiosity that was encouraged and nurtured in this special kind of environment.

Sunhee Kim Room 4 Teacher

Sunhee Kim

Room 4 Teacher

Sunhee was born in South Korea and moved to America after she  married. She has been teaching at Walnut Park Montessori School since 2005 and loves being part of its community. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys reading, gardening, taking walks, and spending time with her friends and family.

Chia An (Joanne) Lee Room 4 Intern

Chia An (Joanne) Lee

Room 4 Intern

Joanne was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and immigrated to Boston with her family at the age of 13. An EEC certificated teacher, she previously worked at a Mandarin Immersion School in Brookline for four years. She is excited to work with the students in a well-organized Montessori environment.

Nick Linder Music Specialist

Nick Linder

Music Specialist

Nick is an educator, musician, and performer with more than a decade of teaching experience. Nick has devoted himself to working with aspiring young musicians, helping them foster their creativity and passion for music. Since joining the Jackson Walnut Park faculty in 2015, he has served as general music teacher, chorus director, as well as coordinator for our artist-in-residence program.

Kristin Lorch Toddler Lead Teacher

Kristin Lorch

Toddler Lead Teacher

With 27 years experience in Montessori, Kristin began working in Montessori environments in high school, as a substitute in her my mother’s school. After receiving her Infant/Toddler certification, she began leading toddler classrooms as both a teacher and division/curriculum leader.

Stephanie Marcucci Room 2 Lead Teacher

Stephanie Marcucci

Room 2 Lead Teacher

As soon as she walked into a Montessori classroom and observed children working, Stephanie knew that this was what she wanted to do. She began working at Walnut Park Montessori in 2000. Stephanie loves the welcoming, diverse community at JWP and believes that Montessori children will change the world. Stephanie has played the dual role of teacher and parent while all three of her children have attended Walnut Park.

Amy Martins Administrative Assistant, WP

Amy Martins

Administrative Assistant, WP

Amy has been at Walnut Park Montessori since 2008. Her son Leo attends Walnut Park in a Primary classroom. She has enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful families and loves helping new families get settled into our community. Amy also enjoys helping with some of our great events.

 

 

 

Rosalind McGrail Walnut Park Art Specialist

Rosalind McGrail

Walnut Park Art Specialist

Rosalind McGrail, an accomplished artist and educator, has served as the Art Specialist at Walnut Park since 1996. She served as a classroom assistant from 2000-2008. Rosalind’s gift for inspiring students and connecting art with classroom learning enriches children’s understanding of the vital human purpose of art. Rosalind strives to incorporate cultural and historical perspectives into the art curriculum, while engaging students in hands-on experiences that give them a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

Genny Masters Librarian

Genny Masters

Librarian

Genny began her teaching career at Jackson as a third-grade teacher and later moved into the role of school Librarian. She enjoys watching students’ faces light up when they discover something new. Genny is passionate about her family, teaching, and learning.

Joanna McHugh Grade 3 Teacher

Joanna McHugh

Grade 3 Teacher

Joanna loves working with children, watching them grow and develop over the course of a school year. Joanna’s greatest satisfaction as a teacher comes when she sees children truly grasp a concept that they had been working on in her classroom.

Maria Meaney Assistant Director of Development

Maria Meaney

Assistant Director of Development

Since 2007, Maria has served in the Jackson Walnut Park Advancement Office. She has been working professionally in fundraising-development in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years. Maria started her career at the National Center on Family Homelessness where she served as Development Coordinator. Prior to joining the Jackson Walnut Park community, Maria worked for a consulting firm assisting nonprofit organizations.

Rosemary Mikalski, CSJ Kids' Corner Assistant

Rosemary Mikalski, CSJ

Kids' Corner Assistant

Sister Rosemary was present when the doors opened at Walnut Park in 1966. She has worked here for most of the school’s 50-year history. She has been the lead teacher in Room 1 and currently assists during lunch in Kids’ Corner. The children and families who have been through the school have become a part of her extended family. It brings Sister Rosemary so much joy to see the children each day.
Anne Murphy President

Anne Murphy

President

For Anne, the privilege of helping adults and children on this campus grow remains the best part of being president here. Anne enjoys challenges, launching new endeavors, mentoring young people, cooking, gardening, reading, and time spent with her family, including her three young adult children. She would like to do a triathlon some day. God’s grace will have to work overtime to make that happen.

Edward Musa School Nurse

Edward Musa

School Nurse

A nurse for more than nine years now, what Edward loves and adores most about nursing is giving that helping hand to students when they need it most. At school and elsewhere, Ed spends his time adding positivity to his environment and community. He loves soccer and also volunteers as a little league coach.

Vicki Ni Mandarin Chinese

Vicki Ni

Mandarin Chinese

Vicki enjoys gardening and believes that teaching is very similar: “Teaching children is like planting seeds in the ground. You water and care for them, make sure they stay healthy, and encourage them to grow in the best way possible. As they learn and grow, they become wonderful.”

Susan G. Niden Principal, Jackson

Susan G. Niden

Principal, Jackson

Susan’s path to Jackson began as a teacher and assistant principal in upstate New York. Upon relocating to Massachusetts, she immediately felt a strong connection to the charism and core values of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. She is grateful that her own son and daughter had the opportunity to receive a JWP education. Working with our talented faculty and staff, amazing students, and supportive families energizes Susan and brings her great joy.

Neal O’Brien Kids' Corner Director

Neal O’Brien

Kids' Corner Director

Neal started working for JWP in 2001 as an assistant at Kids’ Corner and currently holds the position of Program Director.  His son attended Walnut Park and later graduated from Jackson School. Neal enjoys spending time with family and loves to ski!

Torrey Patterson Grade 4 Teacher

Torrey Patterson

Grade 4 Teacher

Torrey was born and raised in Colorado and remains a loyal University of Colorado Buffalo fan, a passion she shares with her entire family. Her love of wonderful books was cultivated by her own amazing teachers, and she wishes to inspire that same love of reading with her own students. Torrey finds it challenging and rewarding to implement curriculum that meets the learning needs of individual students, encouraging them to become critical thinkers who possess self-confidence and personal integrity.

Dolores Tocci Rufo Educational Specialist

Dolores Tocci Rufo

Educational Specialist

Dolores enjoys watching her students make progress and gain confidence. She especially loves hearing about the successes of her former students. Her other passions include being outdoors in her garden, snowshoeing, and hiking in the mountains of New England and Italy.

Fred Pote Head Custodian

Fred Pote

Head Custodian

After 45 years in the telephone industry at AT&T, Fred joined the JWP community in 2014. Passionate about his family, politics, and sports, Fred especially loves soccer. He has over 30 years playing, coaching and refereeing the “beautiful game.” Fred finds the JWP community an extremely friendly environment, where the parents, teachers and kids are always smiling.

Nicola Sellitto Grade 3 Teacher

Nicola Sellitto

Grade 3 Teacher

Nicola’s favorite thing about education is that everyday is different. There is always something new to learn, and there are always opportunities for everyone to succeed. Nicola counts teaching creative writing among her passions as a teacher.

Sandra Selvarajah Room 5 Lead Teacher

Sandra Selvarajah

Room 5 Lead Teacher

Sandra was born in the island of Sri Lanka, where she worked at the UN and UNICEF offices before arriving in Boston in 1988. Working in Montessori Sschools, and at WP (where she has been since 2000), is one of the best things that has happened in her life. Sandra is also an associate member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.

Barbara Shenker Director of Development

Barbara Shenker

Director of Development

Quite by accident, Barbara stumbled into a Development position at the American Heart Association in 1989.  It was the beginning of a rewarding career working with inspiring  volunteers and generous donors. In previous roles, she has worked for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, the Boston Architectural College, the Women’s Lunch Place, hopeFound, and Easter Seals of Massachusetts. An active volunteer, Barbara has served on the Board of Directors of Women in Development of Greater Boston,  the Natick Cultural Council, and The Center for the Arts in Natick.

Dorothy Simone Art Teacher

Dorothy Simone

Art Teacher

Dorothy is a representational, expressionist painter. In addition to teaching art at Jackson, she has taught at Danforth Museum, South Shore Art Center, and Fuller Craft Museum. In her work as an elementary art teacher, she seeks to guide students in developing their own styles, while also learning the basics.

Eileen Sullivan Grade 1/2 Teacher

Eileen Sullivan

Grade 1/2 Teacher

When a child exhibits a spark of curiosity or desire to learn, Eileen gets to share in it, and that brings her great joy. She loves to be in nature with her two sons, Christopher and Matthew, and enjoys hiking, biking, taking her dog, Sammi,  for walks in the woods, and reading a good book in her backyard.

Nthabi Thakadu Room 1 Lead Teacher

Nthabi Thakadu

Room 1 Lead Teacher

Growing up in a town west of Gauteng province of South Africa, Thabi always knew she wanted to be a teacher, When she was first  introduced five years ago to Walnut Park Montessori, she was captivated by the authenticity of the staff in doing what they love and believe in. Nthabi loves meeting people from different ethnic backgrounds and learning about their cultures. Passionate about Worship, especially in the expression of song, she loves singing, being outdoors, reading, making new friends, cooking, and trying different foods.

Kristina Tucci Grade 1 Teacher

Kristina Tucci

Grade 1 Teacher

What Kristina enjoys most about teaching is seeing how each of her students grows academically and socially. Kristina is passionate about teaching and making a difference in each of her student’s lives.

Jaklin Ugras Room 4 Lead Teacher

Jaklin Ugras

Room 4 Lead Teacher

Jaklin loves the Montessori approach that gives children the freedom to express themselves in practical activities and develop as a whole person in physical, emotional and social aspects. Jaklin enjoys learning about different cultures and traditions. She can speak Turkish, French, Arabic, and Italian, and she recently received her MACAR (Montessori Applied to Children At Risk) certification.

Andreina Vegas Technology/Steam Teacher

Andreina Vegas

Technology/Steam Teacher

Andreina loves her students’ energy and curiosity. She enjoys facilitating exciting learning activities, making personal connections, and watching children grow as individuals year after year. Andreina also loves spending time with her family, outdoor adventures, and traveling with her husband and five children.

Derek Waarich Grade 6 Teacher

Derek Waarich

Grade 6 Teacher

Derek loves working with students and watching them grow as learners. He takes great satisfaction in developing lessons that make his students think and explore the world around them. Passionate about learning, not just in the classroom, but also in his personal life, Derek enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen, reading a variety of books, and exploring different types of technology.

Yang Zhou Room 5 Teacher

Yang Zhou

Room 5 Teacher

After receiving her BA in education management in China, she came to Boston and completed her M.Ed in Early Childhood Education at Lesley University. In 2016, she started teaching in a Montessori environment and then took the training which led her to Walnut Park. She likes to inspire children to be creative, to engage them to be responsible and independent, and problem solve by themselves.