Faculty and Staff

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Jill Ash Administrative Assistant

Jill Ash

Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Ash comes to us from the Needham Public School system, where she served as a registration and marketing manager for Needham Community Education for five years.  She has also spent time in the publishing business, as well as in the classroom.  She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and lives in Waltham with her husband, her 12-year-old son, and her labradoodle.

Rachel Barrand Grade 3 Teacher

Rachel Barrand

Grade 3 Teacher

Rachel grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri, where she recognized her passion for teaching.  She attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, where she received her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.  She taught for four years in Dallas and, during this time, attended Southern Methodist University to get her Masters in Early Childhood Literacy.  Rachel then moved back to Missouri and taught there for two years.  Rachel loves working in small groups to best make connections and have a clear understanding of each of her students.  She recently moved to Newton and is loving her new community!  Rachel loves to go on walks, ride her Peloton bike, and read in her free time!

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 Floating Teacher

Catalina Bortone

Floating Teacher

While working with children 12 years ago, Ms. Catalina discovered the Montessori Method, and she decided to become a Montessori educator. Since then, she has continued teaching at Walnut Park.

This year is Ms. Cat’s 11th year teaching but her 4th year teaching in a primary classroom. Prior to this, she was part of the Toddler community. During this time, she received her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education with an Emphasis in Montessori from Gordon College.

Ms. Cat grew up in Bucharest, Romania and enjoys sharing her culture with children.

Ms. Cat is passionate about instilling a love of learning in her students. She believes a Montessori classroom provides the ideal environment for children to learn and grow, and she hopes to guide her students to become lifelong learners.

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.


Elizabeth DeAngelis 3rd Grade Teacher

Elizabeth DeAngelis

3rd Grade Teacher

Elizabeth grew up in Newton, MA, and attended Salem State University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. After working in finance for a few years, Elizabeth realized that teaching was her calling. Elizabeth began her teaching career in the Needham Public Schools and held a Masters in Elementary Education from Lasell University. Outside of school, Elizabeth loves spending time with her family, playing with her Golden Retriever, cooking, and trying new restaurants.

Fang Ding Room 2 Teacher / Mandarin

Fang Ding

Room 2 Teacher / Mandarin

Fang Ding has been with JWP since 2014.  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 Driscoll 1/2 Teacher

Lauren Driscoll

1/2 Teacher

Born and raised in central Connecticut, Lauren discovered her love of teaching early on in life and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Saint Anselm College in 2017. Upon accepting a position as a first-grade teacher at a private school in Wethersfield, Connecticut, Lauren moved back to her home state and spent the next few years learning and growing alongside her students. Through her experience as a classroom teacher, she recognized a need for educators trained in the specialty of Social-Emotional Learning. She, therefore, began pursuing her Master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology in 2020. She enjoys cooking, paddleboarding, reading, and skiing in her free time.

Stephen Duffy Head of School, Jackson School

Stephen Duffy

Head of School, Jackson School

Steve arrives at Jackson School for the 2019-20 school year, assuming responsibilities for both Jackson and the JWP Collaborative.  He has spent over 30 years as an independent school teacher and administrator, and still experiences enormous satisfaction when a student or a class makes a connection with a good book.  When he’s not at school, Steve enjoys spending time in northern New England—hiking, skiing, canoeing—or seeing a good play at the ART.


Erin Enwright Assistant Teacher Room 3

Erin Enwright

Assistant Teacher Room 3

Erin grew up in Boston and attended Walnut Park as a preschooler.  She attended Providence College and earned a BA in Elementary and special education.  She worked in public schools up until she had her children.  After a hiatus from teaching, Erin decided her passion was in Montessori as all 3 of her kids attended and graduated from Walnut Park.  She began working as the building sub in 2019 and started her Montessori training in July 2022.  She is excited to be a part of the community and school where her love of all things Montessori began.

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.


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.


Jessica Greatorex-Friel Jackson Librarian

Jessica Greatorex-Friel

Jackson Librarian

Jessica spent 11 years of her 14 years at Jackson School as a first-grade teacher.  After the birth of her son Jonathan, she returned to Jackson as a Learning Center teacher and has now found her passion as the school librarian for grades kindergarten through fourth.  She enjoys turning her library into a “playground” where students can have fun connecting, interacting, and demonstrating their love of books. Jessica loves teaching because she enjoys interacting with children. She relishes listening to their ideas, seeing the way their minds work, and the way they grow in knowledge, confidence, and skills.


Nicole Girouard Activities Director | Summer Fun Director

Nicole Girouard

Activities Director | Summer Fun Director

Nicole loves working with children and has a genuine way of nurturing and leading them by example. She is passionate about fostering their love for themselves, others, and nature. Nicole is grateful to be a part of the Jackson Walnut Park Community.


Benjamin Hallas Learning Specialist

Benjamin Hallas

Learning Specialist

Ben is a Learning Specialist at JWP.  In his opinion, the best part of his job is when he sees students succeed in areas they previously thought they couldn’t.  When Ben isn’t working with students he enjoys running, the outdoors, and reading.

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 Lead Teacher

Meg Hildreth

Toddler Lead 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.


Dona Jayasundara Room 3 Lead Teacher

Dona Jayasundara

Room 3 Lead 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.


Nancy Landry School Nurse, Health Office

Nancy Landry

School Nurse, Health Office

A lifelong resident of Newton, Nancy considers every day to be full of learning experiences. She cherishes interacting with and supporting the needs of the students. She enjoys stargazing, singing along with her Spotify playlist, and spending time with her four Walnut Park Montessori graduates: Juliana, Andrew, Sofia, and Adam.

Yeliz Malik Room 1 Lead Teacher

Yeliz Malik

Room 1 Lead Teacher

Yeliz was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She loves nature and hugging trees. In 2010 after observing her son in a Montessori classroom in Chicago, IL, she decided to take it more seriously, and since then, she has served as a Montessori guide. Yeliz lives with her husband, two sons, and a Bearded Dragon and travels to Turkey every summer.


Kristina Mann STEAM Teacher

Kristina Mann

STEAM 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.


Stephanie Marcucci Director of Teaching and Learning

Stephanie Marcucci

Director of Teaching and Learning

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, and she is now the head of school there.


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.





Karen McCue


Karen LOVE’s teaching kindergarten!  She is passionate about helping students become lifelong learners.  When Karen is not in the classroom, she enjoys meeting picture book authors and illustrators. She has an extensive library of children’s literature.  One of her favorite authors and illustrators is Tomie dePaola.

Emily Merola Grade 5 Teacher

Emily Merola

Grade 5 Teacher

Emily enjoys teaching students using hands-on methods that nurture creativity in the classroom. She is passionate about literacy and incorporating her favorite authors into the curriculum. In her free time, Emily loves reading psychological thrillers, baking, and spending time outside.


Minoty Mody Assistant Teacher Room 3

Minoty Mody

Assistant Teacher Room 3

Minoty has been with Walnut Park since 2020, where she has worked with Primary classrooms and toddlers. Both of her children have gone through the Montessori education system at Walnut Park, which gave her the hands-on experience of delivering the Montessori philosophy at home and school. Minoty grew up in India and has been in Boston since 2009. When not working and managing her children, she enjoys some serious downtime.

Michelle Morello Advancement Database Administrator

Michelle Morello

Advancement Database Administrator

Michelle, a native of Cambridge and an MSJA alum, comes to us from St. Joseph Prep’s Advancement Department. She has worked for many years in her family’s garden center and pursued a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Harvard Division of Continuing Education while working in the Asian Export Art Department at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. She loves her annual vacation in East Sandwich on Cape Cod!

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!


Megan Polli School Counselor

Megan Polli

School Counselor

Megan cares about children’s well-being and how it affects their experience at school.  She views each child as an individual and provides coping skills and a nurturing presence when social, emotional, and academic concerns arise.  When Megan is not counseling, she recharges through traveling, spending time with her dog, and practicing yoga.


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.


Clarissa Robyn Lead Toddler Teacher

Clarissa Robyn

Lead Toddler Teacher

Clarissa grew up in Ft. Myers, FL as a performing arts student, getting a scholarship to study dance after graduating and gaining her Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her venture into early education began in college, where she worked at the Children’s School, getting experience in the classrooms, from infants to Kindergarten. When moving to the Boston area, she was quickly drawn to teaching and landed a position at a local Montessori school. Within a few weeks, Clarissa knew this was the path for her. At Copper Beech Montessori, she began as an assistant and was inspired to get her AMS 3-6 training in 2008 right here at Walnut Park! After ten years in Jamaica Plain, Clarissa ventured into opening her Montessori school in Dedham, where she lives. After one year of success, Clarissa transitioned to a bigger Montessori school in Milton. She was the Toddler guide for six years, getting her AMI 0-3 training in St. Louis in the Summers of 2018 and 2019. This past Summer, Clarissa completed an accelerated Master’s in Montessori Education from Loyola University, Maryland. She is very excited to have joined the Walnut Park Montessori team in her 24th year of teaching. 

Clarissa lives in Dedham with her 5th-grade son and labradoodle Penny. She is very active in her community, including volunteering her time and talents as a Town Meeting Member, as a board member of Dedham Education Foundation, and as a local artist of public art. Clarissa has a Montessori enrichment space in West Roxbury as part of her company Star Path Montessori. In her free time, Clarissa loves going on adventures with her son, watching independent films at her local community theater, and visiting her family in Florida whenever possible.

Analicia Ruggie GRADE 2 TEACHER

Analicia Ruggie


Ms. Ruggie grew up in Ashland, MA, and started her teaching career in Arlington. This past year she spent time teaching 4th grade in Warsaw, Poland, at a trilingual school and was able to travel a lot before returning stateside! Second grade is her favorite grade, so she is very excited to be back. Outside of school, Ms. Ruggie loves to spend time with friends and family at the beach in the summer and on the ski slopes in winter! Her favorite things to do above all are to travel, read, and try new foods.


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 Schools, 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.


Dorothy Simone Art Teacher

Dorothy Simone

Art Teacher

Dorothy Simone is an oil painter and mixed media artist.

She teaches Adult Painting and Drawing at the Plymouth Art Center and Elementary Art at Jackson School.

Simone has taught at the Danforth Museum, Fuller Craft Museum and South Shore Art Center she currently teaches at the Plymouth Art Center and Private Classes.

“Over the years I have watched students grow artistically and become good painters and artists.  Many who said that they were “only beginners”.  Being a partner in that is an intimate experience beyond words.

Making Art is certainly soulful.  The ‘relaxing feeling’ occurs after you work so hard and then suddenly your expression blooms like a flower.  But like a flower garden, it must constantly be cultivated.”  It is not always easy but certainly worth the loving hours of tending your craft.

Focusing on creating is living in the now and that is joy”


Kelly Sullivan Grade 6 Teacher

Kelly Sullivan

Grade 6 Teacher

Ms. Sullivan believes that children are unique, and each has something special that they can bring to their own education. She loves to help children express and accept themselves for who they are while embracing the differences of others. Her main goal is to have each child leave school happy every day. When Ms. Sullivan is not in the classroom, she loves to spend time with my family, reading a good book and cooking.


Ruiying Sun Mandarin Teacher

Ruiying Sun

Mandarin Teacher

As a teacher, Ms. Sun loves to see her students grow both academically and socially. She loves sharing Chinese Cultures with others and learning all kinds of languages! Besides teaching, Ms. Sun enjoys traveling, movies, and spending time with family, friends, and her cat.


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.


Alison Wilman Grade 5 Teacher

Alison Wilman

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 books for her students to read, going sailing at Crescent Beach, hiking with her dog Bailey, and gardening.


Yang Zhou Lead Teacher Room 4

Yang Zhou

Lead Teacher Room 4

Yang graduated from Lesley university with a Master’s degree in Education and Montessori Certificate. Yang began teaching part-time in Walnut Park for 2.5 years and became a full-time teacher in 2019. She has worked in almost every Walnut Park classroom and is familiar with the different classrooms’ teaching and learning styles. In addition, to her time in the classroom, she was also responsible for co-teaching the Walnut Park STEM program and being the instructor of the Chess Club!