Stephanie Letizia - Director of South Church Preschool Stephanie has been directing our Preschool Program at South Church for 19 years. During this time, she has taught ages 3 through 5 and is presently teaching our 2-day, 3 year old class. She studied at Manchester Community College. Stephanie has designed a curriculum program that enhances both social and academic growth for our students. The program is inclusive of nurturing their early development through play and creativity. It is designed to empower their confidence and build the necessary skills they will need for their future kindergarten experience. The students do this within a caring developmentally appropriate environment. Stephanie owns and runs Summer Sprouts; a summer day camp for children ages 3 through 6. She is on her tenth year running the camp along with our Music Teacher, Kathye Flanagan.
Susan Vartenigian Susan is in her sixth year at South Church Preschool. She is the head teacher for the pre-K program. Susan also provides ongoing science enrichment experiences for the four and five day classes. She has a Bachelors Degree from James Madison University in early childhood education and holds a Masters Degree in curriculum and instruction. Her background includes 10 years as a kindergarten teacher. Helping children to develop a love of learning and a curiosity of the world around them is one of her primary goals as a teacher. Sue has enhanced our Pre K program with her love and creativity for science enrichment and her skills as a teacher.
Larissa Nardi Larissa has been teaching at South Church Preschool for the past six years. She has her Masters Degree in Pedagogy and a background of more than fifteen years in Education. Larissa is a Head Teacher in the 4 day program and our Spanish Enrichment teacher in the Pre K. Her energy and spirit enhanced our program in every way.
Claire McRae Claire is a recent graduate from Keene State College where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in Dance Education. She has been working at South Church Preschool since 2016. Claire is an Administrative Assistant to Stephanie Letizia, and she also works as a Head Teacher in the 4 day program. Claire’s favorite aspect of teaching students at a preschool level is getting the opportunity to watch their social skills grow throughout their time here. She has been a wonderful addition to our staff of teachers and has helped in the restructure and growth of our program. Her responsibilities include working not only with our Director, but our preschool committee, and our business manager. Claire has worked to redesign and update our school website and handles registration in the Fall of each year.
Tracy Bancroft Tracy has been with South Church Preschool since 2015. She graduated from the University of Richmond and earned her Masters Degree in the Art of Teaching from Rhode Island College. She taught in Rhode Island and the New York City public school systems. In addition to her employment as a Head Teacher in our 3 day program, she continues as the office manager of her husband's insurance office. Tracy finds it very rewarding to help young children with their early development, and our center has benefited from her dedication and patience with our students.
Heidi Gourley Heidi has been working at South Church since 2009. She has spent the last six years as a Head Teacher and is currently teaming with Stephanie Letizia to teach the 2-day program. Prior to coming to South Church, she worked for Patrons Mutual Insurance Company in their Human Resources and Marketing Department. Heidi attended Central Connecticut State University and Manchester Community College where she studied Communications and Psychology. In the Spring of 2010, Heidi completed her CDA Certification in Early Childhood. We feel blessed to have her as such an important part of our teaching staff. Her dedication to our students and program could not be more valuable to us.
Susan Thompson Susan is one of the longest running staff members at South Church Preschool. She has been working in our program for eleven years. Sue began her career as a Program Assistant in many of our classes and has been the Assistant Teacher in our Pre K program for the past five years. She has an Associates Degree in paralegal and legal studies. She also has attended Early Childhood workshops and seminars consistently. Her experience working with our 3 to 5 year olds has been extremely valuable to us here at South Church.
Elizabeth Wegner Elizabeth has worked with children in various capacities for the past 22 years. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a child development research lab and also worked in both rural and city children's camps. Elizabeth received a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa. She then went on to receive a Masters of Education in Community Counseling from Loyola University. Elizabeth worked as a child and family therapist with Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago for over 9 years. She currently is an Assistant Teacher in one of our 4 day classes, and is also the Social Services Consultant for our center. She has been helpful in designing activities that aid in coping with anxiety and school stress, as well as social development in students who attend our program. We are lucky to have her knowledge and passion in this very important component or early childhood education.
Stephanie Murtha Stephanie is an Assistant Teacher for our 3 day class and a Program Assistant for our 2 day class. Her educational background consists of a Dual Master of Science in Childhood Education and Literacy Education. In past years she has taught both Preschool and Kindergarten. Her ability to help children quench their curiosities and to better understand the world around them has made teaching a true passion, and we are fortunate to have her on our team here at South Church Preschool.
Mary Jo Ferraro This is Mary Jo's second year with us at South Church Preschool. Last year she filled the role of long-term substitute for our 4 year old classes, and this year she is working as a full time Program Assistant in our Pre K program. Mary Jo has a Bachelors Degree in Education from Plymouth State University and a minor in Sports Medicine. Her background includes over sixteen years working with children. Seeing the pride in children's faces when they figure something out for the first time is one of her favorite parts of teaching, which is why we are so lucky to have her on our teaching staff.
Katherine Mark Katherine is on our teaching staff this year for the first time. She received her Bachelors Degree in Nutritional Science and minored in Women's Gender and Sexuality from the University of Connecticut. Katherine has been working with children for the past few years and is interested in pursuing her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. We are so happy to have her be a part of our program.
Tracy Benoit We are thrilled to welcome Tracy to our staff this year. Tracy holds a Bachelors Degree in Recreational Therapy, and has worked with children for many years. She is currently working as an Assistant Teacher in one of our 4 day classes. Her favorite aspect of teaching is watching kids use their imaginations as they learn and grow in a loving and fun environment. Her warmth and dedication to children makes her a good fit and an important addition to our staff her as South Church Preschool.
Melissa Uriarte Melissa is presently a Program Assistant in one of our 4 day classes. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. Melissa has been working with children for over fifteen years; her Mother has been a home daycare provider since Melissa was born. Being a part of young children’s care and education is not only second nature, but extremely important to her. Before coming to South Church Preschool, Melissa has worked as a preschool teacher, home daycare assistant, and an ABA therapist for an Autistic program. She has also been a substitute teacher in the Glastonbury School District. We are thrilled to have her on board and a part of our growing center.
Lori Bigliazzi Lori is so excited to join the South Church Preschool team ! She received her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Northwestern CT Community College and did her student teaching with four year olds. She received her Bachelors Degree from UConn in Human Services. She has 8 year old boy/ girl twins that currently attend Nayaug Elementary. They attended South Church for two years and have wonderful memories there. For the past two years she has been assistant coach for first through third grade cheerleaders for the Glastonbury Tomahawks. Previously she worked as a Para at Hebron Elementary School. During her free time she loves to visit with her family in Oregon where she grew up. We are so excited to have Lori on board at our center.