Our Team

Maggie Nelson

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DIRECTOR/HEAD TEACHER

mnelson@vanriperschool.org

Maggie Nelson became the director at VRECS in 2017.  She is thrilled to take on this adventure!  She joined the VRECS family in 2014 as a Pre-k4 teacher.  She then moved on to teach Transitional Kindergarten before she took on the role of Director.  Maggie studied at Montclair State University and received her BA in Child and Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education (preschool-3rd grade).

Rebecca G Nayda

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ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER

rnayda@vanriperschool.org

Rebecca Nayda began at VRECS in 2000 as a volunteer and was hired in 2001.  Before working at VRECS, Rebecca worked in Marketing and Advertising for a corporate office.  She is an active member of the VREBBC.  With her many experiences in Life she believes God molded her specifically for her position at VRECS. 

Ellen Ziegler

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FINANCE MANAGER

eziegler@vanriperschool.org

Ellen Ziegler joined our staff in 2012.  Ellen has her BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her MSW from Columbia University.  She considers VRECS her home away from home.  Her daughter and son are both proud graduates of the VRECS preschool program and she has a son in Transitional Kindergarten for the 21-22 school year.  She has also been a part of our After Care program.

Pastor David Boone

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VREBBC PASTOR

vrebbcpastor@aol.com

Pastor David Boone, Pastor of the Van Riper Ellis Broadway Baptist Church, has been a pastor since 1984, serving churches in Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, Georgia and New Jersey.  Pastor David served as a bi-vocational pastor for many years and retired at the end of 2015 as a Juvenile Detective for the Fair Lawn Police Department.  Justice and mercy are important parts of his ministry as he shares the love of Christ.  He is a 3rd generation pastor who strives to “Live the Life, Love the People, and Preach the Word.”

Danielle Ezmat

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TEACHER

Lisa Bates

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GROUP TEACHER

Lisa Bates has been with VRECS since 2007.  She earned her BA in Early Childhood Education from William Paterson University.  She has been working with young children for over 20 years.  Lisa thinks that incorporating Christian values is an important and enjoyable part of education here at VRECS.  Seeing children grow and learn how to read gives her great joy.  She is very involved in her church, having taught Sunday School and running Bible Club for many years.  She is currently teaching in one of our Pre-K4 classrooms.

Blaise Barrientos-Knapp

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TEACHER

Blaise Barrientos-Knapp graduated with a BA from the University of Hartford. She left the office world to spend more time with her family and joined VRECS as a lunch aide in 2017. Soon, she discovered her fondness for being in a preschool environment and has been a Teacher’s Associate in pre-k4 and Transitional Kindergarten classes. She is very excited to now be a Pre-K3 teacher for the 2021-2022 school year! Ms. Blaise enjoys communicating with children and getting to their level as she delights in the way children see the world; full of wonder and amazement and aims to bring that same excitement into her classroom. She is passionate about encouraging kindness, individuality, and inquisitiveness in children. Ms. Blaise lives in Fair Lawn with her husband and two daughters.

“To every child – I dream of a world where you can laugh, dance, sing, learn, live in peace and be happy.”

Malala Yousafzai

Kristen Gallo

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TEACHER

Kristen is joining VRECS for the 21-22 school year as a Pre-K3 Teacher. She earned her Associates in Fine Arts from Bauder  College and has over 8 years of experience working as a Preschool teacher.  Her teaching philosophy has always been based on the belief that children learn and develop best when given opportunities to explore, play and make choices in their learning.  Creating hands on learning, art and science activities is her passion.  Kristen is married and a Mom to 3 children. She is eager to join the VRECS team and hopes to spark a love of learning and curiosity in her classroom.

Maria Paschalis

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TEACHER

Maria has her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Communication and the Arts. She also experience teaching science, robotics and art classes and has served as a Children’s Ministry Intern in Wyckoff.  As an empathetic person, Maria considers social-emotional learning an important aspect of teaching. She believes that teaching children social skills and how to name and manage their emotions will add to their academic success. Maria is a creative person who is passionate about music, acting, and art. She believes that incorporating art, music, and imaginative play into the classroom can help children express their creativity and stay engaged in their learning. Overall, Maria wants to create a classroom environment where children can have fun and learn about their world while feeling safe, loved, and free to express themselves creatively. She is excited to join our team!

Lorraine Fallacaro

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE/BEFORE CARE INSTRUCTOR

Lorraine Fallacaro joined VRECS in 2010.  She has her Associates degree in Merchandising from LIM.  Her love for children brought her into the preschool classroom.  Lorraine believes in an enriched environment for young children; one that will benefit their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.  She is passionate about helping children develop characteristics which will affect their lifelong love of learning.  She works to foster a nurturing, active, and challenging environment that encourages curiosity, active learning, values, problem solving, and a positive self-image.

Kimberly Goldberg

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Kimberly joined our staff in 2019 as a Lunch Aide.  She is currently working in our After Care Program.  She joined Miss Maria’s Pre-K4 class as a Teacher’s Associate in January 2021.  She runs the Fair Lawn Football Association Cheerleading program.  She is married and she has one child.  In her spare time, she enjoys going to the Jersey Shore.

Yashanda Carter

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Yashanda Carter has worked in Early Childhood Education for over 15 years. She has an Associates and Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education. She took the last year to work for a community based organization, Americorp, with the public school system and participating in community service events.

Jodi Kwasnik

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Jodi is joining our team for the 21-22 school year in one of our Pre-K3 classrooms.  She will also be the new Movement Dance Program instructor and Yoga program instructor.  She has been a co- teacher and lead in summer for the past 11 years.  Her passion for teaching children extends well beyond the school day.

Jodi loves to create interesting and challenging experiences for children. Some examples include having a car wash on the playground and a Bowling Alley using the classroom furniture. This kind of activity helps build fine and gross motor skills as well as providing an opportunity to work as a team.  It is her intention to create an amazing year of learning the children will never forget!

Jessica Herrera

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Lucianne Fernandez

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AFTER CARE INSTRUCTOR

Amanda Mendez

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AFTERCARE INSTRUCTOR

Jeanne Kalver

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BEFORE CARE/LUNCH AIDE

Jeanne joined our staff in 2018 as an After Care Instructor.  She has served as a Lunch Aide in one of our Pre-K3 classes during the day.  She is also going to be working with our Before Care children starting in September 2020.  She is an amazing substitute as well!  She has been working with children on and off for 15 years now.  She has worked as a Special Education Preschool Aide, a Lunch Aide and an After Care Aide. She loves helping children to learn and grow.

Nancy Navez

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LUNCH AIDE

Sue Janc, MS, MPH, RN

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NURSE

Sue Janc comes in weekly to make sure that our student’s medical records are up to date.