Our Team

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson (2)

DIRECTOR

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/AFTER CARE

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 the Pre-K3 for the 19-20 school year.  She also is an After Care Instructor on Friday afternoons.

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.”

Elizabeth Connolly

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TEACHER

Elizabeth joined VRECS in 2017 in our After Care program.  She now teaches our Transitional Kindergarten class!  She has her BA in English from Boston College and her Masters in Early Childhood Development from Lesley College.  Elizabeth taught first grade at Roosevelt Elementary School in River Edge. She believes in a developmentally appropriate approach to teaching young children, and encourages a hands-on, active learning environment.

 

Elizabeth Eckford

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TEACHER

Elizabeth Eckford joined VRECS in 2018 and is teaching in one of our Pre-K4 classrooms.  She earned her BA in Sociology with a Social Service Concentration and a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing in Elementary Education in 2012.  She was a student teacher as well as a practicum teacher during the time when she earned her degree.  She has worked as an Assistant as well as a Teacher at the Cerebral Palsy Treatment Center for 6 years and has also been the Director of a Daycare Program.  She firmly believes in Proverbs 22:6 to “Train the child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  She believes all children can be taught with patience, compassion and the love of Jesus Christ.

Lisa Bates

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TEACHER/AFTER CARE

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 and helps out daily in After Care from 3:00-3:30pm.

Michelle Bravin

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TEACHER

Michelle Bravin has been at VRECS since 2004 and started as a Teacher’s Assistant.  She is currently a Pre-K3 Teacher.  She has a BS from Ithaca College and was formerly a buyer for a major retail store.  She worked at the Ridgewood YMCA as an assistant in a 2 ½ year old class for 5 years before joining our team.  Her teaching philosophy is that preschoolers learn through play, and everything has to be interactive and hands-on.  She loves watching kids in discovery, helping them to absorb and understand new information.

Bernadette Flood

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TEACHER

Bernadette Flood joined VRECS in 2018 as a Pre-k3 Teacher.   She earned her BA from Rutgers University.  She has an extensive background working with Preschoolers.  She is a compassionate, creative hard worker who has experience with curriculum development and classroom management.  She also founded a local kids art club.  She has experience working with adult mental health day programs, children’s special needs programs and senior day programs.  She strongly believes that children are active learners, explorers, experimenters and artists.  

Pamela Dawson

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE/BEFORE CARE

Pamela Dawson joined VRECS in 2012.  Before joining our staff, she managed a home daycare for 18 years which served newborn through 3 year olds.  She has always loved being around children, and it gives her pleasure to teach.   Being a part of that moment when a child gets ‘that look in their eyes’ when they learn something new gives her joy. 

Lorraine Fallacaro

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE/BEFORE CARE

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.

Blaise Barrientos-Knapp

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Blaise Barrientos-Knapp joined VRECS in 2017.  She has a BA from the University of Hartford and brings her experience as a mom of two.  She started with VRECS as a lunch aide and substitute.  She is now a Teacher’s Associate in one of our Pre-k4 classrooms.

Denisse Vargas

Denisse Vargas staff

TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE/AFTER CARE

Denisse joined our staff in 2017 as a substitute and is now the Primary After Care Instructor.  She is now also a Teacher’s Associate in one of our Pre-K3 classrooms.  She received her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2014 and her Bachelors Degree in History from William Paterson University in 2017.  She is currently pursuing an Alternate Route Teaching Certification Program.  Denisse has always enjoyed working with children.  She believes that it is essential to encourage children to find joy and fun through learning, activities, as well as socializing with one another. 

Jamie Conklin

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TEACHER’S ASSOCIATE

Jamie joined our staff in 2018 as a lunch aide.  She is now a Teacher’s Associate in our Transitional Kindergarten classroom.  She is a mother of 4 and she coaches basketball and soccer.  Her daughter attended VRECS and she’s very excited to be part of our team!

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.

Jeanne Kalver

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AFTER CARE/LUNCH AIDE

Jeanne joined our staff in 2018 as an After Care Instructor.  She now also serves as a Lunch Aide in one of our Pre-K3 classes during the day.  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.

Kimberly Goldberg

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LUNCH AIDE

Kimberly joined our staff in 2019 as a Lunch Aide.  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.

Carole Zimmerman

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LUNCH AIDE/SUB

Carole joined VRECS in 2017.  She has her BSN from Columbia University.  She has attended VREBBC for many years and brings her experience as a nurse as well as raising three children.

LUNCH AIDE

Claudia joined our staff in 2019 as a Lunch Aide.  She also works in Member Services at the YMCA in Ridgewood.  When she’s not here, Claudia is actively involved in the lives of her 5 children.