Each educator at CNS has outstanding experience, advanced training or degrees, and a commitment to ongoing professional development. Above all, every one of them loves to guide children through the process and joys of real discovery.

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ADMINISTRATORS

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KELLY PELLAGRINI

Co-Founder & Co-Director

Kelly Pellagrini brings more than 15 years experience in early childhood education. In addition to a B.A. from Bates College, Kelly holds Masters degrees from Smith College and Lesley University, in Curriculum and Teaching and Bilingual Early Childhood Education, respectively. Currently, she is part of the first cohort of early childhood leaders at the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at Harvard.  She has worked as a teacher, administrator and curriculum coordinator at the Saint Francis School in Moravia, Costa Rica, public schools in Amherst and Boston, Massachusetts, and at the Smith College Lab School. She has served on the Mayor Advisory Committee for 0-5 School Readiness, and has been active in creating early childhood programs throughout the area. She recently received an Unsung Heroine Award for her extensive civic involvement. In addition to her work at CNS, she serves as an advisor to many schools as well as mentor, instructor and advocate in early childhood. She writes, speaks and consults on early childhood research. She was the lead organizer for the Wonder of Learning Boston. When not at CNS, she enjoys time with her family, especially playing with her two children who continue to inspire her work.

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Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

JENNIPHER RAY

Jennipher Ray has been involved in CNS since the beginning as a parent, board president and director. Now, she volunteers and works as an administrative support on occasion.

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Co-Director

CADY AUDETTE

Cady has over 15 years of experience working as a teacher and administrator in independent schools. She has a B.S. from Boston University and a M. Ed. from Lesley University, with a focus on Creative Arts in Learning. Recently, she was part of the first cohort of early childhood leaders at the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at Harvard. She started as a Lead Teacher in an independent primary school, teaching grades 4, 5, and 6 with an emergent curriculum. Inspired by the Reggio Approach, Cady then went on to develop a fine art curriculum while teaching studio art and art history classes to preschool- 5th grade. She was the Director of a large summer day camp on Cape Cod for ten years. As a former Gallery Instructor at the MFA, she is trained in VTS and continues to practice and study the methodology. In addition to her work at CNS, she enjoys teaching and playing with her three young children.

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Finance Manager

TARA VUONO

Prior to joining the team at CNS, Tara worked for over 8 years in public accounting for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, New York City and London. She has a B.S. in Accounting from Alfred University and is a former CPA. Tara joined CNS in 2012 first as a room parent when her oldest son started in the toddler program, then as part of the board in the Assistant Treasurer position and now as part of the administrative team, helping with the bookkeeping and finances for the school. She enjoys baking, excel spreadsheets, and spending time with her four children.

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Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

KRISTIN VALDMANIS

Kristin is now living with her four children and husband in Maine. She continues to connect CNS to a global context for our work.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jessica Seney, Board President 

Elizabeth Chiu, Vice President

Karen Kerr,  Secretary

Josh Bresler, Treasurer

Jeanne Huang, Assistant Treasurer

Brooke Aronson

Anastasia Catrickes

Kinnon Foley

Megan Mathias

Zara Morgan

Betsy Trahon

Melanie Wachtell Stinnett

Karen Tompros, Emeritus

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PEARL DELALI ABITI

Arboretum

Pearl Abiti is entering her second year at Charlestown Nursery School. Pearl joins us from a Reggio Emilia-inspired school at the University of Vermont, where she taught Pre-K for two years. Pearl is a licensed teacher and earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at the University of Vermont, where she was also a student-athlete on the UVM Track Team. She was the team caption, heptathlete, gold medal pentathlete, and all-around indoor MVP winner. Her athleticism and joy for movement are both present in her work with children. Pearl strongly values relationships and creating authentic experiences in a dynamic learning environment. Whether it is inside the classroom or in the natural world, Pearl’s work reflects her value and respect for children as competent citizens. She is constantly finding inspiration and ideas from the educators in Reggio Emilia and through professional development and conferences nearer to home. Pearl is honored to have visited three Reggio-inspired schools in New York City in the last year. She believes that children are curious and learn best through exploration and play that is thoughtfully guided by their teachers. Recently, she has started Reggio-inspired Affinity PLAYgroups for early childhood educators and children ages 3-8. Outside of the classroom, Pearl enjoys staying active and spending time with friends and family.
 

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KATE BERNER

Esplanade

Kate is a third-year teacher at Charlestown Nursery School. A graduate of the University of Vermont, one of the most well-respected lab schools, Kate has refined her practice at the Campus Children’s Center, Radcliffe Child Care, and Reggio Emilia, where she was fortunate to have visited for a study group. She is constantly finding joy and inspiration from the Reggio philosophy and is particularly captivated by all the possibilities that present themselves when the child is viewed as a capable and active participant in their learning journey. She enjoys forming relationships with the children, the families, and colleagues. When not at school, Kate loves being outside whether it’s running, hiking, or relaxing at the beach. 
 

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MARLENE CALIXTO

Greenway Support

Marlene Calixto has been a caregiver and early childhood educator at Charlestown Nursery School since our beginning. After decades of work with young children in our community, she joined CNS over 5 years ago to complement her early childhood studies at Bunker Hill Community College and her teacher certification. She comes with years of training and experience in the “CNS approach”. She has studied with us and joined our professional development for almost a decade. She works closely with the Greenway, toddler team and she has offered some of our programmings in Spanish.

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NANCY CULLISON

Coach & Consultant

Nancy has been teaching for over 25 years and is now serving as a consultant and coach at Charlestown Nursery School. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, she has worked at many early childhood centers, including the Harvard Radcliffe Center, and managing her own. She worked closely with the Child Development Department while at Harvard in both the practice and training of new educators. She has extensive training in the Reggio Emilia approach, including being chosen to travel to Reggio Emilia on a study tour. She also recently attended a study tour in New Zealand. She brings a particular interest in nature and environmental education to the classroom. She has been instrumental in designing our summer, afternoon, and @home programs. In addition to teaching and learning, she enjoys photography, dancing, crafts, bicycle tours, and time with her family.

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BRIDGET NYHAN

Greenway, Greenhouse

Bridget enters her fifth year teaching at Charlestown Nursery School. Her daughter attended CNS in the first years and she is thrilled to be coming back to join the faculty team. She has over 15 years working with young children, the last 6 of those as an educator and administrator in her own home-based program. She holds a MEd from Suffolk University. She spent several years working as a school counselor with both elementary and middle school students. Bridget is excited to bring her love of nature and early literacy to the classroom. When she is away from school she spends a lot of time volunteering in local organizations, sharing her love of the city with her own 3 children, reading, and running. 

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STEPHANIE O'HARA

Greenway, Greenhouse

Stephanie has been teaching for over 15 years and has been at CNS since our early years. A graduate of Emerson College, she has a master's degree in communication disorders. As a speech and language pathologist, she has experience working with children and adults in rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and early intervention programs. She brings a particular interest and expertise in language and literacy development. She recently attended a study tour to Reggio Emilia served as a guide The Wonder of Learning and worked at the Boston Children's Museum. Besides teaching and learning, she enjoys reading, traveling, and sailing with her family.

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CARLY REAGAN

Riverway, Greenhouse

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LAUREN DONAHUE

Arboretum

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JENNIPHER RAY

Riverway, Greenway Support

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VALERIE FONTANA SHULMAN

Arboretum

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VALERIE FONTANA SHULMAN

Arboretum

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JULIA SOYER

Esplanade

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JESSICA TRIPP

Esplanade

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LISE WHITE

Riverway, Greenhouse