Kirstin Townsend-Zarras is the director of the Pound Ridge Community Church Play School. Kirstin holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois. Kirstin resides in Pound Ridge with her husband, Dean. Their three children are all grown up and live in New York City and Portland, Oregon. Kirstin is a member of the Pound Ridge Community Church. She also enjoys reading, hiking, baking and traveling.
Phyllis Giedra is excited to begin her first year as the head teacher of the Play School 2’s. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education from Queen’s College. She taught in the public school system for eleven years before taking a hiatus to raise her four children. Phyllis has been part of the Special Education PTA committee in the Chappaqua School District. Most recently Phyllis has been a substitute and assistant teacher at Jennie’s Preschool. She has also taught the science program at Bedford Learning Center. When she is not in the classroom, Phyllis enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, cooking and caring for her menagerie of animals including cats, dogs and a chinchilla!
Donna Wellington is thrilled to be part the Play School 2’s team of teachers. Prior to having her children, she earned her business degree at SUNY Plattsburgh and worked in the creative marketing field for over eighteen years. Donna has lived in the South Salem/Pound Ridge area for the past 20 years with her husband Jeff and daughters, Emma, Libby, and Halle. All three of her daughters attended the 2’s program at the Play School. Donna is thrilled to be back in the program as a teacher!
Jenny Shevick loved working as a substitute teacher in the 2’s classroom this past year and is thrilled to begin her first year as part of the 2’s teaching team! Before starting a family, Jenny received a B.A. in History from Cornell University, a J.D. from Fordham Law School and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County, New York. However, after spending eighteen years as a stay at home mom raising four sons, she realized she would much rather work with children than practice law! In addition to spending time with her family, Jenny loves to read, cook, hike, bike and swim. She has lived in Bedford since 2011 with her husband and sons, the youngest of whom attended the Play School and loved it!
Barbara Pagan-Nasti is happy to be going into her tenth year teaching at the Play School. Barbara has over sixteen years experience as a preschool educator, as well as three years of teaching at Jodi’s Gym. She has also volunteered as a mentor in the elementary school system. She finds working with young children incredibly rewarding. Barbara lives in Yorktown with her husband. She has three sons, all living in the New York area. She loves spending time with her family, enjoys reading, hiking, and going to the beach.
Lisa Reach is looking forward to starting her eighth year teaching at the Play School, as she loves working with young children. In the past, Lisa has worked with the Toddler Art program in Pound Ridge, the PRCC Sunday School, the New Canaan Nature Center and has been a substitute teacher at PRES and the Play School. Lisa has a BS from the University of Florida and an MA from Columbia University Teachers College. She has lived in Pound Ridge for over twenty years with her husband, Richard. They have two daughters, Sarah and Hannah. Lisa also enjoys tennis, platform tennis, biking, healthy cooking and spending time with her family.
Emily Konrad is looking forward to starting her second year of teaching at the Play School. Emily has a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and a MA in Education from NYU Steinhardt. Before starting a family, Emily taught third grade at Bedford Village Elementary School and fourth grade in the Byram Hills School District. Emily lives in Pound Ridge with her husband and three children. In addition to spending time with her family, Emily loves to garden, read, and run the winding roads of Pound Ridge.
Lena Nurenberg is excited to begin her third year at the Play School and her first year teaching in the four’s class. She graduated from the University of Loyola in Maryland and received her master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education. While teaching preschool at The Town School, in NYC, she also became a certified children’s yoga teacher. Lena grew up in Pound Ridge and is a graduate of the Play School! Lena is co-Director of the Pound Ridge Tots Summer Camp. When she’s not in the classroom Lena loves to spend time with her family, bike riding, baking, reading or practicing yoga. She currently lives in Pound Ridge with her husband, Jeff, and two young daughters, Madison and Sophia.
Elizabeth Fortune is thrilled to enter her third year as part of the Play School community. Elizabeth began her career as a prekindergarten teacher at The Country School in Madison, Connecticut. She then moved to New York City and served as both a first and second grade teacher during her eleven years at The Trinity School. Elizabeth has also coached soccer and lacrosse. She and her husband, Brian, have three children: twin girls (Grace and Elizabeth) and a son (Finn) all of whom attend Pound Ridge Elementary School. Elizabeth holds a BA from Catholic University and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kathy Knapp is excited to begin her 23rd(!) year working at the Play School as a four’s teacher, following her first career in the banking industry. She holds a degree from Nazareth College in management/psychology and an MBA from Pace University. I’m proud to be a part of the eagerness that is fostered for learning and individual development by our staff! A Katonah resident, Kathy enjoys spending free time with her husband and two daughters, traveling to new places, walking with her dog, Casey, volunteering, and spending time at the beach with friends. Reading is a passion that Kathy enjoys sharing with the children and is extended at our “Once Upon a Story” after school program. She’s also excited to continue teaching the kindergarten enrichment class after school this year with Mrs. Barbara.