Kirstin Townsend-Zarras is the director of the Pound Ridge Community Church Play School. Kirstin holds a B.S. 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.
Karen Danielle Mariot is excited to join the Play School team of teachers! She goes by her middle name “Dani” and all of her students call her Miss Dani! She is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a B.A. in Early Childhood and Childhood Education and a minor in Spanish. She also recently completed her masters degree in Literacy. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate years Dani has been working with children from pre-k up to 6th grade. She has been substituting at the Play School for several years, and she also completed two college internships there. Dani loves spending time with her two younger sisters, both of whom attended the Play School, and her two rescue dogs. In addition, she enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, and baking.
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 is thrilled to begin her second 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. A resident of Bedford for many years, Jenny recently moved to Pound Ridge with her husband and sons, the youngest of whom attended the Play School and loved it!
Lena Nurenberg is excited to begin her fourth year teaching young children at the Play School. 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.
Lisa Reach is looking forward to starting her ninth 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 B.S. from the University of Florida and an M.A. 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.
Elizabeth Fortune is thrilled to enter her fourth 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). Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Catholic University and a M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kathy Knapp is excited to begin her 24th 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 M.B.A. 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.
Barbara Nasti is looking forward to beginning her 10th year teaching at the Play School, and her 21st year of teaching preschool. Before teaching, Barbara worked for Danbury Hospital for 18 years, as well as being involved in a mentoring program at an elementary school for several years. Her love of children drew her to change careers, inspiring her to enroll in Westchester Community College's Early Childhood Development program. Barbara lives in Yorktown with her husband Lou, and is the mother of 3 grown sons. Barbara loves spending time with her family, reading, working out, kayaking and going to the beach.