Spuyten Duyvil Preschool text

Meet The Faculty

Judi Menken, Director

Judi joined Spuyten Duyvil in 2008 after 38 years as an early childhood public school teacher in East Harlem and Midtown Manhattan and principal of the Muscota New School in Inwood.  Judi has a BS and Masters in Early Childhood Education from City College and a Masters in Administration and Supervision from Bank St. College of Education.  "Returning to preschool has gotten me back to my roots.  I am committed to creating strong, active learning environments for all young children and their families."

Grazia, Head Teacher UPK

Grazia is Spuyten Duyvil.  She first came to the school as a mom.  Her 3 children are now in their 30's, but she is still here!  Grazia has a Masters in Early Childhood Ed. from Bank St. College.  The neighborhoods of Riverdale and Kingsbridge are filled with happy, well adjusted adults that started off as preschoolers in Grazia's care over the past 25 years.  "My children attended one after the other.  I was involved with the school as a parent for so long I just couldn't imagine being anywhere else that could be as fulfilling.  After all these years I still feel the same way!"

Alda, Assistant Teacher UPK

Alda joined Spuyten Duyvil in 2006 after working in another area preschool.  Through her own son she is very knowledgeable about services and programs and brings all that experience to her work at our school.  "I love working with this age group.  It is so exciting to watch their minds and faces open to all the new things they experience with us."

Margaret, Head Teacher UPK

Margaret has been at the school since 2008.  After working as a professional chef, when her own 2 sons became teenagers it was time to revisit her own career goals.  She has returned to City College for her B.S. in Ed. and Masters Degree.  "I always wanted to be a teacher.  I love the conversation with kids, the questions they ask.  Following their interests and watching them get engaged with their own learning gives me great satisfaction."

Barbara, Assistant Teacher UPK

After years working as a private care-giver to Inwood families, Barbara started as a substitute teacher at Spuyten Duyvil in 2000.  She has steadily grown in her work at the school into the indispensable place she has with us now.  Outside of school Barbara is very active in working with adoptive families, a passion she developed through her own 2 daughters, now full-grown themselves.  She smiles as she reflects, "I love to see the light that goes on when the children 'get it' – putting a puzzle together, learning a new song."

Jeanette, Head Teacher Nursery

Jeanette has been at the school since 2008.  She was assistant teacher in the Nursery for 2 years and then moved up to Head Teacher.  She is currently working on her Masters Degree at Mercy College.  You can say that Jeanette grew up in nursery school – her mom has a family daycare at home!  After student teaching in various grades, she decided that this age is where she belongs.  "I have always wanted to be a teacher.  When I was little I had my own whiteboard and would take care of 'my class.'  Now I really have my own students and it is just as wonderful as I always knew it would be."

Maria, Assistant Teacher Nursery

Maria began as Extended Time assistant teacher in 2009.  She came to us with over 12 years working in pre-schools.  When she is not at Spuyten Duyvil she is busy raising her own two young sons.  "Every day is a learning experience; we learn from the children's energy and interests.  Every day is formed through what each child brings."

Soñia, Assistant Teacher for Lunch Bunch and Extended Time

Soñia joined the staff in 2010.  She has worked with children all her life.  Even as a child she would babysit for neighbors and relatives.  Now with 2 grown daughters herself, she continues to give that loving attention to our Extended Time children.  "I just love being with children.  They make me feel young.  Being at Spuyten Duyvil is very special.  I am very happy here."

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