Meet the Faculty

Judith Menken

Judith Menken, Director

Judith 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.  Judith 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,” Judith says.  “I am committed to creating strong, active learning environments for all young children and their families.”

Alda Homan, Head Teacher 4K

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,” declares Alda.  “It is so exciting to watch their minds and faces open to all the new things they experience with us.”

Alda Homan

Margaret Murphy

Margaret Murphy, Head Teacher 4K

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,” says Margaret. 

“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.”

Brenda Caceres, Teacher Nursery

Before joining the faculty at Spuyten Duyvil Preschool in 2020, Brenda owned and served as the director for Brenda’s Playschool, where for twenty seven years she provided care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Additionally, as an NYC DOE affiliate, Brenda’s Playschool provided Universal pre-k instruction for four year olds for twenty-one years.

“Being involved in challenging and rewarding ventures has allowed me the privilege to enjoy what I do.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a positive and profound influence on the lives of children in  an honest and responsible manner. The supportive environment at Spuyten Duyvil allows me to do the work I love.”

Brenda Caceres

Martha Castillo

Martha Castillo, Teacher Nursery

After working in the medical field as a certified clinical medical assistance in pediatrics for over 12 years, Martha went back to college for an intensive continuing ed program in Early Childhood.  She joined the Spuyten Duyvil Nursery full time in 2017.

“I really wanted to continue working with children,” Martha says.  “For me, the best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”

Michelle Aguilar, Assistant Teacher 4K

Michelle got to know the Spuyten Duyvil community as an occasional substitute for a year and joined the Nursery team permanently in 2018.

“My biggest passion is working with kids,” Michelle says. “I enjoy watching them grow every single day.  I love when our kids learn by using their imagination.  As Albert Einstein said, ‘A true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.'”

Michelle Aguilar

Crisel Estevez

Crisel Estevez, Educational Assistant

I started working at Spuyten Duyvil Preschool as a substitute in 2017 and joined fulltime in 2019. As an experienced child caregiver, I wanted to experience a new but similar working environment that involved children and education. While working with children I get the opportunity to be part of their growth and development, creating a learning environment where they can explore, be creative and use their imagination to express themselves. I find my work at Spuyten Duyvil very fulfilling.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” –Dr. Seuss

Chassity DeJesus, Assistant Teacher 4K

I joined the team at Spuyten Duyvil Preschool in September 2020. Since the age of 14 I’ve always enjoyed working with children. I started out working at summer day camps, after-school programs, and baby sitting. Before Spuyten Duyvil I worked at a charter school with pre-k to first graders.

Although I am the educator, I believe they teach me things daily and there’s never a dull moment. There are teachers I had growing up I will never forget because of their positive effects, love and care and I hope to be that for my students.

Also, now that I am a “somewhat-new-mom” myself, my preschoolers make me feel ready and excited for what’s to come!

Chassity DeJesus

Amanda Caceres

Amanda Caceres, Lunch Bunch and Extended Day

I have been at SDP since 2020, but have had experience with kids since the age of 14, when I began helping in my grandmother’s daycare program. I recently earned my Associate’s Degree and am now attending Lehman College where I am working towards my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in early childhood education. I love working with children. I hope to become a great teacher with the help and guidance of the SDP staff.

Tiara Sullivan, Aftercare Staff