Faculty & Staff: Lower School

Mary Ryan Thornton

Mary Ryan Thornton

Lower School, Pre-kindergarten
MAT Dual Certification: K-5/Special Ed, Montclair University, MA New York University, BA Fordham University

I have been teaching at Lacordaire for four years. This year I have moved to the Pre-Kindergarten Class as I have 11 years experience in early childhood and Montessori. I still coach the forensics team and assist with the Reader's Theater program. Lacordaire is a second home and family for students and myself. I enjoy spending time getting to know each of my students throughout the year. My goal is to discover what interests each individual child and then incorporate those specific interests and their special talents into my daily lessons. That goal was my motivation to help design and maintain the Academy's science garden. I strive to guide the students to use the world around them both in and out of the classroom to inspire them in their writing and reading pursuits. When children are actively engaged in their own learning experience, the possibility to challenge them and cover a wide variety of complex subjects is endless. I enjoy learning from my students everyday as they do from each other. After 17 years of teaching I consider it a tremendous privilege to have the opportunity to educate the students of Lacordaire.

Marianne Cavallaro

Marianne Cavallaro

Lower School, Pre-K Aide
BS Montclair State University

Although I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition, my true passion is to teach children. I worked for five years as a Food Service Director. After that time, I stayed at home to raise my three children. I returned to work as a pre-k aide for fifteen years. This is my second year at Lacordaire Academy as a Kindergarten aide. I enjoy working at Lacordaire Academy very much. There is a great sense of family and community. I especially love to see the children grow and flourish throughout the year. Some of my qualities include patience, compassion, and a nurturing ability. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.

Liz Hughes

Liz Hughes

Lower School, Kindergarten Aide

This is my third year at Lacordaire Academy as Kindergarten / Pre-K aide where I have enjoyed the day to day interactions between educators and children and can say the I have been in awe of how much love, patience and compassion goes into each moment with every child. I myself am the proud Mom of a Lacordaire student. (My daughter is a  5th grader and has been at Lacordaire Academy since Kindergarten.) I feel this is our home away from home. Lacordaire is a warm and loving community of educators and parents, parent volunteers and administrators.

I live in Montclair and when not in school, I enjoy playing with my husband and daughter. We share a passion for the outdoors, so no matter what the season, you will find us making the best of what Mother Nature has to offer.

 

 

Tara Mankin

Tara Mankin

Lower School, Kindergarten Aide

My experience at Lacordaire began when my son, now in the third grade, enrolled in Kindergarten.  I was so impressed and inspired by the Lacordaire family that I offered to volunteer  my time at the school in any way that I could help.  After volunteering several times, the Academy offered me a position as a Kindergarten aide.  Given my love for children, I was honored and accepted immediately. This my second year as an aide. This year I am working with the Pre-kindergarten classroom and I often sub for other classes.

When not at Lacordaire, I enjoy spending time with my family. We often spend time in Brunswick, NY or in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  In addition to spending time with children, I enjoy tennis, art, travel, cooking, or simply curling up with a good book.

After a successful career on Wall Street, I find interacting with young children to be the most rewarding work I have ever undertaken.  It is truly a blessing to watch their minds and personalities grow and develop.  I have Lacordaire to thank for that gift.

Linda Marinzulich

Linda Marinzulich

Lower School, Kindergarten
BA Ashford University

I have been a full time teacher in the Early Childhood department of Lacordaire’s lower school for the past two years. For six years prior to that, I served as a Teacher’s Aide in both Pre-K and Kindergarten. In addition to these two roles, I have been involved with the Lacordaire community for over 30 years, as an alumna of both the elementary and high schools, and as a mother who sent all four of my children to Lacordaire. In my time away from school, I manage my son’s travel hockey team, and am bookkeeper for my husband’s general contracting business. I love anything family or hockey related, and being outdoors. There are many reasons why I love Lacordaire, but the one that speaks to the heart of this school is the truly intimate relationship that the teachers have with their students.

Christine Zichelli

Christine Zichelli

Lower School. Kindergarten Aide
Certified K-12 Substitute; AS in Business

I have been a Nursery School teacher for the past nine years at a private school.  I enjoy teaching and nurturing children.  I attended William Paterson University and am a certified Substitute teacher for grades K-12. My daughter Brianna graduated from Lacordaire Academy last year and will be attending Montclair State University. I am so pleased with the quality education she received here at Lacordaire and am proud to be part of such a special school.  In addition to my daughter, I have a son, Joey, who will be starting his junior year at Seton Hall University.

Margaret Melore

Margaret Melore

Lower School, First Grade
BA Caldwell College *

I love to see each of my students grow and progress throughout the year. I enjoy teaching at Lacordaire , and have always loved the family atmosphere of the school. I am happy to have my daughter also be a part of the Lacordaire family.

I have been teaching at Lacordaire for 25 years. My passion/strength in teaching is designing projects which integrate literature, writing, art, math, science, and history.

Erin Quinn

Erin Quinn

Lower School, Kindergarten
BS Roger Williams University; Post Bac. Caldwell College *; Masters in Progress

Although I have a degree in Engineering, it did not take me long to find my true calling. After a few years in the professional world, I decided I wanted to be in education and went back to school for a teaching degree. I completed my student teaching and served as a kindergarten aide at Lacordaire then as the full time Pre-k teacher for two years. I am excited to be one of the second grade teachers this year! As an alumna of the school's Upper School, I know first hand what a privilege and honor it is to receive an education from this Academy. I am excited to be part of these young students' learning experience and to be able to provide a strong foundation and instill a love of learning for years to come. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running and spending time with my family and friends.

Suzanne Bilicska

Suzanne Bilicska

Assistant Academic Dean; Lower School. Second Grade
BS in Education/ BA in History University of Tampa *

As I embark on another year at Lacordaire Academy, I am excited to take on the position of Assistant Dean of Academics. After serving as Lower School Coordinator for over five years, I am eager to expand my role to work with Middle and Upper School faculty and students to create an engaging and supportive teaching and learning environment. For the past 13 years, I have enjoyed bringing learning to life in the second grade, and am fortunate to be able to continue to do so. To help carry out the Academy's mission, I share my passion for community service with the Middle School students as moderator of the LACO Service Club. I am proud to be a member of the Lacordaire community!

Joyce Crompton

Joyce Crompton

Lower School, Third Grade
BA Bloomfield College *

I have been working at Lacordaire Academy for 27 years. I am very passionate about teaching children and helping them reach for their dreams through their education. I believe every child should be valued and treated with respect. An education should enable a child and help him or her make a positive contribution to our world. When I am not teaching, I enjoy reading and going on vacation with my family. I am proud to work at Lacordaire, a nurturing family oriented school.

Alexandra Kaousias

Alexandra Kaousias

Lower School, Fourth Grade
BS Fairleigh Dickinson University; St. Peter’s University Teaching Cert. *

As an educator, my passion is to provide a stimulating learning environment that inspires students to reach their full potential and become confident, life-long learners.

I am beginning my ninth year as the fourth grade teacher at Lacordaire Academy. I enjoy being a faculty member of the Lacordaire community, a setting that provides an enriching curriculum and embraces our students and parents as an extended family. The extracurricular activity that I moderate is the Book Review Club, which instills a love of reading to its participants. My passion/strength is to provide a caring, safe, and equitable classroom where each child can blossom and grow, and reach their potential. I hope to instill a love of learning to my students, by sharing my own passion for learning with them. In my leisure time, I enjoy spending time with my family, taking yoga classes, and vacationing in Greece.

Ordel Goldson

Ordel Goldson

Athletic Director, Physical Education Pre K-12, Drivers' Ed/ Health 9-12
Montclair State University BA in Child Advocacy and Policy
Saydi Callahan

Saydi Callahan

Arts Dept.
MFA Montclair State University, BFA University of Florida

I am entering my fourth year of teaching visual arts to sixth through 12th grade students at Lacordaire Academy. My life is immersed in art making and art education and Lacordaire is the kind of school that truly values the importance of art in our world. I love teaching in a family oriented community that nurtures student’s interest in pursuing a relationship with art, whether it be to continue on as an art major, or just for the sheer enjoyment of the subject. My students experience a studio environment with a curriculum that is project based. We discuss art history and current events while we get our hands busy with art making all year long. Lacordaire is a wonderful school with a cozy and nurturing learning environment and an extraordinary administration and staff. In my life outside of the classroom I am a Mom, wife, and portrait painter. I maintain an art studio in my home in Montclair. I love spending time with my husband Dave, and our three children Asher (11), Zella (9), Ryder (4). As a family, we are up for any adventure… but we particularly love fishing, hiking, swimming, and skiing in the great outdoors.

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