Faculty and Staff

Our diverse faculty and staff represent the highest standards in their respective fields and share a passion for educating young people. Representing half a dozen doctoral programs and over 20 different advanced degree programs, our faculty model exhibits the academic excellence we instill in our students. Educators at Lacordaire are also committed to a lifetime of their own learning, as staff members are constantly undergoing further professional development. All faculty members share in the extracurricular community of the Academy, either through coaching a sports team or advising a student organization. Lacordaire’s small class sizes also offer faculty the opportunity to mentor students, both individually and in a group setting, adding to the feeling of community that Lacordaire prides itself on.

Megan Mannato

Head of School; Head of Upper School

M.A. New York University; B.A. Syracuse University


Suzanne Bilicska, M.Ed.

Associate Head of School; Head of Lower School; Head of Middle School

M.A. Curriculum And Instruction, Caldwell University; B.S. Education, B.A. History, University Of Tampa


Kaitlyn Tashjian, OPA

Director of Campus Ministry; Director of Guidance; Chair, Religion Department

M.A. School Counseling, Saint Peter’s University; B.A. Secondary Education And Social Studies, Caldwell University


Marissa P. Klapwald

Director of Advancement

J.D. New York University School of Law; M.A. English Literature, Drew University; B.A. English Literature, Seton Hall University


Saydi Callahan Keefe

Director of Admissions

M.F.A. Montclair State University; B.F.A. University Of Florida


Nick DeToustain

Director of Development; World Language Department

M.A. International Relations, MBA, Boston University; B.A. Mathematics And French, University Of Colorado 


Elizabeth Owen, OPA ’11

Director of Crisis Management and Facilities; Technology Department


Kelly Reilly McCarthy ’11

Director of Marketing; Assistant Director of Admissions

B.F.A., Parsons School of Design


Spencer Vining

Director of Technology

M.S. Technology Management, Columbia University; B.A. Psychology, University of Virginia


Ximena Brittan Gunusen

Dean of Students

EdM, Psychological Counseling, Teachers College Columbia University; B.A., Politics, Princeton University

Dr. Jennifer Zinman

Director of Inclusivity

M.A.T. Montclair State University; Ph.D. Mt. Sinai School Of Medicine; B.A. Columbia University


Mark Beck

 Registrar

M.A.T. Montclair State University; B.A. Finance, Elmhurst College


Denise Wagner

Director of Major Gifts

M.B.A., The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; B.A., Spanish and Economics, Dickinson College


LeeAnn Easterlin, CPA

Director of Financial Operations and Human Resources

B.S., Business Administration, Accounting, California State University Sacramento

Suzanne Bilicska, M.Ed.

Associate Head Of School; Head Of Lower School; Head Of Middle School

M.A. Curriculum And Instruction, Caldwell University; B.S. Education, B.A. History, University Of Tampa


Mona Gerdes

Chair, Arts Department


Mary Ryan Thornton

Lower School Co-Chair
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

M.A.T. Dual Certification: K-5/Special Education, Montclair University; M.A. New York University; B.A. Fordham University


Marianne Cavallaro

Lower School, Pre-K Aide

B.S. Montclair State University


Linda Marinzulich

Lower School, Kindergarten

B.A. Ashford University


Monika Rains

Kindergarten Aide

M.A., Literature and Language, Warsaw University

Ginny M. Mielke

Third Grade Teacher

B.S., Early & Elementary Education, B.A. Speech, Communications & Theatre Arts; Monmouth University
Graduate Studies in Elementary Reading: East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

Christine Zichelli

Lower School, Kindergarten Aide

Certified K-12 Substitute; A.S. In Business


Kate Bielitz

Lower School; Second Grade Teacher

M.A., Caldwell University, Curriculum and Instruction; B.A., Caldwell University; K-6 Certification

Margaret Melore

Lower School Co-Chair
First Grade Teacher

B.A. Caldwell College


Alicia Chadha 

Lower School, Second Grade

M.Ed., Contemplative Practices in Education, Simon Fraser University; B. Ed., International and Global Education, Simon Fraser University; B.A., English, Simon Fraser University
 

Tawana Clarrett

Fourth Grade Teacher

M.S. Teachers College, Columbia University, Organizational Leadership; M.S. Chestnut Hill College, Technology in Education; B.S. Temple University, Early Childhood & Elementary Education


Nicolette Fiorentino

Mathematics Department

B.S. Mathematics, The College Of New Jersey


Nick DeToustain

World Language Department Chair; French Teacher

MBA and M.A. in International Relations, Boston University; B.A. French and Math, University of Colorado


Leigh Kesseler

Second Grade Teacher 
B.S., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Bloomsburg University
Pre K-6 Certification


Alexandra Giorgio

Arts Department; Creative Dramatics

Montclair State University, B.F.A in Theatre, Minor in Musical Theatre 


Megan Mannato

Head of School; Head of Upper School

M.A. New York University; B.A. Syracuse University


Suzanne Bilicska, M.Ed.

Associate Head of School; Head of Lower School; Head of Middle School

M.A. Curriculum And Instruction, Caldwell University; B.S. Education, B.A. History, University Of Tampa


Kaitlyn Tashjian, OPA

Director of Campus Ministry; Director of Guidance; Chair, Religion Department

M.A. School Counseling, Saint Peter’s University; B.A. Secondary Education And Social Studies, Caldwell University


Nathan Houston

Religion Department; Campus Ministry

B.A. History and Theology with a concentration in Peace and Justice, University of Scranton


Jessica Schomaker

Athletic Director; Physical Education Department
History Teacher

B.A. Political Science Drew University; M.A.T. Drew University 
Supervisor Certificate; Montclair State University 

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

Interim Chair, English Department
English Teacher

B.A., Journalism, University of Georgia 
NJ Teacher Certification K-12 in English Language Arts

Brittany McFarlane, OPA

English Department; Religion Department

B.A. English, Caldwell University; NJ Teacher Certification K-12 English


Sean Orso

Math Teacher

B.A., Mathematics, William Paterson University with a completion of the Social Sciences Track from the University Honors College
NJ Teacher Certification K-12 Mathematics.

 


Mona Gerdes

Chair, Arts Department


Mary Kate Coleman

English Department; Arts Department

M.A. Theater, Montclair State University; B.A. English & Theater, Mount Saint Mary’s University


Joseph Lombardo

English Teacher

B.A., Political Science, Providence College
M.A., Teaching, Rhode Island College
NJ Teacher Certification K-12 English and Social Studies


Victoria Roncero

English Teacher

B.S., Communications/ Broadcast Journalism, Ithaca College School of Communications

Delaney Lima

Art Teacher, Arts Department

B.F.A. Illustration, School of Visual Arts


Susan Goldstein

Science Department

M.A., Secondary Education, Seton Hall University
B.A., Botany, with honors, Drew University
Certification NJ Teacher of Science K-12
Supervisor’s Certification, Montclair State University


Heather Ballantyne

Arts Department


John Eichmann

Chair, History Department

M.A. Social Sciences; M.A.T. Social Studies; B.S. History And Business Administration, Montclair State University


Dr. Jennifer Zinman

Dean of Students; Inclusion Coordinator; Chair, Science and Math Departments

M.A.T. Montclair State University; Ph.D. Mt. Sinai School Of Medicine; B.A. Columbia University


Andrea Birnbaum

Photography Teacher; Art Department

B.S., Communications, Syracuse University
M.F.A., Photography, Maine Media College

 


Spencer Wight

Science Department

M.S. Education, Bank Street College of Education; B.A. Biology, Oberlin College


Egbert Chester

Science Department

B.S. Chemistry, London Metropolitan University


Nicolette Fiorentino

Mathematics Department

B.S. Mathematics, The College Of New Jersey


Elizabeth Genzale ’17

Physical Education Teacher
Volleyball Coach

B.A. Psychology, Caldwell University

 


Tracey Reed

Religion/History Teacher
B.A., Religious Studies, Felician University
M.A., Leadership and Management, Concordia University, St. Paul

 


Sister Patricia Stringer, OP

Mathematics Department

M.S. Telecommunications, Barry University; M.A. Mathematics and Industrial Education, Ball State University; B.A. Mathematics and Religious Studies, Caldwell University


Mark Beck

Mathematics Department; Registrar

M.A.T. Montclair State University; B.A. Finance, Elmhurst College


Nick DeToustain

French Teacher; World Language Department Chair

M.A. International Relations, MBA, Boston University; B.A. Mathematics And French, University Of Colorado


Axa Abreu

Spanish Teacher 
 
B.A., Spanish, Arizona State University

Barbara Landrevie

World Languages Department, French

Master of Sciences, Information & Communication, Paris III Censier Université

Master in History, Paris IV Sorbonne

First Degree in Architecture, École Des Beaux-Arts De Paris

Bachelor’s Degree, Economy, Lycée Flora Tristan

 

Megan Griffin

School Nurse

Registered Nurse


Renee Reso

Advancement Associate

Bowdoin College, B.A., Art History
American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.

Christine Del Pozzo

Executive Assistant to the Head Of School; Administrative Assistant To Upper School


Fiona Lake

Administrative Assistant for Middle and Lower Schools



Alex Smolar

Academy Custodian, Plant Manager


Patricia Feola

Academy Custodian