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Dedicated Teachers & Staff

Staff members strive to be aware of each child’s needs and learning readiness, and they attempt to meet these needs through a wide range of preschool activities.

We provide your family with the best early childhood educators who are certified according to the New York State Department of Education and the New York City Department of Health, because we understand that as early childhood educators, we must address the development of the whole child.

We invite you to get to know us. Please use this contact information to let us know of any questions and concerns.

Administration

Denise Adusei
Executive Director/Founder
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Biography

About Denise Adusei

Denise Adusei is a mom on a mission. She believes that schools are far more than buildings, classrooms, and curricula. They are places where children spend much of their time. Therefore, we should take great care in creating safe, nurturing environments that inspire imagination and creativity. Prior to starting Peartree, Denise worked in non-profit management consulting for child development and healthcare organizations and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She gained her master's degree from Columbia University and bachelor’s degree in public health from Brown University. “My goal,” Denise says, “is to provide an inviting environment where children feel safe and supported, develop a love of learning, and gain self confidence as learners and valued members of our community.”
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Jessica Psonis
Director
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Biography

About Jessica Psonis

Jessica Psonis is living her passion by working with children. Jessica is a true early childhood childcare expert. Her passion began at an early age. As an adolescent, Jessica witnessed her mother serve elementary students with learning differences and her father mentor troubled youth transitioning into adulthood. Ms. Jessica believes that all children can grow, develop, and do their best in a positive, high-quality learning environment. In Jessica’s classrooms, children are busy exploring toys and materials, role playing scenarios in their daily lives, and developing social skills that enable them to work together and be a part of a group. As an artist herself, Ms. Jessica insists that children’s art work and thoughts adorn the walls of a learning environment that is truly theirs. Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in child psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and a master's in education focused on school administration from St. John's University. By creating a supportive environment that fosters the "whole child's" growth, Ms. Jessica believes that Peartee Preschool's highly dedicated staff will guide its student's journey of self-discovery by developing their social-emotional skills and creative expression through art and play as outlets.
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Teachers

Evelin Santiago
Lead Teacher, Bartlett Class (Two/Threes)
Biography

About Evelin Santiago

Evelyn Santiago is an lead-teacher for the Bartlett classroom. She holds a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in clinical psychology. She has seven years of experience in early childhood education. Prior to joining Peatree, Ms. Evelyn worked as a lead teacher at Magic Moments Academy. She loves music and going on new adventures with her students.
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Laura Lopez
Lead Teacher, Bartlett Class (Twos)
Biography

About Laura Lopez

Ms. Laura is the lead teacher for the Bartlett (twos) classroom. In addition to having fifteen years of teaching experience, Ms. Laura also holds a master’s degree in early childhood and bilingual education from Hunter College. Prior to joining Peartree, she served as a bilingual teacher at La Escuelita and the Costa Rica International School. Ms. Laura is excited about contributing to the development of young children and partnering with the families.
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Giovanna Dato
Lead Teacher , Seckel Class (Twos)
Biography

About Giovanna Dato

Giovanna Dato is the lead teacher for the Seckel class (young twos classroom). Prior to joining Peartree, she served as the after school director at the St. Ann School and the head teacher at the Boys and Girls Harbor preschool program. Ms. Giovanna holds a master's degree in bilingual early childhood education from Hunter College. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her two children and husband.
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Melody Dominguez
Associate Teacher (Bartlett)
Biography

About Melody Dominguez

Melody Dominguez is an associate teacher for the Bartlett classroom. She joined Peartree in 2016 as a substitute teacher and officially came aboard as the full-time assistant teacher in June 2017. She holds a bachelor's in psychology from Mercy College and certification from Hostos College. What Ms. Melody loves most about working with children is the privilege she feels when witnessing precious moments and milestones in her student's lives. Not only does she have a few years of experience working with children in both the public and private domain, but she thoroughly enjoys spending her time as Aunt Melody with her family! She loves music, writing, being creative, and going on new adventures with her students.
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Paquita Ketchetcham
Associate Teacher (Bartlett)
Biography

About Paquita Ketchetcham

Ms. Paquita Ketchetcham is the Associate Teacher for the Bartlett classroom. She has 25 years of experience in early childhood. Prior to joining Peartree, she served as an assistant at Bank Street and Hudson Guild. She holds an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Paquita is a native French speaker and proficient in Spanish. She looks forward to sharing her warm personality with our students and families.
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Junko Motoyama
Lead Teacher, Anjou
Biography

About Junko Motoyama

Junko Motoyama is the lead teacher for the Anjou (threes) classroom. Prior to joining Peartree, Ms. Junko served as the lead teacher at Bright Horizon for six years. Ms. Junko has five years of experience as a UPK teacher assistant for the Department of Education. Ms. Junko previously served as a Japanese teacher in London and New York City. She has her bachelor’s degree in English and childhood education for Kanagawa University. Ms. Junko is a creative artist and science enthusiast. She also teaches Japanese at the Manhattan Hunter Science High School after school program. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and daughter.
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Leslie Garcia
Associate Teacher, Seckel Class
Biography

About Leslie Garcia

Ms. Leslie Garcia is a the associate teacher for the Seckel classroom. Prior to joining Peartree, she served as a teacher at Smarter Toddler and The Children's Museum of the Arts. She holds a bachelor's degree degree in early childhood education. She has seven years of experience working in early childhood. She looks forward to sharing her warm personality with our students and families.
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Edna Lima
Body and Movement
Biography

About Edna Lima

Edna Lima is our Capoeira instructor. She plays Capoeira with our threes and fours/fives classes and teaches them drumming, rhythm, and movement. She has been training Capoeira and Karate for well over 30 years. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in physical education and teaching family Capoeira classes, she is a five-time Brazilian champion, four-time US Champion, four-time Pan-American Champion, two-time Ozawa International Champion, and is in the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame. She has also holds the title of Mestra, one of the highest ranks in ABADÁ-Capoeira, the largest Capoeira organization in the world. We feel really safe when Ms. Edna is in the building.
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Margarita Manwelyan
Body and Movement
Biography

About Margarita Manwelyan

Margarita Manwelyan is a certified preschool yoga instructor and teaches our yoga classes. She has been teaching yoga and meditation classes throughout New York City since 2006. Margarita's teaching schedule includes yoga hikes in Central Park, kid’s yoga, and sign language. Ms. Margarita is a registered yoga teacher and mind-body counselor.
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