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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 Jackson
Assistant Director
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Biography

About Jessica Jackson

Jessica Jackson 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 is pursuing 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

Audrey Benedetta
Associate Teacher, Anjou Class (Threes)
Biography

About Audrey Benedetta

Audrey Benedetto is the teacher assistant for the Anjou classroom (threes). Prior to joining Peartree, Ms. Audrey served as the program director of the Artrageous Program at the Children Museum. Ms. Audrey also has five years of experience as a teacher assistant and enjoys sharing her outrageous artist talents with her students.
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Melody Dominguez
Teacher Assistant, Seckel Class (Young Twos)
Biography

About Melody Dominguez

Melody Dominguez joined us last year as a substitute teacher and officially came aboard as a the full-time assistant teacher in Seckel in June 2017. She holds a bachelor's in psychology from Mercy College and a teaching assistant 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 experience working with children in both the public and private domain, but she thoroughly enjoys spending her time as Aunt Melody with her family! Shes loves music, writing, being creative, and going on new adventures with her students.
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Michele Matterson
Lead Teacher, Bartlett Class (Twos)
Biography

About Michele Matterson

Michele Matterson is the lead teacher for the Bartlett classroom (Twos). Ms. Michele, who has been teaching preschool for six years, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and early childhood education. Prior to joining Peartree, Ms. Matterson worked at the Imagine Early Learning Center and the West Harlem Early Learning Center. Ms. Matterson is looking forward to sparking a love for learning and the arts in the children at our program.
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Shakira Perez
Lead Teacher, Anjou Class (Threes)
Biography

About Shakira Perez

Shakira Perez is the Anjou lead teacher (threes). She just returned from teaching preschool in Thailand. Throughout her five years as a preschool teacher, she has taught preschool in both English and Spanish. Ms. Shakira received her bachelor's degree from New York University and is pursuing additional certification. She enjoys integrating social emotional development into many of her classroom activities.
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Maribel Nuñez
Lead Teacher, Anjou Class (Threes)
Biography

About Maribel Nuñez

Maribel Nuñez is the lead teacher for the Anjou class (threes classroom). Prior to joining Peartree, she worked at the Columbia University Head Start program for over fifteen years. She is also a "Ready, Set, Kindergarten" (R.S.K.) leader at the New York Public Library. R.S.K. is a kindergarten readiness program geared towards preschoolers and their families. Maribel holds a BA in arts with a concentration in classroom socialization and early childhood education. She is pursuing her masters degree in early childhood education to add onto her already twenty years preschool experience. Maribel brings spunk and creativity to the classroom and is sure that this year will be a great one!
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Ashley Cruz
Lead Teacher, Bosc Class (Threes)
Biography

About Ashley Cruz

Ashley Cruz is the lead teacher for the Bosc class (three classroom). In addition to having five years of teaching experience, Ms. Ashley also holds a degree in childhood education. Ms. Ashley is bilingual in both English and Spanish. Prior to joining our program, Ms. Ashley was a teacher at Sunshine Learning Center and the Maimonides Hospital for adolescents with mental health issues. She is a mother of two beautiful children (five and one) which was where her interest in childhood education arose. As a singer, Ms.Ashley believes strongly in the talents of every child. She is very excited to start this journey with the children and help them develop.
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Leonor Saturria
Co-teacher, Seckel Class (Young Twos)
Biography

About Leonor Saturria

Leonor Saturria is a co-teacher for the Seckel classroom. Ms. Leonor has over 18 years of experience in the early childhood education as both a head teacher and teacher assistant in the early childhood development. She earned her degree in child development from The City University of New York. Ms. Leonor enjoys helping children reach developmental milestones. When Ms. Leonor is not teaching, she enjoy cooking, art, and reading. She also enjoys spending time with her two sons and family.
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Martha Bernabel
Associate Teacher, Anjou Class (Threes)
Biography

About Martha Bernabel

Ms. Martha served as the assistant teacher in the Concorde (fours) and Bartlett (twos) classrooms prior to moving to the Anjou classroom. She works well with all ages. Martha had previously worked at Harlem Gems Head Start for many years before joining Peartree's team. Martha is generous with her energy, humor, and nurturing demeanor.
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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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