DIANE M NICKERSON

School Director

Diane holds an AMS (American Montessori Society) Administrator Credential from the Center for Montessori Education, New Rochelle. She knows that the kind of environment adults provide for children matters. Diane believes that how children spend their days directly impacts the who they become as they grow into adulthood. Having researched best practices for pedagogy, she found that the Montessori method provides the best comprehensive approach to foster children's development toward their potential and joy.

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LETY ARROYO

Lead Primary Guide

Professional Development & Curriculum Coordinator

Lety holds an AMS (American Montessori Society) Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential from West Side Montessori School - Teacher Education Program, Manhattan. She has an Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education and worked as an early childhood teacher in her native country of Honduras. She has been working with children in bilingual preschools in Honduras and New York State for more than 20 years. Lety relocated to the United States in 2007 and began to work with Castle Island's Montessori program in 2012. 

 

Her students, their parents, and her co-workers all describe Lety as an energetic and fun-loving person. She is proud to be a link between the child and the prepared environment in the classroom and her goal is to help children's need to be free, to move, and to experience the atmosphere enjoying their work and play without interruption. She enjoys her role as an observer of individual interests and needs of each child. She is thrilled to be a part of the education of many children, including her own son, at Castle Island; and, to be children's guide within the Montessori philosophy.

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VIVIANA MORA

Lead Primary Guide
Summer Camp Coordinator

Viviana holds a PAMS (Pan-American Montessori Society) Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential from the PAMS Teacher Training Program (Atlanta, GA) at San José, Costa Rica. She also has a BS in Elementary and Special Needs Education and a MS in Physical Therapy, both from the University of Costa Rica. She has been a guide (teacher) at Castle Island since 2018.

 

She began working at a Montessori school in 2014 with children ages 2 to 5 years, and realized that this was an excellent method for children to learn at their own pace and in a practical way. She saw that children acquired knowledge easily and were always motivated for more. The following year she decided to pursue Montessori teacher training. She is a strong supporter of Montessori as a educational method, believing that when children are provided with an environment that allows for freedom and independence as a way for them to learn using their sensitive periods of interest, they reach their potential.

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CARLOS MENJIVAR

Lead Elementary Guide
Sports Movement Guide

Carlos holds a BA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special Education at the College of St. Rose. Carlos began working at Castle Island in 2016, originally as an intern. A native of El Salvador, he grew up a bilingual household on Long Island and is a certified English/Spanish translator. Carlos has several years experience working with foster children in a group home setting and enjoys running and playing soccer; he plays and assists with the St. Rose College men's soccer team.

Carlos integrates the Spanish curriculum with the Montessori method for the children in the elementary community. He finds that the hands-on materials make the meaning of new vocabulary concrete for the elementary children. In addition, Carlos facilitates the physical education program at Castle island and is the coach for the school's Just Run team, leading the team of elementary children to the regional fall cross county meet and the spring track meet. The movement program also incorporates the Wild Project which he conducts on site at Washington Park. 

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LUISA PUENTE

Assistant Primary Guide

Luisa has an Associate's Degree in Office Management and has worked in her country of origin of Ecuador as a teaching assistant to preschool children at the private school, "Academia General Carlos Machado." Luisa has been an assistant teacher at Castle Island since 2016.

Her interest is to contribute to the integral development of children by becoming a guide that provides an appropriate working environment for the children. By taking care of the specific classroom materials, helping them when they need it, and encouraging their all efforts, she aspires to assist in the development of the children's cognitive skills within an atmosphere of joy, respect, and community. Luisa believes that the children's freedom to choose promotes respect and potential for their abilities, allowing them to develop their own learning and cognitive skills.

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TERESA GONZALEZ

Primary Assistant Guide

Teresa holds an Bacherlor's Degree in Spanish Studies from SUNY Oneonta and a NYS teaching  certificate in Secondary Spanish (grades 7 - 12). She began at Castle Island in 2021, as the Summer Camp Lead Guide (Teacher).

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KIM KAUFFMAN

Visual Arts Guide

Kim has a Bachelor's Degree in Studio Art from Skidmore College, with a focus in painting and drawing. She worked for several years in NYC as a costume designer for artists working in film and sculpture, and later as a weaving instructor and pattern maker for a fiber studio in Brooklyn. After moving to Philadelphia, she began concentrating on her own work, doing some freelance illustration, and growing her family. A native of the Capital District, Kim returned to the Capital Region in 2011 with her husband and their three sons. She has been working at Castle Island since 2018.


Kim began sharing her love of art with children several years ago, offering an after school enrichment program at her son’s elementary school in Delmar. This program, called We Are Art Stars!, quickly grew to include other elementary schools and preschools, eventually leading Kim to the Albany Art Room, where she offers several classes, family workshops, and summer camps. A firm believer that every child is an artist, Kim creates a curriculum that honors each child’s ideas and creativity.

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ANNA MAYTA
RUHE-SCHOEN

Dance Movement Guide
Communications Coordinator

Anna Mayta is a dance artist, movement educator, and director of Mayta Fusion Dance. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a BA in Dance Education. Anna also practices and teaches yoga. In 2008, Anna earned a teacher certificate in yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore, India. She has been teaching, performing, producing multidisciplinary performance events, directing shows and choreographing for about 18 years. Having grown up in Chile to American parents and is bilingual English/Spanish.

Anna fell in love with Maria Montessori's educational philosophy in 2001 when she was first hired to offer her movement programs in a
Newburgh, NY Montessori school. An aspect of the Montessori method that she especially appreciates is that movement is a big part of the classroom experience; children learn as they move around the classroom. Through movement, they grow academically and also develop body control. Anna has been teaching her movement programs at multiple Montessori schools around Dutchess, NY.  She is so excited to be a part of Castle Island to share her Spanish language-based and multicultural movement programs here.

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SARA MERCADO

Administrative Coordinator

Sara holds a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Information Systems Management from York College in Queens, New York, and has more than 15 years of experience providing IT solutions to faculty, staff, and students at three local colleges in the Capital Region. Her prior experience in help-desk settings includes providing hands-on technical solutions, facilitating training seminars, writing documentation and creating and maintaining websites (including this one!) Sara speaks Spanish fluently, originally from Nicaragua, has been living in New York since 1982, and has been working at Castle Island since 2019.

Sara is the one who greets parents and visitors in the afternoons; in addition to keeping the books, she works to support school's institutional development. And, the children are so pleased when she can fill in to substitute in After Care! 

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GRACE BOMBARD

After Care Guide

Grace is a full-time student of the arts at HVCC and has been working at Castle Island since February 2020. 

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IVY HAYES

Maintenance Coordinator
After Care Guide

Ivy has been working at Castle Island since July 2020.

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JOIN OUR TEAM!

Employment Opportunties

Castle Island seeks prepared and positive professionals for employment in the following positions for the 2021-2022 school year:​

  • After Care Assistant  

    • M-F 3:00-5:30pm, $12.50/hr

Internships

  • Coordinator to Facilitate Volunteers:

    • music (drumming, piano, etc)

    • chess

    • gardening

    • cooking

    • yoga

  • Other

Send resume and cover letter to: 

Diane M Nickerson, School Director

diane@castleislandmontessori.org

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