Meet our Guides and Support Staff!
Lety Arroyo – Primary Spanish/Lead Guide
Lety holds an AMS (American Montessori Society) Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential (2017) from West Side Montessori School - Teacher Education Program, Manhattan. She has an Associate's’s Degree in Elementary Education and worked as an early childhood teacher in her native country of Honduras. Teaching is one of her great loves. She has been working with children in bilingual preschools in Honduras and New York State for 20 years. Lety relocated to the United States in 2007 and began to work with Castle Island's Montessori program in 2012. She loves the experience of teaching at Castle Island and she describes the education here as unique because the child has the freedom to choose his or her work daily.
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 a great observer of individual interests and needs of each child. As an educator, 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.
Viviana Mora – Primary English/Lead Guide
Viviana holds a PAMS (Pan-American Montessori Society) Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential (2016) 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 began working at a Montessori school in 2014 with children ages 2 to 5 years, and realized that this was an excellent method for kids 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.
Holli Frazier – Elementary English/Lead Guide
Holli is currently completing an AMS (American Montessori Society) Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential (2019) with Montessori Live, an mixed online/on-site MACTE accredited Montessori teacher training institute. A native of Albany, Holli has a BA in Theatre Arts (2009) and a MS in Human Services (2015), both from Liberty University, VA. She completed the NYS Infant and Toddler CDA while working with toddlers and preschoolers at Pineview Preschool, Albany.
Holli first heard of Montessori education during her Philosophy of Education class in graduate school. She was intrigued by the idea that children could work on their own levels and have a sense of personal autonomy in their education experiences. Becoming a parent a few years later, Holli turned to Montessori for her daughter's education and sensory needs.
Luisa Puente – Primary Spanish/Assistant Guide
Luisa has an Associates 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."
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. After a year of enriched experience at Castle Island, Luisa can affirm that each child will be able to choose freely through the work they have completed. Luisa believes that this promotes respect and potentates for their abilities, allowing them to develop their own learning and cognitive skills.
Carlos Menjivar – Elementary Assistant/Spanish Guide; Primary & Elementary Movement Guide; After Care Coordinator
Carlos is completing a BA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Special Education at the College of St. Rose (2019). After two year working as an intern at Castle Island, Carlos joined the staff working in several positions. Carlos, a native of El Salvador, grew up a bilingual household in Long Island and is a certified English/Spanish translator (2018). Carlos has experience working with foster children in a group home setting. Carlos enjoys running and playing soccer; he plays and assists with the St. Rose College soccer team.
Kim Kauffman – Creative Visual Arts Guide
Kim Kauffman has a BS 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, Kim began concentrating on her own work, doing some freelance illustration, and growing her family. A native of the Capital District, Kim moved back to the Albany area in 2011 with her husband and their three sons.
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.
Ja'Kera Nelson – After Care Assistant Guide
Sara Mercado – Administrative Assistant
Sara holds a BS in Information Systems Management from York College in Queens, New York, and has over twelve years of experience providing IT solutions to faculty, staff, and students in three local colleges in the Capital Region. Her prior experience in help-desk settings includes providing hands-on technical solutions for Windows and Mac, analyzing training needs, facilitating training seminars, writing documentation and creating/maintaining websites. Sara speaks Spanish fluently, originally from Nicaragua, and has been living in New York since 1982.
Sara is the staff person who greets parents and visitors in the afternoons; and, besides keeping the books for our school, she work to support institutional development. And, the children are so pleased when she can fill in to substitute in After Care!
Kelvin Craig – Facilities Maintenance Coordinator
I was born in Jamaica and have lived in Albany for ten years; I am the eldest brother of four sisters whom I cherish deeply. The most influential people in my life are my lovely mother and grandmother. I am also the father of a vibrant five year old son named Khalil. Family is one of the most significant dynamics in my life and foundation of who I am today.
Aside from the work I dedicate to Castle Island, I have also been a lead cook at the University at Albany for the past five years. My favorite part of both jobs is helping bring joy to children whether it be painting colorful classrooms that they'll love or creating meals that will decrease a college student’s homesickness even by the slightest amount. In my free time, I enjoy exercising and listening to poetry. Though my favorites shift every so often, my current favorite poet is Rud Fransico. The most important thing to know about me is that I love to help others and I’m one of the most friendliest individuals you’ll ever meet. So, don’t hesitate to say hello when you see me working around the building!
Michael Averill – Bonner Service Leader Intern, Siena College
Pierre Dalce – Bonner Service Leader Intern, Siena College
Kylie Gilbride – Bonner Service Leader Intern, Siena College
Harriet Koblenzer – Bonner Service Leader Intern, Site Leader, Siena College