Preschool & Toddler Staff
The Preschool & Toddler Program staff is a gifted group of experienced early childhood educators who respect and understand the unique needs of young children, and who are dedicated to creating an inspiring environment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and a passion for learning.
Preschool & Toddler Program Director
203-624-5189 x 23
Christine Missakian joined the NMS Preschool faculty in 2004, and after six years in the classroom, moved to the role of Director. Her more than 30 years’ experience in the field of child development and early childhood education includes positions as head teacher at the Yeladim Childcare Center at the Jewish Community Center in Woodbridge, where she established and served as program coordinator for their half-day preschool, and teaching positions at Leila Day Nursery School.
Christine is a hands-on director who not only supports and guides the teaching staff but interacts closely with the children and their parents as they all work together through the important early years of education and development. Christine graduated from Central Michigan State University with a BS in early childhood education and attended graduate school at Southern Connecticut State University. All three of her children attended the Preschool at NMS.
Children are active learners, approaching new experiences with curiosity, wonder, and joy. As a preschool teacher, Serena Hatch finds it a privilege to be a part of their world and help guide them through their daily journeys.
Serena has been teaching in the Preschool at NMS for over 20 years. She has a Child Development Associate Credential and a Head Teacher Certificate, and she has completed Early Childhood coursework at Gateway. She is an avid gardener and bird watcher.
Vandana Kant has spent the last 13 years at Gateway Early Learning Center. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in education and a Child Development Associate from Gateway Community College. Vandana taught elementary school in India before moving to CT, where she has resided for the last 16 years.
Denise Nutile has been with the NMS Preschool since 2006. She joined the Toddler Room in 2013. She greatly enjoys working with young children and providing them with opportunities to openly explore, learn, and grow through hands-on art and music experiences.
Erica Sapp came to NMS via the Audubon Arts summer program in 2001. She has been a Drama Director at the program every summer since, where she guides children through creative movement, music, and storytelling.
Erica taught in the Toddler Room for 10 years before moving to the Preschool classroom. She enjoys reading stories to and drumming with the children, as well as sharing messy, sensory play experiences with them. Erica brings her passion for drama and theater to the Preschool, creating exciting and engaging play spaces in the classroom.
Her coursework includes early childhood classes at Gateway Community College and performing arts and social justice at Hampshire College.