Teaching Staff


Our teaching staff is highly trained in early childhood and is dedicated to their field. Their passion for teaching and love of children is validated on a daily basis in their hard work.  Each staff member is CPR and First Aid Trained and has completed all of the requirements for the New York City Department of Health.

 

Teacher Profiles:

 

fullsizerenderT0NI ADLER

Toni has taught in all of the programs here at Stepping Stones since 2013, mainly teaching the preschool class. After pursuing a position in the Board of Education for a year, she realized her passion was geared more towards early childhood education in a nursery school setting. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History/Secondary Education from St. Joseph’s College and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education from Brooklyn College. Toni is professionally certified in early childhood education, early childhood special education and social studies grades 7-12. Toni has been working as an assistant to the Directors to help oversee the day to day operations of Stepping Stones. She will be proactively involved in the events that occur throughout the school year. She is excited to rejoin the Stepping Stones family and looks forward to working with the children and the parents throughout the year.

 

 

 

JACINDA ANDINO

Jacinda has been a teacher at Stepping Stones for over a year.  In this time she has trained with all teachers during the day and in the extended day.  Jacinda has been a teacher with the three year olds and is currently teaching in the two year old class.  Jacinda has completed her B.A. in Child Study from St. Joseph’s College.  Her college program prepared her for teacher certification in Early Childhood, Childhood Education, Students with Disabilities in Early Childhood and Students with Disabilities in Childhood Education.  After receiving her undergrad, Jacinda plans on completing her Masters in Literacy.  Jacinda’s goals and passion is to become a teacher for students with disabilities.  Jacinda is very kind and understanfing with students.  She builds bonds with the students in her care.  Her main goal is always make sure the students leave school with a smile on their face.

 

 

 

LEEANN BELVEDERE

LeeAnn is currently the Preschool teacher at Stepping Stones- The Next Step. She has been working at Stepping Stones for over six years.  In that time, she has taught children in both the 2 year old and 3 year old program. LeeAnn attended The Catholic University of America, in Washington D.C., where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. Upon graduation in 2013, she moved back to New York to begin her teaching career and be closer to her family. She is currently completing her Masters of Science in Special Education from CUNY College of Staten Island. During her free time she volunteers at the Make a Wish Foundation for the New York City area. She loves to travel to new places and explore new foods. LeeAnn became a teacher to pass her love of learning on to today’s children. She wanted to make impact on children’s development by creating a positive and engaging learning environment.

 

 

 

ROSE BELLIA

Rose has been a teacher at Stepping Stones for over a year now.  She has worked at Stepping Stones -The Next Step with the pre-k students and is currently working with the children of extended day at Stepping Stones.  She holds a B.S. in Health Science and will complete her Master Degree this school year in School Psychology from Long Island University.  Rose is always attentive to the students needs and enjoys teaching the children through play.  Rose can always be found talking to the children and sitting on the floor with them engaging in the next project they will create.  She loves creativity in the classroom and especially teaching the children through model and play.

 

 

 

LISA BUCARIA

Lisa has worked with Stepping Stones for over five years.  During this time she has worked with both the After School Program and the two year old class.  Prior to working at Stepping Stones, Lisa worked with Gabriel Pediatrics for five years.  She has extensive experience working with children which led her into the field of education.  She also has a son whom she enjoys playing with, reading with and enjoying time together.  In addition to being a mom, she enjoys spending time running. She is looking forward to helping each child grow by creating a fun-filled learning experience for all.

 

VICTORIA CABAN

Victoria has been working with Stepping Stones for over two years. She grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in Bay Ridge. When she first started at Stepping Stones she worked with the three year old program and now has began working at the two year old program. Victoria, who goes by Ms. Vicky, has several years of experience in working in the field of education. Her previous experience included working at a two year old program in Brooklyn Heights and being a nanny to a wide range of ages throughout Brooklyn. When she’s not in Stepping Stones, you can find her managing her after school program or teacher her cooking class in Sunset Park. In her spare time Vicky can be found creating new recipes. Vicky really enjoys creating a safe, fun and enriching program at Stepping Stones and looks forward to the years to come.

 

 

CLAUDIA CANONICA

Claudia has been a teacher at Stepping Stones-The Next Step since 2013. She grew up in Brooklyn and has three siblings. She was inspired to become a teacher by her nieces and her sister, who is the director of special needs education in Nassau County. She is a graduate of St. John’s University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a second major in English. She has been a substitute teacher for the Department of Education and most recently the nanny of two children from Bay Ridge. Helping them and watching them grow has been a great experience that lends itself to being a compassionate and nurturing person in the classroom. She is passionate about the education of children because they are the future. Their success is dependent upon the education and experiences we provide for them. Her interests away from school include anything outdoors; paddle boarding on Neponsit Beach in Rockaway, baseball (She’s a HUGE Yankee fan!), reading, baking and crafting.

 

 

 

 

JILLIAN DOYLE

Jillian has been a two year old teacher at Stepping Stones since 2017.  Jillian has been an early childhood educator for over five years, in both early intervention and preschool classes. She has extensive experience working with children who have special needs and believes every young child learns in a personal and unique way. Jillian’s goal this year is to foster our toddler’s independence, explore the world around them and learn through play. Jillian continues to study Early Childhood Education because she believes that a positive school experience at a young age sets the students up for success. Jillian looks forward to an exciting year ahead.

 

 

 

 

JILLIAN ENGLISH

Jillian has been a three year old assistant teacher at Stepping Stones for over a year.  She was a wonderful addition to the staff last year.  She brings humor, fun and creativity to all the students and teachers she works with.  Jillian is an extended day teacher this year as she completes her Degree in Early Childhood Education with Children and Youth Studies from Brooklyn College during the day.  She has a passion for art and loves to play any board games or creative games with the children.  Her patience and kindness is seen on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

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DONNA FONTANA

Donna has been working at Stepping Stones since 2014.  She has been a toddler assistant teacher for both summer and fall and is currently completing her degree in Early Childhood Education. Donna loves to sing and play the piano in her spare time. She truly enjoys working with the children and loves being able to see how much the children learn and grow over the school year.  She is extremely patient and kind and treats every child as if they were her own.  She loves nurturing the children and helping them get adjusted into their new school environment.  You will always see Donna with a child on her hip or holding someone’s hand.

 

 

 

LAURA LEPANI

Laura is one of our Toddler teachers. She has been a dedicated teacher at Stepping Stones since April of 2003. She has experience teaching in both the two and three year old programs. When asked, she will tell you that she finds both age groups equally enjoyable and loves being a part of her little students’ educational journeys. Laura has been a Brooklyn resident her entire life. She has an Associates in Liberal Arts and continues to further her education by attending educational workshops. Most of her free time is spent with her husband and son whom she adores. Second to her love of children is her love of animals. She enjoys cooking, reading, fishing on the Long Island sound and the serenity of the country. A big part of her life is taking frequent trips upstate to visit her brother and his family. “The best part of being a nursery school teacher is the incredible amount of love I feel every time I walk through the classroom door in the morning.

 

 

 

 

CLAUDIA LEONARDI

Claudia has been a teacher at Stepping Stones for over a year.  She has a great rapport with the students.  She is consistently strengthens by building strong bonds with them.  She enjoys making this educational journey with the children more exciting through engaging activities.  She comes from a large family with many young children which fostered her love of working in a three year old classroom.   She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Francis College and plans on completing her Masters Degree in Social Work.  She looks forward to creating wonderful memories with her little ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANA MARINO

Dana currently works as a teacher in Stepping Stones.  In the past, she has been a co-teacher of the Kindergarten After School Program and also an assistant teacher for the two year old class. She has been with Stepping Stones since 2014.  Dana received her Associates Degree from Kingsborough Community College in Early Childhood Education and will complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education this January. She loves teaching because there is nothing better than watching children grow.  This school year will be the first time Dana will be working with the three year old class.  During her free time, Dana enjoys working for Event Works; an Event Planning Company on the weekends where she creates the parties of your dreams. Her creativity inside and outside the classroom always shines.  You can always find Dana laughing and smiling with her students and their parents.  She loves interacting with people and is a great addition to the Stepping Stones staff.

 

 

 

 

JACQUELINE NIGLIO

Jackie has been at Stepping Stones since 2015. Jackie completed her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education this year and is looking forward to teaching in the three year old class again for the Fall. Jackie has a an exceptional way with children and you can always hear her laughing with her three year old class. She has worked with all different age groups. She also has an interest in the arts, such as photography, painting and sketching. Her talent as an artist enables her to bring her artistic side into the classroom. When school is closed for vacations, you can find Jackie traveling overseas and spending time with her family and siblings.

 

 

 


VERONICA PRAIA

Veronica has been working with children for over three years. She was a nanny and a camp counselor prior to joining Stepping Stones. Veronica is currently a part time college student working towards a degree in Early Childhood.  She is very patient and caring for others.  It gives her immense joy to see children happy. Veronica is currently enjoying working in the two year old class and then assisting the After School Program. She loves spending time with her family and friends during her free time. Her goal at Stepping Stones is to offer the best experience possible for the students in her care. She looks forward to having a great school year.

 

 

 

 

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SHANNON SANDOVAL

Shannon has worked with Stepping Stones Nursery School since 2010. During her tenure, she worked with two year olds and has spent the majority of her time here as the three year old head teacher.  Shannon attended Saint John’s University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education with a concentration in English.  She has received her initial certification in Education and completed her Master’s Degree in Education while pursuing her professional certification. Shannon teaches to help instill the values of education in her students and creating early education bonds with her students that she carries with her forever. Shannon is an animal lover and enjoys feeding and caring for the stray animals she encounters. Shannon also looks forward to spending time with her husband and starting a family of their own.

 

 

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DARLENE SANTIAGO

Darlene is currently a substitute teacher.  She is the eldest of two children which has made her a responsible and caring individual from a young age.  She enjoys spending time interacting with children, parents and people.  Working with children has always been an interest and passion of Darlene’s which led her to her field of study.  She currently possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual Education and Puerto Rican and Latino Studies from Brooklyn College.  Darlene has worked at Stepping Stones since 2007 as an assistant teacher, head teacher and After School teacher.  She enjoys being back and is very enthusiastic in working with the children in her care.

 

 

SAMIAH SARSOUR

Samiah has helped in the After School Program at Stepping Stones for over a year.  This summer she worked as an extended teacher and various days with children in the two, three and four year old classes.  Samiah is currently enrolled in Hunter College full time working towards her degree in Nursing.  During her free time, she loves to walk the pier with her friends as well as creating new crafts with her little sister.  She looks forward to being a part of the friendly and enthusiastic family at Stepping Stones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROSARY SCHININA

Rosary has had a love for teaching since she was 12 years old. Rosary has been a Preschool teacher here at Stepping Stones since 2007. Along with holding her position here, she is a mother of two children. Having children in grade school allows Rosary to empathize with your concerns regarding your child’s early childhood development and it helps her to prepare your child for their future education. Rosary is currently a teacher for our Preschool program at The Next Step. She is a caring, nurturing and enthusiastic individual, who is dedicated to her classroom. Outside of her classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family! Rosary’s future goals are to continue teaching the incoming students of Stepping Stones. She enjoys watching every student in her class blossom into mature young individuals. She strives to provide a fun and interactive environment for her class where the children will not only learn, but grow to love the process of learning itself.

 

 

 

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CAITLIN SNYDER

Caitlin has been a part of the three year old class for over six years . Caitlin grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia in Newtown, Bucks County. She attended an all-girls private, Catholic preparatory high school. After high school, Caitlin attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  She graduated from CUA, with a BA Degree in Early Childhood Education. Caitlin’s interests include music, going to concerts, running, going to the beach, trying new things, and meeting new people. Caitlin’s future goal is to receive her Masters in Guidance Counseling. Caitlin loves to constantly create a positive learning environment within her classroom. Caitlin loves to constantly engage her students to further their understanding of the material being taught with enjoyable and hands-on lessons!

 

 

 

 

DSC_5966PRISCILLA SPANO

Priscilla has been part of the Stepping Stones staff since 2013, during which she has worked with the toddlers, three year olds, preschool and afterschool students. Priscilla graduated from St. Joseph’s College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Psychology. She currently received her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy.  During her free time, Priscilla enjoys spending time with her friends and family, and also loves to dance. She has been teaching dance for over six years to children ages three and over in a variety of styles. Priscilla is patient and kind, and loves forming unique relationships with each child. She is passionate about working with children and helping them grow into the best individuals they can be. What Priscilla loves most about teaching is the love she is able to give your children, and the joy she receives from spending her time with them! She is looking forward to a great school year.

 

 

SAMANTHA TAGLIARINI

Samantha has been a teacher in the two year old program for over a year.  She will receive a B.A. in Early Childhood Education this school year from Brooklyn College.  Her patience and kindness with the children always shines when she is in the classroom.  She is enthusiastic when modeling play in the creative centers and fosters a love of learning with her students on a daily basis.  In addition to teaching at Stepping Stones and completing her college degree, she has been teaching dance to young children for over eight years.  She uses these mastered dance skills in her classroom to bring in her creative movement and love of the arts.  She truly enjoys watching the developmental growth in her students and is looking forward to another great school year with her students at Stepping Stones.