meet Our Staff

Each of our experienced and certified teachers holds a degree and/or certification in Early Childhood or Elementary Education. They all have a love for children and a passion to serve our school community. Our teachers work with each child to help them reach their full potential. All staff members are certified in CPR and First Aid.


BELC's philosophy supports a strong home and school partnership. We have an open door policy and are available to help with your concerns.

  • Beth Hasbrouck

    Director

    Being the Director at BELC has been a wonderful 16 year journey.  I have met so many wonderful families over the years and have witnessed the growth of hundreds of children -  their love for learning is inspiring. 


    There are so many special things about our school.  One is being able to share the love of Jesus with the children and watching their faces light up when they hear about Him.  Reading to children is an integral part of learning and we encourage looking at books as much as possible.  Even if children can't read yet, they learning from looking at pictures.


    Reading is such an integral part of learning and we strongly encourage reading to your children every day. My favorite children's book is Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.  It involves repetition, patterns, colors and silliness which is perfect for early readers.

  • Tracy Barclay

    Educational Director

    I chose a career working in preschool education because I have always loved working with children. I appreciate their curiousity, truth-telling and the pure joy they exude! In fact, among my many childhood memories, “playing school” ranks in my top ten!  Pursuing teaching was an obvious choice. 


    BELC is a special place because of its Christian atmosphere, the tradition of preschool excellence, and the support of our families and the Ridgewood community. I feel truly blessed to be working at BELC.


    My favorite children's books are the Toot and Puddle picture book series by Holly Hobbie.  It is a charming story of friendship with beautiful watercolor illustrations to carry the reader into each adventure. Reading to our students, as well as my own children, is a joy for me.  

  • Gina Iannacone

    Administrative Director

    I chose a career working in a preschool, especially at BELC, because my children attended school at BELC and I absolutely loved the school, the teachers and, most of all, the children. Being with young children every day is refreshing and fun - the things they say and do just light up my day!


    BELC is a special place because we are a family of friends. This extends to the children, families and our staff.  We all truly care about each other. 


    My favorite children's book is Sidney and Norman, A Tale of Two Pigs, by Phil Vischer because it's a Christian book that teaches about God's unconditional love.

  • Lorraine Cunneen

    Assistant Director

    I chose a career working in a preschool because children are fun! The things they say and do bring joy to everyone around them. Their innocence and love for learning is unmatched.


    BELC is a special place because we teach the children about the love of Jesus which sets us apart from other schools especially when you hear a child say,   “Jesus lives in my heart. Does he live in yours?”  We have a dedicated staff who truly care about each and every child's growth and success as well as their family's. 


    My favorite children's authors are Robert Munsch, whose books are fun and silly, and Jan Brett, whose books are beautifully illustrated.  I would recommend MMM Cookies! by Robert Munsch, and The Mitten, by Jan Brett. 

  • Kaitlin Bonaventure

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I believe establishing a strong foundation for learning is the key to a successful education.  I chose to become a teacher because of my love and passion for children and educating. 


    BELC is a special place because of the nurturing and loving environment. 


    My favorite children's book is Oh The Places You'll Go, because it s an inspirational book about life in general. 


  • Terri Brennan

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I have always loved working with young children. They exhibit such joy in every activity and it is so rewarding to experience the "aha" moment when they accomplish something for the first time. The children make me laugh too.  During Star Student day, one child wanted to be a super hero when he grew up. When I asked him what a super hero does, he responded, "Save the day, of course!".


    BELC is a special place because of the church and school connection. The Bible stories we talk about each week in Chapel and in the classroom, creates an environment of underlying kindness that both the staff and children share with one another.


    What is your favorite children's book?  My favorite children's book is Koala Lou by Mem Fox. 

  • Samantha Carelli

    Teacher

    What made you choose a career teaching preschool?  I was always drawn to jobs working with children and found my niche teaching preschoolers. It is rewarding getting to know each child and witness their growth from the start of the year to the end. Young children have such a positive outlook on life. Coming to work every day and being surrounded by that positive, loving energy is a wonderful feeling.  


    BELC is a special place because it is a very welcoming and loving environment. Every person cares about and supports one another. 


    What is your favorite children's book? My favorite children's books are all the Pete the Cat books by James Dean and Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border.  



  • Melisa De la Cruz

    Teacher (spanish and manners)

    I chose a career teaching preschool because being bilingual, I wanted to teach Spanish to young children because the earlier in life a language is introduced, the easier it is for them to grasp it. Although basic manners is taught everyday at BELC, I also teach a special manners class where the children learn about proper table etiquette, proper greetings, how to give and receive gifts, etc.  It  is rewarding seeing the children grow and learn every day.


    BELC is a special place because the teachers and parents have the same goal, which is to provide a safe environment for the children while learning, playing, and filling their hearts with Christian stories. Everyday is filled with laughter and fun.


    My favorite children's book is, I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch.  I also love all books by Jan Brett and Dr. Seuss.

  • Krista Dempsey

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I truly feel that a fun, loving nurturing preschool experience is the foundation for the years ahead. It is so rewarding to watch our young learners reach milestones and achieve both big and small successes. 


    BELC is a special place because there's such a sense of community, creativity and an abundance of love for our church and our children.


    My favorite children's book is On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman because it's about the special bond between a mother and her child.  I would recommend all books by Nancy Tillman because they focus on and beautifully illustrate the love parents have for their children. 

  • Nancy Fandl

    Teacher

    I chose a career in teaching preschool because I truly adore little people. I love to watch children accomplish new things, sing songs with them, read to them & watch them as they grow socially & emotionally. It’s fun to create ways to help children learn while having fun!


    BELC is a special place because there’s a sense of happiness. I always say that when I go to work I’m going to my happy place. 

    My favorite children’s book is Time For Bed by Mem Fox because the colors & imagery are amazing & the rhyming story is so sweet. 

  • Dayna Guerra

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I’ve always wanted to work with young children for as long as I can remember.The most rewarding part of teaching is seeing the children grow and learn.

     

    BELC is a special place because all the teachers and staff truly care about the well-being of the children. We really are one big happy family! 


    My favorite children's book is Stellaluna by Jannell Cannon because it involves all of my favorite things - animals, family and happy endings!

  • Beth Jamieson

    Teacher

    I chose to teach preschool because I've always had a connection with young children and I just knew in my heart that I wanted to work with them. I love the bonds that are formed between the child and teacher as well as the connections with the families.


    BELC is a special place because we're a group of like-minded people teaching the love of Jesus to children.


    There are many good children's books, but one of my favorite is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  


  • Ashly Petrojenevic

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I absolutely love children and ever since I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. It is so rewarding watching them grow and develop from September to June.


    BELC is special place because of it's fun and loving atmosphere  and all the genuine friendships that are formed.  It's more than a "place of work", it's like going to spend time with your best friends all day. 


    My favorite children's book is One, by Kathryn Otoshi, because it fosters treating everyone, including friends and bullies, with kindness.


  • Kristen Schultz

    Teacher

    I chose a career teaching preschool because I love children and their hugs! Nothing makes me happier than seeing their beautiful and inquisitive faces and their growth throughout the year!  I love to inspire children to love learning! Preschoolers are little sponges whose brains are jut waiting to be enriched!  


    BELC is a special place because it is a very nurturing environment. From specials like manners, art and gym to our weekly chapel sessions. BELC provides its students with rich, inviting and joyful learning surroundings ! My colleagues wow me with their creative approaches and dedication to children.


    One of my favorite children's book is the Gingerbread Man by Jan Brett. My class loved it so much that we created an entire unit based on the book!


  • Samantha Colon

    Music Teacher/TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career teaching music to preschoolers because music and young children just go together. They are creative and full of life! Being part of their first music "lessons" is an incredible experience. Seeing the smiles on the children's faces when they are able to do something for the first time is rewarding.


    BELC is a special place because we are a tight-knit community. You can see the joy and love each staff member has for each and every child and each other. 


    My favorite children’s song is You are my Sunshine. It’s catchy, easy to learn and can be enjoyed by all ages.

  • Marlene Pillow

    Music Teacher

    I chose a career teaching music to preschoolers because I love how receptive young children are to all genres of music. It is rewarding how positive and excited they are to learn. They make me laugh too. Because of my last name being Pillow, they love to call me funny names.  I once had a child call me Miss Pickles!


    BELC is a special place because whenever I walk into the building, I feel a wonderful sense of community and the staff is amazing!


    One of my most favorite children's song is Skidamarink.  It makes everyone smile!

  • Claudia Fortunato

    Gym Teacher

    I chose to teach gym to preschoolers because there's nothing better than teaching kids life lessons in health and fitness all while playing games. I'm lucky that I have a fun job - the smiles and giggles are the best and no inside voices necessary in the gym! 


    BELC is a special place because the students, parents and faculty all have the same values.  We cherish our faith and support each other in mind, body and soul. 


    My favorite gym activity for preschoolers is any activity where they break a sweat!  It's important that the children use their time with me to get their energy out so they can be ready to focus and work in the classroom!

  • Maggie Saladino

    Petite Picassos - Art Enrichment Teacher/TEACHER'S assistant

    I chose to teach art to preschoolers because I love kids and I love art, a win-win situation. Children are very capable of going beyond preschool crafts. It excites me to share my and knowledge and help them gain an understanding and appreciation for art and its many masters, such as Kandanski, Picasso, etc.  The best part of working at a preschool is getting to see the amazing growth that takes place from ages 2-5.


    BELC is a special place because of its caring and nurturing environment. Hugs are not only welcome, they are encouraged, and everyone is treated with kindness. One of the sweetest things I've witnessed so far is the kindness of a child who sits down next to someone sitting alone. It is both brave and loving.


    My favorite children's book is Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet because it engages the reader's imagination as they follow the author's simple instructions and watch colors appear, mix, splatter and vanish. It's a fun, interactive book providing lots of giggles while gaining an understanding of colors.


  • Anna Borrelli

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working in a preschool because after raising my children I realized how much I love being with young children. They are a joy to be around and I love their innocence. It is especially rewarding seeing each child reach their individual milestones. 


    BELC is a special place because of the loving care that the teachers give to each and every child. Also, the fact that we are a Christian school and can teach the children about God and how much Jesus loves them sets us apart from other preschools. 


    My favorite children's book is The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, because it reminds me of my kids when they were little. 

  • Kathleen Byrne

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working at a preschool because I love seeing the innocent faces of all the little children and knowing that we are giving them the gift of learning, and showing them how to be a good person and friend. Witnessing  their growth from September to June is an incredible experience. I love seeing the friendships that develop over the year - some may last a lifetime!


    BELC is a special place because all of the families share similar virtues that encourage learning, growing and loving one another. 


    My favorite chidren's books are all the Winnie The Pooh books by A. A. Milne.

     

  • Rachel Chen

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working in a preschool because I like being around the happiness and laughter that young children bring to the school.


    BELC is a special place because it is like a big family and the children are so special.


    My favorite children's books are all of the Pete the Cat books by Kimberly and James Dean, because I love to watch them laugh and giggle as they hear about the silliness of Pete..

  • Cheryl Kurtz

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working in a preschool because after being a  mother and grandmother, I found that my passion is to be with children and help them learn and grow. It is especially rewarding to see how much the children progress over the course of the school year. 


    BELC is a special place because it is a Christian based school and the Christian principles are taught daily in the classroom.  It's the family's and the bond between the teachers, families, children. It's a happy warm environment. 


    My favorite children's book is God's Little Princess Devotional by Sheila Walsh because it's a special time I have with my granddaughter before she goes to sleep.  It's an interactive book with a special message how each child is special to God.

  • Jenn Ross

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working in a preschool because I enjoy working with kids and love to see how they grow. It is so rewarding to see how much they learn academically and socially throughout the year knowing you had a little bit to do with that.


    BELC is a special place because of the wonderful staff we get to work with and all the goodbye hugs we get at the end of class are always the best way to end the day!  


    My favorite children's book is Mommy's Best Kisses, by Margaret Anastas, because what's better than mommy's kisses!

     

     

  • Terri Woods

    TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

    I chose a career working in a preschool because children provide such special moments such as witnessing the first time a child comes in without crying, a child making his sad friend feel better or a little girl closing her eyes praying in chapel. Every day is a new and rewarding experience. 


    BELC is a special place because of its warm and loving atmosphere.  Although I'm new to the school, l feel like I’ve been here forever! The entire staff is friendly and kind and welcomes everyone with open arms. I love that the school is Christ centered and that the entire school starts each Monday morning in Chapel.


    My favorite children's book is Preschool to the Rescue by Judy Sierra. My son came home from preschool so excited and enthused after hearing this book. He loved that the little kids could make such a difference and save the day. He memorized it immediately and it was the first book he ever “read” on his own. Books can fire up a child and can change the world!


  • Pastor Matt Peeples

    head pastor and Chapel leader

    I am the head Pastor at Bethlehem Church and am one of the chapel leaders.  I enjoy leading chapel because I love seeing the children's excitement when we share a new story with them. I also enjoy hearing how they answer our questions. You never know what they are going to say!



    BELC is a special place because the teachers do such an amazing job pouring into the students. It is truly amazing to see how much the children learn and grow over the course of a year at BELC.


    My favorite Bible story to teach the children is Zacchaeus, the wee little man in the great big tree. Luke 19

  • Sue Cinquegrana

    LAY MINISTER AND Chapel Leader

    I thoroughly enjoy leading Chapel because the children are precious gifts entrusted to us for their very early Christian education. The faith of a child is so trusting and so strong. They know Jesus loves them and they love Him. As we teach them stories from the Bible, we see their knowledge about God grow, helping them to see Jesus in every aspect of their lives. 


    BELC is a special place for many reasons.  One is the recognition by the teachers and staff that our children are God's children.


    My favorite story to teach the children is not one of the most prominent ones. It's the call of God to Sauel. The children get to hear about a child, a boy who hears God's call and listens for the plan God has for his life. The children begin to see that all people, including children, are called by God to follow the plan He has for them. They seem to sit up straighter and smile a little brighter when I tell this story as they realize how much God loves them.  


  • John Davis

    Chapel leader

    I love teaching chapel because as you tell them a Bible story or teach them a topic about Jesus, you can see the excitement in their eyes and see the lightbulb go of when they get the love that Jesus has for them. There is nothing quite like the faith of a child!


    BELC is a special place because the teachers and staff care about each and every child and make sure all children are included in every experience. No one is ever left out!  


    My favorite bible story is the story of Jesus calling his disciples for the first time to "follow him". It is a great example of how we are all called to follow Jesus above everything else, and to go wherever he leads us in our lives. 


Bethlehem Early Learning Center

155 Linwood Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Phone (201) 444-6678

Fax (201) 444-7087

Email 155belc@optimum.net

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