our teachers


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 KATHI FORDE is our head teacher. Kathi is a graduate of Lesley University, one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the country that specializes in all aspects of teaching and education. She has completed graduate level work in Literacy at Fordham University, and she is certified in Special Education. Kathi is mother of Daniel, Sloan and Scarlett, all graduates of the Montessori Center of Nyack. Kathi has many hobbies and interests, but she has no time for any of them!

MELISSA DOLPHIN is a permanently certified NYS teacher. She is a graduate of the State University College at Cortland, NY where she majored in education, and she has a Masters in Instructional Technology from the American Intercontinental University. In addition, Melissa spent two summers in Madrid at the Universidad Complutense.

JENNIFER MANCUSO joined the River School this year as our morning Teaching Assistant. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Education from the State University of New Paltz, and she brings her intelligence and passion for nurturing and educating elementary-age children to the classroom. Jennifer is mother of almost three-year-old, Sky, who joined the UPP-AM class in September. Jennifer enjoys yoga, and all outdoor activities, especially hiking

JESSILY GONZALEZ is our afternoon Teaching Assistant, Spanish instructor, and Health/Gym teacher. Jessily graduated from Lehman College with a double major in Psychology and Spanish.  She is also a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. Jessily is mother of five-year-old Lauren and seven-year-old Marcus. Jessily enjoys reading, art and music.

CHRISTINE HWALEK RENSTROM has been our music teacher since 1988. She is a graduate of Nazareth College and is currently studying for her Masters in music at Montclair State College. Christine has Orff-Kodaly training, but draws upon a variety of disciplines, including Montessori, when presenting her programs to the children. As a member of the Rockland County Guild of Music Teachers, she offers piano lessons privately and instructs many of our children.


85 Marion Street,   Nyack, NY 10960   *   845-358-9209