MEET OUR STAFF
Our teaching team is very excited to begin the 2018-2019 school year.
Partnered with you, we will work diligently to foster learning,
growth, creativity, curiosity and resilience in your child.
We will seek to discover and nurture each child’s unique qualities.
Mary Duus, Director and Classroom Teacher
Mary Duus has been the Pilgrim director since 2007. She has a BA from Ithaca College and is certified by the State of New Jersey to teach nursery school through third grade. Mary is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and her teaching experience includes not only a variety of traditional nursery schools but also Montessori programs and Project Head Start. She is the former director of the Atlantic Community College Child Care Center in Atlantic County, NJ. "The warm bonds that the families and teachers form at Pilgrim are the highlight and strength of the school. " Mary and family have lived in Glen Ridge since 1987.
Karen Nisenson, Lead Teacher
Karen Nisenson has a BFA from Hartford Art School and has worked as a graphic designer in publishing and designing. After raising her family, Karen returned to the classroom to become certified by the State of New Jersey to teach Pre-K through 8th grade. Karen is also a certified Special Education Teacher and an Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory reading instructor. "Teaching Pre-K is rewarding at this critical age; development and skill sets needed in school converge! I look forward using my specialized background to provide the children with a wide variety of learning opportunities to help them make discoveries and connections." The Nisenson family has called Glen Ridge home since 1988.
Karen Gomez studied early childhood education at William Paterson College and began teaching at Pilgrim in 1998. Her three sons are Pilgrim alumni. "I'm looking forward to getting to know the 3 year olds in the program and helping them with all the discoveries they will have this year!" Karen and her family have lived in Glen Ridge since 1988.
Mallory Griffin grew up in Glen Ridge and is now pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. Mallory will add greatly to the Pilgrim program with her background in art and baking.
Faythe has been a life long resident of Montclair. She studied early childhood education at William Paterson University and graduated with a P-3 teaching certification and a major in psychology. Pilgrim has been fortunate to have had Faythe as an aide over the past several years as she completed her studies and developed her classroom skills. Faythe has worked with in all the classrooms at Pilgrim and is also an aide in the Afternoon School. Faythe is happy to be back at Pilgrim!
Laurie Lisovicz has worked as a substitute teacher at Pilgrim and as a classroom teacher since 2006. All four of her children are Pilgrim graduates. Laurie's educational history includes studying psychology at Montclair State University. Laurie has volunteered in Glen Ridge classrooms and the library and is also a volunteer with A Lot to Grow which provides fresh produce for the needy by maintaining community gardens. "I enjoy working with children and am looking forward to helping make your child's preschool experience an enjoyable one!" Laurie and her family have lived in Glen Ridge since 1990.
Ingrid Kozlowski is a resident of Glen Ridge, and a proud parent of two Pilgrim graduates who are now in 9th and 6th grades. She is a certified English and elementary teacher and spent 12+ years teaching in public middle and high schools prior to becoming a parent. Most recently, she taught at Linden Avenue School as a special education and classroom aide. She is an active school and community volunteer in Glen Ridge, coaches robotics, and helps manage the Piranhas Swim Team at the GR Community Pool.
Mary Loder is a former Human Resources Manager for a magazine publisher and has been teaching at Pilgrim since 2008. She has taught both the 3 and 4 year olds. "I’m excited to be at Pilgrim again and am looking forward to a wonderful year with your children." Mary and her family have lived in Glen Ridge since 1994.
Linda Malik teaches the Pilgrim early three year olds and previously worked as an aide in both the 3 year old and PreK classrooms. Linda's former experience is in retail management. "I love the preschool age because of the excitement and wonder that the children meet us with each day. They are always sources of pleasure and loving which makes spending time with them special." Linda and her family have lived in Glen Ridge in 1993.
Colleen O’Keefe grew up in Glen Ridge and attended Seton Hall University. Colleen has previously been an aide at Pilgrim with the 2.5 year olds and the 3 years olds. Colleen's family re-located temporarily to the Atlanta area but they missed Glen Ridge too much and have returned. Colleen has 3 daughters that keep her busy! She is happy to be back at Pilgrim and looks forward to spending time with the 3 year olds again.
Michele Rollo was raised in Glen Ridge. All six of her children went through the Glen Ridge School system. Michele works part time at Murdock Shoes, is a member of the Glen Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Squad and has been a substitute at Pilgrim. "I look forward to working with the children and being Mrs. Malik's aide." Michele and her family have lived in Glen Ridge since 1989.
Annie Mayer came to call Pilgrim home though discovering the school for her two children. She is excited to be back with Pilgrim as a creative educator for all of the children. Pilgrim's Spanish Language Program is designed around Annie's passionate belief that learning is fun and that children learn best when playing, singing and dancing! Annie has been a true citizen of the world. Born in Argentina, she then immigrated to Israel and has worked as an educator on five continents. Annie arrived in the US in 2005 and is happy to call Pilgrim her home.
Maureen is a recently retired elementary school teacher and is certified by the State of NJ. She has 36 years of experience with young children. Maureen has substituted at Pilgrim several times late last year and this year. Her retirement was short-lived since she has joined our terrific teaching team. In her spare time, Maureen enjoys spending time with her 3 grandchildren. We are thrilled to have Maureen and the Kindermusik program at Pilgrim!
First row, left to right: Michele Rollo, Mary Duus, Laurie Lisovicz
Second row, left to right: Karen Nisenson, Karen Gomez, Colleen O'Keefe, Mary Loder, Linda Malik and Maureen Slomienski
PILGRIM BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Carol Harpster, President
Marsha Watson, Vice-President
Lorraine Brown, Treasurer
Members at Large:
Lauren Ely Torjussen