MEET OUR STAFF
Our teaching team is very excited to begin the 2021-2022 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.
Faythe has been a life long resident of Montclair. She studied early childhood education at William Paterson University and graduated with a dual major in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. She is certified by the State of New Jersey to teach Pre-K - 3rd grade. Over the past five years, Faythe has been an aide at Pilgrim, and has come to know the students in very classroom well. She has also sharpened her skills as a co-teacher in the Afternoon School for the past three years. Faythe is very much looking forward to teaching the emerging 3's this year.
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. 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, and 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.
Renee Nichols has called Glen Ridge home since 2002. She is a graduate of Villanova University and her former work experience was in finance. She has volunteered in Glen Ridge classrooms and assisted coaching soccer and field hockey. Her three children are Pilgrim alumni. "I am very excited to be an aide and foster early learning for the 3 year olds and Pre-K.
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.
First row, left to right: Ingrid Kozlowski, Maureen Slomienski, Mary Duus, Laurie Lisovicz, Colleen O'Keefe and Cecilia Angell.
Second row, left to right: Karen Nisenson, Linda Malik, Faythe Hanson, Karen Gomez, Mary Loder, and Michele Rollo.
PILGRIM BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Carol Harpster, President
Marsha Watson, Vice-President
Lorraine Brown, Treasurer
Members at Large:
Mary Duus - Director
Paula Ely - Women's Association
Karen Nisenson - Lead Teacher
Callie Sweeney - Parent Representative