Pre-K Team

Donna Lynch, Curriculum Coordinator & Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

DonnaLynch.jpg

Donna holds a Master’s Degree in Reading from Holy Family University, a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Bloomsburg University, and Elementary Certification from Holy Family University. Donna has been teaching Pre-Kindergarten at GFS since 2015. In 2017, Donna assumed the role of Curriculum Coordinator, working as a mentor to all of our teachers.

Donna’s background includes experience working as an Elementary Learning Support Teacher in both Central Bucks and Bristol Township School Districts. She believes that our young children learn best through play and creates opportunities for inquiry both in the classroom and in our outdoor spaces. Donna has a passion for helping her Pre-Kindergarteners grow intellectually, emotionally and socially. Her classroom setting is inviting, nurturing and provides a structure for kids to explore and learn. She is certified in Learning Without Tears – Readiness and Writing, Language and Literacy, and Numbers and Math.

As Curriculum Coordinator, Donna works with both individual teachers and group-level teaching teams to develop, implement and evaluate the School’s curriculum on an ongoing basis. She supports teachers and also the Head & Assistant Head of School. She has served on the PAIS Steering Committee. Donna has participated in professional development opportunities with NAIS, PAIS and Friends Council on Education. Her son, Ryan, is a graduate of GFS.

Aimee Bentley, Assistant Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

AimeeBentley.jpg

Aimee holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Cabrini College. She has worked in both education and corporate environments. Aimee was very excited to become a part of the GFS family in 2017.

Before having children, Aimee was a corporate trainer in the staffing industry. While her children were younger, she was both an assistant and Pre-K teacher at The WonderKey School as well as an arts instructor at Camp Sesame Rockwood. Aimee enjoys a learning environment where children can express themselves in a nurturing, loving and creative area, where they can experience new challenges through both learning and play, that will lead to them build self-confidence and excitement for new school adventures. Aimee is proud of her extensive service work with Tiferet Beth Israel and The Mitzvah Circle.

Betsy Norton, School Office Coordinator & Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

BetsyNorton.jpg

Betsy holds a Master’s of Education degree with a Special Education Concentration and Elementary Education Certification in K – 6th Grade from Cabrini College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Susquehanna University. She is also a Handwriting Without Tears Level 1 Certified handwriting specialist and is certified in the Learning Without Tears program.

In 2017, Betsy joined the Gwynedd Friends School community as both a Lead Preschool Teacher and Office Administrator. Betsy has over 15 years of experience in a variety of educational settings, including the positions of Lead Teacher of Kindergarten, Transitional Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten, Curriculum Developer, and Daycare Center Director. Betsy’s philosophy on teaching in the early childhood setting is to develop an engaging environment where children have opportunities to learn through intentional teaching, as well as spontaneous play. In addition to her experiences in early childhood, Betsy also brought with her 5 years of office administrative experience. Betsy supports the Head of School by running the School office.

Betsy has two children and it was while selecting a school for her oldest son that she learned about Friends schools. Through this search, Betsy was drawn to the Quaker school experience, which values each child’s unique gifts and talents.

Kate Steinmetz, Assistant Pre-K Teacher

KateSteinmetz.jpg

Kate holds a degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College and has been working at Gwynedd Friends School since the fall of 2014. Kate currently works as an Assistant in the five morning Pre-Kindergarten class.

Kate enjoys helping each child to develop through their play with their peers. She finds it very rewarding to assist children on their path to school readiness. It is important to Kate to take the children outside on the beautiful grounds of Gwynedd Friends in order to experience nature and movement activities. Both of Kate’s sons, Daniel and James, attended Gwynedd Friends School.

 

Cheri Kaliner, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher & Enrichment Teacher

CheriKaliner.jpg

Cheri holds a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from The American University and a Bachelor's Degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She joined the teaching staff at GFS in the fall of 2017 as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher.

Cheri began her career teaching 5th grade and then Kindergarten in the Philadelphia area.  While raising her young daughters, she remained active in the field of education as a reading and math tutor for elementary school-aged students.  As her children became more independent, Cheri began to substitute teach in the Wissahickon School District. Thereafter, she returned to teaching full time, starting with the kindergarten program at Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, before finding her niche teaching Pre-Kindergarten.

For Cheri, providing a nurturing and caring classroom, where each child feels valued and self-confident, is paramount to her teaching. She has a passion for children's literature and leads two of the Enrichment classes at GFS.

Ann Kaplan, Assistant Pre-Kindergarten Teacher & Enrichment Teacher

AnnKaplan.jpg

Ann holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Philadelphia University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She joined the teaching staff at Gwynedd Friends School in the fall of 2017.

Ann began her career in Marketing and Management. Once her children were born, she retired from the corporate world and began to volunteer with a number of school programs, such as Art Goes to School. In 2007, Ann began volunteering for the Early Childhood Education Center at Tiferet Bet Israel. Ann also participated the Lasko fellowship program, which specializes in working with children with special needs. As a result, she was invited to run training sessions for the rest of the TBI staff. Ann was subsequently hired as an Assistant Teacher at the ECEC at TBI in 2011.

Ann believes that the classroom environment should be child-centered with a play-based curriculum. She feels that it is important to meet children where they are, developmentally, and to nurture their self-confidence. Most of all, Ann believes in a strong arts program as her philosophy is that children learn best through art, music, and self-expression. Ann leads the Art Enrichment at Gwynedd Friends School and spent years curating the yearly art show for the ECEC at TBI.

Nancy Morginstin, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

DSC_4371.jpg


Marisa Finkelstein, Assistant Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

DSC_4361.jpg

Marisa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Italian Studies from Bard College. She is currently pursuing her Pennsylvania certification in Elementary Education and English as a Second Language (ESL). This is her first year teaching and she is excited to launch her career at Gwynedd Friends School.

Throughout high school and college, Marisa was mentored by two incredible individuals who both personified Quaker values. She realized that she loved being involved in and leading Lower Merion Players (student-run theater organization) and Building Up Hudson (community outreach tutoring/mentorship program) because they rested on foundations that prioritized community, equality, service, and compassion. She gained experience and a love for working with younger children when she was an instructor and director for Lavner Camps’ Exploration Junior Specialty Camp. At camp she confirmed that she shares a genuine connection with younger children that helps her collaborate, explore, and learn with them. Marisa has a natural curiosity and passion for education, and the Quaker values reflected at Gwynedd Friends School align with her teaching beliefs. Marisa also has a passion for foreign language, and can speak Italian fluently; she looks forward to bringing all of her passions to the classroom, and to working with the wonderful students at GFS.