Meet the VNS Staff

Erin Keiran

Director

While 2017-2018 will be Erin’s fifth year as Director, she has been a part of VNS in every capacity for many years. First as a student at VNS herself, a preschool and kindergarten teacher, a parent, and now as Director. Erin holds a BA in Developmental Psychology from Boston College and has studied Early Childhood Education at The Lesley University Graduate School of Education, and has more than twenty years of experience teaching young children. Erin is a certified Toddler Teacher, Lead Preschool Teacher, and Director II.

Erin believes strongly that by truly knowing children and their families well, and focusing on best teaching practices as well as meaningful experiences, children gain tremendous confidence in themselves and in their learning. Although no longer a classroom teacher, Erin enjoys spending time with all VNS children and their families, and working closely with her amazing group of teachers.

Erin lives in Harvard with her husband, Bill, son Patrick (16) and Sadie (14) and their Black Lab Silas. When not at VNS, she enjoys watching her children’s sporting events, reading, skiing, yoga, and hiking.

 

 

Maureen Bajko

Twos

Assistant Director

Maureen has been teaching toddlers and preschoolers for seventeen years, this will be her eight year at VNS. Maureen holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education and has completed studies towards her Master’s in Education, as well as additional coursework in Early Childhood Education. Maureen is a certified Lead Toddler and Preschool Teacher, and Director II.

Maureen believes in hands on learning experiences to foster children’s growth in the classroom. Maureen lives in Lunenburg with her husband, eleven year old and six year old daughters.  Besides spending time with her family, she loves to read, run and enjoys hiking. Maureen looks forward to another great year at VNS!

 

 

Jennifer Hamilton

Tues/Thurs Twos

Jennifer has been a classroom teacher at VNS for five years, as well as the music specialist for three of those years. She has lived in Littleton for 9 years and has taught music and math at the Learning Experience. She also served as the toddler story time teacher at Reuben Hoar Library for several years. She teaches piano lessons in her home studio and is currently in her second year of getting a Master’s Degree at Simmons College, Boston.

Living in Virginia previously, Jennifer received her B.S. from James Madison University. She taught Kindermusik for 7 years and also taught music at a Presbyterian Preschool where she developed her own curriculum.

Jennifer has 3 great girls of her own: Molly – 5 (a former VNS student), Olivia – 14, and Emma – 17, a wonderful husband and 3 cats. In her spare time, Jennifer loves running, baking, and getting her nails done! 🙂

 

 

Mary Traphagen

Threes

Mary is beginning her seventh year at VNS this fall. She comes to us with a MA in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University and has 15 years of preschool teaching experience. Mary is a certified Lead Preschool teacher and Director.  Mary is also very active in supporting the Harvard Public Schools, as a School Committee member and Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Mary believes that by fostering social skills and independence, three year olds feel successful in pre-school. She loves the threes’ natural curiosity, questions, energy and uniqueness. Each year, a major for goal for Mary is to guide her class to be a cohesive, supportive group.

Mary has lived in Harvard since 2005 with her husband Matt, their four children, dog, cats, and chickens. When not teaching, Mary loves reading, trail running, swimming, hiking, gardening, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Michele Borsari

Threes

Michele is looking forward to her nineth year of teaching at VNS.  “My youngest son, James, attended VNS and I was so pleased with the school and the teachers.  I am really enjoying working with all of them.”

For the past 12 years, Michele has lived in Bolton with her husband, Geordi, and four children: Madeline, Nicholas, Alex, and James.  She holds a BA from Villanova University and a JD from The Dickinson School of Law, and is a certified preschool teacher.

She has been extremely active in the public schools her children attend, both in the classrooms and the PTA’s. For fun, Michele enjoys attending her children’s athletic events, exercising, reading and cooking.

 

Stacia Downey

Young Fours

Although this is Stacia’s fourth year teaching at VNS, she has been a member of the VNS community for over 9 years.  Her three children, Sean (12), Brenden (9) and Briana (5) have attended VNS in their preschool years.  “I am thrilled to become part of a team that has fostered such a positive learning experience for my children.”

Stacia holds a B.A. in English and a MA in Special Education with an initial MA state licensure in Moderate Disabilities.  She worked three years as a Special Education Assistant in the Acton/Boxboro Public Schools before taking leave to raise her three energetic children.  Stacia is a certified Preschool Teacher and Lead Toddler teacher.

In her spare time, Stacia enjoys reading, running, hiking, skiing, gardening and volunteering in her children’s classrooms.

 

Johannah Powell

Pre-K

Now in her 22st year at VNS, Johannah has covered most of the bases, teaching younger 3s, Pre-K, and Kindergarten. She has also taught several enrichment programs over the years. She is a certified Lead Preschool Teacher and Director. Johannah lives in Harvard with her husband. Her two grown sons are both graduates of VNS.

“Teaching children about the natural world is so important. First, children love it. They need it. It encourages self-confidence, love of learning and important observation skills in young children. Respect for growing, living things leads to respect for humans too,” says Johannah.

When she is not imparting her own love of learning, Johannah enjoys the ocean, reading, art, children’s nature books, walking, gardening, and appreciating nature. Her favorite volunteer job was conducting nature walks for her son Harry’s first-grade class. “One of the things I hope my students walk away with is a keen sense of wonder about the natural world around them,” says Johannah. “I hope they remain the curious naturalists that they are. If they learn to appreciate nature, they will protect it for generations to come.”

 

Sue McClain

Pre-K

Creative Connections

We are happy to be welcoming back Sue for her fifth year at VNS. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College, and has completed graduate work in Early Childhood at Lesley University. Sue comes to us with 9 years of preschool teaching experience in both public and private settings in the Boston area and is a certified Lead Preschool Teacher.

Sue lives in Harvard with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. Outside of teaching, Sue enjoys walking her dogs, yoga, running, gardening, and being with her children.

 

Nancy Banker

Pre-K

Nancy is a Harvard resident who graduated from Bowdoin College with a BS in Psychology and received an MA from Lesley University in Early Childhood Education. She is a certified Preschool lead teacher.  She has taught all different ages in elementary school before she stayed at home to raise her four children.

Nancy has always wanted to teach at the pre-kindergarten level, particularly once her youngest son went through the VNS program, twelve years ago. She is excited to continue her work with 4-5 year olds and the fantastic integrated curriculum.  Often Nancy has been heard referring to her work as the “dream job!.”

Other passions besides teaching include creating all types of art, playing guitar with her band mates, and playing on a women’s ice hockey team.

 

Gayle Curley

Extended Day

Gayle Curley has been with us at VNS for over twenty years. First as a parent with her own two children, and then as a teacher. Gayle graduated from Endicott College, has continued to take courses in Early Childhood Education, and is lead teacher certified.

Gayle says she has “loved the school and had to continue on in the capacity of teaching. I just love the children and has been a very rewarding job”.

After living in Harvard for 23 years, Gayle moved to Groton where she has resided for the last 9 years. Her two children are in their twenties and are her pride and joy.

 

Kelly Ohanian

Extended Day

            We are so glad to be welcoming Kelly back for her second year at VNS. She comes to us with ten years of preschool experience before raising three children of her own. Kelly has a degree from Harvard University and has also had many years of high school and college soccer and ice hockey coaching experience. She loves taking the kids outside for active play! Kelly is a certified Preschool teacher.

Outside of VNS Kelly enjoys playing ice hockey, camping, hiking, and mountain biking.