Hope Anderson is beginning her seventeenth year as director of our school and her thirty-third year on the staff at PPNS. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Rutgers College and earned her preschool through eighth grade teaching certificate through the Graduate Teacher Certification program at Rider University. Prior to entering the teaching profession, Hope held management positions in the systems division of an international container leasing company. Hope began her career here as an assistant two-year-old teacher and has worked with all ages, having taught three-year-old classes between 1992 and 2005. Hope resides in Hopewell Township with her husband, David. Their daughter Caroline, her husband Charles and their three-year-old daughter Clara live in Washington D.C. Son David and wife Li reside in Tacoma, WA, with their five-year-old son Jacob and one-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Hope is a member of Pennington Presbyterian Church, where she serves on the Mission Committee and is involved in ongoing clean water projects in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. In her spare time, Hope enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, and relaxing with her family.
“I am blessed to be able to spend my days with the wonderful students, families, and teachers of PPNS. There are no greater joys than seeing the world through the eyes and minds of children and fostering an environment where each individual is loved and valued for their special and unique personality.”
Norah Wasden is so happy to be joining the wonderful staff of PPNS as the Music Teacher. Norah has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Georgetown University. This is her fourth year as the Early Childhood Music Teacher at Princeton Montessori School. She also teaches for Music Together in the area. Norah has three boys who all attended PPNS, so she is thrilled to return to the wonderful PPNS community. Besides enjoying teaching and time with her family, Norah also sings with Princeton Pro Musica, enjoys working with her church community, and loves traveling and the Bent Spoon.
Maria Fernandez is beginning her first year as co-lead teacher of our two-year-old classes, along with Kristin Fechter. Maria served as our three-year-old class assistant teacher for the past four years and was a PPNS parent before joining the staff. Growing up in Spain, Maria earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Seville and moved to the US with her husband shortly thereafter. Maria taught preschool in Princeton for several years and has most recently provided family childcare in her home. Maria, her husband Richard, and her three children, Elena, Lydia, and Julia live in Pennington. In her spare time, Maria enjoys traveling and creative arts.
“I work with preschool children because I want to make school a more positive experience for the kids. I also enjoy helping them to build their characters and bring out their unique traits and personalities. I think my job is important because we, as teachers, are responsible for the happiness of so many others beyond ourselves. At PPNS I feel valued, and feeling this way makes a big difference in how you feel about your job. There is no greater joy than knowing that a child has benefited from the work I do.”
Kristin Fechter is beginning her fifth year on the staff of PPNS. She and Maria Fernandez will be co-teaching our Three-Year-Old Classes in September. Kristin served as the assistant teacher of the five morning, Pre-Kindergarten class for four years and was a school parent prior to joining the staff. Kristin earned her Bachelor of Arts from Rider University and has been teaching various ages for the past six years. Kristin and her husband are the parents of Frankie, who is a graduate of PPNS and attends Timberlane Middle School, and John, also a PPNS graduate, who is in second grade at Bear Tavern. Kristin loves swimming, hiking, and enjoying life with her family.
“I love working with the children at PPNS because they inspire me every day! I love watching them discover new things and use that knowledge to be extraordinarily creative!”
Lori D’Avanzo is in her fifth year as lead teacher of our three-year-old class, but she has served as an assistant teacher for all ages since 2009. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and American Studies from Rider University. Lori is married to Mike and they reside in Hopewell Township with their three children: Andrew, 22, who graduated from Rowan University in May 2021 and is beginning his business career, Amy 21, a rising senior at Duquesne University, and Alex, 17 , a senior at Hopewell Valley Central High School. Lori enjoys reading and watching her children’s sporting events in her free time, as well as providing foster care for dogs in the family’s home.
“I believe that PPNS is a wonderful place for children to begin their education both academically and emotionally. We are a great team with incredible passion for each child. I feel very proud to be part of such a great group of teachers.”
Kerry Kocses is beginning her first year as our three-year-old assistant teacher. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education at The College of New Jersey and her Master’s in Teaching at George Mason University. Kerry has 13 years of teaching experience. She has taught preschool, kindergarten and first grade. She has also taught art to children ages preschool – eighth grade. Kerry lives in Pennington with her six year old twins Connor and Sophie. In her spare time she enjoys painting, going to the beach, dancing and playing with her kids.
Kate Andrew is co-lead teacher of the three-morning, Pre-Kindergarten class. Kate is in her tenth year on the staff of PPNS, but she is no stranger to our school because all three of her children are graduates of our program. Kate earned her BA in Early Childhood Education from Hood College and previously taught preschool for two years. She lives in Lawrence Township with her husband Mark and their children, Hailey, who is 23, who is beginning her teaching career as an ESL teacher this fall, Tyler, 21, who is a sophomore at St. Joseph’s University, and Ava, 16, who is a sophomore at Lawrence High School. Rounding out the Andrew Family is their dog Oliver. In her spare time, Kate likes to read and play tennis.
“Why PPNS? From the first moment, 19 years ago, when I walked into PPNS with my first child, I knew it was a special place, a loving place, a place for her to grow and explore. Fast forward 19 years and I am now in my ninth year as a teacher here. In those 18 years, all three of my children have attended PPNS, each of them learning, growing, and exploring the world around them. As a teacher, those are the building blocks I use each day in my classroom, knowing with the right amount of encouragement, support and caring for our students can start their journeys into the world confident and excited learners.”
Shannon Lingerfield is co-lead teacher of the three-morning, Pre-Kindergarten class. This is Shannon’s tenth year at PPNS as a teacher. Shannon earned her elementary school teaching certificate from The College of New Jersey and taught first and second grade before her children were born. Shannon and her husband are the parents of Sadie, who is entering her sophomore year in high school and and Trevor and Phoebe, who are in eighth grade. In her free time, Shannon enjoys running, skiing, spending time with her family, and doing anything outdoors.
“I love to teach because I simply love children. I love their wonder, excitement, humor, and unpredictability. Every day is a blessing and an adventure when you spend your days looking through the eyes of a child.”
Laure Radice Law is the lead teacher for our Monday-Friday Pre-K class, beginning her twenty-fourth year with PPNS in September. Prior to 2020, Laure taught our two-year-old classes. She also serves as the head teacher for the school. Laure graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Early Childhood Education and English. Laure resides in Columbus, NJ with her husband Mike, and their two children. Her son Michael is a junior in college and daughter Emma is a rising Senior at Northern Burlington High School. In her free time, Laure enjoys going to the beach, reading, and spending time with her family.
“There is a sense of community at PPNS that has kept me teaching here so long (24 years!). We care about the children and the teachers with whom we work.”
Linda Pugh is beginning her third year on the staff of PPNS and assists Laure Law in the Monday-Friday Pre-K class. Linda served as our two-year-old class assistant teacher in 2019-2020 and has subbed in all age groups for several years. Linda says that in that time she has grown to love the staff, school, and students. Linda graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk VA -BS in Education and a Master’s in Reading. She taught 24 years in public school, Kindergarten – 2nd grade. Both Linda’s grandsons attended PPNS. Linda and her husband Mark live in Ewing. They are the parents of three adult children, Aaron, Amanda, and Adam.. In her spare time, Linda reads and gardens. She grew up in Kentucky and visits her family there every chance she gets.
“There is a sense of community at PPNS that has kept me teaching here so long (22 years!). We care about the children and the teachers with whom we work.”