Our Pastor, Fr. Jay Donahue with Deacon Jim Mackin (left) and Director, Maureen Torcasi (right)
"Bear" welcomes the children every morning!
Maureen Torcasi, Director
Maureen Torcasi obtained her BS in Elementary Education from Edinboro University. While there, she founded the Early Childhood Club. She went on to earn her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
Mrs. Torcasi was the founder of the Preschool and Kindergarten Programs at St. Bernard's School. She has also taught CCD, worked with various summer camps including vacation Bible School, chaired several clubs and developed and implemented the Early Childhood curriculum at SSJ. She was the PreK-4 lead teacher at Ss. Simon & Jude School for 21 years. She is currently the full time director of the Early Childhood Center. Mrs. Torcasi was honored in 2014 as one of the Golden Apple Award recipients in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Early Childhood Center Staff
PreK-4 Program Green Frog Room
Trish Costantino, (on right) PreK-4 Teacher (AM & PM) & Administrative Assistant Mrs. Costantino is currently working on her Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also earned her BA in Liberal Studies.
She's had a variety of preschool teaching experiences. She has taught at the Carnegie Science Center, Easter Seals, CCAC and a Computer Tots Program. Mrs. Costantino is now in her 9th year at Ss. Simon & Jude Early Childhood Center. She teaches a PreK-4 class on M-W-F in the morning and one in the afternoon. She is Administrative Assistant to the Director on Tuesdays & Thursdays.
Josie Antonucci, Teacher's Aide Josie Antonucci has a girl and a boy who both attended the various programs offered at SSJ. During these years, Mrs. Antonucci was an invaluable asset to the Preschool. She was homeroom Mom for both of her children's classrooms, served on the PTG, and was very active with all fundraising and school events. Mrs. "A" was a substitute aide for a few years and is now the assistant to Mrs. Costantino in the M-W-F PreK-4 class and the PreK-4 Reading Connection program on Tuesdays & Thursday afternoons. Mrs. A is also the assistant in Mrs. Berner's Toddler classes. She is very excited to be a part of the SSJ family!
Toddler Two Blue dolphins PreK-3 blue whales
Regina Berner, Teacher (on left) Mrs. Berner earned her BS in Elementary Education from California University of Pennsylvania.
She taught at St. Jerome's Preschool and Kindergarten before coming to Ss. Simon & Jude where she has been for 22 years. Mrs. Berner was instrumental in developing the Toddler Two program at SSJ which has become very popular and in high demand!
Mrs. Berner teaches a PreK-3 morning and afternoon class on M-W-F and she also teaches the T-Th Toddler Two classes.
Jean Stombaugh, PreK-3 Teacher's Aide Mrs. Stombaugh is excited to be a part of the SSJ preschool program this year. She has been a teacher's aide for the past 18 years working primarily with 3-year olds. She has also worked as a bookkeeper, has volunteered with VBS, helped with "Night to Shine," a special needs event and is active in many church activities. Her and her husband grew up in Johnstown and have two grown sons who live in the area. Mrs. Stombaugh is looking forward to being part of the SSJ team!
Toddler Twos Baby Bluebirds room Mommy & Me purple butterflies
Ginger Novac, Mommy & Me and Toddler Two (on left) Mrs. Novac graduated from Penn State Altoona with a BS in business management. She was a store manager for Old Navy before leaving to be a stay at home mom for her daughter Kelcie. Kelcie has attended SSJ since she was two years old at which time she became an active volunteer. She started as a teacher's aide for the 2-day PreK-3 class. Mrs. Novac now leads three different Mommy & Me groups and the two M/W Toddler Two classes.
Laurie Maziarz, Toddler Two Aide Mrs. Maziarz graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Health Care & Policy Management. She has worked as a team leader and corporate trainer with Progressive Insurance and Heartland Homes. She is the mother of three girls, two who attend Our Lady of Grace School and the oldest at Canevin High School. She has volunteered at OLG for the past 10 years in the library and in computer classes. She is also a monitor of lunch and recess at the school. Mrs. Maziarz began volunteering with Mrs. Berner and the "lunch and play" Toddler program. She is thrilled to be an aide in the M & W Toddler Two class with Mrs. Novac!
PreK-4 Program yellow bumblebee ROOM
Allison Hallam, (on right) PreK-4 Teacher & PLUS Program Mrs. Hallam received a BS degree in Psychology from Allegheny College and earned a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Duquesne University. She worked as an elementary substitute teacher in several local school districts before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her three children who range in age from first grade to college. During this time, she volunteered in Chartiers Valley School District where her children attend. She has also been a Girl Scout leader for the past 10 years. Her youngest daughter attended SSJ preschool where Mrs. Hallam enjoyed being a room mom and volunteering for special events. She is thrilled to be returning to the SSJ family as a teacher. Mrs. Hallam teaches one of the PreK-4 year old classes. She also team teaches the PreK PLUS program.
Chrissi Super, Teacher's Aide Mrs. Super received a BS degree in Marketing from Robert Morris University. She has one daughter who attended SSJ preschool where Mrs. Super enjoyed volunteering in her classroom for parties and special events. Her daughter is now at Chartiers Valley where Mrs. Super is active with the PTG, fundraising and helping in the Computer Lab. She is thrilled to be back at SSJ as a Teacher's Aide. Mrs. Super is excited to work along side Mrs. Hallam in the PreK-4 classroom!
PreK-4 Program Orange Goldfish room
Amy Baumgart, Teacher (on right) Mrs. Baumgart obtained a Bachelors Degree in Child Development From IUP. She has been working with children since high school in various settings; including the after school care program at SSJ. After college, she coordinated in-home early intervention services for families in Allegheny County. Mrs. Baumgart became a stay-at-home mom to her three children, 2 daughters and a son. She eventually went to work as a teacher's aide at St. Margaret School. She also taught preschool for two years at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church Preschool. Mrs. Baumgart is thrilled to be at SSJ where she looks forward to continuing her teaching adventures. She teaches one of the PreK-4 classes and team teaches the PreK PLUS program.
Joelle Vaughn, Teacher's Aide Mrs. Vaughn joined then SSJ Early Childhood Center as a substitute aide in 2016. When a permanent position opened the following year, she did not hesitate to join the staff. Mrs. Vaughn's youngest son attended the Mommy & Me program at SSJ in its very early years. Now that he is a sophomore in high school and her oldest son is a freshman in college, Mrs. Vaughn is thrilled to work with the little ones in Mrs. Baumgart's PreK-4 class. She also assists with the afternoon PreK PLUS program.
PreK-3 Program red ladybug room
Jacki Morrison, Teacher (on right) Mrs. Morrison has earned a BA degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Child Psychology and Elementary Education.
While living in Nevada, she taught at Adelson Education Campus for 7 years while also working as the Program Coordinator and Curriculum Developer for the Preschool and Kindergarten programs.
Mrs. Morrison teaches a 2-day and a 3-day PreK-3 class. She also facilitates one of the Lunch Bunch groups. Mrs. Morrison developed and teaches the Reading Connection Program for the 4-year olds.
Dawnlee Vaughn, Teacher's Aide Mrs. Vaughn is the mother of two boys who attended the SSJ Preschool programs. She was an active volunteer at the school during this time. Mrs. Vaughn began subbing at the school, which led to a full time teacher's aide position. She works with Mrs. Morrison in the PreK-3 classroom, Lunch Bunch and the Reading Connection program.
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