Denise Rosenthal - Head of School
Denise Rosenthal began her teaching career at Christopher Academy in Cranford in 1990. After becoming certified to teach 2.5 to 12 in Ireland she came to America. Denise completed her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison University. She began by teaching in a primary class and also worked alongside Amelia McTamaney in the first Christopher Academy Teacher Training Program. She taught at all levels before moving into administration. In 2013 Denise left to work at a school in a different setting. She returned to her original roots at Christopher Academy in 2020. Denise’s children Leo and Fiona both attended Christopher Academy, they also worked at summer camp and have fond memories of their time at CA. Her son is pursuing a degree in Education, and her daughter is a graduate of University of Wisconsin and currently working as an industrial engineer in Ashville, NC. Denise’s hobbies include sewing, knitting, working out, gardening and walking her dog Berkeley, She also enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband Craig and her family.
Christy Moyle - Director of Operations
Christy Moyle comes to Christopher Academy with over 25 years of experience in administrative management working for a large real estate firm in New York City. Following her retirement, Christy’s passion for starting a new career that focused on the next generation brought her to Brunner Elementary School in Scotch Plains. While there, she worked as a classroom aide making positive contributions in optimizing learner engagement and providing customized assistance to children with a variety of special needs. Christy’s core duties at Christopher Academy revolve around supporting others and facilitating the efficient operation of the office and school. A trained dancer, Christy is a native of Staten Island, New York and currently resides in Scotch Plains with her daughter, Sienna.
Amelia McTamaney - Board Chair
Although not involved in our day-to-day activities Ms. McTamaney still oversees the policy and operations of the school as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Amelia first became involved in Montessori education in 1975 when she took a position as an Assistant Teacher while taking her formal Montessori Certification. In 1976 she became Head of School for the Montessori School of Cranford and in 1978 as Head of both Christopher Academy and Montessori School of Cranford when the two schools merged. Amelia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgian Court University, Montessori Diplomas from Birth to Age 8 from St. Nicholas Montessori College, London, American Montessori Society Certification, and New Jersey Certification for teaching children from birth to grade 8. Ms. McTamaney has served on numerous Montessori and other educational Boards including Trustee and Chair for Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, NJ, Trustee for Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey, Founding Member and Board Chair of the New Jersey Montessori Administrators Council, Chair and Vice Chair of the Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education, where she is still an accreditation validator and the National Center of Montessori Education. Amelia has always been active in charity groups including the Westfield Chapter of the Red Cross, The Rotary Club, and both Oak Knoll and Newark Academy Mother’s groups where she served as Gala chair for both these schools. Although retired and living most of the year in Nashville TN, Amelia enjoys playing golf and is a member of the women’s golf groups at Plainfield Country Club, Edison, NJ, and Richland Country Club, Nashville TN. She is also an active participant in the Vanderbilt University Osher Program, and Vanderbilt Women’s Club and last year served as Chair of the American Montessori Conference Gala which is one of AMS’ major fundraisers. Amelia has three grown children and seven grandchildren. Both her daughter Catherine and daughter-in-law Henriette hold Montessori Diplomas.
Nancy Aschmies, Cottage - Lead Teacher
Nancy has been with Christopher Academy for ten years and has been the Lead Teacher in the Cottage Classroom for eight. She has been the Lead Teacher for the Summer Montessori Program in Westfield for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, as well as a lead counselor for the Summer Camp this summer. Nancy is a NJ Certified Early Childhood/Elem. Ed. teacher with past experience as a classroom teacher in public, first grade classroom and as an assistant in the Maple Classroom. She attended Rider University for her undergraduate degree in teaching and has earned post-graduate credits in education from Rutgers University. She received her Montessori training at the Princeton Center for Teacher Education in 2014. Nancy resides in Cranford with her husband and three children who are all Christopher Academy alumni.
Patricia Bubniak, Maple - Co Lead Teacher
Pat began her affiliation with Christopher Academy in 2000 when her children were enrolled in the school. She began teaching in 2006. Pat has worked in Stepping Stones, the Maple classroom and the Cottage. This fall she will return to the Maple Room. Pat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hunter College and has an AMS Certification in Montessori Early Childhood Education which she received in 2007. Her children, Stephen & Christina, are both Christopher Academy alumni. Pat is an avid NY Rangers fan, enjoys gardening, knitting, needlepoint and walking her dogs, Peanut & Betty. She and her husband Andrew reside in Watchung
Magda Magierski, Maple - Co Lead Teacher/Before Care Coordinator
Magda joined Christopher Academy in 2020 working as an Associate Teacher in the Maple Class, She has also worked as a camp teacher. She loves working in the classroom with Montessori materials and began pursuing her Montessori certification at the Princeton Center Teacher Education program this summer. Magda holds a BS in Architecture from Tulane University. She enjoys teaching and learning about art, traveling and learning different languages, and gardening.
Jennifer Hoover, Willow Room - Lead Teacher
Jennifer first came to know Christopher Academy when her daughter began preschool eight years ago, and had the opportunity to fill in as a substitute teacher. She was thrilled to join the teaching team as a full-time teacher in 2017. Jennifer received her AMS training and certification through the West Side Montessori teacher education program, and worked at their Manhattan preschool for five years as an assistant and head teacher. She has also worked as a field consultant helping to mentor new Montessori teachers. She received her BA in Art History from Hope College in Michigan. Jennifer lives in Rahway with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys visiting with family and friends, nature walks and music.
Angela Ignomirello, Dogwood - Co Lead Teacher
Angela is approaching her seventh year working at Christopher Academy. Angela has previously worked in the Maple classroom, was program director for the summer programs, co-coordinated activities for the PM Extended Care program and will be in the Dogwood room for the upcoming school year. Angela graduated from Kean University with a BA in Psychology. She also received her AMS Certification in Montessori Early Childhood Education from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education in 2021. Along with being in the classroom, Angela has taught art virtually. She is passionate about art and enjoys painting and drawing in her spare time. Her other interests include: reading, learning about marine conservation and biology, and traveling. Angela is a resident of Scotch Plains, NJ.
Eri Parker, Dogwood - Co Lead Teacher
Eri is from Japan, but has lived more than half of her life outside of Japan. Eri graduated with a BA from Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, then worked in the Early Childhood field. When she had her first child she learned about Montessori, which led her to teaching at a Montessori school. Her husband's profession allowed them to live all over the world, but now they are settled in Scotch Plains with their four children ages 15, 11, 8 and 5. All four children attend school in the SPF district, her youngest is a CA alumni. Eri received her AMS Certification in Montessori Early Childhood Education from The Montessori Center for Teacher Development in 2021. She is excited to return to CA for her fourth year. Eri loves to cook, try new cuisine, garden and crochet. Going camping, spending time outdoors and playing board games are some of her favorite things to do with her family.
Sangeeta Banerjee - Dogwood Assistant Teacher
Sangeeta has been working as an assistant teacher for four years. She is originally from India but has been living in New Jersey for the last 16 years. She studied Masters in computer management and was initially pursuing her career in computer networking. After moving to New Jersey she volunteered to work with children and soon realized she found her calling. Soon after Sangeeta joined a preschool and has been working with children ever since. She recently moved to Scotch Plains with her 8 year old daughter, Alisha and her husband, Milind. In her free time, Sangeeta loves reading, knitting, painting and hiking. She loves to travel and meet different people and learn different cultures.
Galina Drozhzhina - Maple Assistant Teacher
Galina has a Bachelor's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Languagef rom Moscow State Humanitarian University, She has taught English as a second language in a classroom setting for many years. She is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and French and has worked with the Red Cross. Galina lives in Scotch Plains with her husband and her three boys. Her hobbies are reading, travel and swimming international.
Lowie Diaz - Willow Assistant Teacher
Lowie Diaz worked in the fashion industry for 10 years before she started her family 18 years ago. In between, she has worked alongside her sister, who owns Let's Monet, teaching art and hosting painting parties. Lowie is a mom of three girls. Her oldest daughter is at Brown University, her middle is a high schooler and her youngest in middle school. Lowie keeps busy taking care of the family's goldendoodle and enjoys spending time with her family and friends as much as she can.
Diane Kuhn - After Care Assistant
Diane is our After Care program assistant. She has worked in the childcare field for over 17 years and has some Montessori training. In her spare time she enjoys taking on all sorts of adventures, especially amusement parks, water parks, and the farm where she keeps her horse, Gunner. Diane has two grown children along with three grandsons and a granddaughter on the way.
Teresa Nolan - Maple Assistant Teacher
Teresa began her career as an assistant teacher at Christopher Academy in 2016. She graduated from Pace University before moving to Fanwood with her husband and three children. Teresa has been a Girl Scout leader for the past nine years in Scotch Plains, which her daughter Brooke attends. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, bike riding and cooking.
Michele Santo - Cottage Assistant Teacher
Michele is happy to join Christopher Academy where she will bring creativity and positivity to the classroom. She received a BFA in visual communications from Kean University, health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, youth mentor training from Shine from Within, and EFT certification through The Priority Academy. For 10 years she has helped wellness leaders grow their audiences through digital marketing. For three years she has helped women find inner peace and empowerment with EFT tapping. In her free time Michele enjoys walking her dog Lilly with her husband, cooking, reading and searching for the best gluten-free bread.
Sally Unchester - Dogwood Assistant Teacher/After Care Coordinator
Sally earner her Bachelor's Degree from Beacon College and has been on our faculty since 2006. She completed her AMS Teacher Training in 2010. In March of 2023, she completed her AMS Early Childhood Reading Certificate, In her time away from classroom responsibilities, Sally resides in Westfield and is a confirmed Yankees fan and enjoys volunteering at Overlook Hospital's Pediatric Department, Union County Family Promise and Atlantic Health's Camp Clover.