Elizabeth Hearle graduated from The College of William and Mary with B.A. degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education and from Old Dominion University with an M.A. in Early Childhood Development. She also holds a certificate in Administration and Supervision.
She was previously a kindergarten teacher in the Virginia Beach Public School system and at the Chapin School in New York and a preschool teacher at Saint Luke’s Parish School. She has served on the boards of Saint Luke’s Parish School, Tokeneke PTO, Royle PTO, OPUS, Person-to-Person and the Darien Foundation for Technology and Community. She became the Executive Director of The Darien Nature Center in June 2013 and the director of SLPS in June 2016. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Elizabeth lived in Darien from 2004 until 2022 and recently moved to Stamford. She has been a member of Saint Luke’s Parish since 2000.
She has three children, all of whom attended SLPS. All three of her children attend Miami University in Oxford, OH. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family and three german shepherds.
Saint Luke’s Parish School Staff:
Dee Fumega – Administrative Assistant
Jennifer D’Orta – Nurse
Jennifer Shea – Treasurer
Our teachers and assistant teachers are the backbone of SLPS. They actively participate in regular teacher meetings and in-service training programs, as well as continual participation in workshops, conferences, and seminars to improve their already considerable skills. This allows your child to benefit from the latest teaching techniques available.
We strive to keep our student/teacher ratio low. All classes include assistant teachers to enhance your child’s learning experience. All of our staff are trained in First Aid and are CPR and Epi-Pen certified.
JESSICA BLACK-3s Assistant Teacher
Jessica grew up outside of Boston. She graduated from The University of Vermont with a degree in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics. For the past 15 years, Jessica has been raising her three children, first in NYC and now in Darien. She and her husband Andrew started a children’s toy company a few years ago which reignited her interest in early childhood development and motivated her to substitute teach at SLPS. This will be her third year as an assistant teacher in the 3’s program. In her spare time, Jessica likes to play tennis, walk her dog Taco and spend time with her family.
KAREN BOCCADORO-2s Head Teacher
Karen graduated from Sacred Heart University with a degree in English Literature and a concentration in Elementary Education. She holds a Certificate for Nursery through 8th grade. Karen has taught 2’s at Saint Luke’s since 1999 and has also taught in the Creative Kids and Lunch Bunch programs. Both of her daughters attended St. Luke’s. Karen has also taught the 2’s three afternoons a week at The Holly Pond School at the Darien YMCA for many years. Karen and her family have lived in Darien since 1989. She is a member of the Spirit of Black Rock Fife & Drum Corps and the Fifth Connecticut Regiment Revolutionary War reenactment group. Karen and her husband are active members of the Museum of Darien. She enjoys reading and gardening.
ERIKA CAPUTO- Pre-K Head Teacher
Erika received her B.A. in Communication from the University of California at San Diego and has completed CDA coursework through Connecticut’s community college system. She joined the Saint Luke’s Parish School team in 2009, working with Pre-K and Creative Kids. Erika’s children attended Saint Luke’s Parish School; she served on the Parent-Teacher Committee (PTC) during that time. Erika worked in the “corporate world” until her second child was born. She and her family have lived in Darien since 2004. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, studying martial arts and volunteering on the Darien Arts Center Dance Committee.
SEBNEM CEKEN- 4s Assistant Teacher
Sebnem graduated from Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey in Business Management and received her Teaching Certificate from Kocaeli University in Kocaeli, Turkey. She moved to the United States in the summer of 2000 and received her Certificate in Early Childhood Education from Norwalk Community College. She volunteered in the Media Center in Westover Elementary School and the Jewish Community Center in Stamford. She has been living in Stamford with her husband and twin children. She enjoys cooking, playing volleyball and taking care of her family.
FIONA CONNOLLY- 3s Assistant Teacher
Fiona emigrated from Ireland to the United States in the early 90s. She has had many jobs since then including marketing, working in a hair salon and childcare. She has also been a longtime substitute teacher at SLPS and has worked with children of all ages. Fiona currently lives in Stamford with her husband and 2 daughters- Emma Rose who recently graduated from Loyola University Maryland and Jessica who is currently a senior at Villanova University.
NAOMI CUNNIGHAM- PreK Assistant Teacher
Naomi received her B.A in Sociology from Kansas State University. She moved to Connecticut in 2018 and started as a substitute at SLPS in 2021. Naomi continues to work at Saint Luke’s Parish as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and watching Netflix. She is so excited to be joining the SLPS team!
CHERYL DEVAULT- 3s Assistant Teacher
Cheryl graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. degree in Psychology and Sociology, and from Manhattanville College with an M.A. in Teaching: Elementary Education Pre-K to 6. Before having children, Cheryl taught at New Canaan Country Day School, Greenwich Country Day School and Pear Tree Point School in grades nursery-2nd grade. She was also a Title 1 Tutor at Westover Magnet Elementary School in Stamford. Since 2008, while raising her children, she has been heavily involved in the PTOs of various schools in Stamford. Cheryl is the very proud mom to four children, twin boys who are juniors at The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, a daughter who is a sophomore at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a daughter who is a 5th year at Northeastern University. Cheryl above all enjoys spending time with her family and attending their many activities and being a part of their busy lives.
HOLLY DRAKE- 3’s Head Teacher
Holly grew up outside of Rochester, NY, and graduated from Cornell University with a BS in communications. Post college, she worked in public relations and corporate marketing/video production in New York City. She’s been a resident of Darien since 2002 where she’s enjoyed raising her three sons – all of whom attended SLPS. Holly taught for Maureen Bloom Playdates prior to coming to SLPS in 2018. In her spare time, Holly enjoys outdoor activities – running, biking, kayaking, paddle, gardening – but more than anything treasures time with her family all together.
ASMAE ELBAQI- 4s Assistant Teacher
Asmae has years of experience in caring for children of all ages as she has been in child care for over 16 years. She loves working with younger children and comes to SLPS with many outstanding references from the families with which she has worked. She and her husband live in Darien and have 2 children in the Darien Public Schools. In her spare time, Asmae loves spending time with her family.
SARA FAUGNO- 4s Head Teacher
Sara earned an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Norwalk Community College. She began her teaching at Canaan Ridge School where she taught for 8 years. She then moved on to become the director of Noah’s Ark preschool in Stamford. After Noah’s Ark, Sara decided to take time off to raise her three beautiful children. Sara and her family have been a part of the Darien community since 2014 and enjoy all that is has to offer. In her spare time, she loves volunteering in her children’s schools, spending time at her family’s house in Vermont, watching her children’s sports events and going out for coffee with good friends.
AMANDA FOSTER- 4s Assistant Teacher/ / Assistant Literacy Director
Amanda Foster is currently attending Norwalk Community College for an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She started as a counselor in training at a Stamford summer camp at the age of 13. By the time she turned 16, she was a full-time camp counselor and worked with children ages 5 through 12. In 2017, Amanda started working at St. Luke’s on Sundays in the Godly Play room with children between the ages of 3 through 5. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, going to concerts and spending time with her friends and family.
CATHERINE GEDNEY- 3s Head Teacher
Catherine earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maine. Her previous teaching experiences include teaching third grade at Fairfield Country Day, teaching at Easton Country Day and co-teaching in the 3rd grade at Pear Tree Point School. She and her husband both grew up in Darien and are raising their three children here in town. She is happy to be returning to teaching at SLPS where she attended as a child. In addition to teaching, Catherine has run the Beachcomber Camp at Norwalk Yacht Club, taught CCD at St. Thomas Moor and is a Girl Scout leader.
JENNIFER KOUTINAS- 2s Head Teacher
Jennifer has been active in the childcare preschool field since 2004. She began in Stamford as a co-teacher and worked her way up to lead teacher in the 3/4’s classroom. She was also an Administrative Assistant in a preschool. She has worked in Afterschool programs and Summer Camps with preschool and elementary aged children. Starting in 2005, she runs the Sunday School nursery room here at St. Luke’s. She was an assistant in the young Two’s room with Mrs. B for 2 years before becoming the head teacher in the older 2’s classroom 2 years ago. She recently completed her Child Development Associate Degree (CDA). In her spare time she enjoys the beach, going to live shows and concerts and spending time with her family and two grown children.
FIONA LAVELLE- 4s Assistant Teacher
Fiona was raised and educated in England, where she went on to a career in banking. She started as a substitute at SLPS in 2012. Fiona has supervised in our Lunch Bunch program and has been an assistant in our 4’s class for 9 years. She and her family have resided in Stamford since 1998. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and walking with her dog.
KRISTIN MALLOZZI- 2s Assistant Teacher
Kristin earned her BBA in Marketing from Hofstra University. She worked at Saint Luke’s Parish School from 2015 until 2020. Before joining St. Luke’s, she had been a parent volunteer at her daughters’ preschool, elementary school and middle school. Kristin is a coach in the New Canaan softball league where both of her daughters are avid travel softball players. Kristin and her family live in New Canaan. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities with her family including hiking, biking and swimming. She is very excited to be returning to SLPS!!
STEPHANIE MCGRAW- 2s Assistant Teacher
Stephanie has lived in Darien for 27 years and is married with four children (a daughter and three sons) all of whom attended SLPS. Her youngest is a senior at Darien High School. Stephanie received her B.A. from Dickinson College and did some graduate work at George Washington University. She worked for a consulting firm in Washington D.C. before moving to Darien. Stephanie has extensive volunteer experience, including League of Women Voters, Darien Scouts Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust, Royle PTO, and DHS. She was also Treasurer at SLPS for 7 years. Most recently, Stephanie worked at a preschool in New Canaan as an Assistant Teacher in the 4s. She loves making new friends, walking, hiking and reading.
CARRIE MCMASTER- Floating Assistant Teacher
Carrie has been an involved member at St. Luke’s since her boys (now 19 and 22) were students at SLPS. She was an assistant teacher at SLPS in the 3 year old class for 4 years before taking on the role of Children’s Ministries Coordinator for the church. For several years, she was our Godly Play teacher and a very popular substitute teacher. She has been our floating assistant for 3 years. She and her husband also coordinate the Run with the Saints event at St. Luke’s and are active parishioners. Carrie loves gardening, reading and spending time with her family and 2 dogs.
MARY BEIRNE REWCASTLE- 3s Head Teacher
Mary Beirne earned her bachelor’s degree at Denison University and her Master’s in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from NYU. She has taught Young 3s at Saint Luke’s Parish School since 2012. Prior to Saint Luke’s, Mary Beirne student-taught 3rd grade at Manhattan Country School and 4th grade at Manhattan New School. Mary Beirne and her family have lived in Darien since 2007. She is extremely active in the community and an active member of Saint Luke’s Parish. Her daughter attended Saint Luke’s Parish School. In her spare time, Mary Beirne enjoys gardening, opera, photography and genealogy.
MAUREEN ROACH- 4s Head Teacher
Maureen and her husband, John, have lived in Darien for 17 years. Their four kids (27, 26, 24 and 21) graduated from Darien Public Schools. Two daughters and one son have finished undergraduate degrees and are living in NYC. Their youngest son is a senior in college. Maureen has a degree in Economics and worked in the legal field for many years. Her family moved from Ridgewood, NJ to the East Bay of California before settling in Darien. She has volunteered in various organizations but focused on the Court Appointed Child Advocacy group for the last 5 years or so. She also has a certification in Special Education Advocacy. Maureen is working towards her CDA which she hopes to finish by the year’s end. Maureen’s favorite things are children’s books and Jersey beaches!
MARY KATE ROMANO- 4s Head Teacher/ Literacy Director
Mary Kate grew up in Westport and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in Human Development and Families Studies. She then moved to Boston for a few years where she graduated from Wheelock College with an M.S. in Early Childhood Development. Since coming back to CT in 2015, Mary Kate has taught 4’s and Pre-K in Westport, Greenwich and most recently Fairfield for three years. She was a PreK teacher at SLPS for the past 2 years. She enjoys spending time with her niece and nephew, as well as going to the beach and trying new, local restaurants with friends and family. Mary Kate has a love for play-based, intentional teaching and comes from an entrepreneurial-minded family, so she started her own small business creating playdough kits to encourage open-ended play at home!
ANNIE TINGLEY- 3s Assistant Teacher
Annie received her BA in History from Kenyon College in Ohio. She has been a teacher at Saint Luke’s since 2015. Annie has gained extensive practical experience through numerous volunteer activities in the Darien school system while her children were students there. Her three children attended Saint Luke’s Parish School, and she is a parishioner of Saint Luke’s. She and her family have lived in Darien since 1994. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, working out and walking her dog. She enjoys spending time with her adult children.
ANNEMARIE VIERLING- PreK Assistant Teacher
Annemarie earned her BA in Sociology from St. John’s University in NY. She has been a teacher in the 2s, 4s and PreK programs and Lunch Bunch for the older children since 2010. Prior to teaching she worked in Advertising Sales for Rodale Press in NYC. Annemarie and her three children live in Darien and are very involved in the YMCA special needs programs. She is an avid runner and enjoys swimming and spending time with her oldest daughter who continues to be the role model for her two boys.
MORGAN VITTI- 4s Head Teacher
Morgan graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Early Childhood Education/ Elementary Education/Special Education as well as a minor in Child Psychology. She graduated with an emphasis in Reggio Emilia studies. She was previously a preschool teacher at Children’s Discovery Center in Charleston, SC and also worked for Cabell County Schools in Huntington, WV as a para-teacher in a 3rd grade classroom. Morgan recently moved back from Charleston, SC to her hometown of Stamford where she has been assisting with curriculum writing for Building Blocks in Stamford and Wilton. This summer, Morgan got married and is expecting her first child this winter. In her spare time, Morgan enjoys doing calligraphy and painting.
LILY ZINICOLA- 3s Head Teacher
Lily was born and raised in London, England, where she trained as a Montessori teacher. She moved with her husband and two children to Connecticut in 1999, after spending 4 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lily attended Norwalk Community College to study Early Childhood Education. She has worked as a co-teacher in private nursery schools in Stamford for many years. Most recently she worked at Just Wee Two, an enrichment program for 2 year olds in Stamford and Greenwich. Lily also volunteered in her children’s elementary school and has helped out at an after school program. In her spare time, Lily enjoys cooking and entertaining, reading and spending time with her family.