All Staff Groups

The staff are encouraged to provide a warm, loving environment.

Staff Testimonials

Behaviors, Developmental Appropriate and Environmental Rating Scales pertinent to the group they are currently working with.

ALL staff are trained in Pediatriac First Aid, CPR, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Dealing with Challenging Behaviors, Developmentally Appropriate Behavior and Environmental Rating Scales pertinent to the group they are currently working with.

NURSERY STAFF

Gina Laezza has been on staff since November 2002. Miss Gina is a native of Naples, Italy. Miss Gina is trained through Keystone Stars and Community Services for Children. Gina is the mother of two sons (both MTK alumni) and is very active in activities at St. Jude's Church in Mountaintop.

Hailey Redcliff started working with Mt. Top Kids Summer 2017 as end of day staff at the "Club". Mt. Top Kids is impressed by her energy and positive attitude that she was asked to stay on at the center. So she quit her other job at Sundance Vacations and hit it off with Gina immediately. Hailey is a graduate of Tamaqua Area Senior High School. Her plan is to make a career in Early Childhood Education and will be starting her formal education in this field in the Fall, 2018.

SUBSTITUTE STAFF:

Caitlyn Potoski is the usual Nursery substitute on Mondays and Fridays while Gina and Hailey take their day off (Mondays for Hailey and Fridays for Gina). Caitlyn is a graduate of the Commonwealth Charter Academy. She will begin her studies in Early Childhood Education as a TEACH Scholarship candidate in the Fall, 2018.

SUBSTITUTE STAFF:

Mary McGinnis, 6:00am - 7:30am. Mary has been on staff since September 2015. Miss Mary has completed all the primary certification training through Keystone Stars. Besides being the mother of three and grandmother of four, Mrs. McGinnis has previously worked with children while teaching CCD at St. Jude's and as a Girl Scout Leader. Having served fifteen years on the Fairview Township Recreation Board, Miss Mary is well known locally for her annual portrayal of the "Easter Bunny" for Fairview Township.

SUBSTITUTE STAFF:

Rachel Crecca, closing person for all Infants, Toddlers, and Two's 5:30pm - 6:00pm. Rachel is normally assigned to the Two's, joined Mt. Top Kids in June 2003. Rachel attended Luzerne County Community College and holds over thirty credits in early childhood education. Miss Rachel has additional experience working with children through her involvement as Vacation Bible School Teacher and AWANAS at Cross Creek Community Church in Dallas.

YOUNG TODDLER STAFF

HEAD TEACHER:

Kathy Assalone is Supervisor of the Toddler Room. Kathy was part of our staff from 1992 until 2010. Mrs. Asalone ventured forth to run her own business, Ma's Family Restaurant, noth here in Mt. Top and on the Sansouci Highway. She has worked all age groups over the years and has only a few more credits to finish up her Early Childhood degree.

SUBSTITUTE STAFF:

Caitlyn Potoski (see description above), substitutes on Wednesday for Darlene and Thursday for Kathy.

Mary McGinnis (see description above)

Rachel Crecca (see description above)

TWO'S STAFF

HEAD TEACHER:

Kate Smolenak has been on staff since May 1987. She has had formal training over the years through such agencies as ECELS, Community Services for Children, Keystone Research Project, Pennsylvania Pathways, and Keystone STARS. Miss Kate is responsible for coordinating all activities for the TWO Year Old room. Kate is also Mt. Top Kids' Health and Safety Coordinator having trained with Dr. Sue Aronson in 1991. Prior to joining Mt. Top Kids, Kate was active as a Sunday School Teacher, Girl Scout Leader. Miss Kate has 5 grown children and 8 grandchildren.

TEACHER'S AID:

Sandra George joined Mt. Top Kids in the Summer of 2015. Miss Sandy has a degree in commercial art, but her initial interest was in early childhood; as she did her student teaching at Mt. Top Kids years ago. Miss Sandy is an active 4H Leader and teaches third grade CCD at St. Mary's Church in Dorrance. Prior to coming on board, Miss Sandy was a substitute teacher's aide for the Crestwood School District.

SUBSTITUTE STAFF:

Mary McGinnis - mornings

Rachel Crecca - afternoon and end of day

Paula Furham substitutes for Sandy on Tuesday and Kate on Friday. She is a graduate of Wyoming Area High School. She also will become a TEACH candidate in the Fall.

PRESCHOOL & PREKINDERGARTEN

SUPERVISOR & LEAD TEACHER PRE-K:

Lorene Podufalski is Group Supervisor for this Program and Head Teacher for PreKindergarten

ASSISTANTS

Deb Opei: Assistant on Monday and Tuesday. Deborah Opiel is a former Crestwood School District Teacher with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Reading. Mrs. Opiel is a certified reading specialist who concentrates on language arts and prereading skills while at Mt. Top Kids. She is on staff every Friday and whenever else she is needed in the classroom.

Marsha Evans: Assistant on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. A graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Mrs. Evans comes to us with over 38 years experience as a teacher at St. Nicholas - St. Mary's and for Hanover Area School District.

Megan Potoski and Marguis Morris work together with the three year olds, (preschool).

Megan Potoski is Lead Teacher and is completing her requirements for a degree in Early Childhood. Education through the TEACH Scholarship program.

Marquis Morris has been with Mt. Top Kids since 2013. Marquis has completed one year at Shippensburg University but will be adding additional classes in Early Childhood locally through TEACH in the Fall.

SUBSTITUTE

Taylor Stemerish subs as needed throughout the week. She currently is completing her degree in Early Childhood Education at Luzerne County Community College. Taylor plans to continue her education since her goal is to become a primary grade teacher.

THREE YEAR OLDS

TEACHER'S AID:

Marion Hogan rejoined Mt. Top Kids in September 2016. Marion is not really "new" to our staff since she worked with us previously around fifteen years and five children ago. Miss Marion is a graduate of Bishop Hoban High School, and attended Kings College. Over the last fifteen years Marion has worked closely with Luzerne County Children and Youth as a foster parent. She has also been active as Sunday School Teacher.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHER

Kim Rosania - Tuesdays. Miss Kim is responsible for the overall holiday activity planning. She studied at Northhampton College and holds a Child Development Associate credential. Kim has been on staff since 1989.

FOUR YEAR OLDS

HEAD TEACHER:

Lorene Podufalski, has been on staff since August 2003. Miss Lorene has a degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Mt. Top Kids, Lorene was a substitute teacher's aid with Crestwood School District. Lorene is most remembered for the very entertaining and touching graduation program she conducts with our PreK graduates at the end of the school year. Each year is different...so be ready for a real treat.

TEACHER'S AID:

Brandon Nichols joined Mt. Top Kids as summer staff in June 2013 and decided to stay. Brandon is a college student with a major in computer technology and minor in education...this is Brandon's third year working in Preschool.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHER:

Deborah Opiel is a former Crestwood School District Teacher with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Reading. Mrs. Opiel is a certified reading specialist who concentrates on language arts and prereading skills while at Mt. Top Kids. She is on staff every Friday and whenever else she is needed in the classroom.

School Year Staff - Kirby Estates

BEFORE SCHOOL:

Kate Smolenak and Mary McGinnis

Kate Smolenak is the Lead staff person for both Before and After School Programs for Fairview Elementary at Mt. Top Kids Children's Center. Miss Kate has been on staff since May 1987. She has had formal training over the years through such agencies as ECELS, Community Services for Children, Keystone Research Project, and Pennsylvania Pathways and Keystone STARS.

Theresa Kamin has been on staff since September 2015. Theresa serves as our Kitchen Supervisor but is assisting with the Before School Program from 7:00 until the school bus arrives. Miss Terry has completed her initial training through Keystone STARS.

AFTER SCHOOL:

Trysten is new to us this year having graduated from Crestwood High School in 2015. Trysten has tried out several jobs since graduation, but says he has not been part of anything as meaningful as playing, supervising, comforting, and sometime acting as a referee with our school age children.

School Year Staff - Mt. Top Kids Club

BEFORE SCHOOL:

Kim Rosania

AFTER SCHOOL:

Kim Rosania

Marquis Morris



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