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FACULTY & STAFF BIOS

Michael Templeton, Principal
Education:
  • Seton Hall University, Ed.D. (ABD) K-12 Leadership, Management & Policy
  • Providence College, M.Ed. School Administration
  • St. Bonaventure University, B.S. Elementary Education, Minor: Music
Certifications:
  • RIDE Building Level Administrator PK-12
  • RIDE Superintendent of Schools
  • RIDE Administrator of Curriculum & Instruction

“I'm inspired to do whatever it takes to sustain a safe and productive learning environment, to empower students' voices to help transform the community, and to reimagine how we 'do' school in order to achieve equity. These are my passions and these are my commitments to the children and families of Ella Risk School.”
Sue Garvey, Secretary
Education:
  • A.A. with certificate in Special Education, Community College of Rhode Island

“I love my job as a school secretary. It gives me the opportunity to work in a school, getting to know and helping families. I have been working in the district since 1999. I have held several positions, but secretary has been my favorite.”


Lisa Soares, Secretary

Education:
  • Administration Assistant Certification, The Sawyer School

“I love working with computers and creating new reports to make the school run more smoothly.”

GRADE 1

Debra Lough
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Psychology
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Rhode Island College, English as a Second Language Certification
  • Providence College, Special Education Certification
  • Cambridge College, M.Ed.
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator

“I find it to be personally rewarding to work with our children and their families in Central Falls. I embrace the dynamic environment and the challenges that it presents. I believe all children can learn and am willing to do whatever it takes to see this through.”


Em Godfrin
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Theater
  • Rhode Island College, M.Ed. Elementary Education
  • Providence College, M.Ed. Special Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator

“Teaching gives me great joy and purpose.”
Ann Marie Gianetti
Education:
  • Bryant University, B.S. Computer Information Systems
  • Rhode Island College, MAT Elementary and Special Education
  • Rhode Island College, English as a Second Language Certification
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator K-8
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Educator

“I was born in a low socioeconomic area and lived in a community very similar to Central Falls. My grandmother was born in Puerto Rico and had to learn English to go to school. Because of this background, I feel that I can connect to the lives both of students and parents and make a difference. Sometimes it’s the small things that can change a person forever: like a teacher who cares! Every child has a special gift.”

GRADE 2

Teri-Lynn Glynn
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.S. Elementary Education
  • Rhode Island College, M.Ed. Special Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator K-8
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Educator
  • Elementary Math Content Specialist

“I believe that our children are unique individuals who need a safe, encouraging and caring environment where they can grow emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. I desire that all our students meet their fullest potential, feel confident enough to take risks and share their ideas openly.”

GRADE 3

Lisa Barakat
Education:
  • University of Rhode Island, B.S. Elementary Education
  • Rhode Island College, English as a Second Language Certification
  • Providence College, M.A. Special Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Endorsement

“My earliest memory of wanting to become a teacher was in the fifth grade. Undoubtedly, my own mother had a strong influence on me, since she taught 4th grade here at Ella Risk, too. Pretty cool! I learned early on about my own mother’s passions and pure love for this little city called Central Falls.

“Hearing about her day and the witty stories about her students was something I looked forward too. One memorable one, was the year her class decided to have a circus. A little girl in her fourth grade class had big plans for this major event, and was naturally chosen to be the ringmaster. The kids prepared for weeks. Parents, students and the principal came for the big event and what an event it was! A major success! Who would have thought that the little ring master in fourth grade would grow up and become a 'master of the stage'...Viola Davis!

“For me, teaching is a calling, a passion, a driving force that you can’t deny. Teaching is part of you. Central Falls is home. I feel connected and energized with the families and students I interact with. It’s a feeling that I don’t feel anywhere else. The littlest city has captured my heart in the biggest way. Central Falls is contagious!

“Over the years I have met countless student teachers, professors, volunteers, interns, you name it! And they ALL say the same thing: we never knew that Central Falls would have the most amazing kids! My response has always been the same: Central Falls is Rhode Island’s best kept secret!”
Kim Bolano
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.S. Elementary/Special Education
  • Rhode Island College, M.Ed. Teaching English Language Learners with Special Needs in an Urban Setting
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Endorsement

“I teach because, for me, it’s the most effective and most enjoyable way to change the world. My students inspire me to teach. I teach because I want my students to know that someone cares about them. I teach because I know that I can help them realize their full potential. I teach because I know that education is the key to bringing positive change in our world.”


Jennifer Kollek
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary/Special Education
  • Rhode Island College, M.A. Urban Multicultural Special Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator Mild/Moderate K-8
  • RIDE English as a Second Language Educator

“I feel that children need teachers who care about them and their well being. I have a desire to help children reach their full potential in all areas. I strive to build strong and positive relationships with all of my students and their families. I love to see students making gains and wish for them to find their love of learning. I feel I am making a difference in the lives of my students and there is no better reward as a teacher.”

GRADE 4

Kelly Flynn
Education:
  • Assumption College, B.A. History
  • Assumption College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Providence College, M.A. Literacy
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Reading Specialist/Consultant

“Our school is a community of learners dedicated to trying their best, working together and striving for excellence. We may take different paths to get there, but the goal is same to leave our community, our world a little better than we found it.”


Stephanie Zuba
Education:
  • Stonehill College, B.A. Early Childhood Education, Minor: Psychology
  • University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Study Abroad Advanced Studies in Education
  • University of Phoenix, Certification in Elementary Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Early Childhood Educator
  • RIDE Elementary Educator

“Teaching in my eyes is the gift of giving. My gift is giving students opportunities to surprise themselves through their own skills, critical thinking, creativity, and deep understanding of important ideas. I consider myself to be a compassionate, empathetic, and positive teacher. Being compassionate allows students to be more open and understanding to the world around them. Being positive when things are not easy can have a big impact on everyone around us. As a teacher you build relationships, friendships, and a community. I always like to improve upon things in and outside of the classroom, and what a better place to do that than in the city in which I live and grew up in: Central Falls. Currently, I am given the opportunity to uncover the treasure of the students at Ella Risk School.”
Linda Geremia
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Special Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator Mild/Moderate
  • RIDE Special Educator K-12

“I have always worked in the Central Falls Schools District. I find working in this community has always been challenging and rewarding at the same time. The community and staff make Central Falls a special place to teach and learn.”

GRADES 1-4

Sydney Baram
Education:
  • University of Connecticut, B.S. Human Development and Family Relations: Early Childhood Development
  • Rhode Island College, M.A. Elementary Education, Special Education

Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Education
  • RIDE Special Education K-8
  • RIDE Significant Intellectual Disabilities Ages 3-21

“I enjoy watching student success at the most fundamental level. I cherish working with the diverse populations here in Central Falls, and learning from each child and staff member here. I have a passion for working with students with special needs. I enjoy watching the interaction with typical peers in as a simple a form as saying, ‘hello’ in the hallway. I love watching the teachers, staff, and students become more and more of a unified community each day.”

ITINERANTS

Cheryl Degnan, Librarian
Education:
  • Community College of Rhode Island, ABS Business
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • University of Rhode Island, M.S. Library Science
Certifications:
  • RIDE Library Media
  • National Board Certification

”Growing up in Central Falls and graduating from CFHS was just the start of my education. I LOVE teaching at Ella Risk School because I feel that I am giving back to the community that means a lot to me!”


Richard Sousa, Physical Education/Health Teacher
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.S.
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Business Communications
Certifications:
  • RIDE Physical Education & Health Educator K-12

“I teach because I make a difference in the lives of my students.”


Karin Luther – Health
Education:
  • University of Rhode Island, B.S. Physical Education and Health
Certifications:
  • RIDE Physical Education & Health Educator K-12

“My passion is the elementary-age student. They have exuberance and thirst for knowledge unlike any other! It is my pleasure and honor to teach the children of Central Falls.”
Louriann Mardo-Zayat, Art Teacher
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.S. Art Education
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Studio Art/Photography
  • Rhode Island School of Design, Computer Graphics
  • Rhode Island College, M.A. Arts/Media
Certifications:
  • RIDE Art Educator K-12
  • RIDE English as a Second Language

“I went to Ella Risk School and graduated from Central Falls High School. I’m back not only to teach art, but to inspire and nurture our children to be creative, imagine, dream, and find beauty in the world around them.”


Colleen Schiavone
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Communications
  • Rhode Island College, B.S. PK-12 Music Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE PK-12 Music Educator

“First and foremost, I love music, and enjoy sharing my love of music with my students. I appreciate the different cultures that students bring into the classroom and want them to learn music from their culture and from others around the work. I teach music so that students can recognize beauty, have more love and compassion, and do more good.”



SUPPORT STAFF

Audrey Kilsey, Title I Educator
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Elementary Education & Psychology
  • Rhode Island College, M.A. Elementary Education
  • Brown University, A.M. Teaching English as a Second Language & Cross-Cultural Studies
Certifications:
  • Elementary Educator Grades K-6
  • Middle School Endorsement
  • Social Studies/History Certification
  • Gifted & Talented Educator

“In the early 1900’s my descendants emigrated and settled in the tiniest city, Central Falls in the smallest state, Rhode Island. It was and remains a tossed salad of diverse backgrounds, where I, as a young child, grew up. I learned and appreciated the many cultures I encountered. I graduated from our high school and after college; I chose to give back to the community from which I evolved.”


Kim Hannon, Reading Specialist
Education:
  • Providence College, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Providence College, B.A. Special Education
  • Providence College, M.Ed. Literacy
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator
  • RIDE Special Educator K-8
  • RIDE Reading Specialist/Consultant

“In my opinion, teachers have the most challenging, rewarding, and inspiring job in the world. We truly make a difference in our students’ lives. I am especially fortunate in my position to be able to foster a love of reading within all of my Ella Risk students. Their enthusiasm makes me smile each and every day! Who wouldn’t want to work in such an amazing place?”


Mark Pierpont, Speech-Language Pathologist
Education:
  • Marywood College, B.S. Communication Science & Disorders
  • Marywood University, M.S. Speech-Language Pathology
Certifications:
  • RIDE Speech-Language Pathology K-12

“Communication is the key to success and I feel honored to be a part of improving the communication skills of our students here in Central Falls.”
Heather Noyes-Fredette, Occupational Therapist
Education:
  • Tufts University, B.S. Child Development
  • Tufts University, M.S. Occupational Therapy
Certifications:
  • Therapeutic Listening
  • Astronaut Program
  • Wilbarger Brushing Protocol
  • SOS Feeding Therapist
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests

“I love my kids. There is nothing better than watching them progress and meet their goals. For me, any place I get to play and help children learn feels like home to me.”


Gina Dufresne, Psychologist
Education:
  • Goucher College, B.A. Psychology
  • Richmond College, London
  • University of Rhode Island, M.A. + 30 School Psychology
Certifications:
  • RIDE School Psychologist

“When I was at URI, I did my internship here in Central Falls, mostly at the High School. I got hired right out of school and have worked in the district for over 30 years, so I know a lot about this town: the positives and room for growth. I have advocated for many families and children to access support services in and out of school. I have made a difference and the kids make me smile.”


Amanda Kugler, Speech Language Pathologist
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.S. Communications
  • University of Rhode Island, M.S. Speech-Language Pathology
Certifications:
  • RIDE Certificate of Clinical Competence - Speech-Language Pathology
  • American Speech, Language, Hearing Association

“I love to help ALL children communicate their unique ideas and connect socially to the world!”

CENTRAL FALLS WARRIOR FELLOWS

Lindsay Paiva
Education:
  • Connecticut College, B.A. English, Elementary Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator

“I am called to teach because teaching gives me hope. I strive to work collaboratively with students to build spaces that mirror what I would like to see in the world: a community of learners who are connected and supportive of one another, working together to design creative solutions to difficult problems toward a vision of equity and justice. I work to foster a teaching practice that is centered on love, empathy, and empowerment."
Kerin Medeiros
Education:
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. Secondary Education
  • Rhode Island College, B.A. History
  • Rhode Island College, M.A. Elementary Education
Certifications:
  • RIDE Elementary Educator

“The community of learners at Ella Risk teaches me numerous lessons every week about life, academics, and learning. As a teaching fellow, I get to interact with over 400 students weekly. It is exciting and rewarding!”