Kate Elizabeth Soriero, M.A.
Kate has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Sacred Heart University and is certified in the area of Integrated Early Childhood Education/Special Education. Kate has extensive experience in early childhood education as reflected by her many years as a preschool educator. Kate will be initiating a team approach with the preschool families of her class and believes that communication and partnership with families is key in establishing a supportive and successful environment for her students. Kate is excited to meet our children and learn all she can about each child in order to provide the most effective teaching strategies and resources, guarantee confident, lifelong learners and to make this school year a positive experience for both her students and their families.
Kate was previously the Preschool Head Teacher at PDG Preschool at Groton Little Learners Program for five years and was also an instructional assistant in special education at Sterling Community School where she worked primarily with students in grades 6-8 and served as the assistant soccer coach for both the Varsity and JV soccer teams. Most recently, she has been the preschool teacher for the Sea School program at the Mystic Aquarium. Overall, Kate brings a diversity of teaching experience that will enhance the learning of our preschoolers.
Kate is looking forward to creating a safe and nurturing preschool environment rich with sensory integration as well as hands-on/minds-on opportunities to promote critical thinking skills and meaningful, authentic learning experiences. Kate will incorporate her background in music and love of the creative arts and literature to facilitate each child’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development and provide endless opportunities for self-expression, discovery, problem solving, and social interaction.
Kerry Scarice, M.S.
Kerry is certified in the area of elementary education k-6 and has received her Master of Science in Education from Southern Connecticut State University and her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Child Development from Eastern Connecticut State University. Kerry has experience in elementary education and brings the love of teaching and learning to OLM Prep.
Kerry most recently has been a Cool-ology Teacher which is a high-interest STEM program reaching students in pre-school through grade 4 consisting of hands on, inquiry-based science and engineering experiences. Prior to that she has been a primary grade school teacher at the Norton Public School in Cheshire, Connecticut for 8 years. She has successfully taught at the elementary school level and brings a depth of understanding for these early years of teaching and learning to OLM Prep.
Kerry is looking forward to joining the OLM Prep staff. She is eager to meet her kindergarten friends and their families to begin an exciting year of learning together!
Jill M. Monck
Jill is certified in the area of Early Childhood Education grades 1-3. She has received her educational preparation through Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut. She was actively involved in the school's programming for early childhood education and thoroughly enjoyed her experiences in various primary grade classrooms throughout the region. Jill's experience in these important early primary grades has prepared her to work with early literacy strategies and develop writing skills for her students along with introducing mathematical and science concepts. She brings her enthusiasm and educational preparation to OLM Prep.
Currently Jill works at Memorial Elementary School as an ABA Extended School Year Teacher. She has experience in the primary grades and actively substituted at Memorial Elementary School in East Hampton and for the Naugatuck Public Schools.
Jill is looking forward to meeting all her students and their families. She is excited for a year filled with learning, growing and fun! She will be a wonderful addition to the outstanding teaching staff for the upcoming academic year.
Alexa D’Errico, M.S.
Alexa is certified in the area of Elementary Education and has received her Master of Science in Education from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Elementary Education from Western New England University. Alexa is an experienced teacher at the primary level and has been an Associate Teacher at the first and second grade at the Foote School in New Haven. Alexa says, “Throughout my experience at Foote School, I learned that students in second grade are always up for a challenge. They are determined, eager, and ready for any task they are approached with. Their high energy and playful personalities allow for a positive, upbeat classroom environment."
Alexa is excited to come to OLM Prep to teach 2nd grade because she believes that OLM Prep is a welcoming, positive environment to work in. She loves everything about teaching and feels so fortunate to be a part of the OLM faculty. She strives to create a classroom environment where students are encouraged to be creative and innovative, demonstrate kindness and empathy, and appreciate differences. She also wants to develop students' passions and instill a love of learning for all. Alexa is also looking forward to teaching second graders using the STREAM model. She believe that STREAM allows students to problem solve, work collaboratively, and become innovative, creative learners. “I am very eager to teach second grade because I enjoy the curiosity, positive energy, and creativity of this age level and I cannot wait to be a part of the OLM Prep community,” says Alexa.
We welcome Alexa to OLM Preparatory Academy and excited about the years of experience she will bring to our 2nd grade classroom.
Elise Cappello M.A.T.
Elise is certified in the area of Elementary Education, has her Master of Arts in Teaching from Quinnipiac University, and a BA in English from Pine Manor College in Massachusetts. Elise is an experienced teacher at the grade 3 level as well as several other elementary levels.
Elise is re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom to her sweet 4 1/2 year old son.
Elise is looking forward to getting back into the classroom and inspiring curiosity in all her students. She says, “I want to foster the magic and unique gifts every student has inside of them. I want them to make meaningful choices about their learning, explore, ask questions, and grow so they become lifelong learners who seek answers and know how to problem solve. My job as a teacher is to provide the tools and dynamic environment to facilitate those goals”. One of her favorite quotes is, "The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see." We welcome Elise’s energy for student-centered teaching, learning, and creativity for grade 3 students.
Elise can't wait to meet the rest of the OLM staff, students and families and embark on this new journey together!
Kevin Spedding, M.S.
Kevin completed his Master’s of Science in Education from University of New Haven and is certified in the area of Elementary Education. He has taught in elementary education both in New Jersey and Connecticut.
In addition to his background experience in teaching, Kevin has experience in the corporate world and has also helped create a small non-profit theater company at which he not only staged standard plays and musicals, but also worked with children and adults with disabilities in order to help them stage productions that accommodated their particular needs.
Kevin is looking forward to meeting and getting to know the students and parents of OLM Prep, and learning about their educational needs and desires. Beyond that he’d like to share his love and enthusiasm for learning and help them to come to the understanding that education isn’t merely memorizing facts and figures. Education can be an exciting, fun and dynamic experience that can be enriching, fulfilling, and enjoyable. He has spent a great deal of time learning from some of the best teachers he has ever met in fourth and fifth grade, and he hopes to implement what he has learned about the importance of kindness, patience, and developing challenging lessons for the students in this age group in order to help them understand what it takes to be successful students, and outstanding people.
OLM Prep is excited that Kevin has joined the teaching staff and excited that he will bring his creative talents to teaching math and science to OLM Prep at the grade 4 and 5th grade levels.
Samantha O’Brien, M.A.
Samantha received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Sacred Heart University and is certified in the area of Elementary Education. Samantha has experience in elementary education on several grade levels and understands the vertical alignments necessary in creating a cohesive adjustment to each grade. She completed her student teaching in grade 5 and held various intern positions in grades 1-6. Samantha will work with our 4th grade teacher and provide language arts and social studies to both grade 4 & 5 students. Our OLM Prep students in grade 4 and 5 will switch for their academic core subjects.
Samantha currently works at the Horizon’s Program at Sacred Heart University with students in elementary grades preparing them both academically and socially for the next grade level. She is working with 4th grade students this summer in reading, writing and math. Prior to that she has had several intern positions between Trumbull and Bridgeport. Samantha is looking forward to working with the students at OLM Prep to advance their writing and social studies skills through various lessons she has already started planning. Her favorite style of writing is narrative because it allows for student creativity and expression. She has also completed her student teaching in a fifth-grade writing, social studies and reading--she is looking forward to teaching these topics to her new students at OLM Prep.
Anthony Panico, M.S.
Anthony holds a Master of Science in Environmental Education. He loves instilling a sense of environmental awareness and a sense of respect and gratitude for the natural world from a Christian perspective. This is what he is most looking forward to as a teacher at OLM Prep.
As a certified educator, Anthony has been a middle school teacher at Our Lady of Victory School in West Haven for the past five years teaching science, geography and history. Prior to that he taught in two different teaching assignments in Branford and New Haven. Anthony says, “It is a privilege and an honor to be part of this lifetime opportunity; to be at the forefront of a newly designed and thriving school.” By having sixth grade as a homeroom and teaching science to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, his aim is to create a classroom that fosters academic and social discipline, values community relations, employs critical thinking and scientific exploration, and features active, student-centered learning. Anthony states, “It will indeed be exciting to enthusiastically and creatively share my pedagogical knowledge in addition to building upon and extending the curriculum through engagement of practices and programs that adhere to the Next Generation Science Standards.”
After five years of teaching in a middle school setting, Anthony’s philosophy for a productive and successful learning environment is to have a busy classroom with students’ eager anticipation of what’s next to come. Skills are emphasized, strengths are praised, and weaknesses are viewed as opportunities for making effective adjustments. Since no two classes or even teaching positions are exactly the same, Anthony has developed and utilized a wide selection of instructional and assessment strategies and materials. Instructional methods, in addition to books, include technology-based activities, individual and group projects, presentations, and graphic organizers. In addition, Anthony’s above-mentioned methods will help him to differentiate students' learning abilities. He agrees with Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, so he will seek to incorporate learning and assessment exercises that target the diverse learning styles of his students.
OLM Prep welcomes Anthony Panico to our dynamic staff of teachers.
Heather Heidtman, M.S.
Heather is a certified teacher and received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of New Haven. She has also received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University. Heather is certified in education and will be the teacher for grades 6, 7, and 8 in mathematics for OLM Prep.
Heather most recently completed teaching summer school in a STEM program for the Middletown Public Schools, prior to that she taught at St. Mary's School. Heather has recently participated in the Seedlings Teacher Collaborative in New Haven, CT and gained immense knowledge on how to integrate STEAM in the classroom and has pioneered a Family STEM night. She supports a Makerspace with full student access to rotating choice boards and STEM activities for collaborative project based learning. OLM Prep's Makerspace will provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and mathematics. Heather will continue to align teaching and learning STREAM activities for OLM Prep.
Heather is looking forward to collaborating with families and creating lifelong learners.
Shane is certified in the area of History/Social studies and is receiving his Master of Science from Southern Connecticut State University (December 2018 anticipated). He has also received his undergraduate degree in History from Southern Connecticut State University. Shane is certified in education and will be the teacher for grades 6, 7, and 8 in social studies for OLM Prep.
Shane most recently completed a teaching assignment at The Sound School in New Haven teaching history.
Shane is looking forward to meeting and working with all of the students and their families at OLM Prep. He wishes to encourage and develop a sense of community inside and outside of his classroom for all of his students. He believes that social studies is a very exciting subject that has the ability to change the way that people view the world around them. Shane is very excited to bring his passion for the subject into OLM Prep, and is ready to inspire a new generation of historical thinkers. He strives to create a fun, safe, and positive classroom environment for each and every one of his students. He is very fortunate to be part of such a dynamic group of teachers and is looking forward to an outstanding school year at OLM Prep.
This school year, will be his 34th year at Our Lady of Mercy. He will continue the traditions and the legacy that he has helped establish over the years as Athletic Director, Physical Education teacher and Health Class instructor.
Mr. Geary will oversee afterschool sports for grades 5th-8th, including cross country, soccer, and basketball– while also partnering with other local schools in our community. Mr. Geary will continue to hold the cross country meets at the Surf Club in Madison as has been the school’s tradition for years. For the young children, Mr. Geary is happy to introduce the “Cougar Club Clinics” where students in grades K-4 will also get the opportunity to participate in different sports activities throughout the year.
Mr. Geary has given his life for the Catholic education of our students, and his good works have reached generations of OLM families and supporters. John de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers, once said “Young people need good teachers, like visible angels”. We are delighted that Mr. Geary will continue to be our “visible angel” at OLM Prep.
Lisa M. Finley
Lisa is certified as a Art Integration Specialist and has received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts. She has experience in teaching for more than 20 years in preschool, elementary and middle school. Lisa is also a Certified Master Gardner received from University of Rhode Island and she will create and oversee OLM Prep’s Community Garden located at the lower school at the Old Toll Road campus.
Lisa is currently a Summer Teaching Artist with the Town of Griswold, Youth Services Summer Camp. As a teaching artist to K-8th grade students during the months of June-August she has been developing and implementing engaging fine art projects using recycled and natural materials. Prior to that she was a long-term art teacher for the Griswold Public Schools as the Middle School Art Teacher for grades 5-8 following a twelve year period of teaching art with LEARN Interdistrict Grant Programs for students in K-12.
As a teaching artist and classroom teacher, Lisa says, “I’ve discovered the importance of providing students with a safe, engaging, positive, and enjoyable atmosphere, which in turn allows the student unhindered access to creativity and risk-taking.” Lisa organizes her classroom and coordinates curriculum to embrace this creativity for every student.
Lisa believes that one of the greatest joys in teaching fine art is observing the transformation of a reluctant student into a willing risk-taker, growing in confidence and embracing new possibilities! Lisa states, “It’s been my experience that the creative process and finished piece reflect the students personality, character, and emotions.”
Lisa is excited and feels privileged to be a part of the OLM Preparatory Academy and looks forward to meeting and getting to know the students and their families.
Patricia Hurlburt, B.S.
Patty is a dedicated music teacher, who founded Creative Music to serve the town of Madison and the surrounding towns circa 1987.
She will teach general music to all classes, preK-8 and will direct OLM Prep’s elementary and middle school band. She regularly joins with other musicians to share ideas, and share in performances together. Patty grew up in NY State surrounded by music and pursued her musical interest at SUNY Onondaga and furthered her education at Barrington College in Rhode Island (Gordon College).
Her first official music employment was with the New Bedford Public Schools in MA. She then relocated to CT working with Future Musicians teaching in area Catholic Schools. At that same time, she began her own business, Creative Music Studios, serving private instrumental students, and bringing the joy and fun of music to over twenty preschools on the shoreline. She regularly joins with other musicians to share ideas, and share in performances together. She is currently involved with Sonic Boom, a classic/progressive rock band. She loves writing songs and background music for theater. She also serves in area churches leading worship.
Patricia is excited to come to OLM Prep to meet the students and share her enthusiasm for music. She is looking forward to teaching pitch, rhythm, tone color, and more to the younger students through World and American music. For the older students, applications such as; bucket drumming, instruments, composition and fun activities will bring new discoveries and enhance learning. She enjoys teaching and hopes to inspire the students to appreciate music and grow in their expression.
Tracey comes to us with a wide array of skills but above all else is friendly, competent and compassionate. She is currently manager at Hole in the Wall in New Haven, Connecticut. She is also the artistic curator for the Bird Nest Salon and Gallery Suites in Guilford. She has worked in school settings and her most current educational experience was in Colombia, South America where she was an instructor for 6th, 9th and 10th grade level students. She enjoys the challenge of a busy school office and excited to be able to have a positive impact on students and their families.
Tracey is excited to become a member of our innovative team making a positive difference in the lives of our students.