About Our Educators & Staff
Our team of educators and staff is one of the key reasons First Presbyterian has been so successful at fostering capable learners. The entire school staff is committed to providing quality care for children. All our teachers come to the classroom prepared and excited to provide the loving care all children deserve, and encourage them to learn rather than teach at them.
Every teacher at the school has embraced the dynamic and evolving facets of the Reggio model. The staff is highly trained in the many aspects of childhood development and education. At a minimum, staff must have earned or must be working toward their Child Development Associate certification, and must complete 24 hours of continued training in early childhood education each year. Our teachers are observed and evaluated annually to encourage professional growth and development. Prior to employment we conduct a criminal history check and FBI fingerprint check to verify the background of each employee. We also require annual CPR & First Aid training, and a health assessment with negative TB test on file.
Our school is committed to maintaining a high adult to child ratio. Small, intimate classes with ample adult interaction means our students receive the attention they need for guided learning. Educators use “observation and documentation” to track each student’s understanding and achievements over time. This helps us monitor tangible development, and is a great resource for parents in understanding how their child is doing.
Meet Our Faculty & Staff
Teresita CalzadillaTeresita has been with working here at First Presbyterian Preschool for the past 4 years. She is certified as a community health worker, which allows here to work with disabled children, and is also a certified Iridologist. She is a bilingual teacher, and offers all of her lessons in both English and Spanish. She is honored to have a job that requires her to not only take care of children, but also help care for them with heart and mind and lead them along the path of education.
Heather DavisHeather started out at First Presbyterian Preschool as a parent volunteer before joining the school’s board. After two years as a board member, she was invited to be a substitute teacher for the school, before eventually becoming a full time teacher here. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Texas State University. She’s excited to be working with the kids here at First Presbyterian Preschool.
Desiree DeAngeloDesiree has over ten years of experience teaching Kindergarten. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas State University, and spent 9 years teaching Kindergarten at Logan Elementary. She has had many connections to First Presbyterian Preschool over the years. Her brother attended the school and two aunts have taught here as well.
Katie FeuilleKatie has spent the past 4 years as part of the Kinder team, but her history with First Presbyterian Preschool goes all the way back to 2002, when she brought baby Milo to the two-year old class. Over the next 10 years, she brought all of her kids to be nurtured in this amazing place. She also volunteered during that time, and even served on our board. She has a B.A in Education and English from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently working on her master’s degree in library science. She loves to bring her experiences into practice in a classroom environment, helping the Kinder students become readers and writers through storytelling, conversation, reading, and of course writing.
Erika FuentesErika has over 18 years of experience working with children and has been a teacher for 10 years. She has an Associates Degree in Child Development as well as Child Care Administrator credentials. During the summer, she’s the zoo comp teacher at the El Paso Zoo.
Tina GladdenTina is originally from California, and spent 6 years working at First Presbyterian Church Preschool in Monrovia before moving to El Paso. She has an Associates Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences and teacher certifications in Early Childhood Education from Citrus College in Glandale, CA. She is currently working on completing her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She looks forward to an amazing journey as your helper and as your child’s first teacher.
Melissa GonzalesMelissa has been working here at First Presbyterian Preschool for three years. Prior to that, she worked with different age groups in the El Paso School district. She is attending classes to earn her child development certification and is looking forward to bringing all that she learns into the classroom. She finds working with young kids to be a beautiful experience.
Suzanna HallmarkSuzanna is our bookkeeper, and she’s been with First Presbyterian Preschool for 13 years. She attended Trinity University in San Antonio, earning a degree in Asian Studies/Business, before going back to college later on to study accounting and earn her CPA license. She started working at First Presbyterian when her youngest son was in Kindergarten here. Her sons are all grown up now, but she still feels lucky to be a part of this amazing preschool.
Claudia JuarezClaudia has 17 years of teaching experience with an emphasis on Montessori. She is certified as a Montessori guide by Children’s House (teaching children 306 years, Pre-K and Kinder). She completed her training in San Diego before earning her Masters in Education (major in Child Development ages 3-6) in Baltimore. Her main goal is to help children develop according to their individual needs, while providing appropriate learning opportunities to help their brains establish the proper connections during this age. Working at First Presbyterian Preschool has given her the opportunity to do what she likes the most – instructing little ones.
Bonnie KassanjeeBonnie has been teaching for 20 years, 17 of those at First Presbyterian Preschool. She has a Child Development Associate Credential and has been teaching for 20 years. She and her husband, Harish, have lived in El Paso for 31 years, and have 2 sons, who are UTEP and UTSA graduates. She enjoys working alongside a great staff and watching her students learn and grow as they build confidence and self-esteem.
Ms. Kliebert has several years of previous experience in the administrative, management and financial fields. She began working at First Presbyterian Preschool on March 1, 1999, gaining valuable experience about our program as the Administrative Assistant to the Director, as an alumni parent and as a Board member at the Preschool.
Charlene LievanosCharlene has been teaching here at First Presbyterian for 17 years. She attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where she studied Sociology. She also holds a CDA credential –a credential that helps promote the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of young children. She currently sits on the PdNAEYC board as secretary, serving as an advocate for children and helping to train teachers and child care workers in the El Paso area. She believes that children are capable participants in the planning and implementing of all learning. She has lived in El Paso with her husband for 20 years and has two grown children.
Michelle MeredithMichelle has been teaching for 12 years, starting with teaching psychology to high school seniors at Loretto Academy. She then moved to Austin and spent ten years teaching at Westlake Hills Presbyterian Preschool. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso and has taken classes in Child Development at Austin Community College. It is her goal to guide each child to grow, learn, and explore in this new place.
Ali NealAli is a First Presbyterian Preschool graduate herself and currently works with our MMO students. She was born and raised right here in El Paso and is currently studying psychology at UTEP, with the ultimate goal of being a clinical child psychologist. She enjoys every moment working with children and learning about them. She finds working in our child-based learning environment inspiring, exhilarating, and enlightening.
Mrs. Neal has a B.A. in Preschool and Elementary Education from the University of Florida. She has worked in the early childhood field since 1979. Cece is the founding director of First Presbyterian Preschool. Mrs. Neal is a member of The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance and on the Paso Del Norte Association for the Education of Young Children. She is also a member of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children and NAEYC and a member of the Southern Early Childhood Association.