East Setauket/Port Jeff Station Location
Sarah Gounaris – Owner/Director
After not being able to find a preschool she loved for her own daughter, Sarah decided to start her own and opened Mill Pond’s Stony Brook location in 2013. In 2017, she opened the second location in Port Jefferson Station. Sarah has worked in childcare for 16 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in child development/sociology from BYU-Idaho where she graduated in 2005. Sarah grew up in New Mexico, but now lives in East Setauket with her husband and 3 kids, Caroline (13), AJ (11), Zachary (6), her cat, KitKat, and dog, Coco.
Samantha Blandi – Asst Director/Preschool Teacher
Sam started working at Mill Pond’s Stony Brook location in September 2014. At the time, her daughter was 2.5 and it was the perfect place for them to both learn and grow. Sam graduated from St. Joseph’s in 2006 with her degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. Before teaching preschool, she worked at a community residence for the mentally ill. While she loved that job, she felt more suited for teaching little ones. Ms. Sam has worked in our infant room, toddler room and preschool room. You may see her greeting your child at the door, singing and dancing with the 3 year old’s, or in the office doing paperwork. Ms. Sam lives in Miller Place with her husband and 2 kids, Dominick (13), Avery (9), and her puppy, Enzo.
Heather Riddle – Infant Teacher
Miss Heather has worked at Mill Pond since 2017. Prior to working at Mill Pond she was a stay-at-home mom to four beautiful children – Jarrod, Victoria, Kiera, and AJ. When her kids got older, she decided to return to work and working with small children was just what she wanted! She has really found her niche in infants and toddlers and recently completed her CDA in infant/toddler development. She uses what she learned in the classroom along with what she’s learned raising her children to create a homey, loving environment for your child to learn and grow. She loves singing, blowing bubbles, and reading with the babies. She’s big on literature and wants to foster an early love for reading with the infants. She has found the perfect way by reading board books and singing nursery rhymes with the babies. She is looking forward to continuing to work with children and watching them grow up.
Jennifer Becker – Pre-K Teacher
Miss Jennifer is one of the two lead Pre-K teachers at Mill Pond. This is her first year joining us after the
preschool she previously worked at closed due to the pandemic. Jennifer graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2003 and received her Master’s in Literacy Education in 2006 from Dowling College. After several years working in district, she began her own family and decided to stay home with her children, Ally (14) and Nicholas (10). Once her children became school aged, she decided to return to work. She realized she enjoyed teaching the little ones and found a love for early childhood education.
Kathy Schoemmell – Pre-K Assistant
Miss Kathy has been working at Mill Pond since 2019. Miss Kathy grew up on Long Island and has always loved being able to be so close to the water. She and her husband moved to the Three Village area over twenty years ago and have been raising their two children here.
Julianna Romano - Prepper Teacher
Miss Julianna teaches our new "Prepper" room for kids who are 2.5-3 years old. She has been working at Mill Pond since 2019. Julianna loves working with children and has been babysitting since as early as the age of 12. She graduated from Comsewogue High School in 2019 and is currently in her last year at Suffolk County Community College where she is studying Liberal Arts. Julianna will soon move on to SUNY Old Westbury to study early childhood/elementary education. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, which includes her mom, dad and sister Abbie who also works at Mill Pond!
Deanna Calascibetta - Preschool Assistant Teacher
Deanna has been working at Mill Pond since 2018, when she was a student at the HS across the street. She graduated from Ward Melville High school in 2019 and is currently in her last semester at Suffolk County Community College where she is a Liberal Arts major. She lives in East Setauket with her mom, dad, and 2 younger brothers, Dominic(19), and Michael(9). In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends and spending quality time with her family.
Abbie Romano - Assistant Teacher
Abbie is currently a senior at Comsewogue High School and will be graduating June 2022. She started at Mill Pond this past February and works along side with her sister Julianna! After High School she is planning to start off at Suffolk as a major in liberal arts. She has always enjoyed being around children. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family!
Grace Bellavia - Pre-K Teacher
Gabriella Brekne - Toddler Teacher
Galit Weisman - Assistant Toddler Teacher
Allie Costigan - Assistant Teacher
Jenna Wexler - Assistant Teacher
Joella Graci - Assistant Teacher
Lexie Jackson - Assistant Teacher
Annette Turner - Substitute Teacher
Stony Brook Location
Kristin Cline -- Director
Miss Kristin has studied and worked in all aspects of childcare. She earned her BS in Special Education and her Masters in Early Childhood Education. Kristin and her husband, Erik, highly recommend Mill Pond. Their daughters Kamryn and Karlyn are graduate and student respectively. She believes conscientious parents and committed educators can make a difference in every child’s life.
Darleen Nulty—Assistant Director
Miss Darleen has earned both her BS in Educational Studies and the New York State Children’s Program Administrator Credential. She respects the fact that children develop at their own unique pace. She is here to enjoy the children as well as give support and encouragement to the teachers.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kathy Forman—Infant Teacher
Miss Kathy has earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. She began working exclusively with infants in 2004. To quote a parent, “Kathy loves the children in her care as if they are her own".
Maegan Cline—Pre-K Teacher
Miss Maegan has earned her CDA credential and has been a part of our team since 2015. Her 10+ years before coming to Mill Pond were spent working with children. Her students are recipients of her creative, imaginative, and loving teaching style.
_______________________________________________________Susana Ferreira—Pre-School Teacher
Miss Susana is a graduate of Purdue Global and has earned her BS in Early Childhood Administration. She believes that children learn and grow by being in an interactive environment. She brings her unique brand of love and caring to her class.
Analisa Cutinella—Infant Assistant
Miss Analisa studied Business and Early Childhood at Suffolk County Community College. She has the ability to communicate with the children on their level. She inspires the children while she loves and cares for them.
_______________________________________________________ Maria Hartmann—Toddler Teacher
Miss Maria earned her Associates in Liberal Arts at Suffolk County Community College. She has been working with children since 2001. Miss Maria is knowledgeable and competent in every classroom. The children respond positively to her caring and loving presence.
Vanessa Alonso—Asst. Pre-School Teacher
Vanessa is a graduate of Ward Melville High School. She is the proud mother of two little ones. She has worked with pre-school children since 2010. She has a great deal of energy, love, and a positive attitude...all of which are needed to keep up with these little ones.
Felicity Solberg—Asst. Pre-K Teacher
Miss Felicity earned her CDA credential in high school at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Early Childhood Education Program. She is continuing her education at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. Her desire is for each child to enjoy learning as much as she does.
Kayla Zimba - Asst. Toddler Teacher