Preschool & Early Childhood Administration
Kirstin Aadahl, Assistant Director
Before working at Third Street, Kirstin was a 5th grade Special Education Teacher at a private special education school in New Jersey. She has a BA degree in Special Education and taught for 14 years. She loves being part of the wonderful community at Third Street, working closely with both staff and families.
Elaine Winter, Director
Elaine is a longtime advocate for quality early childhood and elementary education. Her experience includes many years as Lower School Head of the Little Red School House (LREI), which she helped to grow as an inclusive progressive institution. She has since directed The Parenting Center at Henry Street Settlement and served as Director of Admissions at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School.
Elaine has published numerous articles on early childhood education and was recently a regular participant in Scholastic, Inc’s Top Teaching blog. She has spoken on educational topics related to parenting, diversity and classroom dynamics.
Elaine has known Third Street Music School since her own children and grandchildren attended. She is delighted to be a part of the vibrant community that is Third Street Preschool today.
Preschool & Early Childhood Faculty
Yuka Aikawa, Piano Accompanist
Yuka began playing piano at the age of five in her native country, Japan. She studied classical piano and dalcroze eurhythmics (music education) at Kunitachi college of music, Tokyo. After graduating from music school, she became interested in jazz and moved to NYC. She studied at Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where she received her M.A. in jazz performance under the guidance of Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath. Yuka joined Third street music school in 2013, accompanying for pre-ballet classes and movement classes.
Ashley Byler, Music Teacher
Ashley is an early childhood music specialist at Third Street. She grew up performing in regional musical theatre and dance companies and now lives between NYC and Alaska, where for two decades she’s taught early childhood music and movement. She has a BA in Music from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (vocal performance and cello) and an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College.
Ashley is also on the educational team at Orchestrating Dreams NYC, an El Sistema program in Washington Heights. She collaborates with artists of all ages to create original work in dance, performance and musical media with a focus on experiencing and expressing ideas with the whole self.
Crystal Bock, Toddler Teacher
Crystal is the head teacher in the Toddler Program. She received her B.F.A. in Drama at N.Y.U., with master’s degree work in early childhood education at N.Y.U. and Bank Street College of Education. Prior to her arrival at Third Street, she taught at Children’s Aid Society, BabyMoves, and Citibabes. Her own two children are Third Street Preschool graduates.
Maite Castillo, Associate Teacher
Maite received B.A. from SUNY/Albany with concentrations in Spanish Literature and Film. She worked in television commercial production in New York City for 15 years. In 2011, Maite began volunteering at Third Street’s preschool and then started working as part of the classroom. Her two sons are Third Street Preschool graduates and are currently piano and trumpet students.
Shannon Chapman, Pre-Ballet Teacher
Shannon grew up in dancing! She went on to study dance and economics at SUNY Binghamton University, then continued her training at Broadway Dance Center. In 2012 Shannon became Assistant Director of the Connecticut Dance Center in Stamford, CT. She completed her MA in Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt in 2017. While at NYU, Shannon received ABT certification in pre-primary through Level 5. She has participated in numerous dance performances and continues to teach creative movement, tap, contemporary dance and ballet. Shannon is delighted to be Third Street’s Pre-Ballet teacher.
Honora Dearie, Associate Teacher
Honora is an Associate teacher in the 2/3’s morning class. She received a BA in Sociology from Fairfield University and a MSW from Columbia University. She is a licensed mastered social worker with experience working with children with special needs. Her own children are Third Street Preschool graduates.
Nancy DeJesús, Head Teacher
Nancy is the head teacher in the Full-Day Fours room at Third Street Preschool. Prior to her arrival to Third Street, she worked as a lead teacher in a Fours classroom at Barrow Street Nursery School as well as a head counselor in the summer program at LREI.
Nancy holds a BA in English and an MS in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College as well as an MA in English from The College of Staten Island. She is New York State Certified in Early Childhood Education and was the 2014 recipient of Hunter College’s Most Promising Teacher Researcher in Early Education Award.
Janelle Diaz, Associate Teacher
Janelle is an associate teacher in the 2/3’s 5-Day class. She graduated High School in 1998 and also has a diploma in Computer studies. Janelle worked in administration and sales in St.Lucia for 5 years.She moved to New York in 2005 and has worked as a caregiver since. Part of her childcare experience is dedicated to working with children with autism.
EiLeen Doster, Associate Teacher, Coordinator of Art & Garden Programs
EiLeen is an experienced Associate Teacher in the 3/4s afternoon class. She began her career at Third Street in 1984, and has taught independent art classes, toddler groups and preschool classes. Currently, EiLeen is our school’s garden coordinator and preschool art teacher. She received her BFA from The School of Visual Arts in painting and also studied at SUNY/Empire State College and Bank Street College of Education. EiLeen has worked in film and animation and has exhibited work in numerous NYC galleries.
Alexandra Fresne, Head Teacher
Alex is a Head Teacher in the 2s and 2/3s classrooms. Prior to Third Street Preschool, she worked as a head teacher at Explore and Discover for four years working with children 0-3 years old and as an outdoor education teacher for two years for elementary school children. Alex received her BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is currently working towards her MS in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College.
Cathy Guy, Head Teacher, Music Specialist
Cathy studied art history, dance, and education at Goddard College and SUNY/New Paltz. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the City College of New York. Cathy received her Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College and is New York State Certified in Early Childhood Education. In addition to music exploration, her educational interests include early childhood literature and community exploration.
An early childhood music specialist, Cathy also teaches children from 12 months to 5-years-old. For the past five years, she has participated as a writer and teacher-trainer in a program entitled PreK-Create, an arts teaching partnership between Third Street Music School and the NYC Board of Education.
Jean LaPointe, Associate Teacher
Jean is an Associate Teacher in the Full Day 4s class. She received a BA in English and American Literature from Eastern Nazarene College. She has worked in the Third Street Preschool for 15 years while also managing her family’s restaurant. Her two sons are Third Street Preschool graduates and both continued in the music school as piano and guitar students.
Mik Manenti, Music & Movement Teacher
For thirty years, Mik has been Third Street’s Music and Movement Specialist. In addition to teaching independent toddler movement classes, Mik teaches weekly classes within the preschool. She incorporates the Orff/Kodaly approaches into her program, linking these to classroom curriculum. Mik has an extraordinary (magical) way of communicating with young children. She is a revered member of the Preschool faculty. Her extensive training embraces dance, movement, and theater. Mik has a BFA in Theater and MA in Dance from New York University.
Logan Martin, Associate Teacher
Logan is an Associate Teacher in the Full-Day Fours class. From 2010 until 2017, they performed as a professional ballet dancer with companies such as the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Houston Ballet, and Ballet West. Shifting their career path, they then worked as the childcare supervisor with the Fitness Kid’s Club of Salt Lake City. After developing their talent and passion for early childhood education, Logan moved to New York and worked as a nanny with a wonderful family for 2 years. They have expertise in patiently developing communication skills, emotional intelligence, and grit in young children.
Naydelyn Nieves, Associate Teacher
Naydelyn has a long history with Third Street Music School, and is delighted to return this year as the Toddler Associate Teacher. She has taught in Third Street’s Summer Camp, and is a full time student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she majors in Early Childhood Education. Her educational focus is children with special needs. As a child, Naydelyn attended Third Street Preschool, summer camp, and music classes.
Marini Pickering, Head Teacher
Marini is a Teacher in the 2-Day 2s and the 3-Day 2/3s Class and is currently completing her graduate degree for Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. She has worked with children in research, within elementary and childcare settings and as an educator at the Staten Island Children’s Museum. She is a Third Street alum, having taken cello lessons at the school as a child. She began assisting the toddler program at Third Street in the spring of 2015. Marini holds an AA (Bard College), BA in Neuroscience (Earlham College) and graduate credits in the field of Neuroscience and Developmental Disability (CUNY, College of Staten Island). She is currently pursuing her MSEd in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College.
Susan Taliaferro, Associate Teacher
Susan is delighted to be joining Third Street Preschool as Associate Teacher in the Three/Fours class. She has long been an ongoing volunteer with children’s organizations, such as the Girl Scouts of New York City, and an active PTA participant in her daughter’s neighborhood elementary school.
Susan is a graduate of Marymount College where she studied Fashion Merchandising and then worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years. She and her family lived for six years in Hong Kong, until 2016. Since then, they make their home in the East Village.
Jennifer White, Head Teacher
Jennifer is the Two/Threes Head Teacher and is currently completing her graduate degree for Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. She has worked with children in various capacities including theatre, private child care, and after school programs. Jennifer started her Third Street journey as a substitute teacher and was most recently an Associate Teacher in the Full-Day Fours and Two/Threes. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys theatre, reading, and cuddling with her two dogs. She is delighted to be a part of the Third Street family.
Michele Wolfson, Music Specialist
Michele lived in London for 18 years where she led education projects for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and was a founding member of two El Sistema music education programs: In Harmony Lambeth and The Nucleo Project. She received her B.A. at Colgate University, her MEd at Harvard University, and her PGCert at Roehampton University (London, UK).
Here in NYC Michele works as an early childhood music specialist with the Little Orchestra Society and the WHIN Music Project, an El Sistema music education program for children in Washington Heights/Inwood. In addition to teaching, Michele enjoys singing with the Oratorio Society of New York.
Kim Wurster, Associate Teacher
Kim has been teaching downtown NYC’s littlest learners for over thirty years. Prior to Third Street Preschool, she ran her own early childhood program, Little Peep Prep, and was the Lead Teacher at the Early Childhood Center for Infants and Toddlers at Children’s Aid Society in Greenwich Village. Kim has a BA from Empire State College in Educational Studies with an emphasis on drama and literature in the preschool classroom. She looks forward to continuing her studies at Bank Street in their Infant and Family Development program which has a focus on Early Intervention.