Teachers & Staff

Meet our Team
  • Dedicated to Education

    The sense of “family” fostered at Community School is evident in the make up of our teachers and staff. Many of our teachers’ first introduction to Community was as a student or parent. We are honored that many of our teachers have spent decades as teachers here – please see the milestones we are so proud of!  Each classroom is under the direction of qualified head teachers and assistant teachers. The program is overseen by an educational director and a business administrator.

    All staff members are trained in First Aid and CPR and are also sensitive to food allergies. Support personnel include an additional “floating” teacher, a music specialist and a movement instructor. Since 1946, the school has also retained the services of a consulting psychologist.

    • Lori Shaw
      Director of Education

      Lori Shaw

      Director of Education

      Lori Shaw is passionate about early childhood education. She loves to watch children grow in knowledge, form relationships, and grow into citizens who are aware and willing to participate in what is happening around them. She believe that children are competent and active builders of their own knowledge and it is an honor to be part of that process.

      Lori is thrilled to join the Great Neck Community School as Director. She began her teaching career as a Dance and Movement educator teaching science, math, social studies and language arts concepts through movement exploration. She also owns and operates a private dance studio. She hold a B.A. in Dance and Movement Education, M.S. Early Childhood Education- Birth through Grade 2, and has a NY State Public School Teacher Certificate- Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2).

      Lori began teaching preschool in 1997. She taught the 4 year olds for 12 years in a private preschool in Old Westbury. In 2009, she joined a private preschool in Port Washington and from 2009-2012, served as the Director of the extended day 3’s and 4’s program, as well as an after school, school-age program. In 2012, she developed an Early Childhood Center for the school, offering preschool classes and extended day programs for children 18 months – 3 years of age. She is delighted to bring her experience and love of early childhood education to the Great Neck Community School.

      She is the mother of 4 grown children: Brittany, Christopher, Daniel, and Patrick.

    • Melissa Zinzi
      Business Administrator

      Melissa Zinzi

      Business Administrator

      Melissa Zinzi has had close ties to the Great Neck Community School throughout her entire life. She attended the school herself, and sent both of her children. When her youngest son graduated from GNCS in 2014, she decided she wanted to stay involved and joined the team as Business Administrator.

      Melissa brings many years of experience in business, customer service, Early Intervention, social work, office and organizational skills to the school, as well as a ready smile.  She has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Social Work.

    • Susan Greif
      Lead Teacher

      Susan Greif

      Lead Teacher

      From her earliest recollections, Susan has always wanted to become a teacher. She was so excited to begin her teaching career as an educator in the NY City Public Schools. Susan taught in the NY City public Schools for five years. Susan left the public school system and became a teacher at GNCS 27 years ago. She is a long time resident of Great Neck, married with two children. Susan is the Lead Teacher in the AM 3’s. She brings her love for learning, discovery, literature and children into every aspect of her teaching and classroom environment. Susan holds a BS in Early Childhood Education. Susan loves seeing the children every day and meeting new families each year.

    • Linda Sklar
      Lead Teacher

      Linda Sklar

      Lead Teacher

      Linda is the Lead Teacher in the extended day Toddler program. She has been a teacher at GNCS for three years. Linda is a mother of three children who attended GNCS. Linda brings her enthusiasm and passion for learning into the Toddler classroom and truly loves working with our youngest friends! Linda holds a BS in Psychology from Stony Brook University and a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education from LIU. Linda is a NYS Certified Teacher.

    • Jane Rubin
      Lead Teacher

      Jane Rubin

      Lead Teacher

      Jane has been a teacher at GNCS for 26 years. It all began when she was an active parent at GNCS; several years later she joined the staff. Social, emotional and academic development are what Jane strives for as she creates new and wonderful learning experiences for the children in her class each day. All activities are individualized according to each child’s ability. The smiles on the children’s faces in the morning and when they go home at the end of the school day confirm the success of Jane’s teaching style and engaging classroom environment. Jane has taught in the 3’s and the 4’s at GNCS. Jane is the Lead Preschool Teacher at GNCS. She looks forward to each day at GNCS and what she and the children can learn from each other. Jane holds a BA in Childhood Education (N-6).

    • Ilene Schuman
      Lead Teacher

      Ilene Schuman

      Lead Teacher

      Ilene lived in Great Neck since she was a child and attended GNCS herself! After leaving GNCS she went on to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree at Adelphi University and her Master’s Degree at Hofstra University in Early Childhood Education. Ilene is a NYS Certified Teacher. Through the years she has taught young babies leading Gymboree classes right through high school aged students teaching Accounting. Ilene has found her true passion working with preschoolers. Ilene is the Lead Teacher in the AM 3’s program and she is beginning her 16th year as a teacher at GNCS. She has worked with 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s and has taught various enrichment classes including: Books and Cooks, Little Players, and Art.

      Ilene’s involvement with the GNCS started as a parent when both her own children attended the program. During those years as a parent Ilene served on the Board as Treasurer. As a hobby, Ilene breeds and raises standard poodles for the show ring and as pets. She truly enjoys spending time with her family!

    • Linda Chessen
      Lead Teacher

      Linda Chessen

      Lead Teacher

      Before teaching at Great Neck Community School, Linda Chessen worked in the Great Neck School District’s Parent-Child Home Program. Linda has been working at GNCS for over 28 years. She has worked at GNCS as an Assistant Teacher in the 3’s and 4’s programs, and as a Lead Teacher of the 4’s. Linda has been a Lead Teacher in the Toddler Program for the past 4 years and loves working with our youngest friends! She has also taught Science and Puppetry enrichment classes, as well as Stay and Play classes. Linda holds an Associate Degree in Education and a CDA Specialty in Early Childhood. Linda enjoys sharing her love of literature, storytelling and puppetry with her students.

    • Helene Simon
      Lead Teacher

      Helene Simon

      Lead Teacher

      Helene just celebrated her 40th anniversary as a Lead teacher at GNCS. Helene is the Lead Teacher of the afternoon inter-age 3 and 4’s program and the Lead Teacher of the after school program. She knew since she was five years old that she wanted to teach young children and she followed that dream, getting her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught 3’s, 4’s and inter-age classes and has a great deal of floating experience with the 2 year olds. She loves working with them all.
      She has a passion for science, art and literature and has taught Enrichment classes in all of these areas. She shares her enthusiasm for these interests with the children and really enjoys seeing their passion for them grow throughout the school year. She walks into GNCS each day with the same joy and excitement she had forty years ago and she conveys that to her classes everyday. Helene is a NYS Certified Teacher.

    • Julia Lentini
      Assistant Teacher

      Julia Lentini

      Assistant Teacher

      Julia is from Great Neck and is currently a Junior at Hofstra University, pursuing a degree in Finance. She a passion for early childhood education and truly enjoys working with young children! Ms. Julia has worked in various summer camps for the past five years. She enjoys her daily interaction with the children and looks forward to seeing their smiling faces! Ms. Julia is an Assistant Teacher in our afternoon program.

    • Maria Citarella
      Assistant Teacher

      Maria Citarella

      Assistant Teacher

      Mrs. Maria Citarella comes to the GNCS with a wealth of experience working in Early Childhood. Maria has been a teacher’s assistant in early childhood school programs for over fifteen years, in the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. She is a mother of three children, Alyssa, Elaina and Johnny. Along with her work in early childhood education, Maria directed a weekly dinner program in Old Westbury for over 100 people where she created healthy meals and coordinated special events for preschool children and their families. Maria also volunteered for an after school, school age program with 3rd and 4th graders where she instructed cooking classes. Maria loves working with children of all ages and we are excited to have her as part of the GNCS staff.

    • Andrea Agate
      Assistant Teacher

      Andrea Agate

      Assistant Teacher

      Andrea has been working at GNCS for 11 years as an Enrichment teacher and 10 years as an Assistant teacher in the 3’s program. Both Andrea’s 17 year old son and 15 year old daughter attended GNCS for the 3 and 4 year old programs. While a parent at GNCS Andrea was the Fall Co-chair. Before coming to GNCS Andrea worked with children with special needs in a therapeutic nursery school program in Brooklyn and she worked in a day treatment facility with dual diagnosed adults in Westchester. Andrea holds a Master’s in Education in School Psychology. Andrea has created engaging Enrichment classes where she shares her passion for art, literature, cooking and travel with her students through hands on activities. 20 years ago Andrea earned her black belt in karate.

    • Annette Molina
      Assistant Teacher

      Annette Molina

      Assistant Teacher

      Annette has been teaching at GNCS since 2002. Annette is an Assistant Teacher in the Am 3’s program, an Assistant Teacher in the afternoon inter-age program. Annette is also a Lead Teacher in our fun filled summer camp program. She has three children in college and truly enjoys working in early childhood. Annette brings her enthusiasm and passion for early childhood education into every aspect of her teaching and interaction with the children. Annette began her career at GNCS working with the 3’s and Toddlers. She has been working with Helene Simon for at least 10 of her 13 years on staff. Annette has also taught a variety of Enrichment classes at GNCS. Annette holds a CDA, Child Development Associate Degree in Preschool.

    • Kecia Kagan
      Assistant Teacher

      Kecia Kagan

      Assistant Teacher

      Kecia is a former GNCS parent and a former member of the board. Kecia is an Assistant Teacher in the Toddler Program. She has many years experience working with children ranging in ages 2 through 5 years of age at GNCS. Kecia received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Sociology from Queens College. While continuing her studies, she worked for the National Society of Autism where she was trained and certified as a Therapy Assistant. Prior to becoming part of the GNCS staff, Kecia worked at Open Door, The Montessori School at Lakeville Jewish Center and the NYC public school system as a Substitute Teacher. Kecia’s passion lies in early childhood and she loves working with all the children at GNCS.

    • Celina Morales
      Assistant Teacher

      Celina Morales

      Assistant Teacher

      We are very excited to have Celina as part of the GNCS staff this year as an Assistant Teacher in the Toddler Program. She comes to the GNCS with a many years experience in child development and early childhood education. Celina has been working in early childhood as a Toddler Teacher and as a Teacher in 3’s, 4’s and school age programs. Celina is a mother of an eight year old daughter named Natalia. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family. Celina became an early childhood teacher because she loves working with young children, getting messy and exploring! She brings her love for discovery and exploration into the classroom with hands on, engaging experiences. Her goal is to provide a loving environment for the children, while enriching their lives and having fun! Celina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood from Long Island University.

    • Jackie Abreu
      Assistant Teacher

      Jackie Abreu

      Assistant Teacher

      Jackie has been working in early childhood since 1997. When she had her first child she started working at The Learning Window Preschool in Great Neck; that’s where she realized her passion was working with young children in early childhood education. In an effort to become more knowledgeable and continue in her desired field, she enrolled in classes in Early Childhood Education. In 2007, Jackie became an Assistant Teacher at GNCS; she is currently an Assistant Teacher in the 3’s program. Jackie brings her energy and caring nature into all aspects of her teaching and interactions with the children. Throughout her time at GNCS, she has worked with children ages two through five years of age and has led the children in enrichment programs such as soccer, jump bunch, literature and art. Jackie loves working at GNCS and feels blessed to be part of the school community.

    • Kellie Selvan
      Assistant Teacher

      Kellie Selvan

      Assistant Teacher

      Kellie is the mother of two boys and was fortunate to have been able to stay at home for several years to nurture them and watch them grow. Fours years ago, she joined the staff at GNCS and was amazed by the amount of love and support that she found. Kellie feels blessed and thankful for the opportunity to work in a nurturing environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help them learn and build self confidence. Kelli is an Assistant Teacher in the Toddler program and takes pride in the fact that she has an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of her students on a daily basis. Kelli holds a CDA in Early Childhood and truly enjoys working with our youngest friends!

    • Sharon Strogin
      Assistant Teacher

      Sharon Strogin

      Assistant Teacher

      Sharon is an Assistant Teacher at Great Neck Community School for the past five years. She has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, where she studied photography and sculpting with clay. As a professional photographer her work appears in many publications. For the past six years she has worked at the Workmen’s Circles Camp Kinder Ring & Circle Lodge as the camp photographer, and arts and crafts specialist teaching various different types of art, including painting, sculpture, jewelry design and of course photography. While working at GNCS Sharon has worked with the 2’s, 3’s and 4 year olds. She developed our Claymations Enrichment program where children strengthen their fine motor silks, while working with different types of clay. Sharon is also our Memory book Chairperson.

    • Courtney Cox
      UPK Teacher

      Courtney Cox

      UPK Teacher

      Courtney is a new member of the faculty at the Great Neck Community School this year. Courtney is a UPK Teacher in the Preschool classroom. She received her undergraduate degree at Loyola University in Maryland where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s of science in education. She then continued on to attend Hofstra University to earn a master’s degree in the areas of Literacy and Special Education. She is currently a NYS certified teacher in the areas of Childhood Education, Literacy, and Special Education. For the past four years Courtney has worked as a permanent substitute teacher in the Middle Country and Massapequa Public School districts. Although Courtney has a great deal of experience working with elementary school aged students, she has always enjoyed working with younger children. Courtney finds the early childhood classroom both inspiring and rewarding and enjoys the children’s daily excitement and natural drive to learn. Courtney is a caring, warm, and enthusiastic teacher. She is ecstatic to be a part of our faculty this year and to be a part of our students’ earliest schooling experiences.

    • Holli Ann LaRocca
      Music Teacher

      Holli Ann LaRocca

      Music Teacher

      Holli brings the sounds of music to Great Neck Community School. She teaches the children how to make and appreciate music. She leads rousing sing-alongs, teaches the children how to make music with instruments and found objects, and brings the delights of each season to life through song.

    • Lenora Gim
      Yoga Teacher

      Lenora Gim

      Yoga Teacher

      Lenora is a Certified yoga instructor with over 18+ years of deep experiential knowledge of all styles of yoga such as Restorative, Vinyasa Flow and Hatha yoga. Lenora is an enthusiastic and compassionate teacher who creates well organized and fun yoga experiences for children. Lenora’s goal is to inspire and guide her students to experience the wellness of yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. She holds a B.A. in Art History and Photography and holds a Yoga Certification in Restorative Yoga, Kids Yoga and Vinyasa Flow.

Your Questions, Answered

Call and speak with our staff, or request that a current parent contact you.

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