The Mother Teresa Academy Family
Ms. Debbie Maddalone
Executive DirectorMs. Debbie is a “jackie of all trades”! She has worked in a hands on blue collared position as well as taking care of children. She brings all her experience over the years, now being with MTA for 10 years. She has established a friendly and familiar rapport with our children, parents, staff, administration and anyone who might walk through our door or telephone our office.
Ms. Debbie has created a culture of learning, fun and family while delivering the core values of a Catholic School.
When Ms. Debbie is not greeting guests, she keeps very busy with all the numerous tasks necessary to keep the school organized and running smoothly. She truly enjoys her position and the versatility it gives her to get to know everyone involved with MTA.
Ms. Debbie attended private Catholic school all of her educational years, is the Mother of 4 children, Grandma to a beautiful baby girl Charlotte and the 3rd oldest of 13 siblings.
Marketing Director and Founder of Mother Teresa AcademyMrs. Maddalone followed her vision and listened to God’s voice when He told her to go and open a school where children would learn to apply Catholic Christian values to their everyday lives. It was then that Mother Teresa Academy was founded in 2006 with she as its’ Director.
Joyce is the matriarch of the Maddalone family; which includes her husband, Hank of fifty-one years, eight sons, six daughters, thirty-eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
For over 40 years Joyce has taken an active role in the community, for 50 years, she has been a registered nurse with a Bachelor’s in Human Services. Joyce was the Nursing Director and Founder of Action Nursing Service and Maddalone Medical Supplies. Joyce previously combined her love of children and nursing as the nurse at St. Paul the Apostle and St. John the Evangelist Schools in Schenectady, N.Y. where she donated her time for many years. Even though her children were grown; Joyce was a Girl Scout leader for 20 years as well as having been a Boy Scout Leader for 10 years. Joyce is a member of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Glenville, N.Y., where she is one of the Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters and Lectors. Joyce is a member of the weekly Prison Ministry at Mount McGregor Prison, a Rite of Christian Initiation team member, a member of the Parish Nurses, member of the Elizabeth Mother Ministry, a member of the Welcoming Committee and has participated in four medical missions to Peru and the Dominican Republic. Joyce has been a member of the Glenville Rotary for more than twenty years and is a past President. Joyce is also a member of the Southern Saratoga Chamber Of Commerce..
Have you taken a breath yet? It is hard to believe how much living Joyce gets out of her life. One of her favorite expressions is, “when you need something done, ask a busy person.” Joyce was recently featured in Success Magazine, was awarded the Girl Scout’s “Women of Distinction Award” and was recognized by the Times Union as one of the twenty five people who make a difference in the Capital District.
When we look for role models for our children, Joyce’s name can easily be at the top of the list. Joyce is a leading example of when we put our faith in God and follow the path that He has set before us; blessings happen. Joyce has and will always find a way to be a central part of the community. Her entire life has been devoted to her children and the children of others, is a believer in the dreams of children, a motivator to encourage them, she has chosen to dedicate her life to the children.
Ms. Holli Riviezzo
Assistant DirectorMs. Holli Riviezzo is entering her fifth year at MTA. Her first three years were in the classroom teaching Pre-K and this year she is stepping into the Assistant Director position. Holli received her Early Childhood Education degree from Sage College of Albany and she has twenty plus years of Early Childhood Education experience.
Ms. Holli currently resides in Niskayuna with her three children. Isabella 16, Noah 15, and Daniel 11. She is excited to be joining the MTA administration and looks forward to working with the amazing staff, children and parents this year. Outside of teaching Ms. Holli enjoys spending time with her family and dogs. She also enjoys reading, taking walks and watching her children participate in extra curricular activities like sports and music.
Ms. Heather Staulters
Curriculum Coordinator, Music, Art, & SpanishMs. Heather is very excited to start another year at MTA! This year she will be the curriculum coordinator and specials teacher. She had been involved in early childhood education her whole life. Ms. Heather is a New York State Certified Early Childhood, Childhood, Special Education and Literacy Teacher. She did her undergrad work at SUNY college at Oneonta and her Master’s work at Sage College. Ms. Heather has spent some time subbing in area districts until she fell in love with Pre-K age children. She looks forward to getting to know her students and their families.
Ms. Heather grew up in Ballston Spa, NY. She has two wonderful parents and a younger brother. When not teaching, Ms. Heather enjoys traveling with her fiancé Patrick, reading, playing with her chocolate lab Mocha, spending time with her family, and shopping.
Ms. Michele Sobieski
Nursery TeacherMs. Michele achieved an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta Georgia. While in college she fell in love with a preschool position she had and decided to change careers and has been a teacher ever since.
Ms. Michele is from Rotterdam, New York but has spent most of her young adult life in Atlanta Georgia and Myrtle Beach South Carolina. She is the oldest of three children and helped raised her siblings since she was 11. She started babysitting as an early teen and was a nanny in Atlanta for several years. After college she decided to work as an assistant teacher at Second Ponce Baptist Church in Atlanta. After a few years she moved to South Carolina where she worked as a Nursery Teacher at a Montessori School and also taught P.E. for the elementary children. After her older son was born she took a few years off until he was ready for school. She then moved back to Georgia and began working with Vining’s Academy, an International preschool as a Nursery Teacher. After one year teaching she became the director of the school. In 2010, She returned to New York to be closer to family for her children and had been a stay at home Mom after the birth of her second son.
She’s a mom to 2 silly, fun boys … John and Ty, She’s an avid runner and enjoys anything fitness/health related, bicycling, kayaking, SUP, sports, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Mrs. Maureen Healy
Nursery TeacherMs. Mo has been working as supervisor of Kids Club at Vent Fitness for the last 8 years. All of her kids love to call her ” Ms. Mo “. She is very excited about returning to the MTA family for her fourth year. She has a very high energy level and is always smiling. She has a degree in Business and has always had a passion to work with children. She has been involved and dedicated to teaching children life lessons for over 20 years.
She resides in Clifton Park with her husband and has (3) boys, 3 year old grand-daughter and new-born grand-son. She enjoys spending time with family, watching sports and staying up to date with the daily occurrences that her husband and (2) sons (who are actively involved in Emergency Medical Services) share with her.
Mrs. Marissa Rogowski
Pre-K TeacherI was born in Northampton England. I moved to New York in 1996 to work as a Nanny. I have over 20 years experience in childcare. I recently worked at Shen as a sub with Special Ed. I was a stay at home mom with my three children Ethan 13, Matt 11, and Bell 7. I reside in halfmoon and enjoys spending time with my family. I love to travel, cook, interior design, and hang out with cats.
Ms. Alison Kam
Pre-K TeacherMs. Ali is very excited to start her first year as Pre-K teacher at MTA! This will be her second year teaching Pre-K in New York. Originally from Connecticut, Ali has spent over 20 years in Early Childhood Education. During these years she has taught Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten. She also has been an Assistant Director and Head Teacher. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Drexel University in Philadelphia before deciding that teaching was her calling and then continued her education in the Graduate program at University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut where she earned her Elementary Education Certification. She then realized early on that her passion for teaching was in Early Childhood, specifically Pre-k and Kindergarten.
She believes that every child is unique and will learn and grow in their own way. As a teacher she strives to provide each child with the love and support they need to be successful in Pre-K and beyond.
Ali was born in Rochester, NY but was raised in Avon, CT. She lived in Philadelphia for 5 years while in college and came back to Connecticut where she lived until last fall. She lives with her two children, Carmyn (9) and Jackson (3), and they keep her on the go! As a family they are loving New York and have spent a lot of time exploring their new home state!
Mrs. Heather Dandashi
Kindergarten TeacherMs. Heather Dandashi is a kindergarten teacher at Mother Teresa Academy. She has a passion for working with children of this age. She loves how creative they are and how they have such a drive to learn. Ms. Heather is proud to be part of inspiring young minds here at Mother Teresa Academy. Ms. Heather currently holds a New York State teaching certificate in grades pre-k- 2. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She also holds a Master’s Degree in education from Lesley University located in Cambridge, MA. Ms. Heather resides in Niskayuna with her husband and three children. Some of their favorite family activities are swimming, tending to their garden, and visiting parks and museums.
Ms. Marlena Lovaglio
Kindergarten TeacherMs. Lovaglio is very excited to start her first year at MTA! She attended SUNY Potsdam and graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelors degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education in 2014. Ms. Lovaglio then went on to SUNY Albany where she earned her Masters of Science degree as a Literacy Specialist. She holds three certifications in Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2), Childhood Education (Grades 1-6), and Literacy (Birth-Grade 6). Ms. Lovaglio has worked with children for years including working as a summer camp counselor and an academic tutor. She also worked as a substitute teacher in various school districts throughout Saratoga county. She was recently a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at the Malta Early Learning and School Age Center.
When Ms. Lovaglio isn’t at school, you can find her spending time with her fiance Jon and their Siberian Husky named Steele. Some of Ms. Lovaglio’s hobbies include: watching movies, going out for brunch, window shopping downtown Saratoga, reading, taking Steele to the dog park, and spending time outdoors.
Mrs. Laurie Wilson
Mrs. Wilson is so excited to be taking on the role of lead teacher. She has fallen in love with the children and is excited to help them learn and grow this year. She has her masters degree in elementary education. In addition to having classroom experience she also ran a home daycare for several years.
Mrs. Wilson enjoys reading, and spending time outdoors with her family and two dogs.
Mrs. Sundy Horn
Teacher AssistantMs. Sundy is excited to be returning to her job at MTA!!! Ms. Sundy moved to this area about 20 years ago from Utica NY. Ms. Sundy Has two grown children Patrick and Sara. She lives in Clifton Park and enjoys spending time with her husband, many grand nieces and nephews, and her one grand puppy.
When she is not at work she enjoys reading, crocheting, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Urmila Singh
Teacher AssistantMrs. Singh has Master’s degree in Social Work from India. She has been part of MTA family since 2007. First she worked as an administrative assistant and then as an assistant teacher. She took 2 years break from MTA to have her younger son. Both her sons are MTA graduates. Older son, Ojas attended MTA up to 3rd grade and younger son, Anuj up to Kindergarten. She loves to work with kids and is very excited to “re-join” MTA this year.
She lives in Halfmoon with her husband and 2 sons. Her older son Ojas is in high school and younger son is in second grade. In her spare time, Mrs. Singh likes to organize things in her home, read and spend time with her family.
Ms. Kristin Farley
Teacher AssistantHello my name is Kristin. I am Ms. Debbie’s daughter and I am a teacher assistant in Ms. Marissa’s Pre-K. I started working at Mother Teresa Academy when I was just 16 when it first opened. I then went off to college and got my bachelors degree from SUNY Albany. I worked for many other companies using my degree. After having my daughter (Charlotte), I decided to come back to Mother Teresa Academy and have fun. I am so happy to be back and excited to work with Ms. Marissa in our Pre-K class this year.
When I am not planning things for my classroom, I enjoy being with my family. My family is my fiancé Tim, my 8-month-old daughter Charlotte and our dogs Kobi and Zoey. We are an outdoorsy family and enjoy things like swimming in our pool, being on our boat, or just hanging out in our backyard. I love concerts, shopping, decorating and planning parties especially my biggest party of all, my wedding next August. I am excited to work with your kids and see them learn and grow in our new school and classroom
Miss Tara Burke
Teacher AssistantMiss Tara graduated Shenendehowa HS in 2010 and graduated from Marist College with a BS in Business Marketing in 2014. Throughout her high school and college years, Tara dedicated her time to working with children through volunteering as a Junior Plainsmen Cheerleading Coach and being a Teacher’s Assistant at Albany Medical Center’s preschool program and The Astor Head Start program, which serves low-income families in Poughkeepsie, NY.
In her spare time, Tara loves running her business, Freely Clothing, which gives a portion of its profits to young people who want to give back to their communities.
She’s very excited to start another school year at MTA!
Mrs. MaryAnn Lazarus
After school TeacherMrs. Lazurus is the aftercare teacher at MTA. Some may remember her from being a Pre-K teacher and Religious Coordinator for MTA before. Her full-time position is in Niskayuna Middle School – Van Antwerp/Computer Lab. She has taught elementary, middle and high school for 6+ years prior to venturing into Pre-K. She feels blessed with all the opportunities God has blessed her with. She is also a Catechist at St. Edwards the Confessor church teaching Elementary through Confirmation classes and Youth Ministry. Life is full of surprises and she’s had hershare of ups and downs, but one thing she knows for sure is she loves being at MTA where children are taught not only curriculum but also the love of God and neighbors. Aftercare is the perfect job, which helps her connect with the parents who take this opportunity to balance life and work. Working with children has always been her passion. MTA, you’ve already said it and I echo you. “I’m excited to be a part of you!”
Mrs. Bella Patel
Teacher AssistantMy name is Bela. I am part of MTA family as a teacher assistant in Pre-K. I was born in India where I earned Bachelor in Business degree and I moved to New York in 1993. I was a stay at home mom with my two daughters. My older daughter is in Stony Brook Medical school and the other started Neuro Science degree in NYU. I reside in Clifton Park with my husband. In my spare time, I love to cook, home interior design, reading and spending time with family.
Mrs. Priscila Paixao
In my free time I like to travel with my family and our dog and see new places. We enjoy movies, bowling and skating. We also like to host and spend time with our friends at home and give children the opportunity to play. I am so excited to be joining the MTA family and learn more about kid’s education.