Janice Romo, Executive Director
Jan Romo’s career in education spans over 40 years. Her training background took place at both Southern Connecticut State University and Bank Street College of Education in NYC. She received her Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and later her 6th Year Certification in School Administration and Supervision. She has been mentored and inspired by some of our top educational leaders in the field, and has in turn, mentored a handful of the most talented up-and-coming early childhood professionals.
Jan began her career in 1970 as a first grade teacher. For nine years she enjoyed teaching both first grade and Kindergarten in the West Hills Magnet School, an experimental program bringing a diverse population of Hamden and New Haven children together for instruction.
With its gradual expansion to a K-8 program, Jan’s role shifted to Staff Developer where she became a “teacher of teachers” for 13 years. She was responsible for the development and assessment of the school’s core curriculum. Her active involvement with this "community of learners” brought yet another shift. She became the West Hills K-8 principal and was honored to work even more closely with all the components that affected its 700 children.
After 29 years at West Hills, she was appointed to Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, overseeing over 4,000 New Haven pre-k and kindergarten students. Her work broadened, yet brought her back to her Early Childhood roots. Involved with writing curriculum standards and a wide variety of School Readiness and Head Start initiatives, Jan was able to lead the city for three years in truly appreciating how important
developmentally-appropriate early learning is, starting with its very youngest students--infants & toddlers.
For four years, Jan enjoyed an adjunct professorship at SCSU, teaching “Integrated Curriculum for Pre-K & Kindergarten" and working as an educational consultant in area nursery school programs. She is also past co-president of NHAEYC--the New Haven Chapter of the Association of the Education of Young Children, and past co-chair of programs, where she shared responsibility for developing and presenting professional workshops for the Early Childhood community.
Amanda Ocone, Assistant Director/Head Classroom Teacher
Amanda received her Bachelor's Degree at Central Connecticut State University. She then went on to attain her Master's Degree in Elementary Education, and her K-6 teaching certificate. Prior to teaching at Cheshire Nursery School, Amanda taught preschool for four years in Madison. She also had the pleasure of interning during her Master's program at Cheshire's renowned Darcey School, as well as at Highland School. A Cheshire resident herself, Amanda is proud to be part of the local school system where her two young children will eventually attend. Amanda brings a special warmth and energy to her preschool class, and is looking forward to continue growing and learning along with the other members of the CNS community!
Rebecca Murphy, Head Classroom Teacher
Becca is a graduate of Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services and Psychology, and a Master's Degree in Elementary Education with a K-6 teaching certificate from Southern Connecticut State University. During her undergraduate years, Becca worked at a high-needs preschool in North Cambridge and coordinated services at a childcare resource center in Boston. She also worked as a toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in West Haven before being hired as an Associate Teacher at the prestigious Cold Spring School in New Haven, where for three years she taught a combined kindergarten/first grade class. Rebecca's experience and dedication to early childhood education are strong assets to the Cheshire Nursery School community, where she shares her passion for teaching young children.
Shannon Knudsen, Classroom Teacher
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Shannon moved to her husband's home state of Connecticut in 2001, along with their two daughters. After several years of teaching preschool through 1st grade in both Ohio and Connecticut Waldorf Schools, Shannon joined our sister school (the Carrot Patch) as a preschool teacher. After four years there, she brought her creative talents to the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven where she has taught since 2009. Shannon is thrilled to now be a part of the very special Cheshire School community!