Amanda Ocone, Executive Director
Amanda received her Bachelor's Degree at Central Connecticut State University, then went on to attain her Master's Degree in Elementary Education. She holds a K-6 teaching certificate for the state of Connecticut. Prior to her years in charge of the Yellow Room at Cheshire Nursery School, Amanda taught preschool for several years at the Madison School for Young Children. She also had the pleasure of interning during her Master's program at Cheshire's renowned Darcey School, as well as at Highland Elementary. A Cheshire resident herself, Amanda is proud to be involved in the local school system where her two young children attend.
After spending the 2015-2016 school year training with the school's founder, Jan Romo, Amanda stepped up to take the mantle as Cheshire Nursery School's Executive Director. She brings a special warmth and energy to her work, as well as a profound love of children, and respect for the families and the traditions of the CNS community!
Haley Grover, Head Classroom Teacher
Haley earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maine. It was Haley’s student teaching experience in a kindergarten classroom that led her to fully recognize the value of early childhood education. In addition to her passion as a teacher, Haley brings the love of nature and spending time outdoors that is so often found in those who have grown up in beautiful, rural Maine. After several years teaching preschool at our sister school, the Carrot Patch Early Learning Center, Haley returned to Maine to try her hand as a public school kindergarten teacher. While she truly enjoyed the experience, she found her herself missing the 3s and 4s as well as all Connecticut has to offer. We very pleased she found her way back to us at the Cheshire Nursery School!
Charlene Dominello, Classroom Teacher
Charlene is a Cheshire native, mother of two, and a proud graduate of the Cheshire Nursery School. After completing student observation at Norton Elementary School and receiving her bachelor's degree from Southern Connecticut State University, Charlene spent six years at Yalesville Elementary School in Wallingford. Realizing her real love was the youngest students, she switched to preschool and after a year in another pre-k program, she now comes home to CNS!
Mariluz Martinez, Classroom Teacher
Mariluz holds a bachelor's degree from Florida International University. She taught first grade in Florida, where she holds an elementary teaching certification, as well as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement. Mariluz is an avid traveler, a proponent of outdoor education, and looks forward to bringing her language-teaching skills to everyday Spanish practice in the classroom. She is very excited to join us at CNS and start her work with the preschool age group.
Founding Director, Mentor
Jan Romo’s career in education spans over 40 years. Her formal background took place at 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 the 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 teaching kindergarten and first grade at the West Hills Magnet School, an experimental program bringing Hamden and New Haven children together for instruction. With its expansion to a K-8 program, Jan’s role shifted to Staff Developer where she became a “teacher of teachers” and was responsible for the development and assessment of the school’s curriculum. Her hard work and dedication ultimately brought her promotion to West Hills K-8 principal, where she worked closely with every aspect that affected her 700 students.
After 29 years at West Hills, she was appointed to Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, overseeing 4,000 New Haven pre-k and kindergarten students. Involved with writing curriculum standards and a variety of School Readiness and Head Start initiatives, Jan led the city in appreciating the importance of developmentally-appropriate early education.
Jan has been an adjunct professorship at SCSU, teaching “Integrated Curriculum for Pre-K & Kindergarten" and worked as an educational consultant for area nursery school programs. She is a 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.
Following two prior attempts at retirement from her illustrious career in education, Jan fell in love with the (formerly) one-room schoolhouse in Cheshire, and became the founding Director of what was to become the most exceptional education experience for young children anywhere! After ten years of hard work, dedication and the love she poured into our very special school, Miss Jan celebrated her final year at CNS. Families and staff from all ten years showed up to express their sincere appreciation and wish her well. As part of her legacy, a Jan Romo Scholarship has been created to continue her mission of providing the best possible start for all children.
You may think that's the end of the story, but is it? . . .