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/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 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 part of the local school system where her two young children will attend. Amanda brings a special warmth and energy to her classroom, and is looking forward to continue growing and learning along with the other members of the CNS community!
Bailey Albert, Classroom Teacher
Bailey comes to Cheshire Nursery School after several teaching assignments in New Hampshire, ranging from the Child Development Center Laboratory School at Keene State College, to a Head Start program, to St. Joseph's parochial school kindergarten. Bailey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development from Keene State College in her native New Hampshire, where she developed an expertise in outdoor education through the school's nature-focused teaching curriculum. Bailey is excited to participate in the ongoing evolution of our own nature-focused program, and we are equally pleased to welcome her to CNS!
Jo-Mari Lopez, Classroom Teacher
Jo is a graduate of Connecticut's premier early childhood program, the University of Saint Joseph, where she received a bachelor's degree in Child Studies. During her time at the University of Saint Joseph, Jo interned at several elementary schools throughout Connecticut. In addition, she served as an ESL tutor for elementary age students in Hartford. Prior to teaching at Cheshire Nursery School, Jo taught preschool for two years and kindergarten for three, at Mount Olive Children's Development Center in Hartford. She was involved in several outdoor education programs during college, and is excited to find a nature-based school that shares her strong beliefs in art and nature's importance in the education of 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 first 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 many creative talents to the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven where she has taught since 2009. Shannon completed her Associate's coursework at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, and will receive her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Charter Oak State College as soon as she fulfills her student teaching obligation. She is thrilled to be a part our very special Cheshire Nursery School community!