Program and Faculty

TSS believes that learning happens best and students progress faster in small groups. This approach enables teachers to tailor instruction at our independent school to the individual learning needs of each child while focusing on the strengths he or she brings to the classroom. Students who are elementary and middle school aged challenged with dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and other language-based learning differences can in time successfully transition to more traditional programs that fits his or her needs.

Each TSS student has the following academic classes every day:

Tutorial

  • Specialized daily instruction in decoding, spelling, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension
  • Evidence-based approaches and methods help students "learn to read" and "read to learn"

Literature

  • Reinforces reading, comprehension, language, and listening skills through a shared-book experience
  • Creative projects extend understanding, foster connections to text, and deepen analysis skills

 

Writing

  • Daily practice in language conventions, sentence writing and paragraph development centered around the writing process, helps students develop a structured approach they can use across the curriculum.

 

Social Studies & Science

  • Hands-on/project-based learning that integrates the arts, technology, field trips, assemblies, lab experiences, and research projects to actively engage students with the material

 

Mathematics

  • Focuses on acquiring underlying mathematical concepts, building computational skills and developing problem-solving strategies

 

Study Period

  • Provides time for students to work with teachers to practice executive function strategies and develop self-advocacy skills

 

 

 

 

Teaching Faculty

Megan Aversano

Teacher 

BS - University of Connecticut

MA - University of Connecticut

Current Years at TSS: 21

Years in Education: 21

Justin Behn

Teacher

BA - Southern State Connecticut University

MAT - Sacred Heart University 

Connecticut Certification: Provisional Educators in Elementary Education K-6

Classroom Educator, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 10

Years in Education: 10

Karin Bowman

Teacher

BA - University of Massachusetts

MS Ed - University of Bridgeport

Current Years at TSS: 6 Years in Education: 23

Melissa Brown

Teacher 

BA - Sacred Heart University

MAT - Sacred Heart University

6th Year - Southern Connecticut State University

Current Years at TSS: 20

Years in Education: 21

James Bruce Teacher

BA - University of Oregon

MS - University of Bridgeport

Current Years at TSS: 4 Years in Education: 8

Alex Carlson

Teacher

BA - State University of New York at Purchase

MS Ed - University of Bridgeport

Connecticut Certification: Initial Certificate, Elementary Education K-6

Current Years at TSS: 1 

Years in Education: 4

Julia Cascio

Teacher

BA - Fairfield University 

MA - Fairfield University 

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Education: 1

Bianca Cenatiempo

Teacher

BS - Western Connecticut State University

Connecticut Certification: Health Education Pre-K-12

Current Years at TSS: 4

Years in Education: 9

Theresa Collins

Orton-Gillingham Fellow & Trainer

Tutorial Department Head

Teacher 

BA - Colgate University

MS - State University of New York 

Fellow, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 6

Years in Education: 33

Taylor Cotaling

Teacher

BA - Roger Williams University

Connecticut Certification: Initial Certificate, Elementary Education 1-6

Current years at TSS: 5

Years in Education: 10

Brandon DeMunnik

Teacher 

BA - University of Rhode Island

MS - University of Bridgeport

Current Years at TSS: 20

Years in Education: 20

Kristin DuCharme

 Teacher

BA - Sacred Heart University

MAT - Sacred Heart University Connecticut 

Connecticut Certification-Initial Certificate K-6

New Jersey CEAS K-6 (Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing)

Current Years at TSS: 2 Years in Education: 10

Christine Filep

Teacher

BA - Fairfield University

MAT - Sacred Heart University

Classroom Educator, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 21

Years in Education: 22

Janine Forry

Teacher

BS - William Patterson University

CAS - St. Thomas Aquinas College

Associate, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 18

Years in Education: 20

Jeannine M. Gallagher Teacher

BA-Marymount College Tarrytown

MA-Fairfield University

Current Years at TSS: 6 Years in Education: 11

Jill Hansen

Teacher

Student Advisor

BA - University of Bridgeport

MA - Fairfield University

Current Years at TSS: 22

Years in Education: 36

Melanie Higgins

Teacher

BS - University of Connecticut

MS - Southern Connecticut State University

Connecticut Certification: Special Education

Associate, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 19

Years in Education: 19

Heather Humphries

Teacher

BS - Southern Connecticut State University

MA - Fairfield University

Connecticut Certification: Professional Educator in Comprehensive Special Education, Pre-K-12

Current Years at TSS: 23

Years in Education: 31

Sarah Kelly

Art Director

BS - Southern Connecticut State University

Current Years at TSS: 6

Years in Education: 9

KC Koshansky Teacher

BA - University of Connecticut

MAT - Sacred Heart University

6th Year Degree-102 Certification in Remedial Reading/Language Arts K-12  - Fairfield University

Connecticut Certification: Provisional Educator, Elementary Education K-6

Certified Structured Literacy / Dyslexia Interventionist

Current Years at TSS: 1 Years in Education: 6

Talya Oral

Teacher

BS - Texas Christian University, Early Childhood Education

MS - Texas Christian University, Special Education

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Education: 1

Julie Papp

Teacher

Student Advisor

BA - Boston College

MA - Fordham University

Current Years at TSS: 16

Years in Education: 21

Rachel Petchonka

Teacher

BA - Connecticut College

MA - Relay Graduate School for Education

Current Years at TSS: 1 

Years in Education: 3

Sharon Plante

Chief Technology Integrator

Teacher

Student Advisor

BA - Connecticut College

MEd - George Mason University

Classroom Educator, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 16

Years in Education: 24

Kim Ruggiero

Teacher

BS - Southern Connecticut State University

MS - University of Bridgeport

Connecticut Certification: Special Education

Associate, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 24

Years in Education: 24

Marisa Scott Teacher

BS- Salve Regina University

Connecticut Certification: Initial Certificate, Elementary Education 1-6

Current Years at TSS: 2

Years in Education: 3

 

Stephanie Swinkin

Teacher

BA – Hofstra University

MS Ed – Binghamton University

Current Years at TSS: 3 Years in Education: 6

Kristyn Ventresca

Teacher

BS -Southern Connecticut State University

MEd - University of New Haven

Classroom Educator, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Current Years at TSS: 6

Years in Education: 7

Audra Whitmore Teacher

BS - Saint Joseph's University

MS - Saint Joseph's University

Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner

Wilson Reading System Level I Certification

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Education: 4

Jessica Wilkes Music Director

BA - Berklee College of Music

MS - University of Bridgeport

Current Years at TSS: 1 Years in Education: 7
Clorasteen Wilson Teacher

BA - University of Connecticut

MS - University of Bridgeport

Connecticut Certification: Initial Certificate, Elementary Education 1-6

Current Years at TSS: 2 Years in Education: 2

Staff and Administration

Samantha Berg

Director of Admissions

BS - Western Connecticut State University

Current Years at TSS: 6

Years in Education: 13

Dr. Hallie A. Buckingham

Head of Upper School

Student Advisor

BS - Southern Connecticut State University

MS - Southern Connecticut State University

6th Year - Southern Connecticut State University

EdD - Southern Connecticut State University

Connecticut Certified: Special Education

Current Years at TSS: 31

Years in Education: 31

Mario Fiallo

Director of Facilities

GED - Brian McMahon High School

Current Years at TSS: 20

Years in Profession: 32

Dr. Kathleen Gallagher

Head of Lower School

Co-Director of Summer Programs

Student Advisor

BA - College of New Rochelle

MA - College of New Rochelle

EdD - St. John Fisher College

Connecticut Certification: Special Education

Current Years at TSS: 26

Years in Education: 26

Melissa Kinyon, C.C.C./SLP Speech-Language Pathologist 

BS - Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Ithaca College

MS - Communication Disorders, Emerson College

ASHA Certified, CT Licensed

Current Years at TSS: 9 Years in Education: 29
Suzanne Lang Director, The Southport CoLAB BS - Southern Connecticut State University Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Profession: 10

Peggy Lewis Chef, Caterer CDM - Auburn University Current Years at TSS: 2

Years in Profession: 31

Maggie Macari

Chief Financial Officer

BS - Villanova University

Current Years at TSS: 7

Years in Profession: 34

Elizabeth McIntyre

Interim Director of Admissions

Director of Development

MS - Education, Sarah Lawrence College

BA - Psychology, Denison University

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Profession: 25

Elizabeth “Zibby” Perkins

Director of Advancement

BA - English & Public Relations, Syracuse University

Current Years at TSS: 6

Years in Profession: 22

Lauren Pirrone

Advancement Coordinator

BA - Mass Communications, Iona College

MS - Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness, Manhattanville College - School of Business

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Profession: 4

Dr. Benjamin N. Powers

Headmaster

BA - La Salle University

MBA - Rochester Institute of Technology

DBA - Grenoble Ecole de Management

Associate, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Affiliated Research Scientist at Haskin Laboratories

Current Years at TSS: 8

Years in Education: 21

John Robbins

Director of Student Programs

Co-Director of Summer Programs

Student Advisor

BA - University of Colorado

MA - Fairfield University

University 6th Year - Southern Connecticut State University

Connecticut Certification: Special Education

Current Years at TSS: 21

Years in Education: 21

Jeffrey Ruggiero

Director of Curriculum

Student Advisor

BS - Southern Connecticut State University

MS - Southern Connecticut State

University 6th Year - Southern Connecticut State University

Connecticut Certification: Special Education

Current Years at TSS: 29

Years in Education: 29

Jen Szweda

Nurse

 

Current Years at TSS: 1

Years in Education: 

David Sylvestro

School Psychologist

BA - Trinity College

MA - Fairfield University

Current Years at TSS: 28

Years in Education: 46                                           

Joyce Tracey

Business Manager 

BS- Towson University

Current Years at TSS: 4

Years in Profession: 11 

Dede Warner

Front Office Administrator

AA - Bennett College

BA - University of Connecticut

Current Years at TSS: 26

Years in Education: 31

Cadia Wiley

School Counselor

Student Advisor

BS-John Carroll University

MEd-Cleveland State University

Current Years at TSS: 2 Years in Education: 4

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