Teachers & Staff

The Dogwood Room (Toddler):

Cheri Tabaka: I was raised in Florence and reside there with my husband Adam and our son Daegan. I have been an educator of young children since 2003, but affiliated with early childhood environments for years prior. I graduated with honors from Elms College and received my bachelors degree in Early Childhood Leadership. I enjoy the curiosity and innocence of children and I have deep passion for teaching social-emotional skills. I enjoy the company of friends and family and, in my limited free time, I enjoy reading and card making.

Wolfsong: I was introduced to early childhood education in 1984 when I took a part-time position in an infant/toddler center in Colorado. I enjoyed working with young children so much that I quit college to work full-time at the children's center! I finally went back to school to earn a bachelor's degree in early care and education, graduating in Spring 2010. I have also worked as a massage therapist, a woodworker, and as a ranch hand on a dude ranch in Colorado. I live in Easthampton. I love being an infant/toddler teacher and feel very lucky to be involved in this very rewarding and vitally important work!

The Oak Room (Young Preschool):

Tressa Anson: I received my B.S. in Liberal Arts from Bay Path College and my Masters in Education from Cambridge College. I have worked in the early childhood setting since 2000. I enjoy quality time with friends and family, gardening, cooking, and traveling. I also serve Sunnyside as the Director of Curriculum.

Shealynn Berube: As a native of Easthampton, I began working at Sunnyside during my undergraduate years at Smith College, where I earned a B.A. in Education and Theatre in 2015. I have experience working with children in both Elementary and Early Childhood levels, in public classrooms and private childcare settings. I enjoy engaging with children in creative ways through art, theatre, and music. In my free time I love to cook, sing, travel, and spend time with my family.

The Willow Room (Young Preschool):

Tara Classey: I graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2013 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. I have been working professionally with children for four years and especially love baking and creating art projects with my students. A Connecticut native, I now live in Granby and enjoy making music and cooking in my free time.

Jenna Tomasi: I grew up in the small town of Dalton, Massachusetts. I went to college at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield where I earned my associated degree in Liberal Arts. I transferred to Westfield State University where I earned a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology and graduated in August 2015. I love to hangout with my friends and family and learn new things that are of interest to me. I love to watch documentaries, support the local economy - going to farmers markets, supporting local businesses, and attending local community events. I also love to make meals from scratch and go on nature walks with my boyfriend and friends. I became interested in early childhood during my senior year of high school when I took two Child Studies classes and learned about growth and development. Ever since then, I have had a deep interest love, and passion for this age group. As an educator I strive to teach children about lifestyle practices and life skills that can improve our world, such as growing our own food, sustainability, self-help skill, independence, kindness and much more. I began working with kids in early childhood in 2008, and worked in center-based programs staring in 2013. I have worked at Sunnyside since May 2014 and couldn't be happier to be part of the team.

The Maple Room (Older Preschool):

Katie Browne: I have been teaching since 2008 and have found such joy working with young children. I have a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Special Education from Boston College. I have had a variety of educational experiences, including teaching in Ireland. I recently moved to Hatfield with my partner, Cait, and our two cats. I love to spend my free time traveling. I'm excited to be a part of the Sunnyside community and enjoy the adventure that working with children brings to each new day.

Kate Pruner: I was born and raised in western Massachusetts. I graduated from UMASS Amherst in 2001. I have worked at several child care centers in the Northampton area. I also worked for the Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield Headstart Program as a teaching director. I've also worked in the Migrant Headstart Program which serves children of migrant farm workers. Three years before coming to Sunnyside, I stayed home with my young son. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and going to the beach.

The Elm Room (Older Preschool):

Mariana Branche: I have been working in the early education field since 1998, joining Sunnyside in 2004. I live in Shutesbury, enjoying my free time with friends and family. I love working with children, always learning something new and knowing that no two days are alike.

Jill Thorsen: I have been an educator for 20 years, working with infants through elementary students. My passion is working with older preschoolers, who are ready for greater cognitive learning as they prepare for kindergarten.  I first joined Sunnyside in 2003, then left when my twin daughters were born in 2006. Returning to Sunnyside in 2016 has been a wonderful homecoming!


Alex Feinstein -- Interim Director: I am a proud Sunnyside parent, and served as the board treasurer until stepping into this role.  I am a local business owner who is passionate about creating community in all facets of my life.  I live in Haydenville with my family, our dog Sydney, and a flock of chickens.  I received my B.A. from Connecticut College with a focus in Anthropology, Philosophy, and Art.  Working at a renewable energy start-up in Boston, I developed skills in finance and IT.  I took what I had learned and put it into practice starting GoBerry and Provisions back in my home town of Northampton.

Tressa Anson -- Director of Curriculum:  I received my B.S. in Liberal Arts from Bay Path College and my Masters in Education from Cambridge College. I am passionate about supporting teachers and children through responsive curriculum planning and development. I split my time between the administrative role and a teaching role in the Oak Room (Young Preschool).

Cate Damon -- Office Manager: I have a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Women's Studies. When I'm not at Sunnyside, I'm a professional actor and director. I have appeared in commercials, off-Broadway and in television and film. I grew up in the western mountains of Maine on a beautiful lake. My favorit activities are reading, hiking and having fun with my familiy and friends. I have a son and daughter, Aaron and Molly, who are both Sunnyside alums, and a house full of pets including our dog, Tucker (who prefers to be called Lord Wigglebottom) our two cats, Isis and Lucy (a.k.a. Lady Pigalotta and Madame Mew-Mew, respectively).

Barbara Grover -- Floating Teacher: I have been at Sunnyside for over twenty years! My husband Lloyd and I have five wonderful children and nine beautiful grandchildren. We live in Bernardston and love to travel to warm places. I have had the pleasure of working with every age group at Sunnyside and enjoy each group equally.

Julie Holhut -- Floating Teacher: I am a native of Hatfield and the youngest of five children. In 1994, I graduated from North Adams State College with a B.S. degree in Sociology and minors in Social Work and Women's Studies. It was during these college years that I pursued my interest in working with children, especially with children who were abused or witnessed domestic violence. It was this love for children and desire to help that led me to enroll in classes at Greenfield Community College and complete an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I have more than eighteen years experience working with children. I am pleased to be a part of Sunnyside where I can learn from my fellow teachers and learn even more from the children themselves.

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