Carroll Possick, President
I am happy to be serving as WCNS Board President this year after being a Community Representative since 2013. My WCNS experience began soon after my husband and I moved to New Haven in the 1970’s and our two sons attended the program in its early years. We loved WCNS then, and I still love it, perhaps appreciating it more now due to the experience and knowledge of early childhood education that I gained over many years as a teacher and subsequent Director at the Children’s Preschool in New Haven. Since retiring, I have been an early childhood consultant to several New Haven preschools, and serve on the Board of the Greater New Haven Chapter of the CT Association for the Education of Young Children. It is wonderful to see that WCNS continues its strong commitment to developmentally appropriate programming with the emphasis on play, and the establishment of a warm, nurturing and kind environment for children and families.
Nichole Gleisne, Vice President
This is my seventh (!!) straight year as a parent at WCNS. All of our children have thrived and derived great joy during their time at nursery school and my husband, Tadhg, and I have made meaningful friendships with fellow parents throughout the years. When not picking up or dropping off someone at WCNS, I teach French language and literature at Southern Connecticut State University and help publish a local literary gem, New Haven Review.
Matt Desfosses, Treasurer
"My wife Lisa and I are proud members of the Westville community. We have lived here since 2010 as the place we wanted to raise our kids. We are on the eight-year plan at WCNS having seen Meghan (now 7) through three years, Allie (now 5) is in her 3rd year and Tyler (now 2) will probably be headed there next year. We fell in love with this school right away when we visited. The staff is just incredible. The director and the teachers have an amazing depth of knowledge and experience – and we also really enjoy how each of them brings their unique selves to the class and the kids. It is a truly enriching and very fun environment. When I’m not being a dad, I’m a pricing actuary for a disability insurance company."
Ann Finateri-Laist, Secretary
Hi, I am Ann Finateri-Laist and I am excited to be serving my second year as WCNS board secretary. My husband, Randy, and I are long-time New Haven residents. Our son, Tony, attended WCNS for two years and is now a first grader at West Rock STREAM Academy in New Haven. Our daughter, Sharilyn, just started at WCNS this fall and is loving it. I have lived and traveled extensively in both West Africa and Latin America, and I’ve loved being able to come in and share stories and songs from around the world with the children. The WCNS program is amazing, the teachers are loving and dedicated, and the school really does feel like a family. We feel so fortunate to be a part of the WCNS community. Prior to having children, I worked for several years as a public school teacher. I currently work part-time as an adjunct instructor of art history for Goodwin College; and in my spare time I like to play trivia, sing in a women’s choir, and strum a few chords on the ukulele.
Christina Amato, Fundraising
I have lived in Westville my whole life and I'm super excited that my children get to be part of such a great community. The older I get the more I appreciate all that New Haven and Westville have to offer. My husband and I have two children. Our oldest, Juliana is 4 and our youngest, Nico is 2. Juliana loves WCNS! She is always excited to go to school and see her teachers and friends. Our family has enjoyed being part of the WCNS community. The teachers and director truly take the time to get to know each family and to make every child feel special. As a teacher myself, I know the hard work and time that goes into truly getting to know each child, and I feel so lucky that my daughter and all the children of WCNS get to experience this. In my spare time I enjoy taking long walks with my family and dog.
Simon Hutchinson, Technical Support
Hello! We lived in New Haven for several years before we finally ended up settling down up in North Haven. We still spend quite a bit of time in Westville for work and play, so it's wonderful that WCNS provides another excuse for us to be around. My specialty is music technology, but luckily some of those skills transfer over to more general skills in technology so I'm happy to let my support to the technical needs of WCNS. In my spare time, I'm usually tinkering with something, programming pointless software, or out for a walk with the family.
Ana Henriques Flis, Family Activities
Hi there! I moved to New Haven with my husband Nathan and son Jonah two and a half years ago, from Ontario, Canada. We welcomed Izzy into this world shortly after arriving. A once-upon-a-time highschool art teacher, I now work from home and continue to make art and teach. It wasn't until Jonah started attending WCNS that we really felt a part of a community. There is great warmth and kindness at the school and always wonderful conversation. I so look forward to welcoming new families the way we have been welcomed. On the weekends, you can find my brood adventuring, combing the beaches for treasures and antiquing. When I have a quiet minute, I love to craft and bake and endeavor to make all the things!
Chanell Bruton, Publicity Chair
Greetings everyone! I’m thrilled to be the Publicity Chair at WCNS. My husband and I are on our third year in Westville and we absolutely adore this neighborhood. Our son Teddy is currently enrolled in his second year at WCNS. This is my first year serving on the board and I’m excited to extend the warmth and support to new families that we’ve experienced at WCNS. I’m a social worker by trade but am currently enjoying my most challenging role yet as a stay at home mommy to our newest edition, Gus. I look forward to meeting you all soon!
David Schroeder, Tolerance Discussion Forum Facilitator
I am very happy to be serving on the WCNS Board as the Tolerance Discussion Forum Facilitator. I have been facilitating discussions of Tolerance, Diversity, Pluralism, and the advantages of fostering these concepts in the communities in which I’ve lived for over fifteen years. It is a pleasure to bring these discussions to the WCNS. Both my wife Diane and I are originally from California, but have been residents of Connecticut for ten years. We live with our son Dashiell in Woodbridge, but have also been active members in the Westville community for six years. We have found the WCNS community to share all of what we love about Westville. Dash has had such a wonderful time at the WCNS and looks forward to going to school almost as much as he does choosing what superhero he will represent when he gets there. I look forward to getting to know you all better and I hope you can attend our ongoing Tolerance Discussion Forum.
Kim Davies, Community Representative
This coming year will be my 7th year serving on the Board! My loving husband and I live on Alden Ave with our twin boys, Paul and Eric and our daughter, Julia. Julia had the pleasure of attending WCNS for two years and loved every minute of it! She still insists on visiting, and is currently attending Edgewood Magnet School. Before becoming a Community Representative, I served as the Family Activities Chair; it gives me great pleasure to continue to serve on the Board.
Chrystal Starbird, Community Representative
Greetings! My husband, Doug, and I moved to New Haven last year along with our three children: Brian (14), Aaliyah (12) and our youngest, Liam, who attended WCNS last year. We moved from Nashville, TN to New Haven so that I could begin a postdoc at Yale Cancer Biology Institute and it was a rather big change for our family. However, WCNS was a large part of making us feel at home in our new community, helping us to learn about events and entertainment in the area and surrounding our family with love and support when my husband was in an unfortunate car accident just two months after our arrival. Through the WCNS community, we learned of the local soccer team and an arts program at my daughter’s school, which led to her being a fairy in Edgewood’s production of “Peter Pan 2” (directed by WCNS’s own Jaime Kane)! As a scientist, I enjoyed visiting WCNS to discuss liquids and solids with Oobleck play and growing crystals using everyday household items. I look forward to continuing our relationship with WCNS as a community representative on the board!
Thabisa Rich, Community Representative
Thabisa is a mother of two with one of them currently attending WCNS for the second year. She is also a recording and professional singer and enjoys taking part in the building of the community. Thabisa has in the past volunteered in different schools working with the youth from schools such as Davies Street School working on a cultural exchange project with 3rd graders and as an assistant teacher at Neighborhood Music School. She enjoys giving her time or sharing her music, also, she loves to tell stories(tales) to the younger crowd to help them understand sympathy and importance of choice making. Thabisa is also a member of the planning committee at Westville Rennaisance Alliance (WVRA).