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.
Kati Fredlund, Vice President
Originally from Vancouver, B.C, I have been a New Havenite for five years now, though my husband is a lifelong resident having grown up on Alden Ave. Three years ago when we were deciding which neighborhood to settle down in and grow our family, we already knew Westville would be the perfect place. The community spirit runs deep and it is exciting for us to get to raise our boys here, surrounded by so many incredible and inspiring families. WCNS, in the heart of Westville, is an anchor of this vibrant community and I am thrilled to be both serving on the board as well as joining as a new WCNS family for the 2017/2018 school year. I truly feel I have found a family here in WCNS and am excited to meet and welcome all the new and returning families this fall. Outside of WCNS, I work from home with our youngest child while furthering my studies in Software Development and Computer Science.
Lisa Desfosses, Treasurer
My husband, Matt, and I love raising our family in Westville -- we moved here almost seven years ago. Today, we have three kiddos -- Meghan (5), Allie (3), and Tyler (he's brand new). WCNS has been nothing short of incredible. Both the director and the teachers are friendly, loving, thoughtful, and incredibly committed to each child's success in the program. They take the time to get to know each family and really come to love each child for the person that they are. The program is thoughtfully structured, developmentally appropriate, and - best of all - fun! And the school does a wonderful job of fostering a strong, positive community spirit in the neighborhood. We feel lucky to have such a great group of neighborhood families as friends. It's fun to see everyone at preschool, at the farmer's market, at a local cafe, or waving hi from each others' front stoops. On the professional front, I handle real estate, construction and capital financing for a charter school network.
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!
Keith Wallman, Publicity
I am a senior editor at Lyons Press in nearby Guilford, where I publish books in American history and sports. My wife Sarah and I are raising two boys in New Haven. Our oldest is in his second year at WCNS, and our youngest will be there soon. We are so thankful to be part of the nurturing and always fun WCNS community.
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).