staff

Michelle Fortier
Michele Fortier -  Executive Director


Michele Fortier has been working in the field of education for over 30 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies: Administration, Management and Leadership from Walden University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from William Paterson University. Michele has worked as a classroom teacher, mentor, workshop facilitator, and director.

Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to work with children from birth through high school. These experiences highlighted the importance of providing young children with a well thought out environment to explore at their own pace. Her Master’s Capstone project was focused on preserving play in the early childhood classroom. Michele has both Early Childhood and Elementary Standard Teaching Certificates.

Contact Michele: (908) 277-4400  MFortier@cornerstonekids.org

“You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation” –Plato

Cornerstone Teachers

Cornerstone teachers are passionate early childhood educators. Ongoing professional development allows our certified, caring educators bring innovative and developmentally appropriate methods of instruction to their class every day. Our teachers are committed to creating an environment that promotes the development of the whole child. All staff are First Aid/CPR certified.

"The teachers are really doing a lot to make sure that there’s an experience for each kid. I was really impressed with what I learned at back-to-school night. Our particular teacher would discuss strategies for the children’s learning and development. And, I feel that the teachers really want to be there. They’re present, they care a lot and they’re passionate about education." -Adrienne L.

Watch the Video to See More About Cornerstone's Teachers.

Cornerstone Kids Teacher

Janelle Papaleo - Lead Teacher Nursery

Janelle was a member of the original 2009 staff. She returned in 2013 when her son was old enough to attend Cornerstone. Janelle has been working in the field of education for over 13 years. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from East Stroudsburg University and holds both Early Childhood and Elementary Standard Teaching Certificates. 

Contact Janelle: (908) 277-4400  JPapaleo@cornerstonekids.org



Cornerstone Kids School Teacher
Debbie Hayeck - Asst. Director/ Lead Teacher Pre-K

Debbie Hayeck joined the staff in 2012 after gaining over 35 years of experience in the field. Mrs. Hayeck fulfilled every role from teaching assistant to Director. She earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from Kean University and holds Standard Teaching Certificates in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education.

Mrs. Hayeck's classroom fosters opportunities to develop and grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally through hands-on activities with various academic avenues. The environment of her room is set to promote a life-long love of learning including the use of the arts, math, and language arts and sciences.

Contact Debbie: (908) 277-4400  DHayeck@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone Kids School Teacher
Ines Rosero - Lead Teacher Pre-K

Ines began her teaching career here at Cornerstone in 2010. She completed the alternate route program through Bloomfield College and was the first staff member to complete her mentorship for a Standard Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Education here at Cornerstone. Ines earned a Bachelor's Degree while living in Costa Rica and then received an ESL certificate from Union County College.

She believes in providing an atmosphere that is safe and engaging for all children. Also in empowering children by offering them opportunities to make decisions, solve problems, build confidence and become independent. She believes that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating environment to grow emotionally and socially while using their imagination through play.

Contact Ines: (908) 277-4400  IRosero@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone School Teacher
Corey Spero -  Lead Teacher Kindergarten Prep

Mrs. Spero has both public and private school experience with several ages and grade levels, but providing a play-based education for preschool students is her passion. She has degrees from Thomas Edison Stae College and Kean University. She has been teaching since 2004. She holds both Standard and Special Education certifications. Corey enjoys working closely with parents to successfully guide young children on their educational journey. 


Contact Corey: (908) 277-4400  CSpero@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone Kids School Teacher
Lisa Murray -  Lead Teacher Kindergarten Prep

Mrs. Murray has been part of the Cornerstone staff since 2010.  She holds Standard Certificates in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education having completed a Master’s Degree at Kean University in May 2009. Mrs. Murray also holds an MBA from Stern Business School New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Lawrence University.  She has worked in the field of early education for ten years. 

Contact Lisa: (908) 277-4400  LMurray@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone Kids School Teacher
Violet Millington -  Lead Teacher Kindergarten


Violet Millington is a certified elementary school teacher (K-6).  Mrs. Millington attended Brooklyn College where she graduated with a bachelors’ degree in Psychology.  Some years later, she attended Rider University’s Graduate Leadership Teaching Program where she studied Elementary Education.  For the last twelve years, she has taught preschool and kindergarten.  She has a great understanding of the developmental needs of young children.

 

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -- Mr. Rogers. 

Contact Violet: (908) 277-4400  VMillington@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone School Art Teacher
Leslie Viviano - Art Teacher


Mrs. Viviano received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgian Court University, with a concentration in Marketing and Advertising. She pursued a career in advertising which lead her to a position as lead art director within a design firm before putting her career on hold to parent four wonderful children. Upon looking to reenter the workforce, Mrs. Viviano’s desire to blend her love of art and children brought her to Cornerstone School. She has been teaching at Cornerstone since the school first opened in September, 2009.

Contact Leslie: (908) 277-4400  LViviano@cornerstonekids.org

Cornerstone Kids School Teacher
Stephen Agnew -  Music Teacher


Mr. Agnew has been teaching at Cornerstone School since 2010. Mr. Agnew is also the Director of Education at Music Notes Academy, where he provides piano and guitar lessons to students of all ages in addition to leading the rock band and early childhood music classes. Mr. Agnew holds a Bachelor's in Music from Hamilton College and a Master's in Teaching from Montclair State University. His teaching is influenced by the work of Kodaly, Orff, and Jaques-Dalcroze. He is an active member of The National Association for Music Education (NAfME), The Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME), and The Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML).

Contact Stephen: (908) 277-4400  SAgnew@cornerstonekids.org


Assistant Teachers

Assistant teachers are a vital part of the Cornerstone learning community. Often the first in the building and last to leave as several staff our before and after care programs. They provide assistance to our lead teacher that goes well beyond an extra set of hands in the classroom. The get to know our students and their families well. They are required to implement our curriculum and discipline policy as effectively as the Lead Teachers they work beside, forming a cohesive teaching team.

Our assistant teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. All are college graduates or currently students in fields related to early childhood. Several have advanced degrees in other fields and are exploring a move to the field of education. Their continuing education requirements are the same as our lead teachers.

Cornerstone Assistant Teacher
Cornerstone Assistant Teacher
Cornerstone Assistant Teacher
Cornerstone Assistant Teacher
Cornerstone Assistant Teacher
Cornerstone Assistant Teacher 

Photo Credit: Greg Reimer F16 Studio.