Our Team

Cornerstone Administration

Michele Fortier –  Executive Director

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.

Michele has provided workshops at the New Jersey Association for the Education of Young Children and the New Jersey Child Care Association Conferences. As well as The Educating the Heart and First-Up Conferences in Pennsylvania. 

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

Colleen Marshall – Assistant Director

Ms. Marshall has over 25 years of experience in the field. Colleen has had supervisory positions for the past seven years. In addition, she has been either an Assistant Director or Director for the past five years.

She holds a Master’s degree and is completing her Certificate in Educational Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of education.

Her favorite part of caring for children was, she replied, “Being in their lives and bonding with families.”

Contact Colleen: (908) 277-4400  CMarshall@cornerstonekids.org

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 What Parents are Saying

Megan Cain – Lead Teacher Foundations

Miss Cain has been teaching for over five years in the field of early education. She holds an Associate’s Degree and a CDA in Early Childhood Education. While working with our youngest students, she focuses on introducing children to learning together in a classroom setting. She fosters cooperative play by focusing on social-emotional development appropriate for this age group. 

Contact Megan: (908) 277-4400  MCain@cornerstonekids.org

Deborah Hayeck - Asst. Director/ Lead Teacher Preschool

Deborah Hayeck – Lead Teacher Preschool

Deborah Hayeck joined the staff in 2012 after gaining over 40 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

Cristina Reino – Lead Teacher Preschool

Cristina Reino – Lead Teacher Preschool

Miss Reino 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 a BA in Early Childhood Education and an MA in Special Education. She has worked in the education field since 2000 finding her home in the field of early childhood education.

Contact Cristina: (908) 277-4400  creino@cornerstonekids.org

Janelle Papaleo – Lead Teacher Pre-K

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 since 1995. 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

Lisa Murray -  Lead Teacher Pre-K

Lisa Murray –  Lead Teacher Pre-K

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 over ten years. 

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

Leslie Viviano - Art Teacher

Karen Wright-Borkowski – Art Teacher

Earning an Associate’s Degree in Illustration from Pratt-Phoenix School of Design and Illustration, she pursued a career in commercial art. After leaving the corporate industry to raise a family, her renewed interest in art was when her children attended school. Following many years as a substitute art teacher and serving as an art instructor at the Union Recreation Department, she continued her education earning a degree in Fine Arts with a minor in Art History.

Contact Karen: (908) 277-4400  kwborkowski@cornerstonekids.org

Stephen Agnew -  Music 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. They 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.

Why Our Staff Loves Cornerstone