Meet Our Staff

Jennifer Arraya
(2 & 1/2ers Young 3's Teacher)

Mrs. Arraya is beginning her second year as our 2 1/2ers teacher and continues to teach our Mom and Me Program classes..  Her son Stephen is a graduate of St. James and her daughter Elisabeth is a current student..  She holds degress in both Spanish and Education from Gettyburg College and also has studied at universities in Spain.  Don't be surprised if your child comes home with some new Spanish vocabulary to share with you!  Mrs. Arraya enjoys traveling, photography, doing crafts with her kids and being active outdoors with her family.  She thinks preschool is the best age and looks forward to watching her students experience new things and learn as they grow.

Charlene Breindel (Pre-K Teacher)

Mrs. Breindel lives in the Downingtown area with her husband Ralph.  She's very proud of her son Jesse, daughter Nikki, and her son-in-law David.  Mrs. Breindel is beginning her 11th  year teaching at St. James Preschool.  . She holds an Associate Degree from Penn State University with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education as well as an Associate Degree in Business from DuBois Business College. She enjoys walking, shopping, reading, cooking and baking, and visiting the beach and Disney!  Mrs. Breindel teaches our 3 day AM and PM Pre-K programs this year .  Mrs. Breindel has always been active in her children’s education and activities and, now that they are older, she is happy to be able to continue to work with our youngsters here at St. James. She finds every day to be a new, fun experience and loves the children's excitement to be at school and learn new things.  Mrs. Breindel's creative ideas and love of learning and children make her a very valuable member of our staff.

Suzanne Diodato (Co-Director)

Mrs. Diodato has been at St. James Preschool for over 13 years, starting as a Pre-K teacher (and a parent of a student) and then taking on the position of co-director in 2006.   Mrs. Diodato has three beautiful daughters. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University. She’s been teaching for over 20 years and loves the new adventure every day with the children. She feels that each day is a fun and exciting experience for herself and the whole class. Her enthusiasm and love for the children make her a favorite among St. James families and we all enjoy her creativity and fun projects. In her spare time, Mrs. Diodato enjoys scrapbooking and crafts, being involved in Girl Scouts with her daughters, and watching her daughters swim, dance, and play softball.

Nicole Dockstader (Pre-K Teacher)

Mrs. Dockstader is beginning her fourth year at St. James Preschool.  She holds an Elementary Education degree from West Chester University.  Nicole is an active mom of three children, two girls and a boy.  She loves all outdoor activities, theatre, skiing, reading, playing with her children and watching their sports events, and going to the beach.  Mrs. Dockstader loves working with children and watching them  learn and grow in their education, life skills and love for learning!  Her high energy and sense of fun, all balanced with a structured learning-filled classroom make her a phenomenal teacher.  We are so happy to have her working to ready our students for Kindergarten.

Katherine  Grandizio
 (Older Threes/Fours Teacher)

Mrs. Grandizio is starting her seventh year as a teacher at St. James, though we have known her as a St. James parent for an even  longer time.  She has four children ages 20, 17, 15, and 12.  Mrs. Grandizio has a Bachelor of Arts as well as her Elementary Education Certification from The College of Wooster.   She teaches our Older Threes and Fours Classes.  She enjoys spending time with her family going on long walks, watching her children do whatever it is they love to do, strolling through a museum, or curling up with a good book.  Mrs. Grandizio loves learning about different times and places in history, especially Ancient Egypt.  Mrs. Grandizio loves everything about preschool, especially helping young children explore the world around them.  She is rewarded by drawing them into new learning experiences and watching them grow.  We love having her creative spirit a part of our St. James Family.  

Terri Haggerty (Teacher Assistant)

Mrs. Haggerty is in the midst of her eighth year at St. James.  She is a loving mom of twins--a boy and a girl--age 14!  Mrs. Haggerty holds a B.S. in Biology from Drexel University and a M.A. in Nutrition from Immaculata University.  After staying home to raise her children for seven years, Mrs. Haggerty  re-entered the work force asa teacher assistant.  She enjoys watching her students experience and learn new things and loves the hugs and love they have to give!  In her free time, Mrs. Haggerty enjoying playing frisbee with her dog, walking, and doing yoga.  Mrs. Haggerty's calm and patient manner and nurturing disposition make her a wonderful addition to our staff.

Megan Heurich
(Teacher Assistant)

Mrs. Heurich is happy to be joining the St. James' staff as a teacher assistant this year.  She is the energetic proud mom of 4 St. James students/alumni, Taylor (9), Maddie (8), Hailey (6) and Timmy (4).  Mrs. Heurich has studied at California University of PA and Empire Beauty School.  Her enthusiasm, easy-going manner, sense of humor, and sense of fun make her the perfect person to work with our Pre-K students!  Mrs. Heurich is a favorite amongst the staff, students, and their families because of her eagerness to help and positive attitude!

Claudia Kiernan (Teacher Assistant)

Mrs. Kiernan has been at St. James for 17 years as an assistant. It’s easy to see how much she enjoys the children. She has two sons Brian and Jeffrey and a daughter-in-law Stacie. Mrs. Kiernan has lots of hobbies, such as jewelry making, painting, camping, biking, swimming, scrapbooking, shopping, reading and travel (just to name a few!) She loves walking on the beach and collecting shells and seaglass.  She’s always loved children since she started babysitting as a teen. She’d like parents to know that she’s happy to give your children her personal attention, listening to their stories, playing and doing crafts with them, and helping them learn.  She loves getting to know the students and all of their individual personalities.

Shelly Klenk

(Teacher Assistant)

 

Mrs. Klenk is so excited to be officially joining our staff this year as a teacher assistant, after our years of knowing her as a parent and a substitute.  She holds a B.A. in Communications with a minor in English from Villanova University.  She is loving mom to Andrew (5) and Natalie (2), both current St. James students.  After some time spent at home with her young children she is happy to be returning to the workforce in the area of education.  Mrs. Klenk enjoys traveling, photogrpahy, baking, party planning, and spending time outside.  She is so excited to be joining the staff and helping our students grow and learn.

Hope Latch
(Young Three's Teacher)

Mrs. Latch is currently in her second year of teaching our Young 3s students.  She is well-qualified with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and a Master's Degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction from Penn State!  Mrs. Latch enjoys physical activities--running, biking, kayaking and hiking--and all of that energy is great for our youngest students!  She also enjoys reading, baking and traveling with her family to see new places.  She has two children, Megan, 10, and Matthew, 8.  Mrs. Latch is so excited to be teaching your children and is looking forward to singing songs, playing games and doing crafts all while learning.  It's her passion to teach and see the wonder in children's eyes.  

Maha Raman (Pre-K Teacher and Teacher Assistant)

Mrs. Raman has been at St. James for 10 years, but we have known her even longer.  Her daughter is a St. James graduate and while she was here, Mrs. Raman was one of our most popular parent substitute teachers!  Mrs. Raman currently is our Tuesday and Thursday Pre-K teacher, and our Pre-K Assistant on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings as well as our  Pre-K Plus teachers.  She holds a Master's Degree in Computer Applications from Alagappa Chettiar Engineering College.  In her former career, she trained professionals with the latest software to meet their needs--now she is training the future professionals with the basic skills needed to become successful students!  She loves working with young children and her enthusiasm and love of learning shine through. She especially loves science and math.  Mrs. Raman is trained in classical Indian dance and enjoys yoga, gardening, travel adventures, early morning walks, and experimenting with new recipes especially gourmet cooking  She is a loving mom of a 20 year old son, DJ, who is a sophomore at Penn State, and a 13 year old daughter, Medha who is at Lionville Middle School..

Alisa Shumate (Teacher Assistant)

Mrs. Shumate is beginning her fourth year at St. James Preschool.  She holds a B.S. in Biokinetics from Eastern University.  Like many of our teachers, Mrs. Shumate spent the last few years at home raising her daughters, Madison, 11, and Kylie, 9, but has re-entered the workforce in the education field!    She enjoys spending time with her family, watching her daughters play sports, traveling, and running.  She loves spending time with your children and watching them learn and grow each time they come to preschool.  Mrs. Shumate's never-ending patience and calm demeanor make her such a valuable asset to our school.

Chitra Soundararajan   (Teacher Assistant/Lunch Bunch Teacher)

Mrs. Soundararajan (or Mrs. S. as we lovingly call her) is in the midst of her eighth year at St. James, but we have known her for many years as the parent of a St. James alumnus.  Mrs. S. has a Bacherlors Degree in Economics and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Madras University.  She also has completed teacher training.  She is a loving mom of two boys, Karthik a senior at STEM, and Kamal a sixth grader.  Mrs. S. re-entered the workforce after being at home raising her boys.  She loves working with children and enjoys her job as an assistant and also leading our lunch bunch program.  Mrs. S. has a wonderful sense of humor and an extreme amount of patience and her smile lights up a room.  She has tons of love to offer our students and they adore her.  In her spare time, Mrs. S. loves reading, music, cooking, gardening, traveling with her family adn her pets, and playing with her children.

Johanna Uggla (Co-Director)

Mrs. Uggla has been part of St. James staff for 12 years. Prior to that she was an active PTO president and parent of two children at the preschool, now graduates, aspiring actress Samantha, 16, and football and lacrosse playing wrestler Spencer, 14.  She has a B.A. in History from West Chester University, and an M.Ed. in Educational Counseling, also from WCU. Mrs. Uggla enjoys spending time with her children and husband, reading, exercising, and traveling. She keeps busy attending her children's various sporting events, musical and theater performances, and other kid activities, and getting to the beach whenever she can.  She loves helping children learn to love school and working to make their first school experience a great one.  She treats every child at the preschool as her own.
St. James Preschool
409 E. Lancaster Ave.
Downingtown PA 19335
610-269-0525
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