Staff & Students

Ardmore Presbyterian Weekday Preschool

APWPS staff provides your child with a nurturing Christian environment where their growth is fostered through play and developmentally appropriate curriculum.

Our Staff

Teachers Who Care

The primary task of the staff is to provide care, attention, opportunities, and experiences that will encourage learning through play and creative activities.

Michelle Butera

Michelle Butera

Preschool Director

Michelle is excited to continue some of the long-standing traditions of Ardmore Preschool while maintaining the nurturing environment APWPS offer.

Michelle has a background in finance and management, 25 years of parenting experience and 25 years as member of APC, 8 years of Sunday School teaching and involved in the preschool for 20 years.

She brings her faith, her heart and her wisdom to help the preschool have an amazing year.

Michelle is originally from Cherry Hill, NJ. and has her undergraduate degree from Drexel University and her Masters Degree from Penn State University.

She loves to see the happiness and joy that comes from each child.

Michelle is the mother of two adult daughters.

Alyce Cerniglia

Alyce Cerniglia

Three-Day Class Teacher

Alyce Cerniglia grew up in the Philadelphia are and has her undergraduate degree in Finance and graduate degree in Human Resources from Catholic University in Washington DC.

She enjoyed many years using her Human Resources skills while working as an international college admissions counselor and corporate recruiter.

Alyce returned from living in Washington DC shortly after meeting her husband “down the shore”.

Alyce and Joe have three boys (ages 15, 14 and 12) who all attended APWPS. Alyce has substituted at APWPS many times over the past 5 years.

Alyce enjoys reading and inspiring future readers starting at a young age.

She loves reading during story time or picking that perfect picture book.

Alyce is thrilled to be teaching the three-day class.

Alyce’s family lives in Wynnewood and belongs to St. Margaret’s Church in Narberth.

Leigh Lignowski

Leigh Lignowski

Three-Day Class Teacher

Leigh grew up in Summit, New Jersey and has an undergraduate background in Literature and Art and graduated from Villanova Law School, where she met her husband.

They have four children, two boys and two girls, all of whom “graduated” from APWPS.

Leigh taught K-8 art at St. Colman-John Neumann and was a substitute at our preschool for several years before joining the staff.

She has been teaching at APWPS since 2013 and is currently a teacher in the three year old class.

She loves being with young children and is excited to encourage their creativity, curiosity, joy, and love of learning, and to watch them grow over the course of a school year.

Leigh’s family belongs to St. Colman Church in Ardmore.

Danuta (Danka) Jablonska-Rauer

Danuta (Danka) Jablonska-Rauer

Two-Day and Three-Day Class Teacher

Danka is from Poland, where she began her academic and professional career by completing a Master’s Degree in Early Education and becoming a teacher.

She taught preschool children and grade school children for over 12 years and currently is a teacher in the 2-day and 3-day classrooms.

In 2001, Danka moved to the United States, where she met her husband. She now lives in Ardmore with her husband, their two daughters, a bunny rabbit and four goldfish.

Danka loves to involve her little ones in crafts, gardening, baking and creative play (everything she enjoys doing!)

She loves to see each child’s curiosity grow as he or she explores the world.

Irena Reynolds

Irena Reynolds

Teacher and Preschool Administrator

Upon completing her degree in Public Administration from the Technical University of Varna, Bulgaria, Irena Reynolds arrived in the United States in 2003 for a year long internship.

The following year she earned her Masters Degree in Central and Eastern European Studies from LaSalle University.

While rearing three children of her own, she has become a Cub Scouts of America Den Leader and is currently a Cub Scout Pack Chair Woman.

Residing in Ardmore for the last 12 years with her family, Irena very much enjoys being involved at her children’s schools and volunteering.

After her youngest child started attending Ardmore Presbyterian in 2014, Irena began helping as a substitute teacher, and has assisted in most of the classrooms since.

She is currently the preschool administrator and also a two-day class teacher.

Laura Rossio

Laura Rossio

Five-Day Class Teacher

Laura Rossio grew up in the Philadelphia area, and has a background in nursing.

She has been teaching at APWPS since 2005 and is currently a teacher in the 5-day program.

Laura enjoys the genuine enthusiasm and joie de vivre of the young children in the preschool.

She marvels at the incredible growth from fall to spring as language emerges, skills improve, and the children begin to care about each other.

Laura feels a teacher should be a role model, patient, kind and especially flexible in expectations.

Laura is the mother of a daughter and was raised as a Quaker.

Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith

5 Day Teacher Aide

Shannon has an undergraduate background in Childhood Education and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology from Penn State University.

After college she has worked as a child mental health worker, victims advocate, and as an assistant and lead teacher for the YMCA.

Shannon and her husband have 2 daughters both who went to Ardmore Presbyterian Preschool and are now in elementary school.

Karen Tolbert

Karen Tolbert

Three-Day Class Teacher

Karen grew up in Buffalo, New York. She attended Bucknell University and received a BS in Elementary Education.

She earned her Masters in Reading Education from the University of Virginia. She taught for seven years prior to having children and moving to the area in 2013.

Karen currently lives in Bala Cynwyd with her husband and two children.

Currently she is a teacher in the three-day program.

Her children are recent graduates of APWPS.

Sheila Vaccaro

Sheila Vaccaro

Five-Day Class Teacher

Sheila has been working with young children since her first job at sixteen years old.

She earned her BA in elementary education and psychology at Albright College and her MA in counseling psychology at Rosemont College.

Sheila has taught Head Start for the Philadelphia School District and was an elementary school counselor for ten years in the Central Bucks School District.

She lives with her husband and two sons (both APWPS graduates) in Wynnewood.

Sheila is currently a teacher in the 5-day program.