Felice Karlitz, Director of School
“Ms. K” is responsible for all aspects of the school’s operations, including providing educational leadership, curriculum development and implementation, administration of all programs and services, and overseeing the school’s growth. Prior to joining Saratoga Independent School in 1995, she taught in gifted and talented, as well as in traditional classrooms in New York City. Ms. Karlitz received a BS in Education from State University College at Buffalo and a MS in Education from Long Island University.
John Lefner, Director of Operations
“Mr. Lefner” is responsible for the business oversight of the school’s operations. He provides leadership to the administrative team and manages marketing, public relations, fundraising, and budget development. He also oversees contract and vendor relationships, and all physical assets of the campus. Before joining Saratoga Independent School in 2012, Mr. Lefner served as the Assistant Director of Operations at the Double H Ranch.
Anne-Marie Campbell, Director of Development
“Ms. Campbell” is responsible for leading the School’s advancement program as adopted by the Board of Trustees. In conjunction with the school leadership and trustees, she manages all fundraising activities including annual giving, endowment and capital campaigns, and special events. Prior to joining Saratoga Independent School in 2014, Ms. Campbell was Director of Leadership Gifts and Gift Planning at Skidmore College. Ms. Campbell is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Colleen Fortune, Office Manager
“Ms. Colleen” offers administrative support to the directors with an emphasis on managing communications and record keeping related directly to the students, families, prospective families, summer campers and alumni. She also assists with operations, research, community contact and outreach, and program registration.
Linda Auffredou, Accounting Coordinator
“Ms. Linda” is responsible for the day-to-day financial transactions, including invoicing and managing accounts receivable and payable, along with supporting the administrative team in the office.
Dina Baker, Kindergarten Teacher/Kindergarten Science Teacher
“Ms. Dina” joined Saratoga Independent School in 2013 as a teacher for our new Kindergarten class. Prior to joining our school, she was the lead teacher in the primary program at Montessori School of Schenectady since 2009. She also served as supervisor of her classroom staff and as an administrative assistant to the director. Dina is currently completing the Early Education Graduate Program at the College of Saint Rose. She is a member of the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children and was selected to present at their annual conference on “Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom.”
Kim Blystone, Pre-K Teacher
“Miss Kim” joined Saratoga Independent School in 2010, and serves as the lead teacher in our morning and afternoon class. She previously was a head preschool teacher in the Discovery Preschool Program at KinderCare Learning Center in Niskayuna. She graduated with a BS in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta and holds her NYS Childhood Education Certification in grades 1-6.
Ilena Corr, Language Arts/ Primary Science Teacher
“Ms. Corr” joined our school in 2004 as a Language Arts/Science teacher. In addition, she taught science and third grade at John Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton,NY. She graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and received her MS in Education from Long Island University. She holds her certification for Nursery – 6th grade.
Melinda Fant, Teacher, Pre-K Wrap-Around Program
“Miss Melinda” began as a Pre-K teacher with us in 2003. She received her degree in Elementary Education from theUniversityofMaineand has taught in a variety of early childhood classroom settings. As the teacher in our Pre-K Wrap-Around Program, her goal is to provide children with activities that encourage them to explore their environment and develop their social skills.
Theresa Ibbotson, Pre-K Teacher’s Assistant
“Ms. Ibby” joined Saratoga Independent School as Ms. Sharon’s afternoon assistant in January 2013 when we opened our fourth Pre-K class. Prior to coming to Saratoga Independent School, Ms. Ibby taught at the Learning School in Hudson Falls, where she shared a class with Ms. Sharon. She also taught at The Bluebird’s Nest in Glens Falls. Ms. Ibby served on the Board of the North Country Association for the Education of Young Children.
Sharon Kelly, Pre-K Teacher
“Miss Sharon” serves as the lead teacher in our second morning Pre-K class. She previously taught a 3 and 4 year old multiage class at Warren County Head Start. She also taught eight years as a Pre-K teacher at Bluebird’s Nest Preschool, and as a classroom teacher at St. Mary’s/St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School. Ms. Sharon received her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Centenary College, her BA and MS degrees in Education from College of St. Joseph, and her certificate in Literacy. Ms. Sharon joinedSaratogaIndependentSchool in 2012.
Alison Mace, Language Arts/Primary Math Teacher
“Miss Mace” joinedSaratogaIndependentSchool in 2014 as a teacher for new primary class. Her prior experience includes teaching at Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls in Albany,NY and at PS 29 in Brooklyn. Ms. Mace received her BS in Early Childhood Education and Psychology fromNew YorkUniversity and her MA, Literary Specialist from Teachers College Columbia University. She has certifications in Early Childhood, Birth-Grade 2 Students With Disabilities Birth-Grade 2, Literary Specialist Birth-Grade 6, and Childhood Education Grades 1-6.
Marilyn Parker, Art Teacher
“Ms. Parker” has implemented the art program atSaratogaIndependentSchoolsince 1997. She also serves as a substitute teacher, an enrichment class teacher, and a summer camp staff member. Ms. Parker taught children’s art classes at the Saratoga County Arts Council, and served as a K-12 substitute teacher at Ballston Spa Schools. Ms. Parker studied art at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the New England School of Art and Design.
Lisa Plata, Pre-K Teacher’s Assistant
“Ms. Lisa” joined SaratogaIndependentSchoolas Ms. Kim’s assistant in 2014. Prior to coming to Saratoga Independent School, Ms. Lisa taught Kindergarten in Clifton Park and Pre-K in Troy, NY. She received her BS and her Masters in Childhood Education from State University College of New York at Oneonta. Ms. Lisa holds an Advanced Certificate in Teaching Literacy Birth to 6th grade.
Jeny Randall, Language Arts / Intermediate and Upper Science Teacher
“Ms. Randall” joined Saratoga Independent School in 2011. She also serves as director of our Summer Environmental Program. She previously taught science atTenacreCountryDay School inWellesley,MA, and at Kentucky Day School in Louisville,KY. Ms. Randall received her MA in Environmental Education from Antioch University.
Kyle Roberts, Physical Education Teacher
“Coach Roberts” joined our faculty in 2013. He is a graduate of SUNY Cortland where he received his Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Physical Education and 4+1 Health Education. He has been nominated for the EDA-AAHPERD Outstanding Future Professional Award and has presented at the NYS AHPERD Conference and the AAHPERD National Convention. He holds his New York State Professional Coaching Certification.
Amanda Ryan, Pre-K Teacher’s Assistant
“Ms. Amanda” assists Ms. Sharon in the morning Pre-K class and assists Ms. Melinda in Wrap-Around. She received her BS in Childhood Education from State University at Plattsburgh and her MS in Childhood Education from State University of New York at Albany. Prior to joining our faculty in 2014, she was a nanny and had previous experience as a teacher’s assistant at World Class daycare in Queensbury.
Mary Sacks, Language Arts /Intermediate and Upper Social Studies Teacher
“Ms. Sacks” has been with Saratoga Independent School since 2007. She has a deep commitment to education and learning through meaningful learning activities. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo, Ms. Sacks received her MS in Childhood Education from the College of Saint Rose.
Lauren Matarese Smith, Language Arts/Primary Math Teacher,
“Ms. Smith” joined SaratogaIndependentSchoolas a Primary Language Arts Teacher in 2013. She received her BS in Elementary Education from the State University at New Paltz and her MS in Literacy from Queens College. Her prior experience includes teaching in the primary grades at PS 203 in Bayside, New York. She holds a Gifted and Talented Advanced Certificate and initial certifications in Literacy Birth-6th and Grades 1-6.
Colleen Staszak, Spanish Teacher
“Señora” has over 14 years experience teaching Spanish to children and managing Spanish programs. She is the co-founder of Hola La, a program that incorporates physical movement, music and social interaction into its Spanish language curriculum. Ms. Staszak has a musical background in violin, piano, and voice and uses her talents to help create the music for Hola La’s curriculum. She studied Spanish at the University of Vermont, and also studied at the University of Granada in Granada,Spain during college.
Heather Swatling, Kindergarten, Intermediate and Upper Math Teacher
“Ms. S.” has been teaching atSaratogaIndependentSchoolsince 1999. She serves as the primary math teacher for all students and provides instruction and guidance in the Kindergarten learning centers. Ms. Swatling also taught summers in the Skidmore College HEOP Math program for incoming students. She has a BA from Castleton State College inVermontand a MS in Reading from SUNY Albany.
Shauna Swinimer, Kindergarten Teacher/Kindergarten Social Studies Teacher
“Miss Shauna” has been a Saratoga Independent School Kindergarten teacher since 2001. She received her BA in Education degree from McGill University in Montreal. She also has an MS in Elementary Reading and Literacy. Previously she served as Director/Teacher at the Montessori School of the Redwoods in Felton,CA.
Paula Walentowicz, Music Teacher
“Ms Walentowicz” has over 18 years experience teaching music to students of all ages, including Kindermusik classes and private piano instruction. She is a formerly licensed Kindermusik and Musikgarten teacher, a member of the NYS Music Teachers Association, and the recipient of Kindermusik Maestro Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Dashia Wallace, Differentiation Support Teacher
“Ms. Wallace” collaborates with all teachers to support student success. She received her BS in childhood education/special education from College of Saint Rose and her MS in Special Education and Inclusion from the University of Albany. She has NYS initial certifications in Early Childhood Birth–Grade 2, Childhood Education Grades 1-6, and Special Education Grades 1-6. Prior to joining Saratoga Independent School in 2014, she taught at Francis Stevens Elementary in Ballston Lake and Harmony Hills in Cohoes.
Jane Lampert, Lunch Program Coordinator
“Ms. Lampert” creates and serves enticing and healthy lunches for our students daily. Her warm personality makes lunchtime a favorite part of the students’ day!