Staff

 Ellen Grudzien

TAP Director and Lead Teacher  
Ellen has been working in the field of early childhood education for over 25 years and has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Springfield College. 

Her experience as a an early childhood educator and a preschool director led her to open The Amherst Preschool in 2009.  Ellen believes children learn best in an environment where they are nurtured and respected.  She has designed the programs at The Amherst Preschool to reflect her philosophy that children need to explore their environment with hands-on activities and be active in the learning process. 

Through her love of yoga, Ellen  became a certified Child Light Yoga instructor in 2015.  She practices yoga with the Four Year Old groups twice a month.

Ellen is the Lead Teacher for both the Three Year Old Program and the 3-day Four Year Old Program.


Jamie Pixley
Lead Teacher

Miss Jamie has been an early childhood educator since 2001. While staying home with her two boys (both graduates of TAP), Miss Jamie acted as a substitute teacher at TAP and always knew she would return when a position became available. After three years as an Associate Teacher at TAP, Jamie is enjoying her first year as a Lead Teacher.  
Miss Jamie appreciates the spontaneity of the preschooler and looks forward to each day as it is always an adventure!

Jamie is the Lead Teacher for the 4-Day Four Year Old Program 


Josh Conklin

Associate Teacher

  

Josh arrives at The Amherst Preschool after twelve years as a stay at home dad and writer. During that time he published an array of poems and co-authored two series of science experiment books for children. Before becoming the primary caregiver for his family, Josh graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in sociology, earned an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, and spent several years as a boarding school coach and teacher. Josh is excited for this new chapter as part of the early childhood education team at the The Amherst Preschool.   


Ruth Brunea

Associate Teacher

Ruth has been involved in early childhood education for many years, in various roles from classroom teacher to curriculum coordinator and adjunct professor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and a master’s degree in early childhood education from the Institute of Education, London. 

Ruth lives in Hollis NH with her husband Jonathan and her two sons, Henry and Samuel. Born and raised in Lincoln, England, she has lived in the United States for 18 years. Ruth is very excited to join the staff at TAP. She loves encouraging children to explore and wonder, as they experience the world around them.

Ruth is an Associate Teacher for the Three Year Old and Four Year Old Programs. 


Ruthie Gordon
Associate Teacher   

Ruthie and her husband Joel have made Amherst their home for the past 27 years.  They raised their three children in this community that they truly love.  Ruthie holds a bachelor of arts in psychology and a master of education in guidance and counseling.  Working at The Amherst Preschool since 2012 has been one of her greatest joys.  Watching the children explore and grow throughout the school year is perhaps the greatest reward of this profession. 

Ruthie is an Associate Teacher for the 3-Day Four Year Old Program.