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Our Teachers & Director

Each of our teachers hold a degree(s) in childhood education.
These exceptional educators never miss an opportunity to update their programs so
your child can be fully prepared to confidently move on to kindergarten.  
They are first aid, CPR Certified and NYS Mandated Reporter Certified.


Courtney Lupo 
3's Lead Teacher

Courtney has a degree in Early Childhood development and has worked in the field for 18 years as a preschool lead teacher and then as an assistant director before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She currently lives in Wappingers with her husband and three boys, who are all in the Wappingers central schools.

When not at NHNS, Courtney can usually be found on the baseball field or basketball court, where her boys are involved in many travel sports.

Courtney is very happy to be a part of the NHNS family and teaching the 3's.

Kristen Amato
3's Teacher
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Kristen Amato graduated SUNY Oneonta with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and also holds a Master of Science Degree in teaching for Regular & Special Education from Saint Thomas Aquinas College. 


Kristen taught 3rd & 4th grade in the Minisink Valley school district & 1-5th grade at Orange-Ulster BOCES in Orange County. While it was a difficult decision to step away from teaching, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom.  She has two children, who both are students in the Wappingers Central school District, and her son is a graduate of New Hackensack Nursery School. 


When she is not working, you can find her at the soccer field with her son, watching her daughter at dance class, or trying to sneak in a few pages of a good book! 


Kristen is extremely excited to be part of the New Hackensack Nursery School community and teaching in the 3’s program. 

Abby Garcia
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Abby Garcia joined us as Director of New Hackensack Nursery School in February 2017.  In the last 20 years she has held various positions in early childhood education; the first being a volunteer in her son’s nursery school followed by being an assistant, a lead teacher, a program supervisor and a director.  She also has many years of administration experience, gained through working in a leading accounting corporation.

Mrs. Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, and she thoroughly enjoys all aspects of the early childhood education field, from the behind-the-scenes administrative work to teaching a classroom full of children.

She and her husband are empty nesters, and they reside in Wappingers Falls with their dog, Kayla.  Abby’s immediate family consists of the two best sons in the universe and one exceptional daughter (in-law).  Mrs. Garcia loves being Lela to her two GRAND children. 

The 4’s teachers can be reached at:

462-0810 x104  OR

The 3’s teachers can be reached at:

462-0810 x103  OR

Debbie Muesser 
4's Lead Teacher
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Debbie Muesser is a graduate of Iona College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Secondary Education as well as a Masters Degree in English.  She taught middle school and high school in the Bronx until she had her first child and decided to stay home to raise her family.

All three of her children are alumni of NHNS and she volunteered for six years on the NHNS Board of Directors. After her children graduated from NHNS, she loved the school so much and wanted to stay involved so she became a substitute teacher.

Originally from Staten Island, she moved to the Hudson Valley with her husband in 2002 and is quite active in the Wappingers community. She is on the CYO Board of Directors for St. Mary's of Wappingers Falls and coaches basketball for multiple age groups (kdg.- HS).  She is a team mom for one of the SD Patriots Football teams and has also coached T-ball and softball for TOWLL.

When she is not teaching at NHNS, you will find her on a basketball court or sports fields with her family.  She loves spending time with them and vacationing in Disney World. Her hobbies include interior design, gardening, crafts and reading.

Adele Smith
4's Teacher

Adele Smith has been teaching at NHNS since 1997. She is a 1983 graduate of Pace University majoring in Elementary Education. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she worked in the Lakeland School District in Westchester County before getting married. She then became a full-time stay-at-home mother for nine years raising her three children. She has a beautiful daughter and handsome twin sons.


Born and raised in Westchester County, Mrs. Smith came to the Hudson Valley in 1983.  When she is not working, Adele loves to shop at Kohls! Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading and watching movies.

Melissa Johnson
4's Teacher
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Melissa holds as a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education grades k-12 from SUNY Brockport as well as a Masters Degree in education and curriculum from Western Connecticut State. She taught PE for 5 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  She is excited to be part of the team in the 4’s program at New Hackensack Nursery School!

Melissa resides in Wappingers Falls and has four children. Emily, Leah, Ryan, and Michael have all been students of New Hackensack Nursery School.  They are a true alumni family!

Most days you can find her on a soccer field, baseball/softball field or basketball court. All of her children are actively involved in both town and travel programs, and Melissa and her husband love to watch them play.

Melissa couldn’t be happier to be part of the NHNS program and, every year, looks forward to teaching your children and learning more about all of our wonderful families.

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