Our Teachers & Director

Each of our teachers hold a degree(s) in childhood education. Our teachers never miss an opportunity to update their programs so your child can be fully prepared to confidently move on to kindergarten.  

All of our teachers are first aid, CPR Certified and NYS Mandated Reporter Certified.


From left to right:

Top - Carolyn Naso (4's), Linda Chiacchia (Retired 4's Teacher), Debbie Muesser (4's)

Bottom -Adele Smith (3's), Courtney Lupo (3's), Abby Garcia (Director)

Adele Smith
3's Lead 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 and has lived in Poughkeepsie for 28 years.  When she is not teaching the wonderful 3 year olds, Adele loves to shop at Kohls! Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading and watching movies.

Courtney Lupo 
3's 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 excited about becoming part of the NHNS family and is looking forward to a wonderful experience working with Mrs. Smith and the 3s.

Abby Garcia

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 loved being a soccer mom through her sons’ school and college years.  Nowadays she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, attending and volunteering at her church, Valley Christian Church, and

going to the gym.

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

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.

Carolyn Naso
4's Teacher

Carolyn Naso is a 1994 graduate of SUNY Oneonta, majoring in Elementary Education. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she began working at Fishkill Elementary School and went on to receive her master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz.

Mrs. Naso taught at Fishkill for seven years before deciding to become a stay-at-home mom. All three of Mrs. Naso’s children attended New Hackensack Nursery School and they immediately fell in love with the teachers and the program. A few years ago, Mrs. Naso returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher at New Hackensack and at Fishkill Plains Elementary School.

Mrs. Naso was born and raised in Carmel, New York and moved to the Hudson Valley in 1996 after she got married. Mrs. Naso and her husband are very involved in the East Fishkill Soccer Club, having coached kids ranging from three all the way up to
eighteen. Mrs. Naso was also very involved with the John Jay Girls’ Soccer Booster Club when her daughter was in high school and is currently the treasurer for the John Jay Boys’ Booster Club. Mrs. Naso has also worked with her children’s theater group, Standing Room Only, for the past eleven years. 


Mrs. Naso loves watching her children’s sporting events and theater productions. She is pretty much at a soccer or baseball field seven days a week! She also loves trips to Lake George and Disney World with her family. Mrs. Naso spends any free time she may have watching the NY Yankees and listening to Billy Joel!

Cara Plitsch
4's Teacher

Cara Plitsch is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education as well as a Master of Science in Literacy Education. She taught in the Wappingers Central School District for ten years before she had the wonderful opportunity to stay home to raise her two children.


Mrs. Plitsch was born and raised in Wappingers Falls, New York. She attended New Hackensack Nursery School as a student where her love of learning began! She went on to enjoy her education in the Wappingers School District and graduated from John Jay High School in 2002. Life took her across the river to Ulster County for a bit before returning to WCSD in the elementary classroom as a teacher. She also had the opportunity to coach girls’ basketball on the very court that she played at Van Wyck and John Jay. She is currently still involved in the program as much as she can be!


In 2011, Mrs. Plitsch married her husband and together they settled into their beautiful Hopewell Junction home while raising their two children. Mrs. Plitsch’s son is a NHNS graduate and her daughter is currently enrolled in the program. She was grateful for the opportunity to put her professional life on hold so that she could be home with her children full-time, but is now very excited to begin this new chapter of her career. She has always admired the teachers of NHNS and looks forward to teaching a younger population of students.


When Mrs. Plitsch is not at NHNS, she is on the run! She enjoys her time with her loved ones, coaching her children on the baseball and soccer fields, laughing with friends as well as running on the rail trail with her Sparrow’s Nest community! She loves to explore new places and welcomes adventures and traveling with her family.