Primrose School at Mountainside

Our Staff

  • Andrea Cota, Kindergarten Teacher

    Andrea Cota

    Kindergarten Teacher
    Apple of Our Eye

    Hello, my name is Andrea Cota, I have a degree in Elementary Education, and I have two wonderful sons ages 21 and 24. I love the beach and gardening, I also enjoy children’s literature. My favorite place is Cape Cod Massachusetts. My favorite color is pink, and I love Mexican food

    Three fun facts about me:

    ·I grew up in Massachusetts.

    ·I love flowers.

    ·I enjoy being near water and swimming.


  • Pamela Tolbert, Head of School

    Pamela Tolbert

    Head of School

    My name is Pamela Tolbert, and I am excited to join the Primrose School at Mountainside. I have over 25 years of experience working with young children, and have held the positions of teacher, tutor, Education Specialist, Assistant Director and Director in early childhood and elementary school programs. I have my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. I also am a certified teacher in Pre-K through Eighth Grade. As an educational professional and as a mother, I know how important it is to build the Right Foundation in Learning and in Life at a young age. This is why I am so passionate about Primrose's curriculum, which focuses not only on academic excellence, but also character and social emotional development, as well as physical development.

    On a personal note, I live locally with my husband and our six children ages 27, 26, 25, 23, 21, and 20. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling, eating healthy, and going to the gym.

  • Deepa Menon, Admissions Director

    Deepa Menon

    Admissions Director

    My name is Deepa and I am the Admissions Director at Primrose. I have my Masters in Commerce and Accounting. Before joining Primrose I have worked for over 10 years in a corporate environment namely the Banking and Insurance sector. I have always had a passion to work with children. I take every opportunity where I can to volunteer at different events for my childrens'school. What I like most about Primrose School is their approach towards the different development needs of children. I truly appreciate the freedom kids are given to make choices under proper direction.

    My family is my lifeline and I am truly blessed with awesome twin daughters. I love spending every extra moment I have with them. We love going to the beach and museums. A cup of coffee and a good book are my best buddies for a little mommy time.

  • Ashley Martinez, Office Manager

    Ashley Martinez

    Office Manager

    Hi, My name is Ashley Martinez, and I am the Office Manager here. I am happily married for the past 13 years to my husband, who is in the military. Also, I am a mother of two boys who are 10 and 8 years old and my baby girl who is 5 years old. We just added a new puppy to our family. I am currently finishing up my last semester at Union County College to receive my Early Childhood Education Associates this May ‘22. My plan is to get my Bachelor's degree from Kean University in Elementary Education for children with disabilities.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I have 3 dogs. 2 cats, 1 turtle- we have a zoo in my house.
    • I love to Garden, and I love orchid plants.
    • I love to play video games!

    What do you like best about Primrose School?

    A few things that I like about working for Primrose School are the understanding with work and personal life compromise, the great comradery around the workplace, and also the opportunity for growth.

  • Anita Browne, Preschool Teacher

    Anita Browne

    Preschool Teacher

    Hello, My name is Anita Browne and I am a Preschool Teacher here at Primrose School. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching preschool children for the past 25 years and it has always been a positive experience.

    I ride my bike every day to work. I love going to the movies. I enjoy reading a book on the beach as it's one of my favorite things to do. I can also walk on stilts.

    What I like about Primrose School is the fun and positive learning approach. 

  • Beverly Holland, Infant Teacher

    Beverly Holland

    Infant Teacher

    Hello, my name is Beverly and I am the Infant Teacher here at Primrose school. I have four children, 3 sons and a daughter, and I’m also a proud Grandma. I have 24 years of experience working with children including children with special needs. I taught Kindergarten at the YMCA for 9 years, and I was the owner and operator of Montclair Riding Academy where I hosted children’s birthday parties. I also worked as a manager at the Young Chef’s school where I taught children to cook.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I love to cook and bake.
    • I love to play with my dogs.
    • I love spending time with my family.

    What do you like the most about Primrose School?

    What I like about Primrose is the low ratio of children to teachers because it allows for more one-on-one time with the children.

  • Bonnie Frazilus, Preschool 1 Teacher

    Bonnie Frazilus

    Preschool 1 Teacher

    Hi, my name is Bonnie, I am the Preschool 1 Teacher. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Creative writing. I have experience working with children through babysitting, tutoring, and teaching. I have experience with all ages, but I find the Preschool group excites me the most. I come from a big family of 4 siblings and many younger cousins so being around children is all that I know and something I will always love!

      Three fun facts about me:

    NYC is my favorite place (that I’ve seen so far).

    • I love to write poems.

    •I am a winter baby, but I love summer.


    What do you like best about Primrose?

    I appreciate the structure and the commitment to ensuring that families can bring their children to an institution that they trust.

  • Briana Berrios, Pre-Kindergarten Support Teacher

    Briana Berrios

    Pre-Kindergarten Support Teacher

    Hello! My name is Briana Berrios, and I am currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree in teaching at Kean university. I have always worked well with children and when I started to work here, I instantly felt welcomed. Previously, I worked at YMCA and that’s when I knew working with kids was the career for me.

    Three fun facts about me:

    •I love to stay active.

    •I am creative with makeup.

    •I am going to school until I get my masters.

    What do you like best about Primrose School?

    I like how I’ve gained experience with all the different age groups here.

  • Cassandra Hoy, Pre-Kindergarten Support Teacher

    Cassandra Hoy

    Pre-Kindergarten Support Teacher

    Hello! My name is Ms. Cassandra Hoy. I am currently a history and education major. I plan to get my Masters degree from Rutgers University and teach history for high school students. I am very passionate about education and always have been. My goals as a teacher are to not only teach students curriculum in the classroom, but also assist in emotional and independent growth of students and create an environment where learning is not a necessity, but a desire.

    Three fun facts about me:

    •My favorite food is sushi.

    •My favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies.

    •I have a leopard gecko named Moose

    What do you like best about Primrose School?

    The ambition to make students not only good learners but good people and their ability to change curriculums and techniques based on new research.

  • Catherine Vaz, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Catherine Vaz

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Hello friends! My name Is Mrs. Catherine, and I am one of Primrose Schools Preschool Pathways teachers. I was born and raised in Newark. New Jersey. I am Portuguese and can speak three languages. I am a newlywed; my husband is a union police officer. I am fur mommy to three puppies. I graduated from Kean University with my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I am so excited to be teaching at Primrose School,

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I love chocolate.
    • I enjoy reading 
    • I am all about cleanliness and organization.

    What do you like the best about Primrose School?

    As much as I love how everyone here is family nothing beats Primrose’s balanced learning curriculum!

  • Devra Ketner, Explorers Teacher

    Devra Ketner

    Explorers Teacher

    Hello, my name is Devra Ketner. I have a degree in Early Childhood education and a post degree in Recreation Administration. I also have a CDL License to drive a small school bus. I previously worked in a daycare/afterschool for a Community Center for over 22 years before leaving to become caregiver for my elderly father. I live in Elizabeth, NJ with my Husband Aaron, my father, my mother-in-law and my 2½ year old beagle named Spanky.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I love sports.
    • I went to Baseball Spring Training games to get autographs and the Yankees are my favorite team!
    • I love to drive and travel all over the USA.

    What do you like best about Primrose School?

    What I love about Primrose School is the staff, They are very friendly and helpful.

  • Gloria Anzalone, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Gloria Anzalone

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Hello, I’m Ms. Gloria! I have been working with children for the past fifteen years and have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Early Elementary Education. Teaching children has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience throughout the years, and I am happy to continue teaching and learning at Primrose School. It is amazing to see the children grow and learn so quickly, and see what motivates them, and I am glad to be a part of it!

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I enjoy dancing
    • I love performing arts
    • I play various sports

    What do you like about Primrose School?

    I love the variety of approaches to learning and different activities that are designed to develop the whole child.

  • Izaiah Moultrie, Chef

    Izaiah Moultrie


    Hello, my name is Izaiah Moultrie and I am the Chef here at Primrose School. Cooking was never a part of who I was until I began my job here. My life was primarily focused on scientific pursuits such as IT which is what I studied.

    I am very excited to be at Primrose School because I love working with children. I have also learned how important food is to children and I enjoy helping them learn about healthy eating habits.  I can make an amazing tomato cucumber salad now.

    Primrose School is very diverse and family oriented.

  • Jaileen Pared, Young Toddler Teacher

    Jaileen Pared

    Young Toddler Teacher

    I’ve been in the education field for about ten years doing many different things. I’m currently enrolled at Union College for Early Childhood Education. In the future, when I graduate, I will be going into early intervention. I love working in the Young Toddler classroom because I can teach the children the fundamentals of life and watch them explore as they learn new things.

    Three fun facts about me:

    •I love to bake and do arts and crafts.

    •My favorite color is pink.

    •I have a daughter

    What do you like the most about Primrose?

    I love the balanced learning curriculum Primrose provides.

  • Kathy Smiatacz, Support Teacher

    Kathy Smiatacz

    Support Teacher

    Hello, my name is Kathy Smitacz and I am a Support Teacher here at Primrose School. I have attended Union County College as well as Kean University with a major in Early Childhood Education and Sociology. I always had a passion to work with children. I have experience working with children from infants up to 5 years of age. I am also a mom of a 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter. I look forward to every opportunity to spend time with my children because they bring me joy.

    I love to sing. I love going on vacations with my family and watching movies.

    Primrose school has a very trusting and nurturing environment. Parents and teachers are wonderful individuals.

  • Kimberly Cruz, Support Teacher

    Kimberly Cruz

    Support Teacher

    Hi! My name is Kim.  I am currently in school pursuing a career in Psychological Therapy. I am majoring in Education and minoring in psychology. I love children and seeing them grow! I also volunteer as a child facilitator at Imagine's center of coping with loss; ages six through nine.


    3 Fun facts about me:

    • I played softball for 10 years
    • I performed musically in Disney World
    • I sang in a choir for fifteen years.


    What do you like the most about Primrose School?

    Everyone from the staff to the children are amazing and so sweet.

  • Sada Holmes, Early Preschool Teacher

    Sada Holmes

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Hello, my name is Sada! I am excited to be working in the Early Preschool classroom here at Primrose School. I love helping children grow and learn. Working with children is such an incredible honor that I get to fulfill every day. When I am not in the classroom, I am at home playing games with my friends and family.

    Three fun facts about me:

    I am a Virgo.

    My favorite color is purple.

    I love to swim.

    What do you like best about Primrose School?

    I love that everyone is treated like family here at Primrose

  • Maradis Diaz, Toddler Teacher

    Maradis Diaz

    Toddler Teacher

    Hello everyone! My name is Maradis, but I go by Mara! My journey in education started shortly after high school, I have had the pleasure of working in various schools with various age groups for the last 15 years! I have a college background in Early Education and am currently continuing my education. I didn’t always know that I wanted to teach and help little minds develop, but shortly after starting this journey, I knew this is where my heart belongs.

    Three fun facts about me:

    •I love traveling and spending time with my daughter

    •My favorite food is pizza!

    •My favorite animal is an elephant.

    What do you like best about Primrose?

    The welcoming environment for the staff as well as families and students. I am excited to be a part of the Primrose School family!

  • Jennie Cadet, Early Preschool Teacher

    Jennie Cadet

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Hi, my name is Mrs. Jennie and I am very pleased to be assisting in your child's class this school year. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the school year has in store. I am not only your child’s teacher but I am also a mother. This will allow me to care for your child as if they were my own, with lots of hugs and tickles.

    In recent years, I have developed a love for teaching but that wasn’t always the passion I had. I have an Associates degree in Culinary Art. I am also bilingual.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • My favorite color is Lavender
    • My secret superpower is being a chef
    • Spanish is my secret language

    What do you like about Primrose?

    The thing I love most about Primrose School is the opportunity I have to continue to learn and grow as a teacher. I am excited to get to know the families as well.

  • Nicole Vacula, Early Preschool Teacher

    Nicole Vacula

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Hi! My name is Ms. Nicole, or Ms. Cola, as the children like to call me. I'm so excited to have joined the early preschool family! Working with your children each day and watching them grow and develop brings me all the joy in the world. I've been working with children all my life and I have a niece and nephew that I love as my own. I received my Bachelor's degree in Clinical Psychology at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. I was a social worker for over 8 years for Union County, as well, but I think I found my home at Primrose.

    3 Fun Facts About Me:

    • I'm a fur mom to Riley, a shitzu-poodle mix.
    • I have to hike and have hiked at an expert level, Mountain Penciave, New Hampshire
    • Whether it's snuggled up in a blanket or sitting in the sun on the jersey shore I'm happy with a good book.


    What do you like the most about Primrose School?

    What I like about Primrose School is that I can grow professionally as a teacher as I develop closer relationships with my children and families.

  • Sarita Hawks, Early Preschool Teacher

    Sarita Hawks

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Hello, my name is Sarita and I am an Early Preschool Teacher here at Primrose School. I love working with all of the children here at the school. I have been working in early childhood education for over 16 years. I love art and drawing. I enjoy watching all kinds of scary and funny movies.

    What I like about Primrose is that everyone greets each other with happy smiles throughout the day and so do I!  My motto is Happy Teacher + Happy Parents = Happy children and a great day for everyone.

  • Naiesha Houston-Brooks, Support Teacher

    Naiesha Houston-Brooks

    Support Teacher

    Hello, my name is Naiesha Brooks and I am a Support Teacher here at Primrose School. I have been working with children 2-6 years of age for over 15 years. I started out working at my aunt’s day care. I know that teaching is something that was meant for me, and I truly enjoy it. I have also worked as a Nanny and a Behavioral Paralysis Therapist. I started my journey in the Medical field as an ER medical technician.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • Teaching is my passion.
    • I am a comedian and I love to make people laugh.
    • I like challenges, they further motivate my ambition.

    What do you like best about Primrose?

    What I like about Primrose is the fact that the curriculum is outstanding. Our school also takes pride in the appearance of its staff as well as the school.

  • Preeti Tyagi, Support Teacher

    Preeti Tyagi

    Support Teacher

    Hello, my name is Preeti Tyagi, and I am one of the support teachers here at Primrose! I have my bachelor’s degree in humanities. I also have a diploma in fashion designing. I love my two boys one is 12 years old, and my other son is 18 years old. As a teacher I love my profession because being a teacher in an invaluable contribution.

    Three fun facts about me:

    • I love to travel and explore the world.
    • I love to do gardening, I love plants!
    • I enjoy Indian dance and music.

    What do you like best about Primrose?

    I like that Primrose provides a good learning environment. We offer what I believe to be the best care and education.

  • Renita Cook, Support Teacher

    Renita Cook

    Support Teacher

    Hello, my name is Mrs. Renita Cook. I joined The Primrose School Staff in late July as a Support Teacher. I am a retiree from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision after serving 25 years, As a mother and grandmother working with the Primrose children will be second nature for me, and I look forward to bonding with your precious children.

    Three fun facts about me:

    I love making people laugh.

    I Love Traveling

    I enjoy pampering myself in my free time


  • Kyah Beckles, Early Preschool Teacher

    Kyah Beckles

    Early Preschool Teacher

    My name is Ms. Kyah, I’m originally from Brooklyn NY, and have been babysitting for as long as I can remember. My first job was working with kids at a day camp. I’ve always had a passion for working with children and being able to tap into my inner big little kid.

    Three fun facts about me:

    ·I’ve taken 3 years of ASL.

    ·I ran track for 10 years.

    ·My brother named me after his daycare best friend.

  • Tiana Green, Young Teacher

    Tiana Green

    Young Teacher

    Hello, my name is Tiana. I am a Virgo; I attend Kean University College and major in accounting, but I thought of changing my major to Education so I can become a teacher.

    Three fun facts about me:

    ·I love TikTok.

    ·I love going out to eat.

    ·I love to listen to music.


    What do you like best about Primrose?

    I like that primrose is a very positive work environment and that I spend all day smiling and enjoying my time with the kids.




  • Tiara Green, Early Preschool Teacher

    Tiara Green

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Hi, My name is Tiara, I am currently a Psychology Major at Kean University. My goal is to be a child psychologist. I love to see the joy on children’s faces as they learn and explore the world with curiosity, and I love making them happy.


    Three fun facts about me:

    My favorite food is Buffalo Wings.

    I have a twin sister.

    I love Grey’s Anatomy.



    What do you like best about Primrose?

    I like how they are very welcoming and treat the children as if it was their own.

  • Ashley and Charles Gray, Franchise Owner

    Ashley and Charles Gray

    Franchise Owner

    Hello, we are Ashley and Charles Gray, the proud Franchise Owners of Primrose School at Mountainside. As parents we value the importance of the high-quality, educational child care that Primrose Schools provides. The significant role education has played in our own lives has instilled in us a dedication to positively impacting children's lives in a safe and nurturing learning environment. When we discovered Primrose Schools, we knew there was an immediate need in our community and New Jersey to provide children and families the best possible early childhood education experience. We were impressed with the unmatched curriculum, teaching method and unique culture of Primrose. We quickly became avid supporters of the brand and its dedication to partnering with parents to set children up for success in school and in life. We are devoted to bringing the best possible child care experience to the Mountainside community and providing children with a solid foundation to excel in the future. We understand the importance of instilling a love of learning throughout a child's early years, and we believe this is essential to building a new generation of bright citizens. Primrose Schools is The Leader in Educational Child CareŒ¬ and we are committed to delivering the best possible experience when it comes to your child's education. We look forward to meeting you!

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