A Nonprofit Organization

Sponsored byThe Sembrat Law Firm

Faculty And Staff

Heather Tetmyer - Co-Founder/Director


Heather graduated from Pine-Richland high school in 2001 and attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Elementary Education. Upon graduation, she immediately accepted her first teaching job in Bagdad, Arizona. After teaching kindergarten for two years, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to teach at Laveen Elementary School for two years. Upon completing her Masters of Education in Reading Curriculum and Instruction and earning her Reading Specialist endorsement, she accepted a position with University of Phoenix and later Grand Canyon University. After working as a full-time faculty member in the College of Education for two years, Heather returned to her hometown in Pennsylvania.

Heather Tetmyer

Gabrielle Palermo

Gabrielle Palermo  - Co-Founder/Director


Gabrielle graduated from Mars Area High School in 2001 and attended the University of Pittsburgh, completing her undergrad in Criminology. She continued her education to receive an Elementary Education Certification and then her Masters in the Art of Teaching.  After completing her Masters, she became a Behavior Specialist Consultant for several wraparound companies. In 2013, she completed all her trainings and clinical hours to become a State Licensed Behavior Specialist. Through visiting multiple daycares and schools, she has observed a huge deficiency in a student’s ability to problem solve and process information.  Gabrielle has adopted the theory that, "There needs to be more hands on experiences and the transferring of skills to real life situations." So many children are getting lost in the pile of worksheets that they have to complete and having to learn verbatim what the curriculum says they should know. There is a better way to get our children to gain knowledge and that is through the STEM based principals.  Children will finally be excited to learn when attending STEMsteps  school.

Christine Territola  -  Teacher (Pre-K) 2018-19


Christine grew up in Rutherford, NJ before moving to the Poconos for high school and college. She graduated from East Stroudsburg University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary education (K-6). After graduating, she moved out to Pittsburgh to be closer to her niece. She has been enjoying exploring the city and making Pittsburgh her home over the last 5 years. Christine believes children should be able to explore beyond books and the classroom and enjoys guiding children through the early stages of their education!

Christine Territola

Kelly Lightner  - Teacher (Preschool) 2018-19


Kelly grew up in Montville, NJ. She graduated from Montville Township High school. She went to Kutztown University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special education. After graduating she worked a few years teaching in Eastern PA. She worked for several years as a pre-school and kindergarten enrichment teacher at a child care center. She is a member of the SCA which is a organization that preserves medieval professions such as chainmail, blacksmithing, and leather working. She enjoys being outdoors as much as possible.

Kelly Lightner

Sarah Kallquist  - Classroom Aide (Pre-K) 2018-19


Sarah has a love and passion for helping kids grow and learn in the classroom. She encourages exploration and finding new joys for learning. Sarah has a background in early childhood education and development from CCAC. She also enjoys spending lots of time with family and friends , working on a creative project or planning her next beach Vacation.

Sarah Kallquist

Emily Spronatti  - Teacher (Older Toddlers) 2018-19


Emily grew up in Erie, PA before settling in Pittsburgh with her family.  She graduated from Penn State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies.  Emily went on to attend graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh and received her Master’s in Early Intervention with dual certification in Special Education and Early Childhood Education.  She has worked as a special education teacher in inclusive and self-contained classroom settings and recently worked in a toddler classroom.  Emily loves working with children and celebrates all success within the classroom.

Emily Spronatti

Katherine Stan

Katherine Stan  - Teacher (Kindergarten) 2018-19


Katherine grew up in Clifton, NJ.  She graduated from Passaic County Technical High School.  She attended Rutgers- the State University of New Jersey, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Spanish in 2004.  Upon graduating, she joined the Teach for America Program, a national service corps program of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced urban and rural schools.  Through this program, she also continued her education to receive her Elementary Education Certification. She went on to teach two years as a fourth and fifth grade classroom teacher in central NJ.  After receiving extensive training in balanced literacy and phonics, she taught for four additional years as a Reading Support Specialist.   After these 8 successful years of teaching in New Jersey, she and her family relocated to the Pittsburgh area.  Since her relocation, she has dedicated her time to raising her two daughters, currently ages six and eight. She has always been passionate about teaching and for this reason has stayed abreast of new teaching standards and methodologies.  She is excited to extend her experience and talent to our innovative and exciting STEM educational team!

Jennifer Stipetich

Jennifer Stipetich  - Classroom Aide (Kindergarten) 2018-19


Jen graduated from Shaler Area High School in 1995. After getting married in 2002 and starting a family, she started working in the daycare business. She has 14 years of experience working with ages 6 weeks to 5 years as well as raising her 2 boys who are entering their teen years. She has completed coursework in Early Childhood Education program through Penn Foster.

Jen has a creative side and gets excited with incorporating fun themes and ideas into the classroom. Having a passion for working with kids, she loves to help kids gain confidence in reaching their milestones and goals.

Spending time with family and friends is important to Jen. When she isn't cheering on her boys at sports or involved with school activities, she usually looks forward to the next road trip or relaxing beach vacation.

Larissa Stec  - Classroom Aide (Older Toddler) 2018-19


Larissa graduated from Connections Academy online schooling in 2015. As a classical trained dancer for 12 years, she gained experience and developed a love of teaching children.   She began teaching as an assistant  tap and ballet teacher for 5 to 6 year old’s.  Upon completing high school, she received her first job as an assistant aide in a childcare center for 2 to 3 year old’s.  Larissa also has a 16 year old sister, a two year old brother, and a one year old sister. She loves to spend time with her siblings during her free time.  She enjoys watching children learn and believes STEM integration helps engage and nurture neurodiversity, as she has witnessed working with her two younger siblings in their Autistic community.

Larissa Stec

3281 Wexford Rd, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044 | Phone: (724) 935-4005


© 2018 STEMsteps | web design by Albert Anderson

STEM STEPS school admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school-administered programs.