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.
Gabrielle Palermo - Co-Founder/Director - Kindergarten Teacher
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.
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.
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.
Emily Spronatti - Teacher (Pre-K) 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.
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.
Hannah Parker - Teacher (2s ) 2018-19
Hannah graduated from homeschooling in 2013. Coming from a creative family with a love for the arts & music, and with her parents as her teachers, Hannah found a love for creativity and hands on learning experiences. She believes it is one of the best way children can learn, and wants to incorporate this into her own classroom.
She first started working with children as a substitute at a summer art camp, where she taught various art skills to ages ranging from 8-12.
She then started working in childcare as a teacher's aide, and was soon promoted as lead teacher for the older toddlers (2 & 3 year olds). She has been in childcare for a little over 5 years.
She comes from a large family. She is 6 out of 7 children, and has two brothers and four sisters. She also has 5 nephews, and 7 nieces.
Some of Hannah’s hobbies/interests include playing acoustic guitar & singing, writing letters to pen pals, shopping, and doing various types of dance such as swing dancing, ballroom dancing, and Ceili dancing (an Irish folk dance).
Mia Baird - Teacher (1s) 2018-19
Mia graduated from Deer Lakes in 2015. During her high school years she also attended A.W. Beattie where she studied Early Childhood Education and worked with preschool age children daily. She continued her experience as a sitter and nanny after graduation. Then, she spent two years as a Teachers Assistant for young toddlers and assisted throughout other rooms ranging from infants to preschool age children. Mia comes from a big family, she is the youngest out of her family of 7 siblings. She also has 7 nieces and nephews so she has a lot of experience with all ages of children. During her free time she enjoys drawing and painting. Coming from a family of artists, she is naturally creative and artsy and believes art is the best type of therapy there is for both children and adults! She is very excited to join STEMsteps and get to know and teach all of your children!
Angel’lee Simpson - Classroom Aide 2019
Angel’lee Simpson was born In the Bronx , New York but was raised in the Penn Hills area of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Plum Senior High School in 2015. While in high school, she attended Forbes Road CTC where she studied Early Childhood Education. During her time at Forbes, Angel worked with all ages ( 3m - 5 yrs) on a daily basis. After high school she continued her journey working with children in different areas as a teachers aide and classroom assistant . Angel loves children and watching them grow and learn each day . In her free time she likes to travel and take road trips . She enjoys spending time with her nephews and nieces.
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.