Our Teachers

preschool-teacher-child-gardenOur highly qualified educators hold degrees and represent a diverse background of early childhood education and the sciences. Our educators value learning and are provided with ongoing professional development opportunities to enhance leadership, support core competencies and integrate knowledge of early childhood education/child development. All Nature Center Preschool educators have completed numerous South Shore YMCA trainings including comprehensive Child Protection modules, CPR and First Aid certification. Additionally, Naturalists with Biology and Environmental Science degrees are part of our staff.

Michelle Marquis, Preschool Director

Michelle has been working with young children for over 15 years and has been an educator at Nature Center Preschool for 3 years. She has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Michelle has achieved Director Certification from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and is passionate about nature-based learning.


  • Kristin Achorn has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as her EEC Preschool Teacher certification. She is continuing her education to obtain her EEC Lead Preschool Teacher certification. This is Kristin’s fifth year at Nature Center Preschool.
  • Kathleen Amirault has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology, as well as teacher qualifications from the Department of Early Education and Care. She has been teaching for twenty years and has worked as an Environmental Educator/Naturalist, Kindergarten Teacher, and Preschool Teacher. This her fifth year teaching at Nature Center Preschool.
  • Michelle Coghlan has Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Maine Farmington, and experience working with children as a Child Case Manager and as a Teacher’s Aide. She is returning to working with children after being a stay at home mother to her daughter and twin boys. She is teacher qualified through the Department of Early Education and Care and this is her second year at the Nature Center Preschool.
  • Theresa Delahunt is a teacher with eight years of classroom teaching experience.  She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Classics as well as an Early Education background. This is her ninth year with Nature Center Preschool, currently as a substitute teacher.
  • Joan Gerhard has a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and has substitute teacher experience with Halifax Public Schools.  Joan has been a Girl Scout scout leader, a past Boy Scout leader, and has coached girls soccer teams.  She is very involved in her community and is thrilled to be a part of Nature Center Preschool in her sixth year.
  • Laura Lally has an Associates Degree in Secretarial Arts Business Technology as well as EEC Preschool Teacher Certification. She has taught in local preschools for 2 years and has watched children for 9+ years. This is her third year at Natural Center Preschool.
  • Cory Noordzij has a Master’s degree in History and has achieved Lead Teacher certification through the Department of Early Education and Care. This is her eighth year with Nature Center Preschool.
  • Kiki Pion has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in early care and Pre-K. She worked as a Pre-K teacher before becoming a full time nanny for several years. She is excited to return for her third year at the Nature Center Preschool.
  • Christina Walsh studied Early Childhood Education at Bates College.  She also attended Framingham State College, worked as a nanny, and taught preschool for several years. After a decade in the non-Profit sector, Christina returned to her first love of teaching in 2013 and has continued working with preschoolers ever since.  This is Christina’s fifth year teaching at Nature Center Preschool.
  • Jill Zielinski holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology from Boston College. She holds Lead Teacher and Director certifications with the Department of Early Education and Care and has been teaching for over 19 years. She brings a passion for learning and outdoor exploration into the classrooms and is in her eighth year at Nature Center Preschool.