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Educators at Little Zion Preschool

Meet our Teachers

Each day your child will be greeted by their teacher who is eager to provide new experiences, engage in learning and be a lasting part of your child's academic and emotional growth. Their dedication and love of teaching is part of the Little Zion Difference!


Candace Hoyas

Director, Fours' Assistant and Pre-K Teacher

Hello!  It is my pleasure to introduce myself to you.  My name is Candace Hoyas and I joined the Little Zion team in August of 2016 as Director and teacher.  Before coming to this school I worked for over 16 years as the Assistant Director of another Early Education Program, assisting in achieving NAEYC accreditation three times, educating teachers and writing the curriculum for the entire company as well as teaching in classrooms from infants through Pre-Kindergarten.  I am a graduate of the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York in the late 90's with a degree in Special Education and had worked in that field for over ten years, including my years of study.  Education has been a life long passion and I also have two children of my own, understanding the growing needs in the education system and the delicate balance there is to life.  I encourage you to come see our school.  I knew immediately when I came, this is where I was meant to be.  The children, teachers, families and church make this place like no other!  It is nice to meet you!

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Karen Cappucci

Fours', Puddle Duck and Pre-KAssistant Teacher

Hello!   It is a pleasure to meet you.  My name is Karen Cappucci and I have been a teacher here at Little Zion Preschool for over 15 years.  I grew up in Hamden with a loving family.  I am a daughter of a Lutheran Pastor and love being able to teach our faith  here.  I have been married for 28 years and have 3 grown children; Catherine, Kimberly, and Matthew.  All three children began their education at Little Zion Preschool.  I began as a substitute while my son was attending the Threes' program and it soon become a permanent position.  Over the years I have taught the Threes', Fours', Pre-K and Puddle Duck classes.  I enjoy all of the children and it has been just a joy watching so many children grow over the years.


Lori Hayes

Threes' and Fours' teacher

   Hello, I’m Lori Hayes.  I have been a part of Little Zion for 15 years, beginning when our younger daughter left Little Zion for kindergarten.  I began as a Pre-K aide and Puddle Ducks teacher.  Since then, I have been head teacher for the 3’s, and currently the 4’s since 2006.  I love my job.  Being a teacher has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life.   Spending time with your children, watching them grow, learn and have fun has been wonderful.


Michelle Cyr

Puddle Ducks and Pre-K teacher

   Hi!  My name is Michelle Cyr.  This is my third year teaching at Little Zion Preschool.  I graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2002 with a B.A. in Psychology and 2003 with a M.A.T. in Elementary Education.  I married my best friend and taught both fourth and fifth grade for six years before having my daughters.  I left teaching to raise them and was so blessed to find Little Zion Preschool.  Both of my daughters attended this school and when my youngest daughter turned three, there was an opening for a teacher.  I was thrilled to be a part of this amazing school, doing what I love while still being the mom I love being.  Since I have started I have taught in the Pre-Kindergarten, the Literacy Program and Puddle Ducks.  I feel each child is a gift and it is such a pleasure to each them!


Sandy Boisvert

Three's and Puddle Duck teacher

   Welcome to Little Zion Preschool!  My name is Sandy Boisvert  and I joined this amazing school over 20 years ago.  I am a member of Zion Lutheran Church and that is how I started here at the preschool.  My children attended Little Zion and it was a pleasure being part of their growth and development.  During my years here I have been the teacher of the Threes' program, Fours' program, Pre-K class, Puddle Ducks and Cooking!  I look forward to helping your child grow and develop the Little Zion way!


Elizabeth Patrell

Fours' Teacher

   Welcome!  My son attended Little Zion Preschool and after seeing what a wonderful school it was, I knew I would love working here.  So back in 2003 when the director approached me and asked if I would consider working here, I happily accepted and have been here ever since.  Over my thirteen years at Little Zion Preschool I have taught in the Three's, Fours', Pre-K and Puddle Duck programs.  I receive so much satisfaction watching a child develop and grow from the time they begin school until their graduation.  I have a BS degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Connecticut and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut.  I have also taught in both the New Haven and the Wallingford school systems.  I reside in Wallingford with my husband and son.


Claire Passariello

Three's and Puddle Duck teacher

Greetings!  My name is Claire Passariello. I graduated from Southern CT State University in 2001 with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. I have worked with children in schools, in church as a Sunday School teacher, as well as at summer camp as a counselor. I also lead a Girl Scout Brownie troop and a Daisy troop! I live in Wallingford with my husband Nick and daughters Audrey and Anna. I came to Little Zion when my older daughter Audrey joined the 3’s class. I fell in love with the school right away and knew I had to become involved as more than just a parent. I started working for Little Zion in 2014 as a teacher assistant for the Puddle Ducks program, then also became an assistant for the 3’s, during which I got to work with my younger daughter Anna! In 2016 I started as a head teacher for the 3’s, as well as Puddle Ducks. It brings me indescribable joy to be doing something I love so much, getting to know so many wonderful children with such big and unique personalities! Little Zion is my happy place! I especially love bringing my own creativity to the Little Zion curriculum and providing hands on learning opportunities for the children. I love to see their faces light up during an especially fascinating Puddle Ducks lesson! When I am not teaching, I am no doubt enjoying lots of fun family time! My family and I love to take walks, park or museum trips, beach trips in the summer, and also low key family time at home. Any sunny summer day you’d be guaranteed to find my girls swimming and playing in the backyard pool! In my own time, I enjoy cooking, baking, running, and reading. I am never without a book to read! weekends!  Welcome to our school!


Next Steps...

There is over 75 years of educational experience in this team.  Schedule a visit to meet your child's teacher today!