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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


Rachel Ryan

Fours' Teacher

   Hi! My name is Rachel Ryan and I’m so excited to be teaching your children as part of the Little Zion Preschool Family! Prior to Little Zion, I taught First Grade at Momauguin Elementary School in East Haven for eight years before making the decision to take some time off to raise my daughters. Since then, both of my daughters have attended Little Zion and our family has fallen in love with the program and the community here.

    As a teacher, I love watching the children grow and seeing their little personalities develop and blossom throughout the year.  Their curiosity in new things and a child’s excitement when they learn something new are some of my favorite things to witness and be a part of every day! Being a teacher is truly a blessing.

    Outside of the classroom, I’m the wife to my husband Jim and the mom of our two amazing little girls, Kenzie and Finnley. I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, and doing anything outdoors. 


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!


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!


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Holly Rosa

Enrichment Clubs and Puddle Duck teacher

   Hello, my name is Holly Rosa, I am excited to begin my first year with Little Zion Preschool. I have dedicated my entire life to the education to the young children which I cannot believe has been over thirty years now.  I have most recently taught children ages six weeks to six years in an early childhood educational facility, near my home in Hamden. Prior to this, my husband and I owned and operated our own school, in Woodbridge, for 9 years, and I have taught at ten schools over the course of my career. I have known teaching would be my calling since the age of fourteen; my mother operated a small, in-home daycare after school, and with four older siblings the house was always full of fun and learning. At this point, I began helping at a local afterschool program for preschool aged children, I fell in love with their natural wonder and curiosity, and I’ve never looked back. I have two beautiful children, Ricky, and Kristen, who also take great joy in seeing children grow. I’m so thankful to all of you for welcoming me to your program, and I can’t wait to begin a wonderful year.

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!