Canterbury Children's Center
About Us

Canterbury Children's Center Canterbury Children's Center, established by the Emmanuel Parish, is a multi-service; non-profit, non-denominational program committed to serving the diverse and individual needs of young children.

Canterbury does not discriminate in providing services to children and families, or in employment practices on the basis of family structure, socioeconomics, disabilities, race, religion, age, cultural heritage, political beliefs, sex, marital status, national origin, or sexual orientation.


We are open 52 weeks of the year!

Canterbury Children's Center is an NAEYC accredited school.
NAEYC

Our Staff

Janas Mercer Janas Mercer: Executive Director
I am the Executive Director at Canterbury Children's Center. I have been a part of the Canterbury Children's Center family since 1986. Through the years I have worked in many different positions: afternoon aide, morning teacher and most recently, Assistant Director. I was born and raised in Wakefield and this is where I am raising my two daughters, Sandra and Lauren., along with my husband. I am Director II certified through the state of Massachusetts and am currently completing my degree in early Childhood Education. It has been a joy and pleasure working here over the years and watching so many children grow. Welcome, if you are a new family and welcome back to those returning! I look forward to a wonderful school year.


Kristen McKenna Kristen McKenna
My husband Michael and I grew up in Wilmington where we now raise our two beautiful children Kaitlynne and Jason. I became a stay at home mom 5 years ago. That is when I started college again, pursuing my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I am currently teacher qualified and have 5 classes remaining before I graduate. I have such a love for children and enjoy pre-school age so much. I want to encourage each child to discover who they are through play. I want to help foster their ability to become independent and confident learners in an environment that is rich in experience, play, teaching but is most importantly a place to call "their" own.


Dawn Millstone Dawn Millstone
I am an aide in Mrs. Hellmer's 4 year old class. I have worked at Canterbury Children's Center for three years. Prior to that I was a Canterbury parent, and a member of the Board of Directors for Canterbury. I am pursuing my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education at Middlesex Community College. My husband Jay and I have two children, Sam and Amelia. I love to dance and can be seen periodically tapping in the halls.

Sandy Cersosimo Sandy Cersosimo
I have been the secretary at Canterbury Children's Center since September of 1998. I am also a long time Canterbury parent. My husband John and I have raised our three children, Tina, Joe and Andrea in Wakefield. They all attended pre-school at Canterbury Children's Center. I enjoy being part of the Canterbury family.


Alicia McKennon Alicia McKennon
I am a Lead Teacher in the M-W-F 4 year old class and the T-TH 3 year old class. I started at Canterbury Children's Center in 1996 as an aide in the afternoon. I graduated from Wakefield High in 1999 with my Teacher's Certificate through Early Education Class offered there. I left Canterbury in 2002 to work at Mulberry in North reading as a morning teacher, but returned to Canterbury in 2005. I have been taking courses at North Shore Community College and Salem State to further my education. I enjoy working with children and watching them grow and learn every day as they help me grow and learn too.


Debbie Peluso Debbie Peluso
This is my 4th year working with the 5 day 4 year old class with Maureen McKennon. I have three wonderful children in the Wakefield school system, Derek, Ashley and Ryan. They all started out here at Canterbury Children's Center for preschool. I love being around children and enjoy working here at Canterbury.


Erika Hellmer Erika Hellmer
I have been with Canterbury Children's Center since 1992, 17 years. I am a Lead Teacher for the 5 day, 3 day and 2 day 4 year olds this year with Dawn Millstone. My husband and I have 2 great kids, Lorin is a nurse and Erik is a biology major at UMass Amherst. I am Director I qualified with the Department of Early Education and Care.


Maureen McKennon Maureen McKennon
I have been working at Canterbury Children's Center as a Lead Teacher of the 5 day 4 year old class since 1995. I have two daughters, Regina and Alicia, who is also a teacher here. I love working with this age group.


Lori Dettore Lori Dettore
I have been working at Canterbury Children's Center for over 14 years teaching the 3 year old program. I have a B.A. from Suffolk University and am Teacher certified through the Department of Early Education and Care. My husband Gus and I have been working and teaching in Wakefield for many years. We have four sons, Michael, Derek, Nicholas and Christopher. Three of my children came to Canterbury Children's Center and I have never left. It has been wonderful over the years to share in the lives of so many children and still be available for my own. Thanks Canterbury!


Jeanne Karvelas Jeanne Karvelas
I am Teacher certified by the Department of Early Education and Care. I am a single parent of three lovely girls, Jamie, who is in the Air Force, Jaclyn, who attends Northeastern University and my youngest, Jessica, attends Curry College. I have been working at Canterbury Children's Center for over 13 years. I started as a Canterbury parent and volunteer and have been here ever since. I also take care of a child with global disabilities. I love both of my jobs.


Patricia Hurley-Arsenault Patricia Hurley-Arsenault
I work with Jen Polidoro on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with the 3 year old class. Wakefield has been home for my two children and me for 20 years. My son, Nicholas, and daughter, Rachel have been through the Wakefield school system already. I have worked in the Wakefield School Department throughout their schooling. I love working with children and find it to be very rewarding. I look forward to working at Canterbury Children's Center with your children as I continue my education in Early Childhood.


  Kelly Boudreau
I graduated from Wakefield High School in 2006 and am currently a junior at Salem State College, majoring in Elementary Education and Sociology. This is my first year at Canterbury Children's Center and I am working in room 6B with Jen Polidoro!


LeighAnn O'Neill LeighAnn O'Neill
I am the bookkeeper here at Canterbury Children's Center. I have worked here for the last two years but have been part of the Canterbury Children's Center family since 2002. My children, Sean and Megan, both attended pre-school and kindergarten here. My favorite part of the job is visiting with the children, especially during snack!


Jennifer Polidoro Jennifer Polidoro
My husband and I live in Reading and have two wonderful children, Sophie and Stephen. My previous work history has been primarily in marketing. I hold a degree in Sociology from Salem State and was last employed as a Marketing Coordinator for a software translation company before the birth of my first child. After volunteering at my daughter's pre-school, something clicked for me. I realized that I really love working with children and decided to pursue this as a new career. To confirm that this was the right profession for me, I took four Early Education classes at Salem State College. I am now in the midst of taking MTEL tests and prepping for the Miller Analogies Test in order for me to pursue my Masters in Early Childhood Education.


  Jayna Cucurullo
I graduated from Wakefield High School in 2006 where I took the Early Childhood Education course for three years.  I began working here at Canterbury Children’s Center in March of 2003.  I have my Lead Teacher’s Certificate through the Department of Early Education and Care.  I am currently a senior at Salem State College double majoring for my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Sociology.  After graduation, I plan on pursuing my Masters Degree in Special Education.  Throughout my placements for high school and college, I have worked at many familiar schools in Wakefield, including the Dolbeare Elementary School in a first and second grade classroom, the Greenwood School in a third grade classroom, the Woodville School in an inclusive special needs pre-school classroom and at Odyssey Day School as a substitute and helping in the office.  I’m looking forward to working with your children in the After school Program where we will be having a lot of fun!  I am the afternoon pre-school teacher for the children from Mrs. McKennon’s and Mrs. Dettorre’s classes in the gym.


  Sarah Quigley
I graduated from Wakefield High School where I took the Early Childhood Education course for three years. I began working here at Canterbury Children’s Center in September of 2006. I have my Teacher’s Certificate through the Department of Early Education and Care. Through my field placements in high school, I had two years of internships at the Woodville in the Kindergarten and First Grade Level. I currently attend North Shore Community College pursuing my Associates Degree in Early Childhood, and am also working towards my Associates in Psychology. I am the afternoon pre-school teacher for the children from Ms. Alicia’s and Mrs. Hellmer’s classes
in Room 6A.


  Stacy Riley
I graduated from Wakefield High School in 2009 and am currently a freshman at Salem State College, pursuing my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education.  I began working at Canterbury Children’s Center in September of 2008.  I will be working with Miss Jayna in the Gym.


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Canterbury Children’s Center | 5 Bryant Street | Wakefield, MA 01880-5008
Phone: (781) 245-9636 | Email: Canterburychildrenscenter@gmail.com