Calendar of Events
Check the Calendar of Events for all your child’s upcoming class events and activities.
Our daily program is a balanced combination of free play and guided activities.
We are proud of our excellent teaching staff. Consistent with our developmental philosophy, our staff is committed to continuing education in early childhood development; all are actively involved in curriculum planning. Our teachers bring a wide variety of life experiences to share with the children, such as music and performing arts, creative arts, and travel abroad. In keeping with licensure requirements of the State of Connecticut, all staff members maintain current certification in American Red Cross Infant/Child CPR and First Aid training. The state also requires criminal background checks on all staff members, as well as signed TB test and health statements.
Betsy Hoople (Director & Teacher, Pre-K)
Betsy has been teaching at HNS since 1998 and was appointed to the position of director in June 2006. She earned her Master of Arts in early childhood/special education from Saint Joseph College in December of 2006. Betsy and her husband Dave have two children and have been Simsbury residents for over 25 years.
Cathy Barnard (Teacher, AM & PM 4s)
Cathy began her relationship with Hopmeadow when she enrolled daughter Maggie in the 3s program in 1998. She became a teacher in 2000, and loves seeing the world through the children’s eyes. Cathy is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, and a devoted fan of the UConn women's basketball team. She and husband Jim live in Simsbury and have 3 children.
Lisa Hugel (Teacher, 3s & AM 4s)
Lisa subbed for 2 years before joining the teaching staff at HNS in 2000. She is a native of Simsbury and lives with husband (and high school sweetheart) Craig and their 3 children. Lisa holds a Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, but has enjoyed being full-time mom for many years. She is actively involved in community organizations such as scouting and athletics, and teaches Sunday school at her church.
Lori Fagone (Teacher, 3s & PM 4s)
Lori grew up in Massachusetts, where she received her BA in Psychology. She went on to attain her Master’s in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford. She and husband, Dave, have 3 children. Daughter Christa attended HNS, and Lori started her teaching career with us soon after Christa went off to elementary school. The family love to spend their time skiing in winter and camping in summer.
Lisa MacNeil (Teacher, 3s & AM 4s)
Lisa taught both preschool and kindergarten prior to joining the HNS staff in 2006. She received her bachelor's degree from UConn and her teaching certificate from Southern CT State University. Lisa and her husband, Mark, enjoy sports and scouting activities with their three sons.
Manuela Hanshaw (Teacher, 3s and Pre-K)
Manuela joined the HNS staff in 2007. She received her BS in accounting and French and an MS in taxation. Manuela is an active community volunteer,spending time as Girl Scout leader, church school teacher, and Junior Women's Club member. She, her husband, and their three children have lived in Simsbury since 1990.
Karen Papagelis (Teacher, AM 4s)
We are pleased to welcome the newest member of our teaching staff! Karen comes to HNS with several years of teaching experience, both in the classroom and as a special education professional. Karen holds a BA from Providence College and received her MS in elementary education from Central Connecticut State University. She is certified by the state of CT to teach K-6 as well as special education (Pre-K-12), and has taught children of all abilities. In addition to her years as a teacher, Karen has invaluable early childhood experience as the mother of three Hopmeadow Nursery School alumni! She is very familiar with the workings of HNS, having served as a classroom volunteer, Scholastic Books chairperson, substitute teacher, board member, and board president. Karen and her husband, George, reside in Simsbury with their three children and their dog, Josie.
Michelle Winkleblack (Teacher's Aide, 3s)
After substitute teaching for two years, Michelle joined the staff as a teacher's aide in 2010. She received her BS from James Madison University and her MPH degree from Boston University. Michelle and her husband, Grant, enjoy biking and kayaking with their two daughters. Michelle also enjoys volunteering in the Simsbury school system and in the community.