The 2s Team

Lisa Miller (Head 2s Teacher)

This is Lisa Miller's third year teaching at St. Matthew's and she is thrilled to be working in the 2s program with Mrs. Matson. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Endicott College where she studied fashion merchandising. Prior to the birth of her third child, she worked as a substitute and assistant teacher at the Pound Ridge Community Church Play School. More recently she has been working with senior citizens. Lisa has lived in the Katonah-Lewisboro area for over 20 years with her husband and three children. She finds working with the 2s both rewarding and special as the children experience new things everyday. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, baking, horseback riding, skiing, and volunteering at Pegasus therapeutic riding center.

Jennifer Ruffler (Head 2s Teacher)

Jennifer Ruffler truly enjoys teaching in the 2s program at SMP. She looks forward to working with the youngest preschoolers, helping to create a welcoming, comfortable first school experience. Jen holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University. Prior to deciding to stay home to raise her two young children, Jen enjoyed a career in social work helping individuals and their families in the hospital and nursing home/rehab settings. She is an active volunteer at her children’s school and enjoys spending time with her family, biking, hiking and taking photographs in her free time. 

The Pre-K Team

Tara Beninati (Head Pre-K Teacher)

Tara Beninati is delighted to be starting her fifth year as the Pre-K head teacher here at SMP.  She has a special place in her heart for this particular age group. Mrs. Beninati holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Hunter College and has previously taught at the elementary level. She also has taught classes such as cooking and gardening through the Bedford Village Multi-Arts After-School Club. Mrs. Beninati is a mother of a high school student here in Bedford and two college-age boys. She truly enjoys creating a fun-filled, literacy rich environment for her preschool students. One of her favorite aspects of teaching is watching the class come together as community throughout the year, helping each other, and working together as a team.

Ginny Sturtevant (Pre-K Assistant Teacher)

This will be Ginny Sturtevant’s seventh year as the assistant teacher in our Pre-K program. She began teaching in preschool 15 years ago in Chappaqua and has been both at Teacher’s Aide and substitute teacher in the Bedford school district. Ginny has a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and Dramatic Literature from the University of Washington as well as teaching certification, K-12. Before working choosing to work with children, Ginny was a professional actor in regional theatre, TV, and film; a make-up artist; and a casting director. She is a long-time resident of Bedford and the mother of two grown children. One of Ginny’s favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln, “You have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.” Ginny says, “By encouraging and nurturing young minds, I hope to create an atmosphere in which children can learn, so that the result of teaching is evidenced by the students’ individual growth.”


Susan deBrigard (Head of School)

Susan deBrigard is the newly hired Head of School at St. Matthew’s Preschool. Susan brings with her over thirty years of experience in Early Childhood Education as an advocate for children and families.  Susan and her husband Tom moved to Connecticut after a business change for Tom.  They are both originally from NJ where their two children Caitlin and Ryan currently reside. Susan holds an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction and a Director's Certification in Early Childhood Education.  Prior to coming to St. Matthew's Preschool Susan was the Director of Tower Hill School, a cooperative preschool in Red Bank, NJ,  for sixteen years.  Susan's career highlights include: Senior Development Specialist for the Child Welfare League of America located in Washington, D.C. as part of the development and training team for the first competency based curriculum for foster and adoptive parents, Director of Training for Foster and Adoptive Family Services, Court Appointed Special Advocate for children, Preschool Classroom Teacher, and a Stephen Minister.  "It is an exciting time to be the Head of St. Matthew's Preschool as we look forward to growth in our programs and curriculum. The developmental philosophy is an important foundation for success in academics, self-confidence and the love of school.  The experienced teachers are an integral part of the success of the school and I am excited to work with such a talented team."  Admissions are rolling at St. Matthew's so please schedule a visit!  

The Teachers

The 3s Team

Lisa Savastanao (Head 3s Teacher)

This will be Lisa's second year at SMP as the head teacher in the 3s program. Prior to coming to St. Matthew's, Lisa was a stay-at-home mom and a substitute preschool teacher. Her past experience includes being a School Library Media Specialist. She holds a Master's degree in Library Science from Long Island University and a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Geneseo. Lisa is NYS certified as both a Nursery - 8th grade teacher and as a Library Media Specialist K-12, as well as being a NYS certified Public Librarian. It is obvious to see that Lisa has a passion for, and extensive knowledge of, children's literature and its important role in a child's academic development. In addition to teaching, Lisa also assists her husband and brother-in-law, helping to run their travel lacrosse club (Westchester Warriors Lacrosse Club) for boys grades 5-12.  Lisa lives in South Salem on Lake Waccabuc with her family. She has two boys who are both actively involved in the Katonah-Lewisboro Schools.

Linda Jorgensen (3s Assistant Teacher)

Linda Jorgensen is returning for her eighth year at SMP as an assistant teacher in the 3s program. She truly enjoys working with this age group and is always eager to learn new things about the children. Prior to working at SMS, she has had 11 years experience in a preschool environment as an assistant teacher in a 4s program. Linda is a graduate of the Berkley Secretarial School and has a business degree in Office Management. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two-year old granddaughter. She also enjoys walking, gardening, and summer-time boating.

Melanie Villis (3s Assistant Teacher)

This is Melanie’s fifth year teaching at St. Matthew’s. She looks forward to working with the children and helping to nurture and support them as they learn and grow throughout the year. Before coming to St. Matthew’s, Melanie worked at Village Green Nursery School where she assisted the head teacher with all of the daily activities and routines. Melanie has a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Texas A&M University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from University of Houston. She previously enjoyed a career as a social worker in a hospital setting. Melanie currently lives in Armonk with her husband and four children and enjoys being active in her husband’s Greek Orthodox Church’s Preschool and Youth Ministries.