A Little About Our Staff...

Our staff is comprised of experienced professionals dedicated to the care and development of your child. Every member of our team realizes the extreme treasure that we have been entrusted with in your child. We take that trust seriously and endeavor to provide each child with a nurturing and safe environment where they are inspired to learn.  We present each child with the educational rigidity necessary to instill discipline in each child, while allowing enough individual space for each child to express himself/herself creatively. 


Arlene Zayas, LMA Director & Elementary School Grades Teacher

Arlene Zayas is the Director of Li’l Masters Academy. Her dedication and love for our students and staff is evident in everything she does. Arlene sees to it that both our children and staff continue to grow to their full potential by promoting curriculum updates, new and more modern approaches and professional development.  Her enthusiasm and positive disposition is infectious. Arlene graduated from the College of St. Elizabeth attaining multiple Degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and English. She began working as a preschool teacher in Hoboken, New Jersey in 2005 until she joined the Li’l Masters team in 2009. She has worked through the ranks at Li'l Masters, arduously dedicating herself to the job at hand at each juncture until she became our beloved Director. Ms. Arlene also teaches our elementary school students, presently offering 1st and 2nd grade level instruction.

Orlando E. Bolano, Asst. Dir. of After School Programs & Teacher

Orlando E. Bolano joined our Li’l Masters team and began running our After-School Program 2 years ago. Mr. Ola (as the kids call him) graduated from New Jersey City University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Management. He works hard at ensuring that each child understands and accomplishes their homework assignments while enjoying and taking part in enjoyable fun-filled activities in a safe and nurturing environment. He is passionate about teaching our students, particularly regarding the life of Jesus Christ, how to practically tailor their lives on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and how to put forth their very best in everything that they do so that they may excel in whatever task comes their way.  Ola's methodology is about developing the whole child - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Ashley Melendez, Kindergarten Teacher

Ashley Amanda Melendez is our awesome and energetic Kindergarten Teacher. She has worked in Li’l Masters since the fall of 2010. She attained her degree in Early Childhood Education from Bergen County Community College and is continuing her education at Montclair State University. Ashley’s enthusiasm in the classroom motivates her students to learn and more importantly to strive for more.  She enjoys listening to her students read and to ascertain their comprehension of everything they have learned. She particularly enjoys hearing their take on the bible stories they read together.

Johanna Nuñez, 2/3 Toddler Teacher

Johanna Lirable Nunez (soon to be de Bonilla) is the two and three year old classroom teacher. She has worked in Li’l Masters for 8 years. Johanna loves her students and teaching. Her passion for children is demonstrated in every precious moment that she spends with them. Her love for her students enables her to go the extra mile when preparing her lesson plans, helping a student to reach their developmental goal or listening to a child who is in need of comfort.  

Mercedes Iraheta, Assistant 2/3 Toddler Teacher

Mercedes has her CDA and has worked in the preschool field for 17 years. She is currently the Assistant Teacher in our 2/3 year old classroom. Mrs. Mercedes' nurturing and sweet nature allows the students to build their self-esteem.  She is an amazing new addition to our staff, collaborating excellently with the Head Teacher and always willing to bring a new and exciting ideas into the classroom.  Her love and concern for the children placed in her care drives everything she does.  

Genit Veronica Vera, Pre-K/4 Teacher

Genit Veronica Vera has her CDA and has worked with preschool children for 5 years. This is her first year as part of our team at Li’l Masters. Ms. Genit is dedicated to teaching her students through their individualized method of learning. Every child has learning proclivities which must be used in order to achieve maximum developmental results.  Genit incorporates visuals, hands-on, auditory, and musical components to her lesson plans. She is very creative and loves to display her creativity within her classroom through her bulletin boards and student's art work. In Genit's classroom every child is truly a "li'l master."    

Marian Betancourt 

Marian Betancourt 

Maria Elizabeth Betancourt 

Maria Elizabeth Betancourt 

Meet Our Awesome TA's (Teacher's Assistants)

Marian Betancourt joined the Li’l Masters team in June of this year. She is currently working on attaining her Associate’s Degree at Hudson County Community College. Her energy helps her to organize the Gross Motor activities for the students. She loves to play and have fun with the kids. She is fluent in Spanish and teaches our Bilingual Program at Li’l Masters Preschool.  

Maria Elizabeth Betancourt  joined the Li’l Masters Team in May of this year. She has an Associate’s Degree and is currently working on attaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from New Jersey City University. Maria provides various experiences and activities for the students in our after school program that include songs, games and arts & crafts. She enjoys helping the students progress academically. She is fluent in Spanish and also teaches our Bilingual Program at Li’l Masters Preschool.