Faculty & Staff

AJLA prides itself on a highly trained and nurturing staff. 

Our PreK3 and PreK4 classes maintain an exceptional
1:6 teacher-to-student ratio.
All elementary grades have no more than 18 students with 2 teachers.

AJLA teachers lead children to ask questions and discover connections; to think and work independently, collaboratively and creatively; and to learn by doing.

Leadership

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Patty Lewis

Founder and Head of School
Patty is the Founder of AJLA and also serves as Head of School. With over ten years of classroom teaching experience, she holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher for Child Day Care Centers for Birth to 5. Prior to founding Adam J. Lewis Academy, Patty taught in the Greens Farms Academy Lower School and later worked for seven years in its Office of Admission, giving educational assessments to four-year-olds applying for kindergarten.
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Julie Mombello

Co-Founder and Director
Julie is the Co-Founder and oversees all operations of AJLA. She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Professional Educator’s Certificate for Pre K-6, and she is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher for Child Day Care Centers for Birth to 5 and School-Age Children. Prior to her work at AJLA, Julie worked at Greens Farms Academy as both a first grade teacher and Lower School Assistant Director of Admission. She also taught at Christ and Holy Trinity Preschool.
John

John Munro

Assistant Head of School
John joins AJLA following nine years as Head of School at Fairfield Country Day School. At FCDS, John helped forge a partnership between the school’s sixth graders and the preschool children at AJLA. Earlier in his 30-year career in independent school education, John served on the Board of Directors of Buffalo Prep, a program with a mission of preparing underserved middle school students for admission to the area’s finest secondary schools. John grew up in New Canaan and attended Hamilton College where he was a classmate of Adam Lewis. John also holds a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University.
Terilyn

Terilyn Esse

Director of Community Relations and Development
Terilyn Esse joined AJLA during the 2020-2021 school year. She has been an active member of the local community for over a decade. She volunteered her time at the Beardsley School, The Discovery Museum, and served on the Boards of both Bethel Recovery Center and The Sheehan Center. She organizes a Holiday Food Drive each year which has provided over 3000 meals to the Bridgeport community. She spent six years on the Board at Fairfield Country Day School where she chaired their development committee. She then transitioned to an interim position at FCDS as their Director of Development. Terilyn graduated from Boston College with a BA in Economics. She and her husband Todd reside in Fairfield and have six children.

PreK3

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Annie Morales

Annie obtained her teacher’s license upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in psychology. For 4 years, she taught at an Early Childhood Center where she placed 6th in the nation in the Teachers Make a Difference contest. She was excited to teach at AJLA where she enjoys developing her student's academic skills but also nurturing their social and emotional learning as well. She loves coming to school with her younger son everyday!
Izzy

Izzy Munro

Izzy graduated from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with an Education minor. She then worked for 2 years as a preschool Co-Teacher at Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, Connecticut. When she’s not at school, Izzy enjoys playing with her dog, going on trips with her family, and visiting museums.
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Monica Jeffers

Monica joined AJLA this year and is thrilled to be part of the PreK3 team. Prior to AJLA, she taught for six years at the First Congregational Church Nursery School in Darien as the PreK2 teacher. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development/Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and also holds an Early Childhood Education Teaching Certificate from Norwalk Community College. Monica has been married for over seventeen years and has four children. She currently lives in Darien, where she has been for the past thirteen years. As a busy mom and teacher, she finds joy in nature walks and spending time with her family.
Talli

Talli Connell

Talli graduated from Davidson College with a BA in Economics and after working in the world of finance for 6 years, earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. She taught in a Pre-K classroom at York Avenue Preschool in New York City before having her own family. Talli currently lives in Fairfield with her husband and three children.

PreK4

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Doreen Davis

Doreen joined AJLA in 2015 and before that was a head teacher in the early childhood classroom for seven years. She is a certified teacher in the State of Connecticut, and she is licensed by the State as a Head Teacher for Children Birth to 5 and School-Age Children. Doreen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.
Saba

Saba Pina

A founding teacher of AJLA, Saba started teaching in PreK in 2013. She holds a Master’s degree in Education, with a focus in Counseling Psychology, and has over fifteen years of experience working as a licensed mental health clinician. Saba received her Child Development Associate Credential from Norwalk Community College, and she is a certified teacher of yoga for children.
Laura-Huertas

Laura Huertas

Laura graduated from University of Connecticut with a BA in Human Development Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Development. She also holds her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Norwalk Community College. For the past five years, she has been working at Greenwich Country Day School where she worked three years in the Daycare department and two years as a preschool Co-Teacher. When Laura is not at school, she enjoys doing Zumba, going hiking and spending time with her family.

Kindergarten

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Carla Patrona

Carla joins AJLA having worked in private education for the last 13 years. During those years, she taught in all of the lower elementary grades, ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to Second grade. Her most recent experiences included creating and implementing a revised early learning program for Pre-Kindergarten and teaching Kindergarten, and she is most passionate about these first school experiences. Carla holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Northeastern University where her teacher training also focused on urban education. Carla is excited to serve the community of Bridgeport and is committed to providing a year of excellence and growth to her Kindergarten students.
Widlaine

Widlaine Lamb

Widlaine has been an educator for the past 15 years. She studied Early Childhood Education at Norwalk Community College and than went on to study Human Services & Psychology at the University of Bridgeport. Widlaine taught as a Head Preschool teacher for 10 years in private preschools and then went on to teach her own children as a stay-at-home mom! She is married with 3 boys, two of whom are AJL alumni!

First Grade

Abby

Abby Ginsberg

Abby has had the opportunity to teach first grade (her favorite grade!) for over 5 years in both private and public school settings. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Special Education. Additionally, she has a Master's degree from Bank Street College of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Her favorite part about being in first grade is using hands on experience to explore new ideas and find answers to challenging questions. When Abby’s not at school, she enjoys going on hikes with her dog Emmy, playing board games with her family, and although she’s not the best cook, she loves to go out and try new foods!
Olivia

Olivia Reny

Olivia joins the AJLA community after teaching first and second grades at Greens Farms Academy for the past 3 years. Additionally, she taught PreK and second grade at Horizons at GFA, providing intensive academic support to students during summer break. She graduated from Trinity College with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and an interdisciplinary minor in Women and Gender Studies. Olivia also holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from University of Bridgeport. When she is not at school, Olivia enjoys running, going to the beach, and visiting her family in Maine!

Second Grade

Jenna

Jenna Gabriel

Jenna joins AJLA after eleven years of teaching experience at Fairfield Country Day School, three of which were spent assisting in Kindergarten, seven leading their Pre-Kindergarten program, and one in Second Grade. She holds a Master's degree in Reading from Sacred Heart University and a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Stonehill College. She loves to sing and dance and is excited to bring her silly and enthusiastic personality to the classroom. Jenna has 2 children who both attend AJLA: Luke and Ollie.
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Elijah Langston

Elijah prides himself on being a native of Bridgeport and is excited to join AJLA where he can directly give back to his hometown. He grew up having a passion for sports and ended up playing Division III Football and competing in Track and Field at Amherst College where he also majored in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. He spent the last 2 years working as a co-teacher at Greenwich Country Day School - first in Kindergarten and then in 2nd grade. At his core, Elijah would describe himself as deeply family orientated and always learning more about his roots and culture, as well as being a lover of spending time outdoors and traveling!

Specials

Leslie

Leslie Waddell

Suzuki Music
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Linda Murphy

Science
Jen

Jennifer Bargas

Learning Specialist
Jen was new to AJLA in the 2017-2018 school year. She has eleven years of teaching experience in a variety of classroom settings, five of which were spent in Pre-K and kindergarten. Jen holds a Master's degree in Elementary Special Education from Bank Street College.
Helmi

Helmi Bromley

Art
Physical Education
Chef Raquel

Raquel Rivera

School Chef
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Chef Keyz

School Chef

After The Bell

During non COVID times, we offer an after school program which runs from 3:30-5 pm every day.

VOLUNTEERS

Adam J. Lewis Academy thanks the many volunteers who provide invaluable support to our program, including:

Dr. Peter Ferrara

Anne Hoover

Barb Moriarty

Elaine Rankowitz

Martha Russell

Dr. Susan Shack Sackler