Meet Our Staff

Our Staff

Bright Tomorrows takes pride in its work and strives to provide a fun, nurturing, and safe environment for children. All staff members are required to receive and renew CPR and First Aid certification, and each must participate in a minimum of 12 hours of ongoing education in the areas of child development, classroom management, and health and safety each year (note: the Director is responsible for 20 hours of annual development). Each of five classrooms has a designated Lead Teacher, and one of the Leads is also Head Teacher. The Head Teacher is authorized to represent the Director when the Director is not on site. We are also proud to state that two staff members have New Jersey certifications as a preschool teacher (PK-3).

At Bright Tomorrows, we believe communication with our families is one of the most important aspects of our job. COVID-19 regulations now impact a parent’s ability to communicate directly with their child’s teacher.  For example, the use of CONTACT SHEETS (a daily written log of a child’s day that was sent home at pick-up) is suspended except in the infant room. Fortunately, Bright Tomorrows’ staff has always been excellent at calling to let parents know about a child’s day and will continue to do so. Staff will also email more frequently if that is your preference, and we also plan to make use of FaceTime and other group chat media. We ask your patience as we come to learn what works best for you in this challenging time.

Meet Our Staff

Henry Ibarra, MS, Director

When asked what he does for a living, Henry’s favorite response is, “I get to play all day!” His career of playing with young children started in 1989. Henry trained in several curriculums for early childhood, including High/Scope with Bloomingdale Family Program in New York City, and Creative Curriculum and Classroom Assessment Scoring System while directing a 10 classroom Head Start Program for Newark Preschool Council in New Jersey. He also attended the Master Teacher Seminar offered by NJ DOE and used this training to coach four different teachers to win Preschool Teacher of the Year honors from 2011-2014 as determined by City of Newark BOE preschool master teachers. Henry holds a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, as well as NJ PK-3 and Supervisor certifications. He joined Bright Tomorrows in September 2017 and has office hours from 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM.

Cyndi Kopsaftis, Coordinator

Cyndi started her career at Bright Tomorrows in 2004. Her most fun roles at Bright Tomorrows include time as the assistant, then lead teacher in the infant room; center coordinator; and mother. She moved into the role of Center Coordinator in 2010, which includes scheduling children and staff, and billing. With hours of 6:30 AM – 3:00 PM, she makes sure that every child’s day gets started on the right foot. She also provides invaluable support to parents for all questions and concerns.

Headshot of Kristy SchaeferKristy Schaefer, Lead Teacher

Kristy is the Pre-K Lead Teacher of the Piglets Room for 4-year-olds and also the Head Teacher at Bright Tomorrows. She has been with Bright Tomorrows since August 2006. Kristy has a degree in Special Education and holds a P-3 teaching and Handwriting Without Tears certificate. She also trained in the multi-sensory reading style of Orton-Gillingham. Kristy loves teaching Pre-K and Preschool-aged children because of all the exploring and fun they get to have by learning through play using a multi-sensory teaching style. She will work with your child individually and in small groups getting your child ready for their next adventure while concentrating on their social and emotional growth. Kristy believes that each child has their own learning style and she strives to reach their potential while giving them a great foundation that begins their educational journey.

Headshot of Salma BaronaSalma Barona, Lead Teacher

Salma is the Lead Teacher in the Tiggers Room for 3-year-olds.  She came to Bright Tomorrows in March 2018 and enjoys making creative, engaging, and educational lesson plans for the Tiggers.  Art and music are two huge aspects of Salma’s life; therefore, she loves incorporating them in the classroom.  She also thoroughly enjoys being in nature and has a passion for animals. Working with children has made Salma more empathetic, patient, and given her an overall better outlook on life.

Headshot of Marylynn McNaughtMarylynn McNaught, Lead Teacher

Marylynn has been the Lead Teacher of the two-year-olds since March 2019.  She graduated from William Patterson University with a degree in Elementary Education/Psychology and has worked with children from infants through fifth grade. She wants the children in her room to feel as comfortable and secure as they would in their own home.  Marylynn aims to provide a safe, comfortable, fun, and educational environment where children can all learn through playing.

Headshot of Mary DizonMary Dizon, Lead Teacher

Mary is the Lead Teacher in the Roos Room for one-year-olds. She has been with Bright Tomorrows for over five years and worked in daycare for over 10. She has a Child Development Associate credential for infants and toddlers and enjoys watching children in her care grow into independent people. Her favorite activities to do with children are finger painting, playing in the sand, encouraging children to use a fork and spoon, building with blocks, reading books, singing songs like the ABC song, and talking about colors, numbers, and shapes, to name just a few things. Mary’s motto is, “The bigger the mess, the more fun we are having.”
Headshot of Marianna MinutilloMarianna Minutillo, Lead Teacher

Marianna is the Lead Teacher in the Infants Room, also known as Pooh’s Hut.  She has been with Bright Tomorrows since November 2017 and has 10+ years of experience working with children ranging from 1.5 to 3 years of age in another center.  Marianna likes to paint with toes, get messy with Cool-Whip and Jell-O, squish bananas, dance, sing, read books, and so much more.  She really enjoys her time with our infants and loves seeing the progression of each child.


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