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Introduction to the Third Grade Teachers

September 7, 2020 | Heather Palmer Welesko

Hello, and welcome to the Third Grade Team! We would like to take this moment to introduce ourselves.

Here’s a picture of Cindy Kuperus and her siblings, when she was in third grade. Can you tell which one is Cindy? Hint: She is the “middle child”.

Cindy Kuperus

Cindy Kuperus began her teaching career in Michigan and has had the opportunity to teach internationally in Chengdu, China, and Masaya, Nicaragua. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University.

In this year of “Connections,” Cindy is committed to finding ways to teach the Fountains AND Mountains students, whether they are in person or virtual. She realizes there will be new ways of connecting with each student in the third grade.

Teaching social studies is one of Cindy’s passions, and her students continue to teach her about viewing the world through a just lens. The studies of immigration, westward expansion and the Trail of Tears, and finally, the Notable American project will be opportunities for students and their teachers to wrestle with how to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.”

Sam Martino

A life-long resident of Hoboken, Sam Martino is an alumnus of Fordham University and Mustard Seed School. In 2014, Sam graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in music. His experience also includes more than seven years in music performance and instruction (guitar and ukulele), camp leadership, and teaching. At the same time, his expertise in history and geography includes extensive knowledge of the Hudson River area and its representation in art, music, science, and history, as well as geography. As a graduate of Mustard Seed in 2006, a veteran summer volunteer, a long term substitute teacher, and an exceptional assistant teacher, Sam has had an opportunity to see the school’s mission in action, particularly with grades 3. He is excited to be teaching math this year in the Mountains class.


Heather Welesko

Heather Welesko is an assistant teacher and literacy lead teacher. She has been an assistant teacher at Mustard Seed School for seven years and a literacy teacher for over five years. Heather has training and certifications from Handwriting Without Tears, Developmental Designs, Fountas & Pinnell guided reading, and The Columbia College Teachers Reading and Writing Project. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in writing and poetry and an MA in spiritual formation and leadership from Evangelical Seminary. Heather is a yogi and a poet; she prioritizes comprehensive mind-body-spirit education and diversity awareness.


Heather Palmer Welesko

Literacy and Assistant Teacher, Grades 4 & 5

Heather Welesko has taught at Mustard Seed School for nearly a decade as a literacy and assistant teacher. She has taught literature and writing at Kean University and Harold Washington College of Chicago. Heather holds an MFA in writing and poetry from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Evangelical Seminary.

Ms. Welesko is enthusiastic about professional development, and has advanced training in the Handwriting Without Tears program; the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Program, and the Responsive Classroom/ Development Designs Program through Origin. She continues professional develop through The Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She’s passionate about literature, creativity, comprehensive education, and believes strongly in teaching identity and diversity awareness and inclusion.

Ms. Welesko is a poet, artist, and yogi, and is still, always learning.

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