~ Andrea Bennett ~ Explorers Progressive Educational Program Director/Creator
I have been employed at the YMCA for 34 years. For the first 20 years, I acted as Fitness Director while developing the Explorers program. What began as a multi-level program that had a hands-on teaching concept centered around art and science eventually evolved into a four-level creative-teaching program for children ages 2 - 12. Having credentials in the fitness area only at that time I returned to college to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. During my years at the Y, I have received several Program Development Awards in both the fitness and early childhood areas. Being able to make a difference in a child's life is a privilege and a blessing.
My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together ever since. We have a daughter who teaches first grade at Kiski Area and a standard schnauzer named Huckleberry. My husband, Bill, and I love bicycling and try to find as many different trails as we can to explore. My daughter and I harvest milkweed during the summer to provide a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary that provides a safe environment for Monarchs from egg to butterfly.
Kindergarten Explorers assistant > Gabriella Scalise
Gabby was a part of the Explorer experience from a young age! I can remember her sitting in my classroom and as you can guess, she was a model student. Gabby is pursuing a degree in Education at Penn State University. She is able to assist me for two years while she at the New Ken. extension. She has a sister, Madalaine, who is 14 years old, and four dogs. Both of Gabby's parents are teachers. Gabby is a welcomed addition to the Explorer staff!
WEE Explore! & KinderClub assistant > Jenn Mazur
"I've been married for almost 14 years to my husband Marcus. We were blessed with three wonderful children Chase, Cherlynn, and Camden. We have two cats, Oscar and Leia. Recently we added two Bettas Po and ZincWhite. I've worked through the Head Start program for five years in two different counties Armstrong and Westmoreland. I was first employed as a Special Needs Aide for a sweet little girl with severe autism. As I stayed with the programs, I've had several opportunities to educate myself on child development. I received my Child Development Associate, which is a widely recognized credential in early childhood education. I also have CPR, CPI, and child abuse reporting. Being a specialized aide, a bus monitor, a Family Service Specialist, and a Family Advocate are also other areas I have experience in. I enjoyed my profession but when I found a summer position in 2019 with Miss Andrea, I found the right match for me."