Teachers & Staff

Loyan Beausoleil

Educational Director and Head Teacher, Orange Room

Loyan Beausoleil, the school’s educational director and head teacher of the Orange Room, began at UPNS in 1999. She holds an M.S.Ed. from Bank Street College of Education and the New York State Children’s Program Administrator Credential. Additionally she has studied art at the University of Oregon and Biology at Miami University. She is interested in the ways art, science and education intersect to provide varied, fun educational experiences for diverse learners. 

Loyan has published and presented on multiple early childhood topics including children and trauma, music in the classroom, play, curriculum development, and science education.     Following September 11, 2001, Loyan began documenting and studying the effects of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on young children who experienced them first-hand, a decade long project called The Youngest Witnesses.  Segments of this work have been featured on NY1, Good Morning America, and the CBS Early Show. A chapter on her project is included in the award-winning book Forever After: New York City Teachers on 9/11, a compilation of teachers’ experiences of 9/11, published by Teachers College Press in 2006. 

From 2018 through 2019 Loyan served on the Teachers Advisory Board of the Wildlife Conservation Society. She loves the outdoors and nature education.Through the pandemic she learned how NYC makes for an incredible outdoor classroom. In her spare time Loyan likes to bike, hike, read and watch birds.

Layla Shaar

Administrative Director

Layla has been with UPNS since 2007. For the first 5 years she was a UPNS parent and member of the board of directors and in 2012 she joined the staff. Layla works closely with Loyan to manage school operations including liaising with the DOH, the DOE and other agencies. In addition she is responsible for fiscal operations, records, forms, procurement, vendors, website maintenance, technology infrastructure, benefits administration, etc. She works with Loyan on enrollment and various other initiatives throughout the year. As Layla lives down the street, she frequently works from home. The quickest way to get in touch is via email to the general school account at info@universityplazanursery.org.

Natalie Siregar

Head Teacher, Blue Room

In 2015, Natalie joined the UPNS team as the Blue Room’s assistant teacher. Coincidentally, Natalie spent 3 years prior teaching in another “Blue Room” at a neighborhood nursery in the upper west side and has experience working with 2-5 year olds in an inclusion classroom setting. Natalie graduated from Hunter College in 2013 with a MS in Early Childhood Education. She lives a hop, skip and a jump from UPNS and is a native of the lower east side where she currently resides. Natalie loves well-crafted children’s books, a good cup of coffee, quiet times and ah-ha moments. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, mentoring amazing teens from her church and exploring new places.

Usha DeSilva

Assistant Teacher, Blue Room

Usha joined UPNS in 2019. She trained in Sri Lanka as a Montessori teacher and has obtained additional training in the US. Prior to moving to New York, she was the director and owner of a 65 children capacity daycare facility in New Orleans. She is an enthusiastic team player with a strong work ethic. Her hobbies are cooking, singing, dancing, playing the piano and sewing. Usha has a son and a daughter and a granddaughter who is now 5 years old.

Ali Chenitz

Co-Teacher, Yellow Room and Assistant Director

Ali has been a teacher of the Yellow Room since joining UPNS in 2007. In addition, in 2019 Ali became Assistant Director overseeing the afterschool and summer programs and she manages the UPNS social media presence. Ali has been teaching children ranging in age from birth to six at public and private schools, including general education, special education and inclusion classes. She graduated from Bank Street College of Education in 2007 with a dual degree and certification in Early Childhood Education and General and Special Education from birth to second grade. Ali enjoys cooking, gardening, and needlepoint.

Jorge Suren

Co-Teacher, Yellow Room

Jorge has been a UPNS Yellow Room teacher since 2013. Jorge was raised in a large household. Being the oldest of four children helped him learn to be a nurturing leader. He also has a passion for dancing and movement. He has danced in various companies that specializes in New York style Salsa, Hip Hop Jazz and Stepping. Jorge has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership.

Carrie Wen

Assistant Teacher, Orange Room

Carrie has been with UPNS since 2020. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Carrie grew up with a sibling and cousins, and as the oldest child in her household she learned to take care of young children at an early age. During her spare time Carrie likes to spend time with family and friends around the city.