Kristina Trombley, Director of Small Tales, grew up on Long Island and attended and graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BS in Early Childhood and Childhood Education and then went on to receive her Masters in Teaching and Learning through SUNY Plattsburgh. This is Kristina's eleventh year as a professional in the Early Childhood field. Kristina got married to Luke Trombley in 2013, they have 2 dogs named Rufus and Bailey who they live with, in Queensbury. They were blessed with two sons, David and Matthew, in 2017 and 2019.
Leigh Cain, Infant Teacher, has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University. She was the Playschool Assistant at Hobby Horse Playschool for 5 years and has cared for children in both commercial and in-home settings for over 15 years. Leigh is devoted to nurturing the hearts and minds of little ones as well as sharing her love of literature.
Arlinda Birdsall – Arlinda has been happily married for 46 years and has 2 grown children who are both science teachers. She has been a school bus driver for 40 years, 35 of which were spent at Warrensburg Central School. She has also developed and presented a school bus safety program for young children around 5 counties nearby, including Warren county. Arlinda has been involved with children’s activities, such as Little League, Sunday School, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H and The Special Friends Program at WCS for the last 35 years. She loves to hike, bike, kayak, swim, climb mountains, Tube on the river, go horseback riding, and go anywhere her seven wonderful grandchildren lead her. Arlinda is an avid reader and enjoys writing and illustrating children’s books, including “Safely Around the Hill with Bus Driver Bill,” which has sold about a million copies. Children are the love and light of her life!!
Brandi Anaman, Toddler Teacher Assistant, grew up in Warrensburg and graduated from Warrensburg High School. She has four children - 3 girls and 1 boy, ages 4, 12, 13, and 19. When she is not working, Brandi loves spending time with her children and being there for all their sports, which they love to do. She is also a very athletic person, she loves softball, basketball, soccer and swimming. Brandi received her certification from BOCES in Early Childhood Education and she has put it to good use at Small Tales. Brandi said, “It has been a pleasure so far working at Small Tales because I love watching the group of children that I met a year ago grow and learn educationally, socially, and mentally. My favorite activity that I enjoy doing with the children is reading to them.”
Ashley Benz, Teacher Assistant, was born in Connecticut but moved to Warrensburg shortly after she turned 1. She lives in Warrensburg with her mother and brother and she graduated from WCSD in 2017. Ashley now attends SUNY Oneonta, where she majors in Psychology and Child & Family Studies and is a member of Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, along with being on the Dean’s List. She hopes to become a guidance counselor or a marriage/family therapist. Her hobbies include volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and music. Ashley is excited to work at Small Tales because she loves working with children and wants to make a difference.
Mariah Nissen, Preschool Assistant Teacher, has lived in Warrensburg her whole life with her parents and her two siblings. She is entering her Sophomore year at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY. She is majoring in Music Education while also getting a Certificate for Vocal Performance. Mariah hopes to get a Master’s Degree in either Education or Vocal Performance upon graduating. Her hobbies include singing, performing in musicals and plays, cooking and playing instruments such as clarinet and piano. Mariah said her favorite part about working with children is, “When you see their face light up because they finally understand how something works. The multitude of jokes also never fails to brighten my day!”
Shannon Morrison, Toddler Teacher , is the eldest of three siblings and has taken care of many children throughout her life. Early on, she knew she wanted kids to be a focal point of her future, and at a minimum, wanted children of her own. She met her husband, Andrew, in 2009 and in 2013, that dream became a reality when they had their daughter, Charlotte. When Charlotte was two, Small Tales opened and with it came Jan Higgins and her Playschool, which Andrew had attended when he was little, so naturally, they enrolled Charlotte. Shannon says that Charlotte loved it and everyone was so kind and took such great care of her, that when it was time for Charlotte to move on to PreK, it was tough to leave. Fast forward to summer of 2019, when there was an opportunity to become Jan's assistant, Shannon was delighted to take on that role. Since becoming the Playschool Assistant, she has enjoyed making the joke that it is now her turn to “attend” Playschool. Shannon says that she loves going to work everyday and feels blessed to be able to spend time with such wonderful, bright kids as well as all of the adults she works with. Shannon loves reading, art, photography, music, nature, and spending time with Andrew, Charlotte, and their chocolate lab Molé.
Megan Miller, School Age Teacher, grew up in Chestertown and graduated from North Warren Central School. She received her associates degree in Liberal Arts from SUNY Adirondack in 2019. Megan grew up as part of a big family with two brothers and two sisters and plenty of nephews and one niece. When Megan is not at work, you can find her either on the ski slopes in the winter time or the boat in the summer time with her family. Her other hobbies include camping, hiking, and traveling. Megan says "What I love the most about working here at Small Tales is being able to watch the children grow."
Barbara Evans, Infant Assistant Teacher grew up in the Adirondacks. She attended Warrensburg Central, where she later worked as a teaching assistant for 10 years, which included Braille transcription and reverse transcription for a blind student and teachers grades K-3. Barbara has two children, Danielle, 21, and Ben, 19. She enjoys her family and children and is very grateful for her partner Robert and his 5 children, who are 11-24. Barbara enjoys reading, watching movies, and outdoor activities especially in spring, summer, and fall. Meeting the needs of not only infants and children of all ages, but also the parents as well. Barbara says "I am a nurturing and loving person who is very happy to join the loving team at Small Tales and care for your children."
Amanda Burt, Preschool Teacher , grew up around the town of Warrensburg. She is a mother to two children, a daughter who is 11 years old and a son who is 9 years old. Both of her children attend Warrensburg and are into sports and activities. In Amanda's spare time, she attends and volunteers at her children's sports and activities and she also likes to do arts and crafts. Her family also enjoy spending time with her two fur babies, a pitbull/lab mix and a Siberian Husky. Amanda says, "She looks forward to getting a chance to know all of you and your children."
Brittany Baker, Infant Assistant Teacher, grew up in the area and is very excited to be a part of the Small Tales Team. Brittany is currently a Teaching Assistant at Warrensburg in First Grade by day, and a Teaching Assistant here at Small Tales by night. She has been a part of the Warrensburg Central School for the last 3 years working with students grades K-7. Brittany has 3 children of her own, and she also enjoys coaching in her free time. Brittany is “looking forward to caring for and spending lots of time with your children.”
Lori Bott, Infant Assistant Teacher, is a 2008 graduate from SUNY Oneonta. She moved to Warrensburg in 2013 and has since gotten married and had a beautiful little girl. When Lori is not working at Small Tales or at my "big kid job" she loves spending time with her family hiking and exploring the beautiful Adirondack mountains. Lori says, “I look forward to getting to know all of you and am happy to be part of the Small Tales team!”
Rena DeFranco, Preschool Teacher Assistant, lives in Chestertown. She is married with 4 children who are 19, 23,33, and 34 and she also has two dogs and a cat. Rena attended Hadley Luzerne Central School and enjoyed playing basketball. Some of her favorite things to do are quilting, photography, hiking, kayaking, cooking and spending time with family and friends. She also loves the heat of the summer. Rena said, “I am proud to become a team member at Small Tales, and I thoroughly love spending time with children and helping them learn and grow.”
Kadenza Lashway, Teacher Assistant, grew up in Glens Falls and graduated from Glens Falls Senior High School. She is Mom to a beautiful baby boy, named Ollivander, who attends Small Tales. In Kade's free time she loves to read, dance and snuggle Ollivander. She says, "Being Ollivander's Mom is my favorite thing ever!" She has worked with children since she was a teenager and she has worked in the childcare field for about 2 years. Miss Kade says, "I'm so excited to work with everyone here!"