Meet Our Staff
Liz Pollak- Director
Liz graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood/Childhood Education with additional certifications in Childhood Special Education and Math (7-12). She received a Masters of Science in Special Education from Buffalo State College. Liz taught kindergarten, fourth grade and fifth grade, specializing in Science at Fourteen Holy Helpers for three years before she began homeschooling her children last year. Liz is a mother to three curious girls and one sweet boy, a loving wife, and an active parishioner at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church.
Amanda Batt- Kindergarten and Musical Theater Instructor
Amanda is a homeschool graduate and holds a Bachelors Degree in Mental Health and Human Services with minors in Theology and History from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She and her husband have 6 children. Amanda worked as a preschool teacher and as a respite care provider for Suburban Adult Services Inc. and Heritage Centers before staying at home with her children. She is now hoping to share her love of dance and theater with her students at HFLC. They are parishioners at Our Lady of Charity in South Buffalo, NY.
Kelly Gill- PreK 3/4 Instructor
Kelly has a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Buffalo State College and a Master's Degree in School Counseling from Canisius College. She worked as an elementary school counselor in Orchard Park Central and Vestal School Districts, as well as an at-risk middle school counselor in Vestal. Kelly is a devoted wife and homeschooling mom to 5 children They are parishioners of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Clarence.
Katie Kelly- History and Literature Instructor
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Katie never thought she’d leave her beautiful hometown but her passion for creativity and children’s freedom in their education pulled her heart in surprising directions — landing her in New York, and ultimately, right here at Holy Family Learning Center. Long before this, however, Katie attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned her B.A. in sociology and art studio, as well as her M.Ed. with an emphasis in Crosscultural Language and Academic Development. She was a public elementary school teacher for several years in CA before moving to WNY to pursue an M.S. in the study of Creativity, Creative Problem Solving (CPS), and Change Leadership at Buffalo State College. Her thesis research examines how the lives of graduates of Sudbury Valley School become creatively self-actualized as a result of having freedom of choice in a self-directed education. Katie has also worked as a nanny, conference coordinator, CPS facilitator & innovation consultant, art director at a camp in the Adirondacks, and, for several years, was the Studio Classroom Coordinator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center where she designed and managed the museum’s art education programs. She loves camping, hiking, and photography — especially when they’re all in her favorite place: Big Sur, CA. Back in the classroom, Katie finds herself filled with awe and wonder, joyously watching learning unfold as children are becoming their fullest, creative potentials.
Jill Knack- Foreign Language Instructor
Jill developed a fascination with languages and cultures when she spent her Junior year in high school in the Piemonte region of Italy. She continued her studies at the University at Buffalo earning a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish. During her studies at UB she traveled to Denmark for an archaeological field dig, and also to Cuernavaca, Mexico to study Spanish at the Universidad Internacional. Upon completing her undergraduate studies she enlisted in the United States Navy where she studied Modern Standard Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. In 2013 she was honorably discharged after serving for 6 years as a Navy Linguist. Jill is currently working on a Masters Degree in education, specializing in teaching English as a second language. She and her husband, Nate, have two children: Nathaniel and Genevieve. Jill and her family attend St Amelia's in Tonawanda.
Katie McDonald- History, Literature and Writing Instructor
Katie holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from Tulane University and a Master's Degree in Human Resource Education and Leadership Development from the Louisiana State University. Following a career in executive management, Katie spent several years teaching enrichment in a number of local elementary schools, as well as working as a tutor and homeschooling instructor. Katie and her husband are the proud parents of a seventeen year old son, and two daughters, ages 15 and 6. She is an avid UCONN basketball fan, and she divides her time between travel baseball games and cheer competitions. She and her family are active parishioners at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville.
Rachel Mooney- History and Literature Instructor
Rachel Barnard graduated from Buffalo State College with a B.S. in Childhood and Early Childhood Education and an M.S. in Literacy. She has been substitute teaching in the Akron and Orchard Park school districts and is thrilled to be joining HFLC! She lives in Akron with her husband, Brian, and their two boys, Pierce and Daniel. Her favorite books are The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.
Mary Reibel- Science and Foreign Language Instructor
Mary holds a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Buffalo State College. In her free time, she is working towards her master's degree in Secondary Special Education and Social Studies. Mary has most recently worked as a long term substitute in the Universal Pre-K program in West Seneca Central Schools. Prior to that, she was a per diem sub for 3 years in multiple public school settings. Mary and her husband live in Lancaster with their son. She is very excited for the opportunity to work at Holy Family Learning Center and meet so many great families!
Megan Zuchlewski- Science Instructor
Megan holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from Buffalo State College and is working towards her Masters degree in Science Education. Megan has taught 7th and 8th grade general science in Chesterfield County, Virginia as well as 10th grade Earth Science at Mount Mercy Academy in South Buffalo. She is married with two children, a son and a daughter. Megan is very excited to work with all the wonderful families at Holy Family Learning Center!
Mary Barone- Atrium Instructor
Sally Becker- Nursery
Sally is a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 10. Originally from Erie, PA, she moved to Buffalo at the age of 17 to work at Father Baker Infant Home. Previous jobs have included but are not limited to working in the maternity ward, working as a preschool aide and running an after school program for 14 Holy Helpers School and having an in home daycare during summers. Sally has been a parishioner at 14 Holy Helpers for over 40 years.
Gloria Brzezinski- Music Instructor
Jen Costanzo- Digital Creativity Instructor
Jennifer is currently a homeschooling mother of four children and independent photographer. She graduated from Buffalo State College with degrees in Elementary and Special Education and from Villa Maria College with a degree in Photography. Jennifer has teaching experience at the Science Magnet School in Buffalo and at Maple West Elementary in Williamsville. Additionally, she has experience working with young children through her years as a nanny for a family of seven.
Heather Maher- Art Instructor
Heather is married with 3 children (ages 14, 11 and 9). She loves to travel and read. Heather has a fine arts degree with a concentration in drawing and painting, and has been teaching for 19 years. She taught at the Arts in Education Institute for 12 years and currently teaches (in addition to Holy Family) at Albright Knox Art Gallery and St. John the Baptist in Alden.
Sue Kaiser- Sewing Instructor
Theresa Shriver- Baking Instructor
Theresa holds a degree in recreational leadership. She has been married 43 years and has 5 children and 13 grandchildren. Theresa has taught cooking to 4H groups over a 15 year time span. She has also been the owner of a home-based business, Chicken Coop Originals, for 20 years and teaches children and adults in garden/art and cooking through the business.
Elizabeth Truesdell- Physical Education Instructor
Elizabeth Truesdell is a homeschool graduate, and earned her Bachelor's degrees in Physical and Health Education, as well Religious Studies, from Canisius College. Her Master's degree in Physical Education is also from Canisius, where she worked as a graduate assistant and continues there as an adjunct professor. Liz was the PE teacher for Chesterton Academy of Buffalo in their inaugural year. Before having her first child, Liz worked in a Catholic high school as a junior religion teacher. She has worked in health and physical education in charter and public schools. Liz also worked at various parishes as a youth minister. She lives in North Tonawanda with her husband, Keith, and their three children, two of whom attend Holy Family. They are parishioners at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in North Tonawanda.
Patricia Vinti- Music Instructor
Patty earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and a Master's Degree in Voice Performance from SUNY Fredonia. In addition to teaching at HFLC, she also teaches Music and Drama at Chesterton Academy of Buffalo and performs regularly as a professional soprano in the Western NY area. Patty lives with her husband and sons in Orchard Park. They are parishioners of St. Josaphats Church in Cheektowaga.