Management & Staff

St. Thomas the Apostle Nursery School is a non-profit organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Policy, budget and staffing are the responsibility of the Board, while programming and daily operation of the school are the responsibilities of the Executive Director.


Board of Directors

Every parent who is a member of the school community is eligible to run in the annual elections to take a leadership role, by serving a term on the Board of Directors. Parents are encouraged to be involved in school governance and to share opinions and expertise.

The 2018-2019  Board of Directors comprises:

  • President: Marina Merlo
  • Vice President: Jennifer Nasrallah
  • Treasurer: Cris Baluch
  • Secretary: Paula Almeida-Stille 
  • President

    Marina Merlo is a mother of three. She is blessed with a beautiful 3 year old girl who attends the green group at S.T.T.A Nursery School. She also is the proud mother of 2 handsome twin boys in the toddler group. She works full-time in administration and on her spare time loves to be with her family. She has been with St. Thomas the Apostle for 2 years and really loves how much her children are learning from being enrolled in the nursery school. She is excited to be the new president of the board of directors. 🙂

    Vice President

    Jennifer Nasrallah is the mother of two active boys and one baby girl. She is currently on maternity leave from her Human Resources Manager position with the federal government. Her eldest son started in the Toddler program in 2014 and has since moved on to the Preschool program, attending both the morning and afternoon programs. Her younger son is currently enrolled in the Toddler Program. Jennifer is thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors this year as Toddler Representative and hopes to positively contribute to the St. Thomas the Apostle nursery school community.


    Cris Baluch is the very proud mother of a nearly 5 year old boy and a 2 and a half year old girl who just started at St.Thomas this past September. Cris has seen such great progress in her daughters independence and social skills since starting the preschool program. This encouraged Cris to join the board of directors. Prior to motherhood, Cris ran a successful wedding and events business out of both Ottawa and Toronto. Now she runs her own coaching business, specializing in couples coaching. Cris is thrilled to be able to help out at St Thomas and is honoured to be the new treasurer. She looks forward to many more wonderful memories for both her family and all of the families at St Thomas.


    Paula Almeida-Stille  is the mother of two grown children. She has been working in the child care field for well over 25 years. She has worked with children from infants to school age and she is currently the Executive Director at a child care program in Overbrook. Paula is happy to be a part of the St Thomas Nursery School Board of Directors, and sees this opportunity as another way to contribute to the child care community.


    Eight highly qualified, experienced and devoted teachers staff the nursery school.  Staff are Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE), otherwise approved with the Ministry of Education or bring St. Thomas many years of experience and skills.  RECE’s are registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE) which is their professional association. As members of this association, a Code of Ethics binds them and all staff who work in this field.  Staff and volunteers are required to have their Police Records Check, their first aid/cpr and epi-pen training.

    Executive Director

    Susan Bouffard is the school’s Executive Director beginning in October of 2014.

    Susan supervises and instructs the staff, develops the curriculum, supports parents as a resource and is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school.  Susan reports directly to the Board of Directors.  

    Susan is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators, coming to us with many years of experience educating in the early childhood field, working with children from infant to pre-teen age since 1992.  

    I have 30 + years of experienced as an RECE, driven by the changing early childhood world who takes pride in ensuring a advanced environment where children can strive for the stars!

    As an Executive Director at St Thomas, my goals include making our centre openhearted, all-encompassing for families, staff and children. The children who attend St. Thomas will leave competent and capable individuals.

    In addition to my primary administrative job functions, I have an extraordinary commitment to excellence, dedicated care for all children who attend our school at St. Thomas.

    When I am not keeping busy at work, I am a bit of a farmer, growing many vegetables to share. I also love getting lost in the world of Pintrest, reading great books (Outlander series has won my heart) and working out with my grown children!

    Preschool Educators

    I have worked at St.Thomas since 2016. I have over 11 years of experience working with toddler, preschool, kindergarten and school age children. I am currently taking my ECE online with Algonquin College and look forward to completing it soon!
    I have a husky named Kobi who is my world! We love to take long walks, hangout and watch Netflix together and hanging out with his dog cousin Deacon! I have a passion for fitness and have made it a big part of my life. I look forward to continue to learn and explore what life has to offer!!

    I started with St.Thomas in September 2017. I knew right away that I would enjoy working with children when I first became a nanny, but it wasn’t until I began working as an assistant in various child care centers that I found myself truly enjoying caring, nurturing and guiding preschoolers.
    I am working towards completing the Early Childhood Education Certificate through the distance program at Loyalist College. I am certified in First Aid/CPR and I attend workshops periodically to gain knowledge and stay current on best practices.
    I am passionate and dedicated in the social and emotional development of each child. It is my goal to make sure each child receives the best care and the love they deserve.

    I love working with children; they bring out the best in me! I am happiest when I am around young children. They may think that I am teaching them, but really it is me who is learning from them.
    “When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments-tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” –Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist.
    My interests and hobbies include card-making, reading (suspense, psychological thrillers, humour), music, bicycle riding and walking with my puppy Finnegan.

    I have been with St.Thomas since Jan 2018! I have 9+ years of experience working with children of all ages! I love working with kids because they show us how to appreciate the smallest achievements and facets of life.
    I have an Alaskan Malamute named Deacon. I love being active and keeping busy in nature with my pup. Fitness and being active is a huge part of my life! I love challenging myself to the extreme one day and then reconnecting in yoga the next. Live your life to the fullest, happiness is always an option!

    Toddler Educators

    I have been an Early Childhood Educator since graduating from Algonquin College in 2000. I have worked in a variety of childhood settings, such as daycares, nursery schools and the Ottawa School Board. I have also volunteered in recreational programs and Early Years programs.
    When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending my time with family and friends. I come from a very close-knit family, of my parents, two brothers, a sister and nephews and a niece. Spending an evening out at a restaurant, movies, plays/musicals, exhibits, shopping, coffee shops, yoga or putting on a dinner party at home are just a few of the things I enjoy to do. I also adore photography, reading, poetry and music.
    It’s a pleasure each day to come into work and spend time with my toddler friends! I look forward to working with parents to help make their child’s first school experience a positive and memorable one.

    I’m an ambitious hard working young lady who enjoys, writing poems, short stories and reading. I’m very passionate about children, and I love watching their physical growth, each and every one of their developments/milestones. I enjoy spending time with my little cousins, nieces and nephews. I believe that children are our teachers, and I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from children. I’ve gained a lot of professional experience with children in the past four years. During my studies at Algonquin college, I gained experience working with toddlers and preschoolers through placement. Right after I finished my classes in my final year, I got the opportunity to work as a supply teacher at one of the daycare where I completed my last placement. I worked as a supply teacher for about 4 months. I then got hired at a child care center where I worked for over a year. I’m currently an RECE in the toddler’s program here at St. Thomas The Apostle Nursery School. I also work in the afternoons in an extended day program with the Catholic School Board. So far, I’ve had the most amazing experience with each and every child I’ve encountered. All of the kids I’ve worked and currently working with have taught me so much about myself and I’m so grateful for such opportunity. My goal is to affect and make a difference in each and everyone of these kids lives. My only hope is that they’ll grow up to only remember the great and amazing adults who’ve made an impact in their lives. I also hope that they’ll grow up to become adults who’ll make a difference in the world.

    I am a wife and mother. I have 2 children, my daughter Brianna (14) and son Brandon (12). Our Australian shepard; Teddy is also family! I have over 10 years working with children! 🙂
    Why I love Kids: There is no better joy than watching a child learn, thrive and grow.
    Hobbies: Long walks with my dog and spending time off at our family cottage.

    About Early Childhood Educators

    According to the CECE, early childhood educators are responsible for:

    • Assessing children’s developmental needs and stages in all developmental domains;
    • Designing curriculum to address children’s identified needs, stages of development and interests;
    • Planning programs and environments for play and activities that help children make developmental progress;
    • Maintaining healthy emotional and social learning contexts for children; and
    • Reporting to parents and supervisors on children’s developmental progress within healthy, safe, nurturing and challenging play environments.

    At St. Thomas the Apostle Nursery School, the teachers are encouraged to continue their education through courses, workshops and conferences with a paid day off each year dedicated to professional development.