Meet our Staff

Meet Our Leaders of PLAY

We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented environment not only for the students but for the staff as well. Many of our staff first came to the school as parents. They had so much fun, they stayed on as teachers! All of our teachers are licensed through the Department of Children and Families and our VPK staff must maintain a Florida CDA/Staff Credential.

Our Founders

Anastasia Chandler, Executive Director

Anastasia is a Palm Beach County native who grew up caring for children, playing sports, and creating art of one kind or another throughout her life. She studied education and writing in college and came into the Early Childhood field with a vision for growth through hands-on learning and the arts, and a strong background in youth programming from years of program management for the YMCA. She discovered our former preschool as a parent of two boys, while teaching mom-and-me classes, graduated to a 3’s teacher once they moved to elementary school, and eventually took over as Preschool Director. A drive to give all families the same gifts of community, connection, and creative learning that her family got from the school has led her passion for making The P.L.A.Y. School the unique place it is today. Anastasia serves as the Executive Director and Preschool Director of The P.L.A.Y. School.

Megan Baraldi, Development Director

Megan developed her passion for education and youth development through her experience coaching youth volleyball in Connecticut. Additionally, she loves to travel and learn about the world with her husband and two children. She speaks fluent Spanish and has tutored English language learners as well as children learning Spanish. After moving to Florida, she began teaching preschool. Megan quickly fell in love with our learn-through-play curriculum and embraced our Parents-as-Partners philosophy. We were blessed to have her bilingual education skills and big heart added to our team experience. Throughout her time at our former school, her dream of opening her own inclusive, play-based school to grow and spread our mission solidified, and when that school closed, she seized the moment to make her dream a reality. Megan now serves as the Development Director and Lead Teacher of The P.L.A.Y. School.

VPK Delray Beach Boynton Beach Florida
VPK Delray Beach Boynton Beach Florida

Our Teachers

Jennifer DeFalco

Jen is originally from New Jersey where she grew up in a tight-knit family. She went to University in New Jersey and received a Master’s Degree in Primary Education. After school, she taught for a few years and fell in love with teaching, but left to assist in opening a family business. Teaching has always been her passion, and after a decade in retail, she knew she had to return to the classroom. The PLAY School was blessed to find her right at that moment. Ms. D, as we call her, is full of joy and enthusiasm and has a special knack for clueing in to students’ social-emotional needs and spreading joy and silliness throughout the classroom. Although most of Ms. Jen’s family is in New Jersey, her closest family member, her dog Lucy, keeps her Florida home full of love.
VPK Delray Beach Boynton Beach Florida

Lauren Gumalak

Lauren grew up in South Florida and started her Early Education career in 2014. She has been teaching the Three’s at The PLAY School for two years. She chose early education because she has a passion for nurturing young minds during these important developmental years. Lauren creates a warm and stimulating environment where the kids feel valued and encouraged to explore. By engaging in play-based learning along with PLAY’s age-appropriate curriculum, Lauren is able to nurture social and emotional growth. By supporting a sense of wonder for learning, she hopes to instill a strong foundation that will prepare each child for a successful educational journey ahead. Outside of PLAY Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, and their dog, Clover.
Lauren G.Playschool

Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long has been a preschool teacher for 13 years and is a mom of four. She chose to go into early childhood education because she loves to see young children constantly learning. There is no greater joy than planning fun experiences to support their developing minds and seeing the magic in a child’s eyes when they master new skills. She absolutely loves teaching VPK and learning through play. Play gives each child their own way of learning and allows them to grow physically, academically, and emotionally.
Preschool Delray Beach Boynton Beach Florida

Maria Pietanza

Ms. Maria was born in Venezuela to Italian parents. She graduated from Universidad de el Zulia with a degree in Early Childhood. She taught pre-K and Twos for ten years before moving to South Florida and joining our team. Ms. Maria has a special interest in always finding new and interactive activities that allow our students to embrace the current unit of study through play and inquiry, and she loves to expose the students to fun song and dance from her multiple languages and cultures. Maria is happily married for over 30 years and has three grown boys.

Preschool Delray Beach Boynton Beach Florida

America DeBeck

You may see Mrs. Chandler’s mom, Ms. America around school any day of the week. Ms. America is a retired school teacher, with over 30 years of experience teaching K-3 in both English and Spanish in Palm Beach County. As soon as she retired, we swooped her to up to put her expertise to use as a floater and substitute teacher. Ms. America is a vital part of our school community, lending her lifetime of experience to both our teachers and students. She taught a number of our alumni parents and is now touching the lives of their children.

Jennie Luedtke

Miss Jennie has been a part of The P.L.A.Y. School for over 6 years, first as a parent, and then as a Threes teacher and assistant Fours teacher. Ms. Jennie hails from the frosty Midwest but has lived in Florida with her husband and two boys for over 10 years. When Jennie first got involved in the classroom, we immediately recognized her ability to relate to the children in a quiet, deeply engaged way and share in their joy of learning through creative activities.  She is an accomplished artist and photographer and brings her artist’s curiosity and imagination to school with her every day to share with her students and our staff team! She is currently getting her Florida staff credential so that we can put her amazing talent to use as a school leader and mentor to new teachers.

Join Our Community of Educators

We are always looking for flexible, fun teachers to join our community as leads, substitutes, or floaters! If you have a DCF 40-hour certification or a FL teacher’s certificate, love to PLAY, and would like to join our sub list, please email us.