Teachers

Our teachers are CPR and First Aid Certified and compliant with all New York State licensing credentials. They draw upon a wide range of life experiences and educational training to create a stable and thoughtful environment, and provide comprehensive, individualized care.


Hillside's Head Teacher Cheryl Demuth

Cheryl Demuth

Owner and Teacher

I have been working in educational settings with young children since 2000. After many years of teaching and caregiving children, including work as a Head Teacher at Vassar College’s Infant and Toddler Laboratory School, I decided to return to school. In 2008, I received a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Shortly after graduation, I began forming Livingston Street Early Childhood Community (a pre-school) which opened its doors in November 2010. However, with the understanding that the Kingston community was sorely in need of an infant/ toddler program, I opened Hillside Nursery in August 2011.

While I love my job working with children and families, I also have many other interests. My home, where I live with my husband Tim, is above Hillside Nursery. We have two house rabbits, Hazel and Florian, who enjoy visiting the nursery every chance they get (especially at lunch)! I like to travel, read, hike and bike, and just putter around the house.


Katelyn Semon

Katelyn Semon

On-Site Provider and Co-Teacher

Katelyn has worked at Hillside Nursery since the business began in August 2011. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Katelyn believes childhood is a special time that should be honored, protected, and unhurried, and that all children deserve to be nurtured in a caring environment. She appreciates the unique characteristics of each child and encourages development by introducing children to new methods of play and exposing them to a wide variety of sensory experiences. She believes that the seasons and the environment offer their own curriculum, highly valuing the chance to exhibit learning opportunities outdoors.

Katelyn strongly believes that good nutrition is essential in developing both a healthy body and a healthy mind. She buys organic food whenever possible and supports local farming by sharing in a weekly CSA, which has inspired many creative menus and snacks. Hillside Nursery’s own garden provides a bounty of fresh snacks for the children in her care. Katelyn is an artist at heart, and she loves to experiment with both traditional and non-traditional media, usually with children at her side. In her spare time, Katelyn enjoys exploring the surrounding neighborhoods or trekking into the Catskills with her partner Richard, their daughter Maiah, and their son Rex.


Dawn Sawitsky

Co-Teacher

Coming to Hillside has been serendipitous. I began my Early Childhood career with toddlers over thirty years ago at Just Kids Early Childhood Learning Center on Long Island. After receiving my B.S. in Special Education from Dowling College, I went on to earn my M.S. in Early Childhood Education from City College of New York. Along the way I have been a mother to 4 children, 1:1 teaching assistant, a nanny, and most recently a preschool teacher for a Migrant Head Start program in New Paltz. Now my journey has gone full circle.

My philosophy about Early Childhood mirrors that of Hillside. Children learn best through various hands-on opportunities. Every day is an exciting learning experience, whether it’s learning social skills playing with their friends in the yard or practicing fine motor skills cutting play dough with scissors. Each day brings something special, and your child will bring home something they learned at Hillside either in their hands, their heads or their hearts. Education is serious business, but learning should always be fun.

I’v been married to my best friend Steve for 31 years, raised 3 boys and a girl (Jake 28, Zac 26, Emily 24 and Adam 22). I mention that so you’ll know who the kids are talking about if they repeat one of my stories! We round out the bunch with our Siamese cat, Luna. In my spare time I am a avid reader, quilter and beach comber.