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Our MDO Staff

It is a pleasure to introduce our loving and nurturing staff members. 

Meet The Team

Miss Debbie
Director, MDO 2 & 3

Debbie Packnick earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English at Fairfield University, worked for 6 years in Public Relations for a medical supply company and then chose to stay home and raise her three children.  She kept busy volunteering in the community and through her church and began Directing the Christian Education Program for children, youth and adults at Nichols United Methodist Church in 2002. She joined the Mother’s Day Out Staff in 2009 and currently serves as Director of the program. She is also employed by the Covenant Church of Easton as their Student Ministries Pastor and is on track to be ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church in June of 2024. Debbie loves sailing, cooking, mentoring youth and leading Bible studies. She and her husband Rob are empty nesters and live in Shelton with their sassy Welsh Terrier, Chloe. They enjoy occasional visits with their young adult children, Kyle (his wife Tess), Craig and Ally who all reside in CT.

Miss Lisa
Head Teacher, MDO 2
Office Supervisor

Lisa Peters went to college intending to get her veterinarian degree, but after rescuing/training dogs to service the deaf and hearing impaired she began her own dog grooming salon/training facility. Lisa began participating in dog shows with one of her rescues and continues to show her dogs today. In addition to her dogs, she also has chickens and is a beekeeper. Lisa and her husband (Ken) have three adult children (Kyle, Avery and Erica), all who went to Mother’s Day Out. After her children graduated from MDO, she joined our staff in 2000. Lisa has led the Children’s Choir at Nichols United Methodist Church in addition to teaching Sunday School to preschoolers. Several years ago, she went back to college to get her Early Childhood Education Certification.

Miss Margaret
Lead Teacher, MDO 2

Margaret O’Malley worked eight years as a newspaper copyeditor at the Dallas Times Herald and Miami Herald after graduating from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in journalism and economics. In 1993, Margaret, her husband, Mike, and their two daughters moved from Florida to Minnesota, where she took Early Childhood Family Education classes through the local school district. After moving to Trumbull in 1996, Margaret became the nursery coordinator at Nichols United Methodist Church in 2000. She joined Mother’s Day Out in 2004 after subbing the previous year. Margaret also worked with children as a Girl Scout leader, school volunteer, PTA officer and the superintendent of the education program at NUMC. Margaret is a sports fanatic and travels to the Final Four each year. She also loves attending music festivals, concerts and golf tournaments.

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Miss Tonia

Lead Teacher, MDO 3

Tonia Cooper joined the MDO staff in 2015 after working 12 years in the daycare profession. She married Doug in 1996, and after the birth of the first of their four children, she put her pursuit of an Early Childhood Education degree from Sacred Heart University on hold to focus on her family. Tonia has volunteered in her children’s schools, served on the PTA, and has been an advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She and Doug own and operate Diversified Kitchens in Huntington Center in Shelton.

Miss Cindy
 Teacher Assistant, MDO 2

Cindy Kopf successfully balanced being a mother to two sons with accompanying and supporting her husband, Carl, who frequently traveled internationally as a business executive. Later, Cindy served as the full-time, weekday nanny for her five grandchildren, beginning with a set of identical twin granddaughters. As her grandchildren grew up, she missed sharing her time and skills with young children and began volunteering at MDO. She became a substitute teacher in 2016 and an assistant teacher in 2017. She also assists in the Nichols UMC nursery. Cindy is an avid golfer and also enjoys crocheting unique gifts for friends and family. 

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Miss Sarah
Teacher Assistant, MDO 3

Sarah Sergeant graduated from Sacred Heart University with a BA in Social Work and a few years later a Master of Arts in Teaching. She also attended Southern Connecticut State University to earn a Special Education Certification. She worked in the Bridgeport Public School System as a Special Education Teacher.

Sarah decided to put her professional career on hold and stay home to raise her three children. She lives in Shelton and enjoys spending time with her husband of 18 years, Glen, and their children Alexis 13, Sean 11, and Samantha 8.

Sarah’s children all attended our MDO programs. She began subbing for us when her youngest (Sam) was attending MDO 3. She was excited to get back into the workforce when Sam started kindergarten and we were thrilled to invite her to join our MDO staff!

Miss Jean Marie
Assistant Teacher, MDO 2

Jean Marie Poster worked for 15 years in New York City as an Executive Assistant in a Mutual Fund Company before becoming a mom to her son Jack.  Jean Marie and her husband John adopted Jack in 2012 and soon after Jean Marie made the decision to put her career on hold and become a stay-at-home mom. She spent much of her free time volunteering at Jack’s school before joining the MDO staff in 2021. She’s excited be working again, especially at MDO where Jack attended in 2014.  In her free time Jean Marie loves to read, spend time with family and friends and travel.  Jean Marie lives in Trumbull with her husband John, their son Jack and a very energetic, happy pup named Henry.


Miss Mary Beth 

Assistant Teacher, MDO 3

After graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a Business degree, Mary Beth held several jobs in marketing, advertising, and promotions for companies such as Tennis Magazine and the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament. When she and her husband Mike started their family, she decided to leave the corporate world to focus on being a full-time mom.  She stayed active volunteering in her community and held several positions in the PTA and at her church.  When her eldest daughter started high school Mary Beth joined the MDO family as an assistant teacher in the 2’s program until 2020. She continued to sub for the program over the past few years and is happy to be rejoining our MDO family as an assistant teacher in our 3’s program.  She brings over 8 years of experience in a preschool classroom and over 25 years of experience as a mom.  In her free time, Mary Beth enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, and relaxing at the beach.  

Miss Joanna
Lead Teacher and Assistant Teacher, MDO 2

Joanna Rosen graduated from Southern CT State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Remedial Reading.  She began her teaching career with a multitude of long-term positions working as a 3rd grade teacher in Fairfield, 2nd. grade teacher in Monroe, and finally as a Remedial Reading teacher in Ridgefield before accepting a permanent teaching job in her hometown of Trumbull. Joanna taught for 10 years at Jane Ryan Elementary School, primarily as a Kindergarten teacher; her dream job since she was a little girl.  During her career with Trumbull Public Schools, she took part in the roll-out of the fulltime Kindergarten program and sat on many curriculum writing teams over her tenure.  In 2017 Joanna took a step out of the classroom to support her husband and their family on his new job out of state.  During that same year they welcomed their 2nd child, Amelia (an alumni of MDO). After a short while, her husband’s job took them back to her hometown of Trumbull.  Not long after, she was invited to return to Jane Ryan Elementary as a Reading Intervention paraprofessional, which she did until the onset of COVID.  Joanna lives in Trumbull with her husband of 13 years, Steve, and their 2 children, Kayden and Amelia.  She enjoys everything and anything that allows her family to spend time together including attending her son’s travel baseball games, going to the beach, family game nights, and camping in the backyard. She was eager to restart her teaching career in 2021 when she joined our staff at MDO.


Miss Paulette 
Assistant Teacher, MDO 2

Paulette Patrick worked in Early Intervention with the 0-3 population for over twenty-five years. This included visits to the home, daycare, and community. She finds it a privilege to work with children and their families and enjoys seeing each child reach their full potential.

For the last two years, Paulette has volunteered in the infant/toddler room at Beacon Hill Church in Monroe during Community Bible Study classes. In the past, she worked at TECEC, Trumbull Early Childhood Education Center, as a physical therapist in the preschool. Through the years while raising her sons, Paulette was a religious education instructor and a den leader for Cub Scouts. She helped in their schools serving as a room mother, PTA member, and volunteered at many school and community events. Paulette received her Bachelor of Science degree from Simmons College in Boston, Ma. Her youngest son attended Mother’s Day Out. Paulette enjoys gardening, cooking, baking, and getting together with family and friends. She loves the hunt for treasure at the Elephant’s Trunk or estate sales. Paulette appreciates a good cup of tea with a favorite book or a long walk with her husband. She and her husband, Dave, and their three sons and daughter-in-law live in Shelton.

Miss Jody
Assistant Teacher, MDO 3

Miss Jody has many years of working with preschool children.  As a mother of 8 children and an aunt to a handful of nieces and nephews, Jody has lovingly cared for and impacted the lives of young children throughout our community for decades.  Jody joined our MDO staff 5 years ago after her daughter attended our program.  She and her husband Dan and their extended families have lived in Shelton their whole lives and her husband Dan owns and operates their family business, DJP Electric.  Jody’s warm smile and caring heart have blessed countless numbers of little ones in our program over the years.

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