Our Staff

Jennifer Kovacs was raised in Edison, NJ, but has lived in Piscataway with her husband since 2015. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Early Childhood/ Elementary Education. She has both a P-3 and a K-8 certification, as well as her CPR and First Aid Certifications. Ms. Kovacs is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and The Golden Key International Honor Society. She has worked with children since 2000. Ms. Kovacs started as an assistant teacher and after graduating in 2004 became a lead teacher in a Pre-K class. In her 18+ years of working in childcare she has worked in every position with every age group from 6 weeks to 14 years of age, including as the Director of a school age before and after care program. In the fall of 2014 Ms. Kovacs’s lifelong dream of owning her own school came true.

As new owners, Ms. Kovacs and her mother have made many positive changes, adding the Creative Curriculum which is a research based, state approved curriculum, Infant and Toddler classrooms, expanding the afterschool, and summer programs to include school age children, adding a language program, Zumba program, a Music Together program, both in school and for families, as well as adding an Infant and Toddler Playground. They have also upgraded the security by adding cameras, and all preschool classrooms now have at least 1 if not 2 computers. Teachers have now received tablets so they can keep the parents posted on a continuous basis about their children’s progress. In addition they have also created a P.T.A., and have made countless updates to the grounds and building. Ms. Kovacs is happy to be part of the Start-Rite Family and looks forward to a long happy future.

 Ida Silva lives in Middlesex. She graduated from Somerset County Collage with an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education and received her Group Teaching Certification from the State of New Jersey. She worked in an Infant Day Care Center in Westfield before joining the Start-Rite Family in 1987, as the Pre-K Parrot class teacher. The following year Mrs. Silva became the 2½-3½ years old Bluebird Class Teacher, and in the fall of 1994 she became the 3½-4 year old Canary Class teacher. Mrs. Silva became the assistant director in 2005 and then in 2006 she attended the Directors Academy sponsored by Kean College and in 2007 she became the Director. Mrs. Silva’s hobbies include traveling, arts and crafts, and reading.

Danielle Mendez- is from Staten Island, NY and now lives in South Plainfield with her husband and two children. She has been working and volunteering with children for 10+ years. She has coached cheer leading, softball, and basketball as well as served on numerous PTSO boards for her children’s school. She was also a nanny for a few years. Once the children were old enough to go to school she became a preschool teacher at Spring Academy, where she taught English, Spanish, Math Science, Social Studies, and Arts and Crafts. She has obtained 2 years of college credits in Early Childhood Education and ASL from St. John’s University and CSI CUNY. Mrs. Mendez is CPR and First Aide Certified, and will be working toward her CDA. During her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, and cheering her children on in various sports and dance competitions with family and friends.

Helene Huyler graduated from Summit High School and worked in the Banking industry before marrying, moving to Piscataway and becoming a mother to two sons. She began working at Start-Rite in 1981, when her youngest son was four, and attending the Pre-K Robin Class. Mrs. Huyler has assisted in all of the classrooms at one time or another. The teachers are always happy when they see her entering the classroom. They know they can depend on her to assist them in achieving their classroom goals. The children are also excited because they know Mrs. Huyler is always willing to listen to what they have to say. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.

Michele Kennedy graduated from East Brunswick High School and studied Early Childhood Education at Middlesex County College. She received her CDA certification from Community Childcare. Mrs. Kennedy traveled with her husband while he was in the army, and spent five years operating a home daycare center in Fort Drum, New York and Mannheim, Germany. When they returned home Mrs. Kennedy worked with infants and toddlers for six years in a daycare center. In the fall of 2011 Mrs. Kennedy joined the Start-Rite Family, as an after school teacher. She has worked in all the classrooms, filling in whenever help was needed. Mrs. Kennedy is the teacher in the Infant/Toddler classroom, opened in the spring of 2015. In her spare time she enjoys baking and arts and crafts, but her favorite activity is spending time with her son James.

Christine Spengler lives in Piscataway with her husband, five children, and 3 grandchildren. She has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology from New Jersey City University and is certified in ESL. She has been teaching for over 9 years, and joined Start-Rite Nursery School in the spring of 2016.




  Shaniqua Muniz (Bluebird Class Lead Teacher)

Shaniqua Muniz lives in North Edison, with her adorable baby boy and their family. She is working on completing her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education at Middlesex Community College. Right after graduating High School Ms. Muniz worked as an assistant teacher for 4 years in North Edison.  Then to expand her horizons she worked for Block Staffing Services for 3 years, but discovered that her true passion is teaching, and is now excited to be returning to the field of Early Childhood Education where she plans on staying.

 Tatiana Rodriguez grew up right here in Piscataway, where she continues to live with her family). She worked as a after school teacher for the Piscataway board of education for 3 years before coming to work here at Start-Rite. Her first year she worked as the Assistant teacher in the Hummingbird Room (our toddler class), and she did such a great job that this year she has been promoted to the lead teacher in that class. Miss Rodriguez is currently working on obtaining her CDA (Child Development Associate). When she is not at work, she enjoys taking care of her two younger sisters, and spending time her boyfriend of several years.


Desiree Jones-lives in Piscataway with her son. She is the mother of six children, and grandmother of five. She has been in the field of early childhood education for many years. She ran her own family childcare business back in the late 90s. Ms. Jones is now one of our toddler room teachers, and has also become our Music Together teacher. She is also teaching children 0-5 years old weekly character lessons at a non-profit organization on Thursday nights. In addition, she teaches keyboard classes to youth ages 6-15 years old. One of the things she loves to do in her spare time is write poetry.

Mary Munna Biju is from India. She immigrated to New Jersey in January along with her beautiful family. She has been married for 25 years and has two lovely daughters both attending college. Mary has completed her Masters in Sociology and has a Diploma in Teaching. She loves working with young children and has 15 years of teaching experience from India. Mary takes immense pride in teaching the future stars of this beautiful country.