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860-767-2345 Schoolmates - 253 Bushy Hill Rd, Deep River, CT 06417

There is a noisy kind of peace in creativity.

– Sylvia Ashton Warner


Amy Dyer

Owner and Schoolmates mom, Amy, lives in Ivoryton with her husband and 2 children – both of whom attended the preschool and Explorers programs. She is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood program at Three Rivers and will continue her coursework in this field. Amy has worked behind the scenes at Schoolmates for the past eight years in a bookkeeping and staff support capacity. She comes to Schoolmates with over 15 years of extensive business and property management experience in the local community. In addition to her ownership role, Amy will join the teachers in the classroom.


Lori Connor

Head Teacher/Director, Lori, lives in Ivoryton.  She and her husband Tim have three children, two of whom are Schoolmates alumni. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Fine Arts. She has been a teacher at Schoolmates for 19 years, starting as a part timer when her daughter was first enrolled.  Now an empty nester, you will often see her up here in the summer and on weekends working on planning or organizing our classrooms.


Erica Swan

Erica lives in East Haddam. She enjoys her busy house with 4 beautiful children and her partner Jon.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Education as well as her Head Teacher Certificate. Previously, Erica worked as a Special Education Para in the East Haddam school system. We welcomed Erica to Schoolmates in 2009, when we moved to Bushy Hill.


Katie Bauer

Katie lives in Deep River with her husband and two daughters. She is a former Schoolmates mom and teaches in the Tuesday/ Thursday preschool. Katie holds degrees in Special Education and Education K-6 and has taught in inner-city Philadelphia and Old Saybrook. Katie joined us in 2016.


Kelly Tonks

Kelly lives in Ivoryton with her husband Jay. She holds an A.S. degree in Early Childhood, as well as a Head Teacher Certificate. She came to Schoolmates in 2007 with 13 years experience working for a childcare/preschool in North Branford. Kelly is also an accomplished professional photographer and opened her own business, Kelly Tonks Photography, in 2011. Kelly teaches in the Explorers classroom.


Amy Forbes

Amy lives in Chester with her two children who are Schoolmates alumni. She holds a B.S. degree in Music Education and is a certified Music Together instructor. Amy founded Treehouse Players, a children’s theater adventure in 2007 and brought her creative spirit to Schoolmates in 2016.


Ann Courcy 

Ann lives in Ivoryton with her husband Dave and 2 of her 3 children. She holds degrees in Sociology and Social Work, and has attended numerous workshops and classes in Art and Nature Education. Ann is also author of the blog “Barking Frog Farm” where she writes about connecting kids to nature. Ann has been an Explorers teacher since 2011 when her son Stephen attended Schoolmates. 


Kathy Ruedger

Kathy lives in Old Lyme.  She has a Masters Degree in Art Education, and taught students K-6, for 26 years.  She relocated from Michigan to be near her daughter and granddaughter. She enjoys hiking, kayaking and beach walks with her dog Diva, and really appreciates all that Connecticut has to offer. 


Jeanie Domnarski
Founder and Educational Consultant

Our founder, Jeanie Domnarski, launched Schoolmates in 1990 after completing her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Three Rivers Community College and is a frequent workshop presenter. Jeanie celebrated her retirement in the summer of 2019 and remains active at Schoolmates as its Educational Consultant. Jeanie’s daughter attended Schoolmates and now her second granddaughter is enrolled! Jeanie lives in Essex with her husband Ed.

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