Kathleen McCarthy Gorski, M.Ed., Principal

Kathleen began her career in education teaching for 17 years with Bayonne Public Schools.  She then went on to become an administrator with Millburn-Short Hills Public Schools, serving as Vice Principal of the middle school in the district.  She later moved on to Cranford Public Schools where she served as a Principal for 8 years before joining First Children in 2010. Kathleen is a certified school superintendent, principal, supervisor, teacher of the handicapped and elementary school teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Teaching from Marygrove College and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Kean University. Some of her accomplishments/awards are state model of the Olweus Bully Prevention program, assistant director of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development-northeast region, Principal of the Year-Cranford Public Schools 2003/2004 and NCASES board member and commissioner. As a certified mediator Kathleen has been appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to be a fee arbitrator for attorney conflicts.  Kathleen is a passionate educator and visionary of academic excellence for all children.

Email: kgorski@firstchildrenservices.com

Phone: (908) 654-2472


Ellen D’Amato, Ph.D., School Psychologist and Clinical Administrator

Ellen has devoted her entire career to the delivery of services to students with developmental disabilities. As a special education teacher, learning disabilities teacher-consultant (LDTC), and currently as a school psychologist, she has developed and implemented intervention programs for students ranging in age from infancy through high school. Her area of expertise is the education of students who have significant cognitive, communication, physical, and medical challenges. She is experienced in the identification and provision of individualized supports to students who have multiple disabilities.

Ellen earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from Fordham University where her research focused on the needs of families of students with disabilities. She is the co-author of Tips for Teaching Infants and Toddlers– a resource for parents and early intervention teachers/therapists.
As the school psychologist at First Children School, Ellen coordinates a multi-disciplinary team of speech, physical, occupational, and behavioral therapists, serves as liaison to local child study teams, and provides educational and therapeutic support to the students, staff, and families of First Children School. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (Division of Early Childhood) and the American Psychological Society- Division 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) and Division 16 (School Psychology).

Email: edamato@firstchildrenservices.com

Phone: (908) 654-2477


Holly Pedicone,  LCSW, School Social Worker

Holly Pedicone’s primary focus has been assisting families of children with disabilities in obtaining services for their child and providing support for parents as caregivers.  This has included educating parents and families about services such as health services and financial assistance when needed and also registering with state and federal programs for children with disabilities.   In addition, at First Children School, Holly provides support programs for the families of our students.  She has been a part of bringing educational speakers to meet with parents and providing special days for moms, dads, siblings and extended family to participate with their student in fun and educational ways.  Since family involvement is a very important piece of the education of our students, these events are one-way families are able to share in the school experience with their student.

In addition to her work with our school families, Holly has a private counseling practice working with adults, couples, families, and children.  Holly graduated from New York University with a master’s in social work in 1978. She is a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Email: hpedicone@firstchildrenservices.com

Phone: (908) 654-2470


Jessica Maldonado, School Coordinator

Jessica has been with the company as an instructional assistant for four years prior to the promotion as the school coordinator. She is currently pursuing her studies in the area of education at Middlesex County College with a transfer to Kean University. Jessica brings her child care experience, communicative bilingual skills, and team building approaches to her new position. She continues to collaborate with school districts, busing company’s, and First Children’s administrative team in order to manage all school documentation and policy procedural guidelines. Jessica enjoys supporting staff members and communicating with families.