Our Teachers

img_5861Meghan Wall MacLaughlin

Director, Teacher

Education: University of Richmond, B.A.; Lesley College, M.Ed.

Meghan became the Owner and Director of Cape Ann Preschool in 2009 after serving in the esteemed role of Cape Ann Preschool Parent” while her son, Ryan, was enrolled.

Meghan has a Master’s degree in Education, and is licensed as an Early Childhood Director. She has more than two decades of experience in education having taught preschool in California for 2 years, and having worked as a teacher, coach, advisor, and admissions counselor with middle and high school students and their parents.

Meghan’’s experience parenting a preschooler (at both Cape Ann Preschool, and elsewhere) was the one that most shaped her outlook on preschool and leading Cape Ann Preschool.

““Parenting a preschooler was one of the most challenging things I have ever done! When my son, Ryan was a student at Cape Ann Preschool, I had a lot of questions about his development, and questions about whether I was doing the right things as a parent. Shelley and the other teachers never hesitated to take time to meet with me, and to share their feedback, advice, tips and tricks.

We moved to California when my daughter, Callie, started preschool. Although the school had a similar educational philosophy, I didn’t get the same support as a parent. I realized how special Cape Ann Preschool was, and how engaged and involved and its teachers are.

Preschool is more than a place for children to play and learn. I think it is just as important to educate and support parents. As the director of the school, I try to guide parents through the fun but challenging and unpredictable preschool years.”

Born and raised in Gloucester, Meghan lives in Riverdale with her husband Robie, and their two children, Ryan and Callie.

shelleyShelley Halligan

Lead Teacher

Education: Lasell Junior College, A.A.

Like Meghan, Shelley has held the honorable title of Cape Ann Preschool Parent”, as well as teacher. She is licensed as an Early Childhood Lead Teacher, and holds a degree in Early Child Education from Lasell Junior College. Upon graduation in 1974, Shelley began her career teaching preschool in Hopkinton, MA before bringing her talents to Cape Ann Preschool in 1990. Shelley was honored to be welcomed into such a positive and relaxed environment in which children are encouraged to explore their unique creativity through play and art:

““I was particularly impressed with Cape Ann Preschool’s commitment to developing strong social skills and independent thinking at an early age. I’’m a firm believer in ‘getting back to basics’, so it’s a pleasure to be able to focus on teaching problem solving strategies, and helping children express their feelings in appropriate ways.””

Throughout the years, Shelley’’s passion for teaching has been evident to the hundreds of students who have passed through her classrooms. Originally from Pennsylvania, Shelley raised her two daughters in Gloucester, MA where she still enjoys life on the Annisquam River with her husband, Chris.


maraMara Destino

Lead Teacher

Education: University of Rhode Island, B.A.; Wheelock College, M.Ed.

Mara, too, was recruited from an elite talent pool: former Cape Ann Preschool Parents. She began working at the school as a substitute in 2000, and as a teacher in 2012, and has taught preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten since 1990. Her degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood (with a concentration in Special Needs) make her uniquely qualified to usher Cape Ann Preschool’s pre-K students into their first year of kindergarten. Mara loved the feeling and experience that Cape Ann Preschool provided her own children:

““I was thrilled to join the staff at Cape Ann Preschool and continue working with my favorite age group: Pre-Kindergarten. My background experience, combined with the small class sizes and the pupil-teacher ratio makes it easy to support children and their families in their early years of education.””

Mara is originally from Rhode Island and now lives in Gloucester with her husband, Alex, her two daughters, Tess and Maggie, and her son, Tucker.