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Co-Founders and Staff

Al and Marla Pettit, husband and wife founders of NPCH, live in South Butler and have four children:
Sara: NPCH 1992; PSU 2009: Bachelor of Architecture
Erin: NPCH 1994; PSU 2010: Bachelor of Psychology;
Lesley University 2012: Master of Education and Special Education 

Tena: NPCH 2001; PSU 2018: Bachelor and Master of Architectural Engineering
Nathaniel: NPCH 2004; Brown University 2020: Bachelor Arts with Honors Public Policy
And in recent years, Al and Marla have become the proud grandparents of four
The Pettits' dream of creating a school in keeping with the ideals of Dr. Montessori was realized in 1991 when they founded NPCH. The school and the Pettit family grew, allowing Marla and Al to realize their dream: to spend more time together as a family, and to educate their own children in the Montessori environment.  All four children benefited from this experience.

Staff Biographies

Lauren Birsic

Lauren has been working in education since 2010.  Prior to joining NPCH, She taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten for six years and worked as an Instructional Coach at an elementary school in Pittsburgh.  She holds a Master's of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI.   She has a pre-kindergarten to 4th grade license in Pennsylvania.  Lauren has specific experience working with English Language Learners and children with learning disabilities.  Lauren joined NPCH in 2017.   She and her husband live in McCandless with their daughters, Margaret, Emma, and Adeline.  Lauren works with Reading.

Peg Hudac

Peg has been a member of the NPCH staff since 1993.  She holds a BA in Psychology/Education from La Roche College with additional coursework from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She also has a Pennsylvania Teachers Certificate for Private Schools.  Peg and her husband Pete live in Hampton and are the parents of four: Josh, Nate, Owen (NPCH '93), and Coby (NPCH '04), and grandparents of four.  Peg works with Reading.

Al Pettit

Al is the co-founder and co-operator of NPCH.  He has a BA from Penn State in Labor Studies and Labor History and received his Teacher Certification from the North American Montessori Center.  Prior to joining the teaching staff at NPCH full-time in 1992, Al worked for the Postal Service as Human Resources Administrator for ten years. In the classroom, the kids all fondly call him “Mister.”  He inspires curiosity throughout the Science/Geography/History room, along with the Math/Sensorial room.  Al manages NPCH finances, and he oversees most administrative functions as well as building, equipment, and yard maintenance projects.​

Marla Pettit

Marla is the Directress and co-founder of NPCH.  She earned her BS from Penn State in Individual and Family Studies and received her American Montessori Society (AMS) certificate from Carlow College Masters Program.  Marla is certified by the State Board of Private Academic Schools as a teacher and School Director. Marla began teaching in 1980.  She has taught at the State College Children’s House, in State College, PA, Western Pennsylvania Montessori School, in Allison Park, PA, Montessori Centre Academy, in Glenshaw, PA, and NPCH.  Marla works mainly in the areas of practical life, art, and reading. 

PA Dept of ED
PA Dept of Public Welfare
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