Meet the ECSE Staff




Katie Schervish
ECSE Teacher


This is Katie's 9th year of teaching here in Rochester. Her first 4 years were spent teaching ECSE and then she spent 3 years at Delta Kelly in the CI program. Two years ago she came back to teach ECSE and is SO happy she did. She obtained her degrees from Grand Valley State University in the areas of Elementary education, Early Childhood and Cognitive Impairments. She also received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Developmental Delays.She loves and has a passion for working with children with unique needs and promises that it shows every day.


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Melissa Buffa
ECSE Teacher


Melissa Buffa attended Western Michigan University for her undergraduate degree in special education (emotional impairment) and general education. Her minor was in Early Childhood Education. She later attended the University of Central Florida for her masters degree and graduated with a degree in Severe and profound disabilities. Melissa taught blended preschool in Orlando Florida for seven years and this is her first year in Rochester and teaching visually structured preschool.


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Kathy Duggan
ECSE Blended Teacher


This school year is Kathy's 20th year of teaching and her 6th in Rochester. She took two years off when her family moved to Germany for her husband's job. She has a B.S from Wayne State, Endorsements in Cognitive Impairment, Early Childhood Education and Emotional Impairment from Eastern Michigan and her Masters in Education from Saginaw Valley.She has taught both Early Childhood Special Education and Kindergarten in Clintondale, Fitzgerald, Macomb Intermediate, Pontiac and Rochester Schools. She lives in Rochester with her husband, four children and dog.




April Fullmer
ECSE Teacher


April Fullmer came to Rochester Community Schools in 1995 after having taught Early Childhood Special Education and Kindergarten in another district. She has taught high school and middle school resource, second grade, and Early Childhood Special Education. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and an endorsement in Physical and Otherwise Health Impaired from Eastern Michigan University. She has a master's degree from Oakland University in Special Education, with an endorsement in Autism. She lives in Shelby Township with her husband and two teenage daughters.




Donna Giles
ECSE Blended Teacher


Donna Giles has been teaching Preschool for Rochester Schools since 2013. Before that Donna taught for seven years in Lapeer, Genesee and St. Clair Counties. She has experience teaching children from Preschool to Third Grade. She earned a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan. After teaching for 3 years, Donna took time off to raise a family. During that time she earned a ZA Early Childhood endorsement. She then continued on to earn a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Oakland University, as well as a ZS, Special Education endorsement, from Central Michigan University. Donna currently lives in Lapeer County with her husband, three boys, and multiple pets.




Gina Ruffini
ECSE Teacher


Gina Ruffini has been teaching at Rochester Community Schools since 2014. She has been teaching preschool and special education for 9 years. Gina graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education with a major in Special Education: Cognitive Impairment and a minor in Child Development. She has her Master of Arts Degree in Educational Technology from Central Michigan University.




Erin Knight
ECSE Teacher

Erin is a Grand Valley State University graduate where she received her Bachelor's Degree in psychology and special education.  She holds endorsements in the areas of cognitive impairments and developmental delays.  In 2013 she received her Master's Degree in Early Childhood.  Her career started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she worked as a pre-school teacher for students with Autism for six years.  In 2015 she began teaching teachers at the University of Florida and was a Master Teacher Specialist at NOVA Southeastern University.  She is a Rochester native who attended Hugger, Hart and Adams High school. After years in the sunshine state, she has returned home and is thrilled to teach in the same school district she grew up in.  She feels her most important role is to be an advocate for your child,to provide support and resources they need to have a successful school year.




Laura Washer
ECSE Blended Teacher


Laura Washer has been with Rochester Schools for 5 years. She received her bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University with focuses in: Special Education, Early Childhood Education and Emotional Impairments. Laura is currently attending Oakland University for Graduate School to earn a master's in Educational Leadership. Laura has taught the Visually Structured Classroom, Basic ECSE and now the Blended classes at Hampton Elementary. Previously, Laura taught Head Start and the tuition-based Pre-School at Brandon School district for 2 years. She lives with her husband and puppy in Lake Orion.