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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Preschool to be sold this June

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — After 24 years of operation, Happy Days Preschool will be changing hands, and location.

“I just feel like it’s time for me to retire,” said Paula Spahmer, director and teacher of the Happy Days Preschool. “I felt like it was time to pass the torch, but I will miss the kids and miss the program.”

Spahmer, now 46, graduated from the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill with an early-childhood-education degree, and opened the preschool in 1985. The school, originally located in Greenville, is now run out of her own home on Route 406 in Westerlo.

The students are ages 3 and 4, Spahmer said, “and we prepare them for kindergarten.” But, after more than two decades of teaching, Spahmer is selling the business to a friend.

“It’s being purchased by my assistant and close friend, Marie Sisson,” Spahmer said. “Marie is a native of Westerlo, and she is going to be putting up a new building for the happy days pre-school.”

Sisson has worked at the preschool for four years, “So, she’s familiar with the way Happy Days is run, and she’s going to start it up this fall,” Spahmer said. The new facility is being built near Sisson’s home on Cole Hill Road in Westerlo, Spahmer said.

“I’m very excited about taking over,” Sisson said. “It’s a wonderful program…Paula is a great teacher, and she has a great rapport with a lot of families. I was honored when she approached me and asked if I would consider this. I think it’s important for the community to have this option for their children.”

Sisson honed her skills in childcare while volunteering for years at the Early Childhood Education Center. “I was also a dance instructor for preschool aged children for a few years,” she said.

While Spahmer has called this her retirement, she plans to keep busy.

“When June comes, and I close the preschool, I’m going to be a full-time executive secretary at the First Baptist Church of Westerlo,” Spahmer said. “I’m starting training now, but I’ll be officially starting in June when the preschool closes.” The job will involve “a daily routine of taking care of the office, and a lot of computer work,” she said.

“So, I just want to say thank you to the students, family, and friends for all the happy days that we’ve shared,” Spahmer concluded. “It’s been a rewarding experience, and a privilege working with so many wonderful families throughout the community, and I just want to express my thanks to them.”


Those interested in sending their children to the Happy Days Preschool at its new location on Cole Hill Road this fall may contact Marie Sisson at 797-3808.

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