We are fortunate to have some very talented staff here at

‘Bright Light Academy’


Merritt Bailey – Director

merritt and me
My name is Merritt Bailey, I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and have completed my Director’s Credentials which will serve me well as the director of Bright Light Academy.

I have over 25 years of teaching experience with the last eight as an owner and director of my own center in Westmoreland County.  I love spending time with children of all ages, sharing conversation and experiences with them and watching them learn and grow.  I am passionate about being able to provide a quality early childhood education for all children and select staff that share that passion.

When I am not busy teaching and directing, I enjoy spending time with my husband and three grown children, traveling, cooking, spending time with friends and exercising my artistic side through a variety of mediums.

I am looking forward to learning my way around Pittsburgh, Shadyside in particular, and getting to meet many new friends and families in my days at Bright Light Academy.

Isabella Egyed

My name is Isabella Egyed I am one of the Acorn (babies) teachers at BLA. I am a certified yoga instructor and hold a degree in Economics from Chatham University, but my true calling is in working with young children. I have extensive experience in both a child care center and as a nanny and am eager to bring my love of the arts and living healthy to the families of Bright Light Academy. I am also excited to offer a Mommy & me yoga class for our families in the new year.


Kelly Cassella

My name is Kelly Cassella and I am the Assistant Director/Group Supervisor of the school-age children at Bright Light Academy. I started my education at John Carroll University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, I moved to Baltimore, Maryland to start my teaching career and graduate school. I graduated from Notre Dame of Maryland University with a Master of Arts degree in Leadership in Teaching with a concentration in Special Education. I hold a valid Pennsylvania teaching certification in Early Childhood Education as well as Special Education. For the last five years I have taught second grade in Baltimore and look forward to taking these new steps with Bright Light Academy!

I am from Pittsburgh and love watching Steeler, Pirate, and Pens games. I am a huge dog lover and enjoy spending time playing with my own pup, Tucker. In my spare time, I enjoy socializing with my family and friends, reading, cooking, exploring new places, listening to country music, and watching movies.

With my role as Assistant Director/Group Supervisor I am looking forward to encouraging play in every classroom so that students can use hands-on exploration to create meaningful understanding of the world around them. We will use positive reinforcement and engaging lessons to meet each child’s needs. I also look forward to helping create a fun, engaging, and educational learning environment that children look forward to coming to each day.


Alexandra (Ali) O’Reilly

Hello! My name is Alexandra (Ali) O’Reilly and I will be the lead teacher in the Pre-K classroom at Bright Light Academy. I am originally from Maine and decided to make the move to Pittsburgh in 2014 after I graduated from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I graduated from Duquesne University where I received my Masters of Science in Education for Early Childhood Education. Additionally, I have a Pennsylvania Department of Educational Instructional I Certification for Grades Pre-Kindergarten through Fourth Grade. Besides having practical experience with children from substitute teaching and student teaching, I have also worked for over six summers as the head counselor at a children’s horseback riding camp in Maine. When I’m not at school I love to travel, cook, go running, garden, or just be outside!
With my Pre-K class I am looking forward to providing the children with fun and engaging activities that will not only be meaningful but will also help them learn. We can accomplish this through hands on experiences, connecting to our surrounding community and opportunities to learn through all of the senses! As a teacher I love to be able to incorporate my students interests into what we are learning or to even create a new unit based off of a class interest. Throughout the year we will be displaying much of our work on the walls (and even from the ceilings) to celebrate all that we have done. I am very excited for this year and for all of us to learn and grow together!

Teacher 3

Hello, my name is Sarah Weinschenker, and I am the Music Teacher at Bright Light Academy. I recently graduated from Pittsburgh’s Chatham University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music. While positioned at Bright Light Academy, I aspire to further my education by obtaining a Masters in Music Therapy.
Born and raised in West Virginia, I love the outdoors, travel, and home-cooking. In my spare time, I assist local theater companies with stage management, and I sing as the soprano section leader at Eastminster Presbyterian. I am incredibly excited to introduce and develop children’s varying forms of expression–whether through music, dance, or drama. Music and dramatic play are key components to any child’s development, and as the Music Teacher I intend to employ various methods to ensure each child is involved in his or her own way.


My name is Marissa Lyle. I am the Seedlings (Toddler) Lead Teacher at Bright Light Academy. I have a degree in Human development & Family Studies with a minor in deafness & hearing from Penn State. I am excited to work with the toddlers where my sign language and child development training will be put to good use. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, kayaking and hanging out with my cat, Milkshake.


Hi~ I’m Miss Cheyenne and bring over six years of teaching experience to the Acorn room. I am currently working on my Associates’ degree in Early Childhood Education and have an infinite amount of patience with our little ones. I love doing crafts or anything messy with the children. I hope to bring lots of fun and a love of learning to all of my students.
In my free time I enjoy baking, shopping and spending time with my family.