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The Potato Team

Getting to know the staff


Kristen Jiosi 

Founder & CEO

Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Pilates Instruction, Cooking Instructor, Life Coach, Art Teacher, Life Skills Teacher, Nutritionist, Holistic Healing Coach, Somatic Exercises

Kristen has earned her Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration and Master's in Special Education. Kristen has been working in the field with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2013. Combining her passion in this field and for health and fitness, Kristen decided to start her own business serving the special needs community in 2020. Kristen is a healing coach certified in the following areas: Yoga (YTT-200hr), Yin Yoga, Meditation (100-Hr), Art Therapy, Life Coaching, Holistic Nutritionist, Cooking Whole Foods, Somatic Exercises and Pilates. Kristen is also the Author of a Children's book called "The Peaceful Potato". Kristen is a big animal lover and enjoys spending time with her golden retriever, Bailey. 


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Renee Kroeker

Yoga Teacher 

Renee Kroeker is a private yoga teacher located in Staten Island, NY.  She has a diverse professional background that weaves together theatre, social work, and special education.  Renee is experienced in working with special needs children, adult stroke survivors, persons with multiple sclerosis, adults on the Autism spectrum, and those recovering from illness or injury; always bringing a sense of calm and gentleness into these unique sessions. Renee received her 200 hour yoga teacher from Breathe For Change in 2017.  


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Melissa DeSario 

Cooking Instruction / Book Club

Melissa DeSario is one of our cooking instructors. Melissa achieved her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011 from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, now known as Stockton University. Melissa has over 10 years experience working with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2020, Melissa moved to Vermont and is enjoying all that the Green Mountains have to offer. When she is not in the kitchen cooking, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband Jack and their fur babies, Hootie and Lulu.


Phaedra Hughes

Yoga Teacher, Life Skills, Cooking Instructor 

Phaedra enjoys all areas of health and wellness. Her focus on the connection between mind & body are a passionate she enjoys teaching others. In addition to completing her 200 hr yoga teacher training, Phaedra holds a Master of Public Health degree from UNF, and is a certified Health and Wellness Coach. She loves continually learning about holistic wellness techniques and sharing them with others!



Minal Rosenblum

Yoga & Meditation Teacher 

Hi. My name is Minal Rosenblum. I am 21 years old and a graduate of Montclair High School. I have a disability called Down syndrome. My hobbies are art and yoga. I make art because it is relaxing. I love yoga because it makes me feel calm and peaceful and that’s what people see in me. I am a certified yoga teacher and obtained my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Iris Yoga in Montclair. I am a caring yoga teacher. I believe yoga should be inclusive for everyone. I will show you how to be grounded and stay mindful at the same time while we practice yoga. I especially enjoy doing meditation. I look forward to being your yoga teacher and leading you to a peaceful place.  


Jeffrey Spaccavento

Music Teacher, Animation and Art Teacher

Jeffrey Spaccavento is a musician and art teacher that grew up around the Bergen & Hudson county area of New Jersey. Jeffrey has 11 years of experience working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Jeffrey recently started his own business (The Music Dude, LLC) helping individuals with special needs, in 2022. Jeffrey has been playing instruments and creating art for over 10 years. He loves helping and teaching others how to create songs, pictures, and videos.


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