Administration & Staff
Our school is fully licensed and accredited by the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services and the State Department of Education.
All teachers hold New Jersey State teaching certification or a current CDA
All staff is certified in infant/child CPR and First Aid.
All teachers are required to continue their professional education by attending classes, workshops and conferences. They also participate in inter-school visitation, specialized in-service training and JCC Association sponsored programs.
Consultant services are provided by a licensed social worker, child psychologist, speech language professionals and consulting pediatricians.
The school is affiliated with the New York Board of Jewish Education and the UJA-Federation of Bergen and North Hudson Counties Jewish Educational Services.
Adyna is our program supervisor for the Early Childhood Infant, Toddler, Full day 2s and Aftercare programs and Director of our Camp Katan program. Adyna attended William Paterson University and Georgia State University, earning her BA degree in Special Education and Counseling. After teaching at Voorhees Pediatric Facility and a private Jewish day school, Adyna returned to the JCC as a teacher in the Therapeutic Nursery. After taking time off to raise her children Adyna taught at Temple Emeth in its Early Childhood Center for 12 years as a teacher in its 2-year-old program. When Adyna returned to the JCC as a head teacher in our toddler program she felt right at home, the JCC was where she had her earliest roots in working with young children. In her past Adyna was a counselor in both our Camp Katan program and our Camp Tikvah program. Her varied experience has helped her develop a unique understanding of child development and a highly individualized approach to teaching.
Jill comes to us with many years of experience as a Jewish early childhood educator. She holds a Master’s degree in early childhood/special education and has taught toddlers through kindergarten and special needs students. Jill directed a preschool summer camp, and was educational director of a Synagogue based supplementary Hebrew school. She has led workshops in music and movement, phonemic awareness, language and literacy, math games, classroom/behavioral management and dramatic play. She has done research and written papers on sensory integration, interactive/ reading extensions and learning styles. Jill's greatest pleasure is seeing the smile and glow on a child's face as they explore and learn new things, as they sing along with her guitar and spending time with her fourteen grandchildren.
Aliza Cinamon joins us from Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, where she worked as an Assistant Early Childhood Director, Camp Director and Teacher. In addition to overseeing our four-year-old and Kindergarten programs, Aliza will be working on Special Events within Early Childhood. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Yeshiva University and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College.
Yaara is the Business manager of the Family Welcome Center at the JCC. She joined the team on September, 2019 and brings with her experience from both the business and NFP worlds. Yaara has been a member and part of the JCC community since August, 2013.
Nanette works in the Parenting Center where she helps to develop and implement engaging classes and events for parents and babies. Nanette has a strong interest in maternal wellness, parent-baby attachment/bonding, and child development. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Maryland-College Park and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. In addition, Nanette has completed post graduate work in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy. Prior to her work at the JCC, Nanette worked as a child therapist at a school for children with speech and language challenges and/or on the Autism Spectrum. She also had a psychotherapy practice primarily focused on young adults. In her free time, Nanette enjoys reading, baking, yoga, and running.
Lindsey was raised in Demarest and grew up coming to the JCC as a child. After graduating from Northern Valley Regional High School, in Demarest, Lindsey went on to pursue her bachelor's degree at Northeastern University. Lindsey has worked in the acute care hospital setting since 2005. After graduating, her nursing career led her to specialize in Cardiac Care at Hackensack University Medical Center. Since joining the JCC community in 2014, Lindsey has had the pleasure of getting to know the Early Childhood Center children as well as the staff.
Maria was born in Armenia, Quindio, a small and beautiful city in the coffee region of Colombia. After moving to the US, Maria worked as a flower designer for 5 years. Due to her love and devotion for children, she then began working as a teacher’s assistant. She proceeded to take the CDA course, earned her certification and joined the JCC family. Maria is now the Head Teacher in our Infant room where our youngest students thrive due to her loving caring nature and her understanding of Infant development.
Josefina came to the United States seven years ago with a bachelor’s in business administration. She loves children and enjoys providing the best care for them. She is currently pursuing a medical assistant and advanced CPR certification. She is a loving, energetic, nurturing person when it comes to the care and well-being of a child. She became part of the JCC family in 2019 and is a teacher in the infant room.
Sammy began her career at the JCC as an assistant teacher in the 4s program. She is now a head teacher in our toddler program where she helps our youngest students develop and grow every day. Sammy had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy and is very passionate about their educational approach. She uses the knowledge she gained there when she works with her students. Sammy earned her BA in psychology from Goucher college and has her CDA in Early Childhood Education. Sammy is currently enrolled in the Graduate Degree program at Montclair University’s Education Department.
Yamileth came to the USA as a young adult with a Bachelors in Business Administration from her native Colombia. Always enthusiastic and full of energy she started working helping families with their children's education as a very dedicated babysitter. Yamileth is part of the JCC family since the summer of 2018 and has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bergen Community College. Yamileth is currently pursuing her CDA certification.
Shaleni was born in Guyana and came to the United States in 1995. Her first job was working here at the JCC and she has now been here for 22 years as an assistant teacher. Shaleni brings her years of experience to every classroom team she has been a part of. She loves working with our young toddler children but has worked in every age group in the ECC.
Karina graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in English, but her passion has always been working with young children. Karina worked with children for about ten years as either a teacher’s aide or after school teacher. She is in the process of continuing her education and is working towards a Master’s in education.
Sydney holds a BS in psychology from East Stroudsburg University. While Sydney started at the JCC as a lifeguard she has now decided to work in the Early Childhood Center. This is her first year as an Assistant teacher with the toddlers at the JCC. She began working in the early childhood center in 2019 as a substitute teacher, but also has previous experience working as an assistant head counselor for the Neil Klatskin summer camp at the JCC and she worked as a mentor to children while at East Stroudsburg University as well.
Denise has an Associate’s degree in Science for Bergen Community College in NJ. She began her career working with children as a nanny for 7 years and she was as an assistant in another child care center for 5 years. When Denise began at the JCC 3 years ago she was an assistant in the Infant room and is now an assistant in our Toddler program. Denise is now pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in education at Saint Peters University.
Morgan joined the JCC in 2010 and has worked in the twos, threes, and extended day programs. She is experienced in the Reggio curriculum, which looks to broadening the learning experience through dramatic play, art, and science. Morgan received her CDA in 2019 and is now a head teacher in our 2-year-old program.
Arielle has worked with children for over 15 years. She has been a Camp Counselor and runs cooking programs in camps as well. She is a loving aunt to a cute nephew and adorable niece. She was born and raised in Rockland County, NY where she still resides today.
Nathalie has her BS from Rutgers University in exercise science and sport studies. Before joining Early Childhood, Nathalie worked for a couple of sports teams where she was able to interact with their youth teams and encourage their passion for sports and learning. She started at the JCC as a substitute teacher and really loved working with our young children. After being an assistant teacher in the Toddler and 2-year-old programs Nathalie became a head teacher. And she is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Education at Montclair State University.
Maria has worked with two, three, and four-year-old children as a full-time assistant teacher at the JCC for over fifteen years. Maria was also an assistant head counselor in the Neil Klatskin Day Camp for seven years. She has participated in the JCC’s professional development courses, taken classes at Bergen Technical Academy and she holds a Child Development Associate credential (CDA) from the Council for Professional Recognition since 2013.
Aliza Schwartz previously was a head teacher in the JCC toddler program. She spent the last nine years as an early childhood teacher in New York City, where she developed many skills to enhance the classroom environment. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and her Master’s in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies.
Angelica was born in Santa Rosa de Cabal, Colombia. She earned a degree in Environmental Engineering from the University Libre of Colombia. In early 2016 she began working as a substitute teacher in the JCC Early Childhood Center. In 2018 Angelica worked as an aftercare lead teacher and branched out to help in the planning and running of a classroom. She is now a full-time assistant teacher with the toddlers, giving the love encouragement and helping them develop. Angelica is continuing her education and working toward her CDA.
Debora holds a B.Ed. in Physical Education from The Academic College at Wingate, Israel. In addition, she also studied for B.Ed in Early Childhood Education from Beit Berl College, Israel. With over 15 years of experience, Debora has a proven passion for teaching and a demonstrated excellence in developing young children. Creative, energetic and diverse activity plans are the hallmark of her teaching style, and Debora deeply believes that experiential learning opportunities enhance a child’s individual development and social interaction skills. In this light, she uses both individual and group activities to encourage learning and development. This friendly and supportive approach is motivated by her strong desire to elevate and expand her students’ potential.
Maricel joined the JCC in 2009, inspired to work with children as she came from a large family, where she is one of sixteen children!
Michele is a head teacher in the 2’s program, with 13 years of experience in the JCC Early Childhood Department. Michele is CDA certified in pre-school education. She is a member of the Planning Committee for Autism Speaks Northern New Jersey Walk, and an advocate for her son Corey and others on the autistic spectrum.
Shira joined the JCC in March 2015 as a certified Kindergarten and nursery teacher who completed her studies and worked in Israel for ten years. She holds a BA in Sociology and Multi-disciplinary Art from Tel Aviv University and a teaching certificate from Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel.
Beth Geisler recently joined the Early Childhood team at the JCC. She has a master’s in general education and special education as well as a Masters in Art Therapy and Psychology. Beth has been teaching for over 10 years and has worked with preschool for the last three years. Teaching and art therapy together allow her the tools to continue her passion of helping others. Beth lives in Bergenfield with her husband and four children. As a mother and teacher, it is important for her to instill a love of learning in her students.
Sandra worked for five years at Shalom Yeladim as a childcare teacher and operations manager in Tenafly before joining the staff at the JCC’s Early Childhood Center. She has an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies from Fairleigh Dickenson University and has taken numerous early childhood education classes as part of her ongoing adult education.
Jackie has been a head teacher at the JCC since September 2014. She holds a MS in Early Elementary Education from Long Island University. She has been teaching preschool for over 35 years, almost all that time with 3-year olds.
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Fazida moved to the United States in 1986. She resides in Bergenfield with her daughters and husband. She loves spending time with her family, especially her beautiful granddaughter and grandson on the weekends. After living in Bergenfield for several years, she joined the JCC as an assistant teacher and she has been working here for the past 23 years.
Shani Finn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Yeshiva University and a Master’s degree in early childhood special and general education from Bank Street College. She has experience teaching toddlers through kindergarten in various educational settings. Shani believes in creating a warm and caring environment and a fun approach to learning, while taking each child’s needs and personalities into consideration.
Carrie began working at the JCC more than a decade ago as a substitute teacher, and after one year, was offered a full-time position as a Pre-K4 teacher’s assistant. She also takes pride in providing two-year old’s their first camping experiences at the JCC.
Sherilyn holds a BA from Western Governors University in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career at the JCC while her children were students here in 1995. She has taught in both Jewish nursery schools and public school and has had many mentors along the way that have helped her learn and thrive as a teacher.
Haley has been an assistant teacher at the JCC for 5 years now and has a degree in Child and Family Development. She was born and raised in the New Orleans area and lived there for 25 years before moving to the northeast.
Emily is new to the JCC this school year and is excited to join the family. She obtained her B.A in Art Education and Child Advocacy from Montclair State University and has over 8 years of teaching experience. She grew up in Teaneck, NJ and now resides in Ridgewood, NJ with her husband and daughter.
Annie holds a BA in Sociology from University of Maryland. Before joining the JCC she was an elementary school teacher for more than 10 years, most recently in Englewood NJ public schools. Annie has broad teaching expertise from educating high risk students in an inclusive (special education) classroom setting, to gifted and talented students. She is excited to start down a new path at the JCC Early Childhood Center, where her son was once a student.
Faye has worked with children for most of her life and has run a cooking program during the summer for over 15 years. Faye is married and raised 3 happy successful children. They have given her 5 beautiful grandchildren which 3 of them attended and graduated from the Kaplen JCC.
Carrie has been a part of the Early Childhood Center at the JCC on the Palisades for eight years; working in our Two’s, Three’s, and Four’s programs as well as with our Aftercare Program and Camp Katan. Carrie graduated with high honors from The College of New Jersey where she studied English, Education, Psychology, and Sociology.
A native of Columbia, Ivonne has been studying and working with children in the US for over 15 years. She has a degree in Child Development as a Child Development Associate. Prior to joining Early Childhood at the JCC, she worked at the YMCA, Turrel School, and Bergen Family Center. She owns a child entertainment company and loves to bring the joy of clowning to her teaching. She is extremely creative and has a bright imagination which she imparts to all her students.
With close to 40 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Zahava was raised in Israel and began her career in education by teaching children (pre-k-6 grade) on a kibbutzim during her service in the IDF. She also taught senior citizens and young children who recently immigrated to Israel. She has been working at the JCC as a teacher for 29 years. Zahava also teaches Hebrew in different schools and provides private Hebrew lessons.
Ilene has been a teacher at the JCC since 1993 and has also worked as a unit head camp counselor and a cooking teacher. She attended Glassboro State College where she received a BS in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.
Gwen joined the JCC in September 2019, Prior to joining the JCC Gwen worked at Jawonio and has held various teaching assistant jobs as well as working in a camp for over 15 years. Gwen lives in Rockland County. She is married and has two daughters in college.
Carol graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She began working at the JCC in 1985. After a brief break to be home with her own children, Carol returned to the early childhood center teaching 2, 3, and 4 year old’s, and is presently teaching in the JCC Kindergarten. She has also spent several summers as an assistant program director for Kadima at NKDC.
Esteffany has been working at the JCC since November of 2016, when she started her freshman year of college. Prior to working at the JCC, she had been a summer camp counselor for New York City youth programs. She is currently working towards her Bachelors Degree in Sociology, with a goal to further her education to become an Occupational Therapist.
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