October 18, 2019 -
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Preschool Staff

Preschool Staff

Meet the staff

of the Robert J. Wilf Preschool & Kindergarten @ the  

 

 

 

The Directors

Natalie O'Brien and Amy Foster

Amy Foster, Director

I can say without hesitation that the Robert J. Preschool and Kindergarten is the very best place to learn, grow and play. The teachers are dedicated and committed to offering children the best possible experiences. Natalie and I work together to support this program in every way possible. We have an amazing team of outstanding educators!

I have over 30 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Special Education and Early Intervention, with many of those years in Jewish institutions. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Temple University and my master’s degree in Special Education from Saint Joseph's University. I am married to my wonderful husband Steve. Together we have 3 children, 1 grandson named Bodhi (who is the light of my life) and an adorable Yellow Lab named Harley. My daughter Emily is 26 and she works right her at the Kaiserman JCC as our Graphic Designer. My son Jeremy is 20 and he is a Junior at PITT.  My stepson Ben is 19 and he is a Freshman at the University of the Sciences.  I have an open-door policy and can be reached by phone, email or feel free to just stop by. I am looking forward to another year of fun, learning, and happiness.

Natalie O’Brien, Assistant Director

Hi, my name is Natalie O’Brien. I have been working at the JCC for almost 23 years! It’s definitely my home away from home! There is truly a family atmosphere here with all of our staff. We care about one another, our families and our program. Amy and I work really hard behind the scenes to make this school the best we can and care deeply about the results of our efforts! I married my high school sweetheart Jason and we live in Havertown where we first met. We have three children who all attended school here at the JCC Preschool and Kindergarten. Our daughter Emily is 12, in 7th grade at Haverford Middle School. Taylor is 15, in 10th grade at Haverford High School and our son Trevor is 20 and works for Haverford Township. I don’t have much free time but if I could choose my most relaxing thing to do, it would be sitting in a chair by the water’s edge on the beach!! I’m looking forward to another great school year!

 

 The Teaching Staff

Jess Grabell, Ashley McGrath and Olivia Rosenfeld

Nursery

Jess Grabell, Lead Teacher

My name is Jessica Grabell. I majored in Studio Art at Albright College. I have been working with children of all ages for over 10 years. I worked as a Nanny and a Counselor at both overnight camp and day camps in the area. I was the Camp Kef Secretary here at the JCC for 4 years. This is my 6th year, working in the preschool and my 4th year as the Lead Teacher in the Nursery. I enjoy watching each child grow and develop, while helping them reach milestones along the way. The children inspire me to come to work everyday with a smile on my face. Dr Seuss would say, "A persons a person, no matter how small." I am looking forward to another great year!

Ashley McGrath, Assistant Teacher

My name is Ashley McGrath and I am one of the assistant teachers in the nursery. I have been working as a counselor at Camp KEF for the past two summers. My entire family has either worked at the JCC gone to school or attended camp over the past few years also. I will be going to West Chester University to study occupational therapy and psychology. Some activities I enjoy include volleyball, tennis and reading. I also enjoy working with children and watching them learn and grow. I am very happy to be here, and I look forward to an exciting school year.

Olivia Rosenfeld, Assistant Teacher

My name is Olivia Rosenfeld and I am so excited to be joining Miss Jess in the nursery this year! I am new to the JCC, starting this past March, however I already feel so welcome and at home with this wonderful community. I have worked in preschools for the past 3 years in my home state of Massachusetts! I love sparking and watching children’s curiosity, growth and learning, and I look forward to what this year brings!

 

Dori Langer, Kaila Garretson and Chyna Pagan

Nursery

Dori Langer, Lead Teacher

Hello! My name is Dori Eitan Langer. I moved from Israel to Philadelphia 6 years ago with my family. I have 2 daughters; Shay is 8 years old and is entering 3rd grade at Penn Wynne Elementary. Danielle is almost 6 years old and is here at the JCC in Miss Lesley, Miss Maria and Miss Marsha’s Kindergarten 2 class. 

I have a BPS degree in Culinary Art Management. I have worked at the JCC for a few years as an Assistant and most recently as a Lead Teacher in one of the Nursery classrooms. I am very excited to be the Lead Teacher in the Nursery again this year! I am looking forward to seeing how much the kids have grown and developed over the summer. I love being part of the JCC Staff!

Kaila Garretson, Assistant Teacher

Hello!  My name is Kaila Garretson and I this is my second year working as an Assistant Teacher in the Nursery with Dori and Chyna. I have also worked as a Counselor with the Toddlers in Camp Kef for 3 years. I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2018 with a degree in Dance. In my free time I enjoy dancing as a member of a dance company.  I look forward to learning and growing with your children this year!

Chyna Paygan, Assistant Teacher

Hello, My name is Chyna Pagan. I’ve been working at the JCC for 3 years as a counselor at Camp KEF. This is my second year assisting Dori and Kayla in the nursery. I attended cosmetology school and I enjoy doing hair and makeup on my free time!

 

Brittney Lombardi, Brittany Kirschner and Faye Warsavage

Toddlers

Brittney Lombardi, Lead Teacher

Hi my name is Brittney Lombardi. I am so excited for my first year as a lead teacher for the young toddlers. I was the assistant teacher in the nursery for the past 2 years. I also have been a substitute for the preschool, a Camp KEF counselor for the past 4 years and worked for JCC's Kids Time afterschool program for 2 years. I love working with children of all ages and have been doing so since I was 14. I have a 4-year-old son of my own and a very large family, with many nieces and nephews. Being a music and art lover, I hope to integrate that into my classroom. I am looking forward to a wonderful year with all of your children in the young toddlers class!

Brittany Kirschner, Assistant Teacher

Hi! My name is Brittany Kirschner. I have been working with children for the past 10 years. I have been a Preschool Teacher for the past 4 years. The children inspire me to come to work each day. This coming year is going to be very exciting for me both professionally and personally. I got engaged to Blake Rosen on Friday, August 30 in the Hamptons!  Also, I am thrilled for my first year here at the JCC!  I look forward to a wonderful year.

Faye Warsavage, Assistant Teacher

My name is Faye I am originally from South Africa and I have been in the USA for a year and a half. I’ve just recently moved to Philly from California and loving it here. A little bit about myself, I grew up in a big family, I enjoy art, music and anything outdoors. I am passionate about children. I really do believe that children are the future. I have eight years of experience working with children of all ages. I look forward to getting to know everyone and I’m excited to be here this year. I feel grateful and privileged for the opportunity to play a role in shaping and developing the toddlers this year.

 

Zanna Yoshida, Cindy Paul and Karen Rosenfeld

Toddlers

Zanna Yoshida, Lead Teacher

I am so glad to be returning for my third year here at the Robert J. Wilf Preschool. I graduated from Muhlenberg College with a degree in Music and Theater in 2016.  I’ve worked as a nanny, a Camp Specialist and as a Counselor for many years. I’m looking forward to the school year!

Cindy Paul, Assistant Teacher

Hello! My name is Cindy Paul, and I am very happy to be returning to the Robert J. Wilf Preschool team as an Assistant Teacher! I am originally from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and I am a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Dance at Temple University. I am a passionate performer and creator, and I enjoy bringing this sense of curiosity and expression into the classroom. As a teaching artist, I have worked with children of all ages at the Bates Dance Festival Youth Arts Program, the Arden Theatre Company, and the Multicultural Academy Charter School. I look forward to deepening this practice, as well as my exploration of how artistry and teaching can inform each other, here at the JCC!

Karen Rosenfeld, Assistant Teacher

Hi, I am Miss Karen.  This school year will be my 21st year at the Robert J Wilf Preschool and Kindergarten. I have been married for 41 years and I have two grown children and two adorable grandchildren. In my spare time I enjoy reading and traveling. I’m looking forward to another memorable year and consider it an honor to be with your children.

 

Bonnie Widger and Adriana Huff

Two-Year-Olds

Bonnie Widger, Lead Teacher

Hi!!! My name is Bonnie. I have an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Neumann University and a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Springfield College. I have been working with children for over 15 years. In my spare time I enjoy crocheting and shopping for yarn. I also love to bake and have fun trying out new recipes. I'm so excited to be the Two’s Teacher again this year and to watch your children learn and grow. It's going to be such a fun school year!!!

Adriana Huff, Assistant Teacher

Hi everyone, my name is Adriana Huff. I'm so excited to be returning for my 4th year at the Robert J. Wilf Preschool at the JCC! I attended Delaware County Community College where I received my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I can't even begin to describe my love for children. I never get tired of being around them. I work at Arrowhead Day Camp in the summers. In my spare time I love to sing, play the piano, teach and play tennis, and ski. I can’t wait to spend my time this school year getting to know your wonderful children! I look forward to another great year here at the JCC!

 

Kathy Fellheimer, Sara Rubin and Theresa DiMartino

Two-Year-Olds

Kathy Fellheimer, Lead Teacher

I am Kathy Fellheimer and I will be your child’s teacher for the upcoming school year. I have been teaching for 9 years. I have a communications degree from Hofstra University and I am Montessori trained and certified. I am looking forward to a wonderful year filled with new experiences and a lot of smiles!

Sara Rubin, Assistant Teacher

Hi, I’m Sara! I grew up coming to the JCC and graduated from Lower Merion in 2005. I majored in History and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!!) and then went to law school at Cardozo School of Law in NYC. After working in public defense for a couple of years, I decided to change course. I came back to the JCC in 2014 and started working in the Kids Time afterschool program and Camp Kef. This is my second year teaching here at the preschool and I am so excited to be back!

Theresa DiMartino, Assistant Teacher

My name is Theresa DiMartino. I have worked here at the JCC in different capacities over the past 16 years. I was first a Camp Counselor and now I have been working as an Assistant in the Preschool for 12 years. I love it! I’ve had the opportunity to work will all age groups. I learn something new from the children every day! In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family! I am actually a triplet! 3 girls!!! I love to shop, cook and go to the beach. I am looking forward to another great school year!

 

Marianne Shiber and Jen Graboyes

Three-Year-Olds

Marianne Shiber, Lead Teacher

Hello! My name is Marianne Shiber.  I am one of the three-year-old teachers this year. I have been working at the JCC Preschool for almost 30 years. This is my home away from home.  I have an associate degree in Early Childhood Education and Private School Certification.I am married with three grown children who have all gone through our Preschool program. My husband and I have recently become empty nesters!  I am very excited to have a fun-filled school year with your child.

Jen Graboyes, Assistant Teacher

My name is Jen Graboyes. I am going to be 32 years old in November. I enjoy going on adventures, traveling and being around my friends and family. I love the beach and the sun, but my favorite season is Fall. I studied Psychology and Education at West Chester University. I have been working at the JCC since I was 14 years old, as a Camp Counselor and I have worked with ages 2 yrs. to 4th grade. This is my 10th year working at the Robert J. Wild Preschool. I believe that each child is special in their own unique way and that you can learn a lot from them. Working with children is both a giving and receiving experience. I look forward to coming to work each day and interacting with the children!

 

Kelly Flury and Alex Shragis

Three-Year-Olds

Kelly Flury, Lead Teacher

Hi! My name is Kelly Flury and I am very excited to return for my 2nd year here at the JCC. I have been in early childhood education since 2007. I have my Bachelors in ECE for Eastern University. Throughout my time in education I have moved between Teacher to Administrator and now I'm back in the teaching position and I couldn't be happier! I am newly married and have been enjoying time with my husband and our families. When I am not teaching, I can be found with my nieces and nephews or relaxing on the beach. I am looking forward to an amazing school year here!

Alex Shragis, Assistant Teacher

Hi! My name is Alex Shragis. I majored in History and Math at the University of Connecticut. I have spent the past few years working for the Kaiserman JCC in the Preschool, Kidstime afterschool program and Camp Kef! Since moving to Philadelphia in the summer of 2015, I have also worked for Main Line Synagogues as a USY Advisor, an Ultimate Frisbee Instructor and a Teacher for Sunday school and High Holiday classes. I also spent many summers working at Camp Ramah in New England as a Camp Counselor.  When I'm not teaching I'm usually playing Ultimate Frisbee or curled up with a good book and some strangely flavored seltzer. I am very excited to be an Assistant Teacher in Room 204 for another year!

 

Tammy Roberts, Ruth Santone and Nick Shander

Four-Year-Olds

Tammy Roberts, Lead Teacher

Hi my name is Tammy Roberts and I am the 4 year old class Teacher. I have been teaching here for 27 years and I am looking forward to many more!!!  I graduated from West Chester University with a BS in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. I also took many Reading classes at the graduate level at the University of Delaware. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and I also enjoy exercising, playing Mahjong, volunteering at my Synagogue and helping others.  My motto is “It’s nice to be nice”. I try to instill that into the children that I work with daily.

Ruth Santone, Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Miss Ruth. I am very excited to be working with the Tammy and Nick in the 4 year old class.  I've worked here at the JCC for the past 23 years. Prior to here, I spent 9 years working in a Kindergarten class at a different child care center.  I love working here and being able to help the children grow and develop.  In my personal life I have 2 adult married children, 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.  I look forward to my weekends to spend quality time with my grandchildren. In my spare time, I enjoy catching up with family and friends over an enjoyable, relaxing dinner. I also like going for walks, especially on a perfect fall or spring day. I am a true animal lover and I cannot wait to hear about your child's favorite animal.

Nick Shander, Assistant Teacher

Hello my name is Mr. Nick. I am thrilled to be starting off another fantastic school year! I have 10 years of experience in childcare working with children of all ages. As a former student of this preschool, I am very involved in the JCC community working in the summer camp and the after school programs. There is no other place I'd rather be! In my free time I like to travel, watch movies and hangout with my friends. As an Education Major, I look forward to meeting many new friends and learning something new everyday.

 

Carol Fishman and Sandy Kassie

Kindergarten 1

Carol Fishman, Lead Teacher

I have been teaching children from toddlers thru 5th grade for over 30 years in Philadelphia area private schools. At Wheelock College I earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education and received a Masters of Science in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. I have PA teaching certificates in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education and Reading Specialist. As a member of Nursing Mothers’ Network I trained as a breastfeeding counselor, volunteered as a helpline counselor and visited new moms at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. I have two big kids of my own. Rae follows in my footsteps and teaches elementary school students. Josh is programming satellites at Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia.  I have a wonderful and supportive husband, Charlie, who fixes everything that breaks in the classroom! Let’s play, learn and grow together!

Sandy Kassie, Assistant Teacher

I am a native of Northeast Philadelphia. I received my undergraduate degree right here in Philadelphia at Temple University. Currently, I am living in Havertown and love the fact that I am a stone’s throw away from the Kaiserman JCC. I have worked at the JCC since 1998 in various roles in the Preschool and Camp. My hobbies are movies, antique jewelry and I also love to collect random objects. I am a seasoned world traveler, having been to Israel many times where I have extended family. I have been married to my wonderful husband Bruce for 31 years. I have a lovely stepdaughter, Lila who is an amazing, gluten free French Pastry Chef. She has a successful business named Flakely. Bruce and I have 2 beautiful children; Talia and David. Talia is a Temple University graduate and is currently a Wedding Coordinator in Manayunk at a venue called Artesino Gallery. David is a Drexel University graduate and has started his own company called DVNC. They have also both worked and attended school at the JCC!

 

Maria Voight, Lesley Gotlib and Marsha Millman

Kindergarten 2

Lesley Gotlib, Lead Teacher

My name is Lesley Gotlib. I am the K2 teacher and thrilled to be part of the Robert J. Wilf Preschool family. I have been in the educational field for the past 15 years in both a preschool capacity and elementary classrooms. I have a Masters in Elementary Education and am certified as a Reading Specialist.

My educational belief is that children learn through play and I’m enthusiastic about watching and guiding your children through new experiences in our class. I look forward to this opportunity and the wonderful year a head. I live in Delaware County with my husband, Mark, and we have 3 wonderful children Zac age 27, Molly Claire, age 25 and Joshua, age 23.

Maria Voight, Assistant Teacher

Welcome to another exciting school year! I have been an Assistant Teacher for 32 years, 22 of them spent here at the Robert J. Wilf Preschool and Kindergarten. I have been involved in many capacities of the school and helped educate many graduates. I began my career in a babysitting service and have worked with children ranging from 2 years old to Kindergarten. I have 4 adult children and 7 grandchildren. When I’m not working, you can find me taking the troops out on walks or spending quality time at the playground. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and spending time with friends and family. I look forward to continuing to nurture the growth of our present and future students! This is going to be a fun year and I am looking forward to learning about you and your children!

Marsha Millman, Assistant Teacher

Hi my name is Marsha Millman. This is my 15th year working at the JCC.  During my single years I was in the dental field working as a Dental Technician and a Dental Assistant. I have been married for 29 years to my soul mate Mark. We adopted our daughter Becky from Russia when she was 2 years old.  She has a degree in Athletic Training from Temple University and earned her masters degree from Clarion University. Becky joined the Army in September 2015. She is a Medic in charge of the Emergency Room at West Point Hospital where is based.  We are so proud of Becky! I have a Bichon mix named Morey and a cat named Koshie. I love to cook, go shopping and take vacations, especially cruises.  I am looking forward to teaching your children and enriching their lives through play, patience and love. I can’t wait to have a fun school year with your children!

 

Harley

Harley,Therapy Dog

Harley joins our Kindergarten 2 classroom every week for reading. Harley is a Certified Therapy Dog. His favorite thing to do is to sit quietly as the children read to him! This is a great way for all the children, children who are already strong readers and those children who are not confident readers to get practice and feel comfortable as they read aloud to a non-judgmental listener.