May 24, 2016 -
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Preschool Staff

Preschool Staff

Meet the teachers

of the Robert J. Wilf Preschool & Kindergarten @ the  

Amy Foster & Natalie O'Brien - Directors
Amy & Natalie
Amy Foster, Director
I have over 25 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Special Education and Early Intervention, with many of those years in Jewish institutions. 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 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 and an adorable Yellow Lab named Harley. Emily is 22 and she is a senior at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva NY. Jeremy is 16 and he is in 11th grade at Lower Merion High School and my step-son Ben is 14 and he is in 9th grade. I have an open door policy. I 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 19 years. You could definitely call it 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 still 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 8 in 3rd grade at Coopertown Elementary, Taylor is 11 in 6th grade at Haverford Middle School and our son Trevor is 16 and in 11th grade at Haverford High School. 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.
Jennie & Kristine
Jennie Katz, Lead Teacher, Nursery
Hello. My name is Jennie Katz. I live in Overbrook Farms with my husband Michael and our two boys. Zachary and Simon Jack attend Perelman Jewish Day School. I was born and raised in California and I earned my B.A. in Spanish from Pepperdine University in Malibu. I moved here to be closer to family 21 years ago. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many preschool families over the past years. I am so excited to share this school year with your children and your family, (again)! I look forward to exploring, playing, learning and growing together.Shalom!
Kristine DeMansana, Assistant Teacher, Nursery
Hello my name is Kristine DeMansana. I’ve been working at the Robert J. Wilf Preschool & Kindergarten for 9 years. I’ve also worked at both Camp and Kids Time. I adore working with and teaching children of all ages! I am currently working towards my degree in Early Childhood Education. My favorite past times are playing with kids, traveling and baking. I grew up in the Philippines and I moved here 14 years ago. I look forward to spending another year with you and your family. We are going to have a wonderful year together.
Lee, amp; Ruth& Natalie
Lee Senderowitsch, Lead Teacher, Toddlers
Hello! My name is Lee Senderowitsch. I am Israeli and Argentinean, studying to be a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher. This is my fifth year teaching conversational Hebrew at Congregation Beth Israel in Media, and have had the pleasure of working with children of all ages for the past nine years, varying from various preschools, summer camps, and after school programs. The JCC has been my second home for years now, being a Teacher and specialist at Camp Kef, Kids Time, and the daughter of Gladys, the owner of Nana's Kitchen. I spend most of my time with this amazing community, and am so excited to be part of the Robert J. Wilf Preschool family. I am looking forward to a great year with this amazing group of children.
Ruth Santone, Assistant Teacher, 2’s
Hi, my name is Miss Ruth. I am very excited to be working with the 2 year olds again this year. I've worked here at the JCC for the past 20 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 and 2 grandsons. 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.
Jessica Grabell, Assistant Teacher, Toddlers
My name is Jessica Grabell. I majored in Studio Art at Albright College. Last year I worked as the Assistant Teacher in the older Nursery and I am looking forward to the Toddlers this year! I’ve been a camp counselor at an overnight camp as well as Camp Shemish at Adath Israel Preschool. I have worked as a nanny for most of my summers since high school and since this past summer I was the secretary for Camp Kef here at the JCC. I have worked for the Center on Central and Young Rembrandts as an office manager and a teacher, teaching art in after school programs. I love skiing, art, and working with children. I am looking forward to another great year at the JCC.
Brooke Jaffe-Zwerling, Lead Teacher, 2s
Hello! My Name is Brooke Jaffe-Zwerling! I am so excited to be returning to the Robert J. Wilf Preschool & Kindergarten family! I graduated with my Associates in Early Childhood education from Manor College. I have many years of experience and look forward to working with you and your children. I am celebrating my 10-year wedding anniversary this November and my husband and I have three wonderful children. On the weekends, I enjoy volunteering at a therapeutic riding facility that works with children with special needs. Our summers are spent at Camp Kweebec where I work with the riding program as well as in the office. Our family loves our pets! We have 3 cats and a horse and a new puppy! Please feel free to ask me any questions that you might have! I look forward to getting to know all of you!
Theresa DiMartino, Assistant Teacher, 2s
My name is Theresa DiMartino. I have worked here at the JCC in different capacities over the past 12 years. I was first a Camp Counselor and have now been working as an Assistant Teacher in the Preschool for 8 years. I love it! I’ve had the opportunity to work will all age groups. I learn something new from the children every day! I enjoy spending time with 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!!!
Karen Rosenfeld, Lead Teacher, 2s
My name is Karen Rosenfeld. I have been associated with the JCC for more than 20 years in various capacities. My children went to school here; I have been a Camp Counselor and have worked in the Preschool for 18 years as both a Teaching Assistant and Lead Teacher. This year I am the Lead Teacher in our 2s class working with Bonnie Blake. The children keep me active and young. I truly enjoy being here and feel very privileged to be a part of their upbringing. I enjoy reading, going to the beach, whether down the Jersey shore, or taking trips to the Caribbean, especially Aruba. I am also one of Philadelphia’s biggest sports fans and enjoy rooting for all the home teams. I have been married for 37 years and have 2 wonderful grown up children who make me proud every day. My son just got married to his beautiful bride last March. Hopefully, I’ll have some grandchildren soon. I am looking forward to another memorable year at the JCC preschool and consider it an honor to be involved with your children.
Bonnie Blake, Assistant Teacher, 2s
My name is Bonnie. I have been at the JCC since April 2015. I have an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood from Neumann University and a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood from Springfield College. I have been working with children for over 10 years. In my spare time, I enjoy crocheting and shopping for yarn. I also live to bake and have fun trying out new recipes. I'm so excited to spend this school year here watching these children learn and grow. It's gonna be such a fun year!!!
Marianne Shiber, Lead Teacher, 3s
Hi friends, I am Marianne Shiber and I am one of the 3 year old Teachers. I have been teaching here at the JCC Preschool for the past 25 years. I have been married to my husband David for 21 happy years and we have three children who all attended school here. My son Tyler is 20 and attending college at The University of Notre Dame. My daughter Katie is 17 and my youngest son Matthew is 14. I have my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and my Private School Certification. The JCC is like my second home and I am excited to be here each day!
Jen Graboyes, Assistant Teacher, 3s
My name is Jen Graboyes. I am going to be 28 in November. I enjoy swimming, cooking, dancing, going on outgoing adventures, traveling and being around friends and family. I love the beach and the sun but my favorite season is Fall. I went to West Chester University and I studied Psychology and Education. I have been working at the JCC since I was fourteen, as a Camp Counselor and have worked with ages 2 yrs. to third grade. This is my 6th year working at the JCC 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!
Lindsay Leonard, Lead Teacher, 3s
Hi! I am Lindsay Leonard-Abramowitz. I have been a teacher since 2009 in preschool through middle settings. I’ve held positions as a Middle School Language Arts Teacher, as well as a 2nd and 3rd grade Teacher. This will be my 3rd year teaching 3s here at the JCC. I’ve learned so much about teaching through my experiences working with children of various ages. I have a lot of experience creating fun and exciting lesson plans which both challenge and actively engage students in their learning. I am enthusiastic, dedicated, and adaptable; willing to experiment and adjust plans to the situation. I love to make a difference in the lives of children and help each child reach their full potential. I have the ability to relate well with children, staff and parents; and spark student’s interests to keep them engaged and build lifelong learners. I earned my bachelor’s degree, as well as my Teaching Certification at the graduate level, at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, which is an NCATE accredited institution that specializes in teacher preparation. I look forward to another amazing year.
Brian Toal, Assistant Teacher, 3s
Hey there! My name is Brian Toal. October will be my 2 year anniversary at the J. So far it’s been an amazing experience. Watching my students learn and grow each day is the best part of teaching. I have always had a special connection with children, most likely because I am still a kid at heart. I attended Lock Haven University for Elementary Education, and now I've decided to focus on Early Childhood. I enjoy playing the piano, mountain biking, snowboarding, and listening to music, drawing, and traveling. Last summer I went to Italy for the first time and really enjoyed the history and art of Venice. I also traveled to California last March to visit my cousin in San Francisco. I went to Yosemite National Park and was astounded by its beauty. I am looking forward to this new school year!
Tammy Roberts, Lead Teacher, 4s
Hi my name is Tammy Roberts and I am one of the four year old teachers. I have been teaching here for 24 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. My own children attended preschool at the JCC and now graduated from college. My husband Hunt and I are enjoying being empty nesters. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and I also enjoy exercising daily, 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.
Nick Shander, Assistant Teacher, 4s
Hello my name is Mr. Nick and I am thrilled to be starting off another fantastic school year! I have 9 years of experience in childcare working with children of all ages. As a former student of the preschool I am very involved in the JCC community working the summer camp and 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,Lead Teacher, 4s
I have been teaching children from toddlers thru 5th grade for over 30 years in the 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 and 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 preschool in Trevose. Josh has started his college life studying Computer Engineering at Elizabethtown College. I have a wonderful and supportive husband, Charlie, who fixes everything that breaks in the classroom! FOURS is the perfect age for growing independence and knowledge! Let’s play, learn and grow together!
Marsha Millman, Assistant Teacher, 4s
Hi my name is Marsha Millman. Let me tell you about myself. This is my eleventh year working here. During my single years I was in the dental field working as a Dental Tech then as a Dental Assistant. I have been married for 25 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 just earned her Masters degree from Clarian University. Becky joined the army and she will be studying to be a medic. I have a Bichon mix named Morey and a cat named Koshie. I love to cook, go shopping and take vacations, especially cruises. I can’t wait to teach and have fun with your children.
Debbie Adler, Lead Teacher, K1
My name is Debbie Adler and I teach the awesome K-1 kids. I am beginning my 22nd year of teaching kindergarten here at the JCC. I love photography, skiing, tennis, and reading a good book. I am the proud mom of three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and a proud Mom-mom to 3 ½ year old Oliver! I have a degree in Elementary and Special Education from Indiana University and a Masters degree in Reading from Xavier University. I am excited to begin this year of fun and learning with my new kindergarten friends.
Sandy Kassie, Assistant Teacher, K1
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 27 years. I have a lovely stepdaughter, Lila who is an amazing French Pastry Chef. Bruce and I have 2 beautiful children; Talia and David. Talia is a Temple University graduate, and David is in his 3rd year at Drexel University. They have also both worked and attended school at the JCC
Lesley Gotlib, Lead Teacher, K2
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 11 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 23, Molly Claire, age 21 and Joshua, age 19. We also have three loveable dogs, Lila, Rosie and Jack.
Maria Voight, Assistant Teacher, K2
Welcome to another exciting school year! I have been a Teacher’s Assistant for 29 years, 20 being spent right here at the Robert J. Wilf Preschool and Kindergarten. I have been involved in many areas of development 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 four adult children and five grandchildren. When I am not teaching, 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 continue in nurturing the growth of our present and future students! This is going to be a fun and exciting year. I am looking forward to learning about you and your children!