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The Gan uses a Co-Educator model. Our teachers are titled Co-Educators; we do not have Lead or Assistant Teachers. Preschool parents are asked to direct any questions, concerns, or comments to any of their child's Co-Educators who will be happy to help. We shifted to this model in September 2020 and have seen this have a positive impact on our program, helping our teams deepen their partnerships and, ultimately, offer a higher quality experience to our students. We have made this change for two reasons: (1) We want to model reciprocity and collaboration for our students and a hierarchical staffing model interferes with this. (2) We are aware that systemic racism in many areas of life, including educational attainment and hiring, recruitment, and promotion practices have led to many institutions in which positions of power are predominantly white and support positions are predominantly Black. We know, trust, and cherish all our Gan educators and seek to elevate our esteemed faculty with this new model. 
 

Adelina Guerrero, Gan HaYeled Educator

Adelina Guerrero is from El Salvador and now lives in Maryland with her husband. She loves working with children because she believes that they are flowers in a garden. Adelina has been working with children for the past 25 years and looks forward to continuing to serve the leaders of tomorrow.

Ashley RossGan HaYeled Educator

Ashley Ross is a native Washingtonian who has lived in the DC area her whole life. She took three early childhood education courses while in high school and has worked at the Gan since 2009. She hopes to one day have her own childcare center and recently welcomed her daughter Amina to the extended Gan family!

Becca Crompton, MEd.Gan HaYeled Educator

Becca Crompton is a passionate Early Childhood Educator who recently earned her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education. Inspired by her grandmother, a Latin and English teacher, Becca hopes to continue the legacy of igniting her students’ curiosity and love of learning. This is her fifth year at the Gan and sixth year teaching total.

Ben Wacks, Gan HaYeled Educator

Ben Wacks has been with Adas Israel since 2012, starting as a teacher with the Religious School then joining the Gan family in 2016. On the side, he mentors students in helping prepare for their B'nai Mitzvah. He loves celebrating Shabbat with the children and running around exploring outside. He's made DC his home since he moved from South Florida in 2008. He enjoys volunteering and connecting with other young professionals in DC through Federation, Sixth & I, and many others.

Claudia Barbosa, Gan HaYeled Educator

Claudia is from São Paulo, Brazil and has lived in DC for 10 years with her two boys and husband. She has been working in education for 16 years, in both private and charter schools. She is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and just started a graduate program in Early Childhood at the University of Colorado. 

Dale Sorcher, MSW, Gan HaMishpacha Educator

Bio coming soon

Daniel de los Reyes, Gan HaYeled Educator

Bio coming soon

Diane Fernheimer, Gan HaYeled Educator

Diane Fernheimer has been an Early Childhood Educator for many years. She enjoys listening to and having conversations with young children. Diane comes from a family of five and is a proud aunt to three amazing nephews.

Darci Lewis, MA, DONA PCP, Gan HaYeled Assistant Director &
Gan HaMishpacha Senior Educator

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Darci Lewis has had a wide array of experiences within the field of Jewish Early Childhood Education. She has degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, having earned an M.A. in Jewish Communal Education. Darci is also a DONA-Certified Postpartum Doula. Her work as a Postpartum Doula connects her with families during their prenatal and postpartum time. Through prenatal classes, postpartum groups, and in-person support.

Darci is passionate about progressive values-based early childhood education. She has travelled to Reggio Emilia, Italy several times, attending Study Institutes and visiting their world-renowned schools. She believes all children deserve to be treated as competent, capable, and creative individuals. Currently, Darci is the Assistant Director and Curriculum Specialist for the Gan HaYeled at Adas Israel. She also consults within the community, having served as a Curriculum Specialist, Art Studio Specialist, and Professional Development Trainer for many schools and institutions, both locally and nationally. Darci also plays an active role in the Pedagogista Circle of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Eboneé Williams, Gan HaYeled Educator

Bio coming soon

Ellie Moses Schuchman, Gan HaMishpacha Music Instructor

Ms. Ellie is the founder and lead teacher of Ms. Ellie Music, LLC.  She was trained by Music Together LLC in 2006 and has been involved in early childhood music ever since.  She is the music specialist at Ohr Kodesh Early Childhood Center (ECC), Tikvat Israel ECC, and Sherman ECC at Har Shalom, bringing more music into the classrooms and leading weekly Shabbat singalongs, Havdalah, as well as holiday celebrations.  She also leads Tot Shabbat Friday night and Saturday morning services locally at Adat Shalom Congregation as well as for other groups in DC and New York. 

Prior to her involvement in early childhood music, Ellie worked as a licensed clinical social worker with children and their families in various school-based and mental health settings.  She has a BA in Psychology from Clark University and a MS in Social Work from Columbia University.  She grew up in Takoma Park, MD, and was an active member of Habonim Dror and Camp Moshava, where she first developed her love of and ruach (spirit, in Hebrewfor singing and dancing as a camper, and then for many years, as a counselor and assistant camp director.

Erin WeismanGan HaYeled Educator

Erin Weisman is an Early Childhood Educator who has worked in public, charter, and private schools in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Copenhagen, and Washington, D.C. She is inspired by the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy and believes strongly in meeting children where they are developmentally. Once, a student called her “Alexa,” mistaking her for his at-home Amazon device. 

Janet Harari, Gan HaYeled Educator

Janet Harari spent most of her life in the New York metro area. She graduated from Rutgers University and has been an early childhood educator for more than twenty years. Janet has been teaching at the Gan since 2010 after relocating to the DC area with her family. She has three adult children and lives in Rockville, Maryland.

Jenny Post Gorski, MS, OTR/L, Gan HaNeshama Occupational Therapist

Jenny is a pediatric Occupational Therapist with over 10 years experience specializing in working with toddlers and children in both the clinical and school settings. Jenny earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Ithaca College, in Ithaca, NY. She has been working for Teri Kozlowski since 2007, where she has experience treating a range of developmental problems and delays, including those with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Genetic Syndromes, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, Fine Motor (handwriting, manipulation or dexterity) and Gross Motor Delays, and Visual System (perceptual, efficiency and information processing) Delays. 

Jenny strongly believes in the dynamic and integrated approach that TeeKoz Kids Pediatric Occupational Therapy provides to families. Jenny enjoys working on a more direct and personal level with not only the children but with families and professionals; to work toward achieving a child’s full potential. She is certified in The Listening Program, Integrated Listening System and Interactive Metronome and has attended numerous continuing education courses to build her knowledge base on Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Social Thinking ™ curriculum, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Praxis, Gross and Fine Motor Development and Visual Efficiency and Information Processing, as well as Motor Impairments.  Jenny is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Jocelyn Dorfman, MS, MEd., Director of School Operations
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Jocelyn has been at Adas Israel since August 2017. As Director of School Operations, Jocelyn oversees licensing and compliance, health and safety (including COVID-19 policies and procedures), communications, facilities, and other aspects of the Gan and Adas Israel's Religious School. She previously taught two- and three-year-olds in the Gan and a PreK class in the Religious School. A native Washingtonian who grew up across the river in Arlington, Jocelyn attended Brandeis University for her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies and holds a Master of Education in Counseling (Boston University) and a Master of Science in Psychology (University of North Texas).

Jocelyn has worked with young children in many different settings throughout her educational and professional careers and is passionate about providing children and their families meaningful and joyful experiences, meeting children where they are, and partnering with families to establish a life-long love of learning. Her absolute favorite activities with children are reading books, building, and anything that involves getting messy. Outside of Adas, you can find Jocelyn cheering on her baseball team, the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals.

Jonathan Both, Gan HaYeled Educator

Jonathan is returning to the Gan for his 7th school year after leading a pod for the 2020-2021 year. He is a DC native who has been a member of Adas Israel Congregation for his entire life, and even had his Bar Mitzvah here! He has a five-year-old daughter who will be attending the Gan for her third year; both are excited to be back. Jonathan is a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan. Go Penguins!

Jordan Snyder, Gan HaYeled Educator

Jordan has lived in DC for six years and has been working with children for the past 15 years. She grew up in western New York but didn't want to deal with the winters up there anymore so she relocated to DC. She loves dogs and being outdoors. She adores being an aunt to her niece and two nephews.  

Keisha Gray, Gan HaYeled Educator

Bio coming soon

Kendra Butler, Gan HaYeled Educator

Kendra has been working with children for 10 years. Along side her mom, she has worked with children with disabilities since she was in high school. Kendra has worked with children of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her lovely boyfriend, painting, and going for walks with her dog Mimi. 

Rabbi Kerrith SolomonDirector of Education

Rabbi Kerrith Solomon joined Adas Israel as Director of Education in the summer of 2014, overseeing and directing all aspects of congregational education for members age 0-18, and their families. She has a rich and varied background in education and Jewish learning and her educational practice and philosophy is based on her experiences working in synagogues, day schools, camps, campus, Federation and Israel. She previously served as Senior Jewish Educator at Tufts University Hillel and Director of Teen Programming and Family Life Educator at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York and has worked in a variety of other formal and informal settings. Kerrith completed the Hartman-Hillel iEngage Fellowship for Campus leaders and is currently a participant in the second Senior Educators Cohort of M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. She enjoys sharing her learning with the Adas community.

Kristein Ross, Gan HaYeled Educator

Kristein Ross has been in early childhood since 2004 working with children between the ages of six weeks and ten years old. Before she came to the Gan, she was a teacher at an early childcare center in Maryland for eight years. She has been working at the Gan since 2014 and is currently attending Trinity Washington University to get her Associates degree in Early Childhood. She also has two school-age children at home.

Kristen Russi, Gan HaYeled Educator

Kristen Russi is passionate about Early Childhood Education, adores working with children, and is thrilled to be starting her third year at The Gan. Her favorite activity is anything involving art. She also enjoys travel, reading, fashion, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Lauren Chambers, Gan HaYeled Educator

Lauren has been in the Early Childhood field for the past 15 years, spending the last seven at the Gan. Children have the capability of making the gloomiest of days much brighter with their innocent humor and strong willingness to learn through the world around them. Every day is exciting when you're a teacher! Lauren lives in Maryland with her husband Terrance and two boys, Terrance Jr. (T.J.) and Landon.

LaVonda Butler, Gan HaYeled Educator

LaVonda has been working with children since she was in high school and has worked in early childhood education for more than 14 years. She has worked with children of all ages, from infancy to high school. LaVonda has two beautiful children and a wonderful fiancé. She loves to spend time with her family, take vacations, and to watch her children grow.

Lili Maslog, Gan HaYeled Educator

Bio coming soon

Megan Soe, MAGan Program Manager & Executive Assistant
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Megan has a varied work history in both administrative and non-administrative fields. She has a BA in History from Augustana University and an MA in Art History from King’s College London. Her early work experience includes teaching dance and providing child-care for individual families. In her role at the Gan she often steps into classes and loves opportunities to interact and play with children and families. Megan started her journey at Adas as an Administrative Assistant in the Rabbinical office and then joined the Gan team in March of 2019. 

Before joining Team Adas, Megan worked as a professional Tour Guide at the United States Capitol Building, a Tour Manager for a travel company in Iowa, and a cross-cultural event coordinator in Paris, France. Megan enjoys helping family and friends explore the world by helping them plan their travels. She spends her evenings and weekends reading, playing piano, singing, and exploring the DMV with her sister,

Meghan Carlson, MS, CCC-SLP, Gan HaNeshama Speech Language Pathologist

Meghan is a Speech-Language Pathologist working with Little Sprout Therapy & Metro Myo, LLC.

Meghan is originally from Pennsylvania, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. Meghan is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, is licensed in both DC and MD and has been practicing Speech and Language Pathology for 6+ years. Meghan has a passion for working with children and has a variety of experience across therapeutic settings having worked in outpatient clinics, pediatric hospital settings and schools/daycares. Meghan is now a clinical supervisor of speech-language pathology graduate students. She has experience helping children from birth to 21 years of age in the areas of expressive and receptive language, articulation, social skills secondary to autism spectrum disorders, oral motor/feeding, AAC (augmentative and alternative communication), and working with medically complex pediatric patients with a variety of diagnoses. Meghan has completed various trainings including Social Thinking courses, Hanen It Takes Two to Talk/More than Words, Feed The Peds and others. Meghan loves to spend time with friends and family, cooking, traveling and watching/attending sporting events.

Melanie Gross, Gan HaYeled Educator

Melanie is a graduate of the Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Maryland. She eared the Maryland 99 hour childcare certificate and holds an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. Melanie has worked in childcare, including a Montessori preschool, for several years. In her free time, she enjoys musical theater, spending time with her twin sister, and taking walks with her shih tzu Bailey.

Neidia Ramsay-Swann, Gan HaYeled Educator

Neidia Ramsay -Swann was born in Jamaica and grew up in Bowie, Maryland. She started her career as an administrative assistant with middle school-aged children and discovered her love for young children after starting her own family. Neidia opened her own home-based daycare in 2012. She joined the Gan faculty in 2016 and is currently working on her associate degree in Early Childhood Education.

Noa Livni-LehmanGan HaYeled Educator

Noa was born on a Kibbutz and started working with children as a teenager. Noa was selected to the competitive Program of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Before long, she was a counselor (and certified tour guide) teaching children, teenagers, and adults on hiking trips. She has worked with children in many different settings and has served as a director of summer camps. Noa has been with the Gan since 2005, teaching mixed-ages classes; she always incorporates nature and the environment into her curriculum with her students.

Noah Hichenberg, EdD, Gan Director & Gan HaYeled Educator
Email Noah Hichenberg

Noah is a celebrated and innovative contributor to the field of Early Childhood for more than 12 years. Noah joined the Gan team in July 2019 and brings with him a deep understanding of children and families and demonstrated leadership and excellence in the field. He formerly served as Director for The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for six years; he was a classroom teacher in the same school prior to becoming the director. He completed his Doctorate of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, in Curriculum and Teaching with a focus in early childhood education. At Teachers College, Noah's research and dissertation focused on the power and agency that a preschool child brings to the world, by examining the ways children actively change the world through their intentional efforts. Noah's research weaves together the fields of cognitive development, anthropology, history of childhood, and educational philosophy.

Noah received his master’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education (Birth through Eight Years) from Fordham University in Manhattan, as well as his bachelor’s degrees in American History from Columbia University and Jewish History from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Noah served on the chairing committee for New York City's hosting of "The Wonder of Learning", the world-renowned traveling exhibit curated by the educators in Reggio Emilia, Italy, hosted by one city internationally a year and also co-chaired the exhibit's premiere day of learning for 1,000 teachers. Noah also founded, and directed for it's first four years, the Come Learn With Us professional development series, an annual conference hosting 250+ teachers. Noah and his wife Shira live in Bethesda with their four young children

Patricia Ulanet, PsyD, Gan HaNeshama Developmental Neuropsychologist

Dr. Ulanet is a Developmental Neuropsychologist with a specialization in Behavioral Medicine and Applied Development at the Center for Assessment and Treatment where she oversees the Developmental Clinic, specializing in children aged 0-6.

Dr. Ulanet’s career has focused exclusively on assessment, diagnoses and treatment of toddlers, preschoolers, and young school aged children with developmental concerns, including those with complex learning profiles. She has advised the Montgomery County DESC Team for diagnostic support and IEP development, provided faculty in-service training and parent education, and consulted for The Treatment and Learning Center, Katherine Thomas School regarding diagnostic assessment of complex cases.

Previously, Dr. Ulanet held a faculty position on the Diagnostic Team of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital and participated as researcher and clinician in the Research Unit in Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP). She succeeded the Director of the Clinic for Complex Developmental Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center in 2000, and stayed on through the program transition to the Center for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (CASD). At that time, Dr. Ulanet also became Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics at the George Washington University Medical Center. In 2005, Dr. Ulanet was offered the position as Director of Psychological Services at the River School in Washington, DC; a role that included assessment of neurodevelopmental progress in young children with cochlear implants and various neurodevelopmental concerns including behavioral, neurological, attention, memory and learning difficulties as well as providing early differential diagnosis of ASD and hearing loss. Dr. Ulanet’s research includes identification of a specific subtype of neurocognitive processing in young children with cochlear implants. These findings were presented at the international Symposium for Cochlear Implants in May of 2012 and published in 2014.


Dr. Ulanet has also developed and implemented an early social emotional learning curriculum for young children (ages 2 years through 3rd grade). She is current on the trends in the early child development literature and the importance of identifying each child’s strengths to support areas of vulnerability in order for children to meet with educational success and a bright and fulfilling future.

She holds a BA in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University, an MA in Mental Health and Human Development from John Carroll University, and was awarded a Doctorate of Psychology in 1992 from Nova Southeastern University. She conducted Internship and Residency in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Miami Children’s Hospital through the divisions Behavioral Medicine, Neuroscience and Psychiatry. She is licensed in DC and Maryland, is a member if the American Psychological Association and a parent.

Rae Brooks, Gan HaYeled Educator

Rae grew up on a farm in southern Maryland and loves to share the wonders of nature with children and teach the mitzvah of tikkun olam. Rae has been a Jewish early childhood educator for almost thirty years; she previously taught at Ohr Kodesh, Beth El, and Mishkan Torah synagogues. Rae also teaches in the Adas Israel religious school and facilitates a monthly study group for her local synagogue. As the mom and bubbe (grandmother) of children of color, Rae is committed to an anti-racist and anti-bias curriculum. Rae is also passionate about helping children find their path to being good human beings. When Rae is not exploring the world with children, she is walking with her dog, reading mysteries, zooming, watching good British dramas, and following baseball. Rae grew up rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and has continued that allegiance; however, she also enjoys watching the Nationals with her husband and sons, as well as with Gan colleagues and parents. 

Robin Jacobson, Adas Israel Librarian

Robin has been with Adas since 2001. Robin's work combines her two favorite interests: people and books. In addition to running the synagogue's library, she creates children's literacy programs in partnership with the Gan and Religious School. For adults, she facilitates a popular book club, organizes author events, and reviews books for Adas online and print publications.

Sally Heckelman, Gan HaYeled Music Specialist

Sally has been an early childhood music educator in the DC area for close to 30 years. She joined the Gan HaYeled staff three years ago, running music classes for each preschool class. In addition to her love of teaching music, she also serves as the director of spirituality and family experience at Kol Shalom and is currently stying in the Aleph cantorial ordination program. Sally lives with her husband in Silver Spring, MD and has four grown children.

Stephanie Slater, MSW, Gan Director of Early Childhood Development and Family Support & Gan HaNeshama Early Interventionist 
Email Stephanie Slater

Stephanie Slater is a clinically trained social worker who has worked in the field of Early Childhood Development for 28 years. Stephanie believes young children are competent, capable and resilient. She relishes in their untarnished view of the world and is delighted by the joy they bring to every experience. She has worked at Adas Israel’s Gan Hayeled Preschool for 17 years. Through individual consultations and community-wide webinars Stephanie has supported an innumerable amount of families navigating parenthood, and has significantly grown Gan HaYeled’s capabilities for supporting young children with developmental delays and/or special rights. Her work has laid the foundation for a culture of developmental diversity and inclusion, and her vast network of clinicians in the DMV area has supported students and propelled them toward an upward trajectory for future learning.

Stephanie holds a BA in Psychology from SUNY College at Oneonta and a Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University. Stephanie has a Certificate in Early Intervention from Georgetown University and serves as a consultant for The Matan Institute. There, she develops workshop curricula and trains teachers on the benefits of Early Identification and Intervention. Stephanie also serves the community as a diversity and inclusion expert, participating in local and national conference panels geared toward creating and sustaining inclusive settings in early education. She is a Certified Children’s Yoga Instructor. Her most rewarding role is mother to Sophie (19) and Macie (16) and wife to Matt.

Tate Sweeney, MA, Gan HaYeled Educator

Tate holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education. Born in DC, she spent her formative years studying in England before returning to the area to earn her degrees at The American University. Every day, Tate is inspired by the boundless capability of young children as well as their innate passion for justice. In the classroom, she enjoys constructing with MagnaTiles, making slime, and singing "The Ants Go Marching." 

Val Tomkins, Gan HaYeled Movement Specialist

Val has been teaching movement to young children for over 22 years. She believes that children should be active as much as possible, and incorporates as much fun as possible into all of her classes. She knows that through movement, children can build their confidence and creativity. She teaches her students that it is ok to be different and all of their ideas work in "creative movement."

Yolanda Lyles, Gan HaYeled Educator

Bio coming soon

 



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