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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.

Andrea Rivera, Gan HaYeled Educator

Andy is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She moved to the United States in 2017 and has been living in D.C. since then. She loves to learn about different cultures and enjoys being outside in nature. Andy believes that every day brings a new experience and therefore, we never stop learning. 

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!

Ayanna Holmes,  Gan HaYeled School Administrator 
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 DC born and raised, Ayanna comes to the Gan most recently from a DC charter school for preschool and elementary-aged children where she served as the Operations Coordinator. A graduate of North Carolina Central University with a BA of Science in Behavioral and Social Science. Ayanna is drawn to schools and students because she is devoted to supporting the potential and growth of those around her through community relationships. Ayanna’s portfolio at the Gan includes licensing, communications, and human resources. 

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.

Berfaly Campos, Gan HaYeled Educator

Berfaly is from El Salvador, where she studied computer science. She moved to DC in 2014 and decided to become a teacher as she believes that children are the future of the world and says she is privileged to be part of their learning journey. 

Berfaly holds a degree in Human Development in Early Childhood Education. She has been working with children for over seven years, in both public and private schools in a Jewish setting. She is always seeking opportunities to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge. 

In her free time, you can find her hiking, drawing, reading, and spending time with her family. 

Briyana Holloway, Gan HaYeled Educator

Briyana is a DC native.  She graduated from Delaware State University earning a bachelor's degree in Psychology. Briyana has over 10 years of experience working in early childhood. She takes pride in creating an environment where children feel safe, loved, and adventurous. She enjoys reading books to her 20-month-old son Brinx. She looks forward to building meaningful relationships and growing within The Gan family. 

Carolyn Rogers, Gan HaYeled Educator

Carolyn is a life-long early childhood educator, working in Jewish educational settings for most of her professional career. she strives to create a classroom environment that allows the children to seek out their passions, develop lasting friendships, and care for the people in the world around them. Carolyn and her husband have been in Washington, DC since 2012. She is the mother of four grown children who live in locations near and far. Carolyn is an avid walker; you might see her walking throughout the many neighborhoods of the city.

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

Dale Madden Sorcher is a licensed clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience providing therapeutic services to children, adults, and families. She has experience working in various modalities, including school systems, outpatient clinics, and private practice. Dale received a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Michigan, a M.Ed. in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and a MSW in Social Work from Hunter College in New York.

Dale has been on staff with the Gan since 1996 as a facilitator of our much-beloved Kangaroo classes as well as teaching two-year-olds. She is a native Washingtonian; her family has been affiliated with Adas Israel for five generations. Dale has three adult children who are all Gan graduates. She and her husband live in Bethesda.   

Daniel de los Reyes, Gan HaYeled Educator

Daniel has been at the Gan for 15 years (and has loved every minute of it). He has worked with every age group over the years and has particularly loved working with 2s and 3s. You can find him on the floor playing with his students or doing his favorite activity: Reading stories with children. Daniel is a gamer at heart and has been playing video games since he was five years old. Aside from video games, he also plays tabletop games, from board games to Dungeons & Dragons. He started his own Dungeons & Dragons campaign last year, doing it virtually online for friends.

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. When Diane isn’t at the Gan, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, dancing, writing, reading, and volunteering.  She is also a proud aunt to four amazing nephews and a niece! 

Darci Lewis, MA, DONA PCP (DONA), CLC, Gan HaYeled Senior Educator & Gan HaMishpacha Director
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Darci Lewis has had a wide array of experiences within the field of Jewish Early Childhood Education and within the world of Perinatal Support throughout Washington, DC and Maryland. 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 and Lactation Consultant. 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 Senior Educator of the Gan HaYeled at Adas Israel, and the Director of Gan HaMishpacha, the Family Center at Adas Israel.  Darci also has her own perinatal support practice--Nurture Postpartum & Family Support, through which she provides individual family support through the perinatal cycle.  Darci  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 played an active role in the Pedagogista Circle of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.  Darci lives in Maryland within her husband and three children.

Eboneé Williams, Gan HaYeled Educator

Eboneé graduated from Quince Orchard High School where she took three  years of child development courses. She welcomed her beautiful son Messiah into the world in September 2020. She says that children are our future, so why not start that future here at the Gan!

Ellen Meltzer, Gan HaYeled Educator

Ellen started at the Gan in January 2020 and got her feet wet for a few months before we transitioned to a virtual school model. She co-led a pod of eight children during the 2020-21 school year. This experience -- nine months of laughing, playing, learning, and guiding -- cemented her belief that children know more than we do if we would only listen, watch, and be there to help them navigate their world. Ellen raised her own children in Hong Kong; Melbourne, Austrailia, and Washington, DC. She lives with her dog, Yogi Berra (can you guess where she's from?).  

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.

Elsa Poci, Gan HaYeled Educator

Elsa Poci is currently pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education at UDC. She has been working with children since 2001 and over the last few years, she's worked primarily with preschoolers but she loves kids of all ages and is blessed to be their teacher. 

Elsa is originally from Albania. She speaks a few other languages-Italian, Russian, and a little bit of Greek, and she is fluent in Albanian. She has a daughter who is 24 years old. 

Fun fact about Elsa, during her free time, she loves hiking, nature, reading, and cooking.

Esperanza AlmeidaGan HaYeled Educator

Esperanza "Espy" Almeida is from Ecuador, South America, and has lived in Washington, D.C. for forty years. While working as a nanny to children who attended the Gan, she soon fell in love with the preschool and decided to become an educator here. She has been working at the Gan for over 30 years. She has a Child Development Associate in Early Childhood Education. Espy has a  passion for young children, enjoys every minute of it, and expresses this is the second home that she loves and respects.

Hannah Lacey-Smith, Gan HaYeled Educator


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.

Jill Weiner, Gan HaYeled Educator

Jill Weiner is originally from Boston where she worked for over a decade with young children in a Jewish setting. She earned her Master's degree in Early Childhood Education at Lesley University in 2020 before moving to Arlington, VA with her husband. She is passionate about young children and is always asking questions and reading to find out more information. She believes that learning is a lifelong journey and wants children to find the fun in learning. 

Jill is an avid long distance runner and biker who can be found along the trails in the DMV area. She also enjoys reading, writing, and baking. 

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.

Lamont Turner, Gan HaYeled Educator

Originally from Kansas City, MO. Lamont holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. He has worked in this field for more than 10 years. Lamont enjoys watching young children establish autonomy and learning through their play and exploration. When he is not advocating for and contributing to the development of young people, he finds himself on a plane traveling internationally or on weekend road trips. Europe is one of his favorite places to visit. In addition, he's the proud pet parent of a miniature schnauzer named Braxton.

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.

Lejla Kekic , Gan HaYeled Educator


Liliana Maslog, Gan HaYeled Educator

Lili is from Peru and moved to Washington, DC in 2001. She has worked with children since 2001 and has studied early childhood education. Her eight-year-old daughter is a graduate of the Gan! Lili, her husband, and their daughter live in DC. She is returning to the Gan after a few years away and is very excited to meet everyone again.

Matt Alberswerth, Gan HaYeled Educator

Matt grew up in northwest Washington, where he now lives with his fiance and their one-year-old daughter. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and the Warren Wilson MFA for Writers. 

Meezah Ehtesham, Gan HaYeled Educator


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.

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 Outdoor 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
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Noah has served as Gan HaYeled director since 2019. He co-taught a two-year-old classroom in 2021-2022 and has overseen the launch and growth of our family center, Gan HaMishpacha, and multidisciplinary center, Gan HaNeshama. Noah has supported the strengthening of the school’s Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to early childhood education and nurtured the school’s antiracist stance and dialogue. Noah sees the child-teacher relationship as the core priority in a preschool setting and actively works to see that relationship defined by trust and mutuality, in contrast to the prevailing school-model of control and authority.

Noah developed his educational approach – dedicated to Reggio-inspired, antiracist, mutual child-teacher relationships – while at the JCC Manhattan preschool as a three-year-old teacher for five years and school director for six years, and during his studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he earned his Ed.D. in curriculum and teaching with a focus in early childhood. Noah’s scholarly efforts focus on what he describes as the entanglement of child agency and adult imperialism, exploring the tension between adult expectations (the “supposed to’s”) and the child’s capacity to resist them (the child’s “NO!”). Noah’s work centers on the notion that children, as humans, have voice, agency, and power, and explores how those capacities can be embraced or diminished through the actions of teachers and parents.

Noah has served as the Early Childhood Education Director for the New Director’s Institute of USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Synagogue) since 2021, a role in which he teaches and coaches Jewish preschool directors across the country, and he joined the American Jewish University’s School for Jewish Education and Leadership as an adjunct professor in spring 2023. He has a chapter on educating for democracy within early childhood in a forthcoming book and is a presenting member of a symposium on the topic at the 2023 annual conference of AERA (American Educational Research Association). Previously, Noah served on the chairing committee in 2014 for New York City's hosting of "The Wonder of Learning", the world-renowned traveling exhibit curated by the educators in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and co-chaired the exhibit's premiere day of learning for 1,000 teachers. In 2016, Noah founded Come Learn With Us, an annual summer conference for Reggio-inspired educators in New York City.

Noah lives in Bethesda, MD, with his wife Shira and their four children. Noah and Shira met as teenagers at Camp Ramah in New England and both spent a “gap year” studying in Israel. They now enjoy the pleasure of watching their children grow up in the Ramah network of day and overnight camps. They are members at Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, MD, in addition to Adas Israel. Some of Noah’s favorite parts of the Gan are the weekly hikes that all students take in Rock Creek Park, and the garden and composting areas in the school’s playground.

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.

Renee Sanford , Gan HaYeled Educator


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.

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

Tanya Morgan, Gan HaYeled Reggio Coach

Tanya Morgan is a career educator with over 20 years of experience in the public sector. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and began her teaching career with District of Columbia Public Schools as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. She then moved to the public charter school system as a Spanish language teacher and was an instrumental pioneer of the second largest public charter school in Washington, DC. Through exemplary teaching and dedication to the children, families, and the progress of the school and community, she earned the principalship of the early childhood building where she served as the Academy Leader for eight years. During that time, she was introduced to the Reggio Emilia Approach and has been an avid leader and supporter of innovative approaches to child-centered early education with a keen interest in outdoor/environmental education and sustainability. Mrs. Morgan went on to lead the Reggio Inspired Center at Friendship Armstrong for three years before moving on to seek further knowledge of early childhood best practices. She is in the process of earning her American Montessori Society teaching credential and currently serves as an Early Childhood Education Coordinator for the Lourie Center Head Start program in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She holds two Masters of Education in Curriculum Development and Instruction, and School Administration respectively. Alongside her husband, Tanya co-founded the non-profit organization, Freedom Factory, Inc., dedicated to empowering youth through mentorship, academic engagement, and athletic opportunities. She is also the CEO of her educational consulting business, Freedom Factory, LLC. She is the mother of five children, a villager, a collaborator, and a truth-seeker. Her motto: Always learning, always growing.   

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." 

Tatyana Shelby, Gan HaYeled Educator

Tatyana has always wanted to be a preschool teacher now that she is, she absolutely loves her job. She lives in Greenbelt, MD, with her husband, 5 children, and 2 fur babies. She enjoys reading, dancing, and karaoke. 

Tiaira King, Gan HaYeled Educator


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."

Verna Walton, Gan HaYeled Educator

Verna Walton was born in Haverstraw, NY in Rockland County. She is a cosmetologist on the weekend and has worked at KinderCare and private childcare centers for a few years. At this point in her life, she wants to live life, have fun, and continue to be a great parent to her children and an educator to the tiny people here at The Gan. 


Wed, March 22 2023 29 Adar 5783