The Early Childhood staff of the Leonard and Syril Rubin Nursery School is comprised of over 60 experienced and caring early childhood professionals, including a full time nurse.
Our school is fully licensed and accredited by the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services and the State Department of Education.
All teachers hold New Jersey State teaching certification or a current CDA
All staff is certified in infant/child CPR and First Aid.
All teachers are required to continue their professional education by attending classes, workshops and conferences. They also participate in inter-school visitation, specialized in-service training and JCC Association sponsored programs.
Consultant services are provided by a licensed social worker, child psychologist, speech language professionals and consulting pediatricians.
The school is affiliated with the New York Board of Jewish Education and the UJA-Federation of Bergen and North Hudson Counties Jewish Educational Services.
Devin Zukofsky, Director
Devin Zukofsky, the new director of our Early Childhood Director program, previously worked in the JCC Nursery School as a teacher of four year olds. She earned a Master’s of Science in Childhood Education from St. John’s University, and her undergraduate degree from Indiana University.
Adyna Rosen, Program Supervisor - Infants, Toddlers , Full Day 2's, After Care and Camp Katan
Adyna began her career in the JCC Early Childhood program as a head teacher in the Toddler program and is now coordinating the Toddler, Aftercare and Vacation programs. With earlier roots at the JCC, Adyna has also worked as a counselor in Camp Katan and Camp Tikvah. She attended William Paterson University and Georgia State University, earning her BA degree in Special Education and Counseling. After teaching at Voorhees Pediatric Facility and a private day school, Adyna returned to the JCC as a teacher in the Therapeutic Nursery. She also taught at Temple Emeth in its Early Childhood Center for 12 years as a teacher in its 2 year old program. Her varied experience has helped her develop a unique understanding of child development and a highly individualized approach to teaching.
Jill Rosalimsky - Program Supervisor Half Day 2's
Jill comes to us with many years of experience as a Jewish early childhood educator. She holds a Masters degree in early childhood and special education and includes teaching toddlers through kindergarten and special needs students. She directed a preschool summer camp, and was educational director of a Synagogue based supplementary Hebrew school. She has led workshops in music and movement, phonemic awareness, language and literacy, math games, classroom/behavioral management and dramatic play. She has done research and written papers on sensory integration and learning styles. Jill's greatest pleasure is seeing the smile and glow on a child's face as they explore and learn new things as well making time to enjoy her thirteen grandchildren.
Aliza Cinamon, Three and Four Year Old Program Supervisor
Aliza Cinamon joins us from Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, where she worked as an Assistant Early Childhood Director, Camp Director and Teacher. In addition to overseeing our four-year-old and Kindergarten programs, Aliza will be working on Special Events within Early Childhood. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Yeshiva University and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College.
Elissa Yurowitz, Operations Director
Elissa holds a BS in Applied Chemistry from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle (UK). She began working seasonally at the JCC in the Neil Klatskin Day Camp in 2003, then became a Membership Advisor in 2010 and went on to join the Early Childhood Staff in 2014, first as the Administrator and then the Operations Director. In her spare time, Elissa enjoys running and has completed several marathons.
Sarah Koffler, Consultant
Sarah Koffler is an Early Childhood Consultant for the JCC’s Leonard and Syril Rubin Nursery School, where she serves as a resource in best practices, strategic planning, and leadership development for the Early Childhood Department. Sarah first joined the JCC family in July 2014 as Assistant Early Childhood Director, and went on to become interim director in December 2015. She has earned an M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College and a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from University of Hartford. She is also a current participant in the first cohort of the JCCA Sheva Covenant Directors Institute, a three year program for leadership development and excellence in Jewish Early Childhood Education.
Lindsey Casella, JCC Nurse
Lindsey was raised in Demarest and grew up coming to the JCC as a child. After graduating from Northern Valley Regional High School, in Demarest, Lindsey went on to pursue her bachelor's degree at Northeastern University. Lindsey has worked in the acute care hospital setting since 2005. After graduating, her nursing career led her to specialize in Cardiac Care at Hackensack University Medical Center. Since joining the JCC community in 2014, Lindsey has had the pleasure of getting to know the Nursery School children as well as the staff. She looks forward to being able to serve her community in this new role.
Shira Adar, Assistant Teacher
Shira joined the JCC in March 2015 as a certified Kindergarten and nursery teacher who completed her studies and worked in Israel for ten years. She holds a BA in Sociology and Multi-disciplinary Art from Tel Aviv University and a teaching certificate from Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel.
Maureen Armstrong, Assistant Teacher
Maureen has been a teacher’s assistant in the 4-5 year old program since 1998. A few years later, she went back to school and received her CDA (Certified Development Associate) certification from the Bergen County Technical Schools, a certification she currently maintains.
Kathy Boncic, Assistant Teacher
Kathy has been with the JCC since 2009, beginning as a Transitional Two's Teachers Assistant and later with two year olds. She has also assisted three and four year olds.
Jackie Broida, Head Teacher
Jackie holds an MS in Early Elementary Education from Long Island University. She has taught nursery school for over 30 years, most of which has been with 3 year olds. Jackie has been at the JCC since September 2014.
Cara Bruen, Head Teacher
Cara has experience in both Jewish nursery school and public school. She holds an MAT in Early Childhood from Fairleigh Dickinson University; a B.S in Public Affairs, Management from Indiana University; and a teaching certification with advanced standing.
Devorah Cohen, Assistant Teacher
Devorah Cohen has been working with children since 2011. She has assisted with special needs children for 2 years. Since 2013, Devorah has worked in both NY and NJ in Early Childhood. Devorah enjoys running and weight training in her spare time.
Sibel Cohen, Assistant Teacher
Since 2001, Sibel has been a full time assistant teacher in the Three Year-Old and the Two year old Program at the JCC. She was raised in Israel and is fluent in Hebrew, English and Turkish. Sibel has a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Geography from Tel-Aviv University. She also studied fashion design and has an art background. Sibel is passionate about art and works enthusiastically on art projects with the children in her class. Sibel is married and has four children.
Ilene Conroy, Head Teacher
Ilene has been a teacher at the JCC since 1993 and has also worked as a unit head camp counselor and a cooking teacher. She attended Glassboro State College where she received a BS in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.
Maricel DeGuia, Assistant Teacher
Maricel joined the JCC in 2009, inspired to work with children as she came from a large family, where she is one of sixteen children!
Maria Diamantis, Assistant Teacher
Maria has worked with the two, three, and four year olds as a full time as an assistant teacher at the JCC for twelve years. She has also been an assistant head counselor at Neil Klatskin Day Camp for the past seven years. She holds a CDA from Bergen Technical Academy.
Ziva Dunkelman, Assistant Teacher
Ziva has been a four-year-old assistant teacher since 1999. She was born and raised in Israel.
Dina Dvinyaninova, Assistant Teacher
Dina has a BS in Music and Music Theory and a NJ music teacher license. She has over 25 years of experience in teaching group and private music classes to children ages 2 to 15. Dina joined the JCC in 1992 as a Teacher Assistant for 3-s and 4-s, and leads Shabbat sing-a-longs for the Nursery, as well as art classes in the after school program. She taught for a while in the Academy Music School and returned to JCC as a Teacher Assistant where she works with the 2-year olds.
Shani Finn, Head Teacher
Shani Finn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Yeshiva University and a Master's degree in Early Childhood special and general education from Bankstreet College. She has experience teaching toddlers through kindergarten in various educational settings. Shani believes in creating a warm and caring environment and a fun approach to learning, while taking each child's needs and personalities into consideration.
Brenda Fishbein, Head Teacher
Brenda works as head teacher in Room 4. After seeing three children through the JCC Nursery School, Brenda was motivated to join the team of amazing educators. She began as an assistant fourteen years ago and instantly developed a passion for educating young minds. She earned her CDA in 2005 and become a head teacher, creating a positive environment for academia and emotional development. She is an avid reader, gardener and life-long learner.
Carrie Foglio, Assistant Teacher
Carrie began working at the JCC more than a decade ago as a substitute teacher, and after one year, was offered a full-time position as a Pre-K4 teacher’s assistant. She also takes pride in providing two year olds their first camping experiences at the JCC.
Luz Angelica Germes, Assistant Teacher
Angelica was born in Santa Rosa de Cabal, Colombia. She earned a degree in Environmental Engineering from the University Libre of Colombia and began working as a substitute teacher in the JCC Early Childhood Center in early 2016. She is now a full time assistant teacher with the toddlers, encouraging their development.
Maya Greenberg, Assistant Teacher
Maya joined the JCC team this year and is so excited to be a part of this great community. She has been working with children of all ages for over 6 years. Her enthusiasm, outgoing personality, and patience will make the children feel comfortable and help them grow in new ways every day. She is looking forward to a great year and helping her students reach their goals and fullest potential.
Maria Guzman, Head Teacher
Maria was born in Armenia Quindio, a small, beautiful town in the Colombian countryside. After moving to the US, Maria worked a flower designer for 5 years, then started working as a teacher’s assistant. She took the CDA course and earned her certification and joined the JCC family.
Jackie Horne, Head Teacher
Jackie Horne graduated from Kean University, with a BA in Sociology as well as her NJ Certified Teacher Certificate. She has been passionate about Early Childhood for nearly two decades. She has worked within the JCC family for almost twelve years, concentrating on two year olds. Jackie’s mission is to help young children feel safe, loved and an integral part of her classroom and our school’s family. It is also her mission to engage children in learning and socialization so they thrive in new situations. Jackie understands the importance of taking into account each child’s own creative, imaginative and unique way of seeing the world through such young eyes, helping each one to build confidence as well as a love of learning.
Kathleen Joseph, Assistant Teacher
Kathleen is CDA-certified assistant teacher in the Early Childhood Department, She has been with the JCC for 18 years, where she runs an after school program and teaches cooking and Stitch and See classes for preschoolers. She is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.
Pat Krasnic, Assistant Teacher
Pat has been teaching 2s at the JCC for 15 years. She loves working with the 2s because they are inquisitive, curious, and fun to be with. The JCC has been like a second home to Pat because of her students and the relationships she has formed in the community.
Yamileth Leon, Assistant Teacher
Yamileth came to the USA as a young adult with a Bachelors in Business Administration from her native Colombia. Always enthusiastic and full of energy she started working helping families with their children's education as a very dedicated babysitter. Yamileth is part of the JCC family since the summer of 2018 and is currently pursuing an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Bergen Community College.
Sara Locker, Assistant Teacher
Sara Locker was born in Russia, moved to Israel when she was 8 years old and then came to the US after getting married. After raising three sons, Sara took her passion for working with young children to the JCC. In 2002, she started to work in Early Childhood as a substitute teacher, and in 2008 began to work full time as an assistant teacher.
Michele Lopes, Head Teacher
Michele is an assistant teacher in the 2’s program, with 10 years of experience in the JCC Early Childhood Department. Michele is CDA certified in pre-school education. She is a member of the Planning Committee and Publicity Chair for Autism Speaks Northern New Jersey Walk at Met Life Stadium.
Alla Makhmetova, Head Teacher
Alla has a BS in Primary Education with a NJ teaching license. With more than 40 years of experience in education, she worked as an elementary school teacher for 15 years in Ukraine. She joined the JCC as a teacher assistant for 2-s and 3-s in 1990 and after successfully completing her National Teacher Examination, became head teacher in 1997. She has also assisted in the administrative position as a substitute coordinator.
Maya Mamo, Head Teacher
After teaching at the Lawrence JCC in San Diego for 12 years, Maya moved to NJ. She has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a focus on Early Childhood Education, and has worked with children of all ages from toddles through Kindergarten. She is fluent in three languages and teaches both Spanish and Hebrew as second language enrichment.
Carole Flores, Assistant Teacher
Carole is a full time assistant teacher in Room 5, where she works with three year olds. She has worked with both three and four year olds and has also spent four summers as an assistant head counselor at the Neil Klatskin Day Camp. She is currently pursuing an education degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Morgan Pine, Head Teacher
Morgan joined the JCC in 2010 and has worked in the twos, threes, and extended day programs. She is experienced in the Reggio curriculum, which looks to broadening the learning experience through dramatic play, art, and science.
Carol Poltorak, Head Teacher
Carol graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She began working at the JCC in 1985. After a brief break to be home with her own children, Carol returned to the nursery school teaching 2, 3, and 4 year olds, and is presently teaching in the JCC Kindergarten. She has also spent several summers as an assistant program director for Kadima at NKDC.
Ivonne Ramirez, Assistant Teacher
A native of Columbia, Ivonne has been studying and working with children in the US for over 15 years. She has a degree in Child Development as a Child Development Associate. Prior to joining Early Childhood at the JCC, she worked at the YMCA, Turrel School, and Bergen Family Center. She owns a child entertainment company and loves to bring the joy of clowning to her teaching. She is extremely creative and has a bright imagination which she imparts to all her students.
Vikki Rivlin, Head Teacher
Vicki joined the Early Childhood Department in 1983, where she’s been teaching 2, 3, and 4 year olds ever since. She has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Ages K-6, from Lesley College.
Nancy Robinson, Assistant Teacher
Nancy has been a teacher assistant at the JCC for 13 years and maintains her CDA credentials. She was born, raised and schooled in Bergenfield, where she still lives with her husband and three daughters.
Annie Rubinstein, Head Teacher
Annie holds a BA in Sociology from University of Maryland. Before joining the JCC she was an elementary school teacher for more than 10 years, most recently in Englewood NJ public schools. Annie has broad teaching expertise from educating high risk students in an inclusive (special education) classroom setting, to gifted and talented students. She is excited to start down a new path at the JCC Nursery School, where her son was once a student.
Nathalie Sanchez, Assistant Teacher
Nathalie has her BS from Rutgers university in exercise science and sport studies. She started substitute teaching at the JCC and really loved working with our children. Before joining Early Childhood, Nathalie worked for a couple of sports teams where she got to interact with their youth teams and encourage their passion for sports and learning.
Shaleni Sankar, Assistant Teacher
Born in Guyana, Shaleni came to the United States in 1995. Her first job was working here at the JCC and she has now been here for 19 years as an assistant teacher.
Nancy Shapiro, Assistant Teacher
Nancy has been an assistant teacher for the past 14 years, working with children of all ages, as well as the Camp Katan summer program. Nancy has a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate and over 20 years of experience teaching and enriching preschool children.
Debbie Shenkin, Head Teacher
Currently a Pre-K teacher who is dedicated to learning, exploring and growing with her students, Debbie has been a teacher for all age groups at the JCC, as well as a member of the JCC Membership staff. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Arts in Philadelphia; MAT in Early Childhood Education from Montclair State University; and a NJ teacher certification with advance standing.
Aliza Schwartz, Head Teacher
Aliza Schwartz is a head teacher in the JCC toddler program. She spent the last nine years as an early childhood teacher in New York City, where she developed many skills to enhance the classroom environment. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Kean University in New Jersey and is currently back at Kean, earning a Master’s in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies.
Sherilyn Sonenshine, Head Teacher
A head teacher for a three year old class, Sherilyn holds a BA from Western Governors University in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career at the JCC while her children were students here in 1995. She has taught in both Jewish nursery schools and public school and has had many mentors along the way that have helped her learn and thrive as a teacher.
Zahava Streit, Head Teacher
With close to 40 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Zahava was raised in Israel and began her career in education by teaching children (pre k-6 grade) on a kibbutzim during her service in the IDF. She also taught senior citizens and young children who recently immigrated to Israel. She has been working at the JCC as a teacher for 29 years. Zahava also teaches Hebrew in different schools and provides private Hebrew lessons.
Susan Suchoff, Assistant Teacher
Susan has been a teacher at the JCC since 2011, and has also worked at the Neil Klatskin Day Camp as an Art Program Developer and teacher in Camp Katan. Prior to her career in Education, Susan owned and managed an Executive Recruiting firm in NYC. She earned a BA degree from Boston University. Susan grew up in NYC and now resides in Tenafly NJ.
Rose Tuvel, Assistant Teacher
Rose has a BA from New Jersey City University and holds a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) from the Council for Professional Recognition. She has taught children of various ages at the JCC for the past 26 years.
Nancy VandenBergh, Assistant Teacher
Nancy holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, plus Graduate Studies in Children with Learning Disabilities. Since 2002, Nancy has served as Head Teacher in the JCC Infant/Toddler-Toddler Time, Parenting Center Program. She leads year-round groups for toddlers and parents, caregivers & grandparents, ranging from 10-16 months, as well as 18–26 months. Possessing strong expertise with this age group, she also teaches Transitional Two's and Two year old classes, providing a variety of experiences to enhance young children's growth and development.
Clara Vasquez, Assistant Teacher
Although only 21 years old, Clara has really worked with children her whole life, starting from when she was a child growing up in a family of 13. She is the fourth oldest of 11 children. Clara has worked in daycares and volunteer camps for children with special needs, then went on to do the Teacher Apprentice Program that her High School offered for a year where she was able to work with a 1st grade class. Now she is studying Psychology, going into her third year of college. Working at the JCC has helped her learn so much more about early childhood development. She worked with the twos at the Nursery School for a year and found it an incredible experience. She is looking forward to working with the toddlers and continuing her journey, happy to be helping children grow!
Fazida Walcott, Assistant Teacher
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Fazida moved to the United States in 1986 with her family. After living here for several years, she joined the JCC as an assistant teacher and she has been working here for 20 years.
Louise Watkins, Assistant Teacher
Louise has been an Early Childhood teacher for 23 years. A graduate of Suffolk Community College, she earned her CDA in 2005. She also served as a JCC Dance coach for the Maccabi Games from 2003-2007, and an Aerobic instructor for NKDC for 5 years. Louise teaches an after school class, Yoga for young Children, as well as Yoga for older students at Stillman elementary school in Tenafly.