Cohort 2 (2013-2015)


Cohort 2 Members spent one summer together as well as a Seminar in Israel, and engaged in their final Summer Session in 2014.


Liza Bloomfield

Teacher Leader

Mandel JCC

Cleveland, Ohio


“While I enjoy teaching in the classroom, I have become increasingly intrigued with the idea of taking on more of a leadership role in the Jewish early childhood community. Although I do not yet know what specific form that will take, I look forward to being a part of JECELI for the learning opportunities alongside like-minded peers that will contribute to making myself and others the most effective Jewish early childhood educators and advocates that we can be.”

Natalie Boscoe

Early Childhood Education Director

Sherith Israel Congregation

San Francisco, California


“I am looking forward to learning from my peers and experts at JECELI about how to best engage teachers and the community in the process of creating a successful, integrated Jewish curriculum in an early childhood education setting.”

Melissa Davis

Director of Early Childhood

Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital

Washington, DC

“I am honored to be a part of the JECELI cohort. I view this as an amazing opportunity for me and for my community. I look forward to an experience that will offer challenge, reflection and growth.”

Elisa Harrington-Verb

Lead Teacher

Congregation Gates of Heaven

Schenectady, New York

“I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and resource base as a teacher and I would very much like to move into an administrative position in the future. I am passionate about early childhood education and about Jewish education and I am looking forward to being able to focus on both of these areas at once.”

Danielle Hartwig


Sinai Temple Preschool

Los Angeles, California

“Great educators never stop learning, and I feel that the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute is the perfect place to continue my education.  I am honored to have this opportunity and I look forward to gaining a great deal of knowledge from the faculty and other members of the cohort.”

Deborah Kaplan


Beth Israel Preschool

Portland, Oregon

“I feel that this program will support me as a director and help me be the best I can be in my position. It is very difficult to find the support we need as directors; with day to day experiences and challenges, I feel that I will gain insight, discover new understandings as I learn how to best serve my families, make the right decisions regarding the preschool and feel supported in my lifelong career in early childhood education.”

Corinne Lagoy


United Hebrew Congregation Early Childhood

St. Louis, Missouri

“I wanted to be part of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute because I know that my best resources are my peers. I am looking forward to working with and learning from other Directors from across the country.”

Abby Mars

Lead Teacher, Bay-Nimoy Center for Early Childhood Education

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Hollywood, California

“There is no doubt that JECELI is an intersection where two of my greatest passions meet – Judaism and early childhood education. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from our tradition and texts, and the experiences of others, so that I might strengthen my own Jewish leadership skills. I look forward to our communal work as educators and also my own personal reflection on what it means to be a leader in this field.”

Gary Mayes

Pedagogista and Assistant Director

Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Center

Kensington, Maryland

“My hope is that the JECELI program will help me to develop powerful opportunities that enable children to take responsibility for their learning; work collaboratively with teachers, as they become creators of knowledge; create tools that support the teacher’s abilities in observing, recording and documenting classroom learning; foster skills that strengthen parent/teacher relationships; help to create community cohesiveness amongst families, children, staff and the Temple Emanuel community as a whole.”

Shuly Paret


Yad B’Yad Director

T’enna Preschool, Oshman Family JCC

Palo Alto, California

“I am very much looking forward to continuing my journey, to grow and enhance my contribution to the community, and I am excited to have this opportunity with the JECELI program, combining my two passions – early childhood education within a vibrant Jewish community.  “

Valerie Segall

Director, Early Childhood Education

Ilan Ramon Day School

Agoura, California


“I feel so privileged to become part of the JECELI learning community and look forward to growing…as a leader in my community, as an early childhood education professional and as a person!”

Allison Steckley


Peninsula Temple Sholom Preschool

Burlingame, California


“I was extremely interested in being a part of JECELI as a new director.  I am interested in finding a mentor and hopefully becoming a mentor myself.  I am always looking for ways to improve our school, find ways to incorporate Judaism into our secular themes, and also to pass on knowledge I have learned to the next generation.  I am looking forward to developing a new excitement for ideas learned, people met and shared collaboration.”

Kimberly Tang


Jewish Early Childhood Education Consultant

Los Angeles, California

“I’m so excited to be a part of the JECELI program and look forward to the unique, collaborative experiences it offers.”

Jenna Kalkman Turner

Site Director

Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

“I chose to be a part of JECELI in order to achieve the following: collaborate with fellow educators, continue my personal journey of professional development, and to support the new responsibilities in my upcoming position.”

Alana Weinberg


Stein Yeshiva

Yonkers, New York

“I was interested in JECELI the first time I learned about the program. My school, Stein Yeshiva, is an extremely small school which is always looking for ways to learn and grow. JECELI will enable me to learn more about my role as an early childhood director in a larger broader range. With the JECELI cohort I will learn from others who are in my similar position, as well as from my mentors who have walked in my shoes and have overcame similar challenges.”