Ms. Jodi Bruce, Head of School, joined Lehrman Community Day School in 2003 as the Director of Early Childhood. Prior to becoming the Head of School, she served as the Dean of Education at Lehrman.
Ms. Bruce came to us with thirteen years of teaching and administrative experience in the Miami Dade Public Schools in both Early Childhood and Intermediate Education, where she held a variety of teaching positions and administrative responsibilities. During her tenure in the public school system, she was recognized with numerous honors and distinctions. Ms. Bruce is a 2010 graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute, under the auspices of Brandeis University. Ms. Bruce was awarded an educational specialization in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2001. She also earned a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Nova Southeastern University in 1998. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Florida in 1990.
A resident of Aventura, FL, Ms. Bruce grew up in North Miami Beach and is married to Rick Bruce. Personable and with a quick wit, you will find Ms. Bruce to be warm and intelligent. She has a busy life outside of school as well, where she enjoys reading and spending time at the beach.
Dr. Rudy Collum has more than 20 years of experience in administrative, academic and financial initiatives to improve the quality of K-12 and higher education. He has held leadership roles at four different levels of education (independent private schools, urban and suburban public schools/districts, two state universities, and at the Florida Department of Education). Prior to Lehrman, Rudy served as COO at the Weiss Gifted and Talented School in Palm Beach.
Bernie Rovt joined the administration as Lehrman’s Chief Financial Officer. Many of our families may know Bernie from his role as CFO at the Miami Beach. Bernie will work part-time at Lehrman and provide us with financial oversight. His wife, Mali, is a Hebrew and Jewish Studies teacher and the couple’s three children attend Lehrman.
After six years in the Lehrman Early Childhood classroom, Erica was promoted to the Director’s office in 2010. An inveterate story-teller, Erica loves to pop into classes to read or tell stories from memory. As a teacher, she loved to do science experiments, especially helping kids grow in terms of their sensory development. Erica came to Lehrman from Sinai Jacobson Academy’s early childhood program. Born and raised in Miami, she received her undergraduate degree in journalism and her master’s in occupational therapy. Erica and husband Ari are excited that their sons, Spencer and Andy, are part of the ranks of Lehrman students.
Ayala came to Lehrman in 2008 to teach Hebrew and head the department; she now serves as Director of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. Ayala earned her BA in biology from Bar-Ilan University and taught high school biology. When husband Shlomo was transferred to Venezuela, Ayala became Principal of Jewish Studies in a day school there. At Tel Aviv University, Ayala earned her certification to train in Hebrew and Chumash, after which she worked with teachers across Latin America.
After coming to Miami, Ayala served as Hebrew Academy’s Head of Hebrew Language and as a mentor in the NETA program. She also prepared groups of girls for a collective Bat-Mitzvah, organized by WIZO.
Ayala and Shlomo have four children and six grandchildren, three of whom are Lehrman students. In her free time, Ayala likes to read, sing, and listen to music. In her past, Ayala performed as a singer and organized choirs in Israel and Venezuela.
Dr. Raquel Heisler, Director of Education, came to Lehrman in 2018 in search of the perfect school to teach, grow professionally and where to send her children. A veteran teacher of sixteen years, she has dedicated her life to educating young minds and nurturing young hearts. Having taught students in grades Pre-K - Grade 5, she has experience in most elementary grades and in every subject area. Her passion is teaching children to have a voice and to share their voices through their writing. During her years teaching at Lehrman, she taught Grade 1 and served as the implementation leader and teacher mentor for writer's workshop, a program stemming out of Teacher's College. She has extensive knowledge and experience in this program and has learned with the program's mastermind, Lucy Calkins.
Prior to coming to Lehrman, she taught at Scheck Hillel Community School for ten years as well as other Jewish and secular schools. Raquel has worked tirelessly as an educator to focus on the development of the whole child and believes in the importance of tailoring instruction to meet students' individual needs.
Ms. Raquel received her PhD in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2015, a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University in 2003, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Creative Writing and Elementary Education in 1999 from the University of Miami. A lifelong learner, Raquel is constantly wanting to fine-tune her pedagogy and has attended professional development courses at Columbia, Harvard and Oxford universities.
Raquel and her husband Harry are thrilled that their twins, Eli and Hannah, attend the school and are a part of the Lehrman family.
Natalie was born and raised in Miami. She completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at The University of Miami. Natalie is currently completing an Education Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Barry University. Jewish education is one of Natalie’s greatest passions, and she has worked in education for more than 15 years. Natalie joined the Lehrman Community in 2020. She instantly fell in love with Lehrman’s nurturing environment.
Rachel Schilt joined the Lehrman family after 8 years of working at Scheck Hillel Community School as the Associate Director of Development. Prior to this, Rachel was a consultant at Evergreen Solutions Partnering with public sector clients including K-12 education and local governments.
Rachel earned her Master’s in Public Administration at Florida State University. She has always had a passion for making a difference and believes strongly in Jewish education, as she attended Jewish day school herself and appreciates that her parents made it a priority for their family.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Rachel moved down to South Florida in 2003. She resides in Hollywood with her husband Jordan and baby girl Lana.
Aliyah joined the Lehrman family in 2020 after three years at Friends of the IDF as the Tri-State Marketing Manager in New York City. Aliyah grew up in New Jersey and moved to New York for college. She later got her Master's in International Business at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
Aliyah speaks about her move from New York to South Florida as one of the best decisions she has ever made. She lives in Aventura with her husband, Omry and three kids.
Ilana is a graduate of Mills College where she earned a BA in Education. She later went on to Nova Southeastern University where she earned a Masters in Education Technology. Ms. Traub is a veteran educator who came to us from Hochberg Preparatory School after spending 10 years at Hillel Community Day School as their Director of Educational Technology. Ms. Traub leads Lehrman's robotics team to the championship time and time again.
Early Childhood: Turning Twos
Marggie Burstein is originally from Panama, moved to Brookline, and now lives here in Miami. She comes to us full of energy and ready to join the Lehrman family. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and she loves to dance. She is also 'fluent' in the Jora and Merengue. Marggie brings a spark to the classroom that brings joy to all of her students. After graduating from Lesley University she promised herself she would never forget one thing: "Marggie, remember it is all about the students!"
Maribel has taught almost every age group at Lehrman and was even a Camp Lehrman counselor. She was born and raised in Venezuela, studied special education for challenged kids, and married her husband, Daniel. They later moved to the city of Boston in 1995 where her two sons, Dave and Jeffrey were born. Two years later, they all moved to Miami.
Maribel has lived in Florida ever since. She has a passion for helping people and is involved in a nonprofit that helps restore families during difficult times.
Yolanda, who began her teaching career in Venezuela, joined our Early Childhood Department after working at St. Patrick Preschool. With over 20 years of experience, Yolanda’s passion is working with young children and she loves expressing herself through creative activities. Yolanda's encouraging spirit and creative thinking brings so much color to the classroom (both literally and figuratively).
Parents have seen Paula dancing and singing with their toddlers at Lehrman since 2003. Off campus, her specialties are Zumba and salsa. In 1999 Paula came to Miami for vacation from Argentina, where she worked for a company specializing in sand production. She liked this town so much, she found herself coming back to live permanently.
Dina was born in Marlboro, New Jersey and moved to Miami Beach when she was 7. She graduated from Miami Beach Senior High and then attended UCF where she received her degree in early childhood education.
After graduating from UCF, she began working at St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School where she stayed for 8 years. During that time, Dina married her husband, Andrew. After taking a few years off to raise her children, she began working at the MBJCC where she was employed for 8 years. Dina started working at Lehrman in 2020 as a substitute teacher for every grade level and is so thrilled to be able to work full-time in a position that she loves.
Early Childhood: Toddlers
In 2011, Carolina began her relationship with Lehrman as a mother to Lehrman grads Cindy (class of 2018) and Tommy (class of 2014). After working at Beth Moshe Congregation for four years, and an additional three years at Temple Beth-El in Hollywood, Carolina "came home"—to Lehrman. Originally from Argentina, and currently a resident of Surfside, she loves to spend time (anywhere!) with her children, and to travel back home to visit family.
Danielle, born and raised in sunny Boca Raton, is a proud Jewish day school alumna. Being a diehard Gator fan, she graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in tourism and hospitality management in 2007. She landed her dream job with the Miami HEAT and even has two NBA Championship rings (just ask and you may be able to sneak a peak), but she realized that while her career in sports was fun and exciting, she wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Danielle decided to go after her true passion: educating young children. Danielle took a two-year hiatus from Miami to work at a Jewish school on Florida’s west coast. She returned to find the job at Lehrman was exactly what she wanted. After a few months as a substitute, she fell in love with the school. Danielle accepted a full-time position in 2016 and has never looked back; she is confident that she is now a lifelong member of the Lehrman family. Walking into her classroom each morning and preparing for each day with the adorable students is a big part of how she found her passion and overall happiness.
Stacey is a Miami Beach native and a Lehrman alumna. She feels so blessed to have a job where she can connect with parents and their children in a meaningful way. Her greatest joy is to watch the progress of her students and their growth throughout the school year. Stacey worked at the Miami Beach JCC for 7 years. In her free time, she loves getting together with her family and watching Miami sports.
Silvia Sapirsztein worked for seven years in early childhood before joining us, most recently at the Suzy Fischer Early Childhood Academy.
Silvia has a passion for working with children and has been in the field of education for many years. Born in Buenos Aires, she graduated with a Bachelor's in Education. She has raised a beautiful daughter who also shares her passion for educating and giving back to the community. In her free time, she loves to go for walks, read, journal, and learn new things.
Anna experienced working directly with parents to best educate and socialize with kids. Anna originally is from Hungary and moved to the United States a decade ago. She worked three years at a Charter School with higher grade levels, and also worked at MBJCC for five years in different positions. She recently got married and became a mom. She loves spending time with her family and three dogs.
Karola Narváez is from Colombia and has been living in Miami since 2008. She has degrees in accounting, business development and holds a Child Care Professional Credential. In 2014 she decided to study early childhood education because she believes that children are the future of our planet. Karola loves interacting with children, playing and teaching them how to explore and learn the world around them.
Early Childhood: Nursery
Ana came to Lehrman in 1987, then a young mother whose children attended the school. Her daughter Veronica is an Optometrist, married and a mother herself, and her son Luis has a degree in business administration. Ana, however, is still where she loves to be, winning the trust and hearts of Lehrman kids in her playful, yet structured way. In her free time, Ana likes to go to the beach, travel, and help take care of her grandkids.
Erica graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Pre-K/Primary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Development from the University of North Florida. She grew up in Miami Beach and has been working with kids for most of her life. She always knew that being a teacher was something she wanted to do, so early on, she started to work at the MBJCC as an after school counselor, homework helper, and a senior summer counselor. In high school, Erica was also a teacher's aide for students with autism.
Lissette was born in Chicago, Illinois and raise in Guatemala, where she earned her Preschool Teacher Diploma. She has educated young students for 20 years.
Lissette moved to Miami in 2015 and continued her work as a preschool teacher, and subsequently earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Before joining us at Lehrman, she was part of the ECA-MARJCC staff for seven years.
Ana Silva was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S. over 20 years ago. She is married to her husband, Marcos, and has two beautiful daughters. She speaks both English and Spanish and studied Early Childhood. With many years of experience teaching pre-schoolers, Ana is also a registered Behavior Technician and has experience working with special-needs children. It takes only a few minutes of being with Ana to see that she has a passion for creativity, learning, and watching kids grow.
Licet joined the Lehrman staff full-time as an associate teacher in Turning Twos after subbing last year in almost every grade level. Previously, she was a paraprofessional at the Norman Edelcup K-8 School in Sunny Isles, assisting children with special needs in grade 2. She also has several years of experience running activities in after-school programs, both in Sunny Isles and at the JCC in Miami Beach.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Licet has lived in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a Master’s Degree in Film and Video. She worked for over 20 years in film and television publicity before coming to Miami and changing her focus to education. Licet considers it an honor and a privilege to work with children and especially loves to teach reading and language skills.
Isabel was born in Guadalajara, Mexico where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She worked as a sales representative in a Mexican hotel chain and later, moved on to the American Consulate in Guadalajara as a visa analyst. Isabel came to the United States in 1991 where she married and worked as a teacher’s assistant at Temple Menorah’s Childhood Care Center for 13 years.
Natalie is originally from Panama and has been living in South Florida since she was ten years old. She is fluent in English and Spanish and enjoys supporting teachers in developing a positive, joyful, and structured classroom environment that engages and motivates children. Natalie joins the Lehrman family from Beth Moshe Congregation, where she excelled at building positive relationships with children, families, and colleagues.
Ingrid, a Miami native, joined the Lehrman family in 2013. She began working in early childhood education in 2001 and her dedication to educating and nurturing children only continues to grow. With a background in art and music, Ingrid enhances her classroom with her enthusiasm, creativity and curiosity. Ingrid has a true passion for working with children, and watching them grow, learn, and challenge themselves. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, kayaking, traveling, and practicing her photography skills.
Jen began her teaching career in Kindergarten and has been a Pre-K teacher for the past 9 years, coming from Beth Torah/Suzy Fischer ECA. Jen is thrilled to be part of the Lehrman family!
Jen was born in NYC, grew up on Miami Beach, and is a Ransom Everglades Alum. Her love for working with and educating children has come full-circle. She was a child psychology major in college (received a B.A. from GWU) and quickly became a preschool teacher upon graduating. She later went on to earn her certification in Early Childhood Education, as well as Childhood Education (K-5).
In her free time, she spends as much time as she can outside tending to her orchids, needlepointing, knitting and cuddling with her adopted cats and fiancé Ted. She also loves spending time with her parents who live in Weston.
Gina Schwartzman is a native New Yorker. Her teaching experience ranges from Pre-K through Grade 2 and she has taught both Kindergarten and Grade 1 at Lehrman. She graduated from the University of Buffalo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Psychology. She also earned her Master’s in Educational Studies from Binghamton University. Her passions include traveling, Zumba, art, and photography. During college, she studied abroad in Australia. She also taught kindergarten in Japan for one year. Gina enjoys creativity in the classroom, as well as individualizing instruction to meet the needs of the students.
Agelica is Puerto Rican, but was born and raised in Miami. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood and worked at the KLA school of North Bay Village which follows Reggio Emilia educational approach. In high school, Angelica volunteered all four years with special olympics . In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Rosario was born and raised in El Salvador. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the Universidad Evangélica in San Salvador. Rosario has been working with children of all ages, mostly pre-school, for almost 30 years. She has two daughters; one is a psychologist and the other one is a hard-working student.
Sonia came to the United States from Venezuela in her teen years. She joined Lehrman in 2020 with over 25 years of teaching experience. She earned an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, is certified as a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten educator, and has applied her knowledge of traditional learning applications through the Montessori method of learning.
Sonia is a devoted mother and avid volunteer in various ministries, including an outreach program for the elderly. She is a committed dog lover too. Sonia’s favorite teaching method is reading to her students and engaging them to be creative. Sonia feels honored to have the opportunity to teach the Lehrman children. She is looking forward to many years of encouraging the growth of our youngest generation.
Lourdes (Lulu) from Mexico to Reno, Nevada in the early ’90’s where she worked for Merck Pharmaceuticals for over 15 years. However, her passion has always been caring for children. She volunteered to work with neglected children where her passion grew. Escaping the cold weather, she moved to Miami and in 2017, Lourdes joined the Lehrman community. Today she loves the opportunity to work and learn from her students every day. Lourdes enjoys a good book, a walk on the beach, and watching the sunset at South Point with her husband and grown children.
Jachelline, who came to Miami from Colombia in 2002, earned her BS in Family Professional Services. Jachelline says the best part of her job as an early childhood associate is watching the kids learn and grow; she has been doing that at Lehrman since 2005. When not at school, Jachelline enjoys spending time with family and studying.
Lower Elementary: Kindergarten-Grade 2
Betsy, who came to Lehrman in 1994, loves meeting the Meanies, growing gumdrop trees, and making crystals with kindergartners. She also loves sharing memories with returning alumni, including her son, Sam. Betsy received her degree from Florida Atlantic University and did graduate work at Barry University. Betsy, a voracious reader, feels passionate about watching a child develop into a reader, and knowing that she was part of that process. Betsy enjoys antiquing, gardening, sewing, and playing with her dog Dexter.
Jelena was born in Serbia and moved to Oakdale, Long Island in 2001. It was there that she received her BA in History and Economics. We are glad that in 2005 she moved to Miami where she received her Masters Degree from FIU in Liberal Studies and soon became certified for elementary school teaching. Jelena, once a professional rower, loves beaches, parks and anything outdoors; she especially loves spending time with her family. Jelena has three children, Bosko ('19), Magdalena ('21) and Andja, who is a current student.
Sarah, or Ms. T., as she has been known to generations at Lehrman, came to Miami from her native Joliet, IL to study at Barry University. After graduating in 1986, she came to Lehrman and, to our good fortune, never left. All three Terheyden children are Lehrman alums: son, Jake, was Hebrew valedictorian. Ms. T. loves everything about teaching her young students: dancing with her class every morning or engaging them in STEM activities. When not in school, she loves playing in mud...she is an avid OCR enthusiast, participating in Spartan, Tough Mudder and other obstacle course races.
Caren has been inspiring young children for over 15 years. She came to Lehrman from Temple Beth El in Hollywood in 2015 and thoroughly enjoys her work in our Kindergarten. She has worked as a lead teacher in early childhood and is a certified yoga teacher for young children. Caren, the mother of a 'tween' son, is familiar with the rhythms that young children experience and thus, prides herself with the gift of channeling energy in a most productive way in the Kindergarten classroom.
Meryl Rotenberg came to Lehrman in 2020 from the Hebrew Academy. Meryl earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from Yeshiva University in New York and has taught at Hebrew Academy since 2009. If the Rotenberg name seems familiar, it may be because her daughter, Alexandra, spent many years as an associate teacher in Lehrman’s Pre-K classes. In her free time, Meryl enjoys going to the beach, shopping, and spending time with her family.
Caroline is a South Florida native. She grew up playing lacrosse and was the first female lacrosse player recruited from her high school to play at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. After a year in the cold of PA, Caroline transferred to the University of Miami where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in sports medicine.
Caroline joined Lehrman in 2020 and felt an instant connection with its caring and supportive community as it reminded her of the Jewish Day School she grew up going to. As an educator, Caroline’s goal is to develop in each student at an early age - a love of learning so they become lifelong seekers of knowledge.
In her free time Caroline likes to play tennis, go to the beach, spend time with family and play fetch with her dog, Mars.
Ashley came to Lehrman in 2021 with twelve years of teaching experience in both General Education and Special Education settings. Ashley received her BS in Education from the University of Delaware and her MS in Literacy from Hunter College. Ashley is from New Jersey and lived in Manhattan for over 10 years, and is very excited to be living in the Greater Miami area. She was particularly drawn to Lehrman based on the warmth of the faculty, wonderfully nurturing family environment, and core values. She loves teaching and developing close bonds with each of her students to help them reach their fullest potential.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys doing yoga, playing tennis and traveling.
Rebeca began at Lehrman in September, 2019 as a Grade 1 Teaching Associate. She attended BILU, a Jewish school in Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, Venezuela; she completed her degree in civil engineering from the Technion in Haifa, Israel in 1972. In 1983, Rebeca joined the staff at Moral y Luces Herzl Bialik, a Community Jewish school in Caracas, Venezuela. During her 35 years at the school she taught mathematics and computer sciences. For 17 years she was also the Coordinator of the Department of Education Information. In 2017 Rebeca moved to the US and began working at Jewish day schools. For the past 18 years, together with the Sochnut’s (Jewish Agency for Israel) Branch of Education trips for diaspora students, she has worked to plan 5-7 week trips for Grade 10 students.
After finishing her education courses at CCNY, Esther moved to Florida in 1975. She concentrated on starting a business and a family, but after enrolling her children in David Posnack Hebrew Day School, her volunteer time turned into work. Since 1987, her education background put her back in the classroom doing what she loves to do. Esther’s children are now grown: her son is an attorney, and her daughter is an interior designer. In her spare time, she enjoys the water, art/music festivals, traveling, reading, and cooking organically.
Valerie was born in Paris, France. When just a tween, she moved to Manhattan where she lived for seventeen years. She graduated from New York University in 1985 with a BA. In 1993, she moved to Florida and now resides in Hollywood with her two teenage boys. After being employed for eight years as a preschool teacher at Temple Beth El Preschool, she decided it was time to "move her cheese,” to start a new chapter at Lehrman as a Grade 2 Teaching Associate. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys the beach, dancing, and photography.
Allison was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Special Education from Drexel University. She was drawn to Lehrman in 2013, based on the warmth of the school and the wonderfully nurturing family-like environment. She enjoys conducting research in the field of education, and on the weekends, volunteers with children who have autism. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, sailing, and traveling.
Irina is originally from the New England area where she received her BA in Elementary Education. She has over ten years of teaching experience in various grade levels and every year looks forward to sharing her love of learning with the Lehrman students. Being a graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School in Rhode Island, she is very familiar with the routines and expectations of Jewish Day Schools and shares a love for the culture and camaraderie that comes along with it! Irina has two children, Donald and Maya.
Emily Kanter is a Lehrman alumna and has become an integral part of the Lehrman family. Emily earned her BA in Judiac Studies from Tulane University. While completing her degree, she discovered her love for education and took several courses in elementary education. Emily was a substitute teacher at Lehrman during the 2020-2021 school year and became a favorite amongst the students. In 2021, Emily joined Lehrman full-time, teaching students who maybe one day will also be Lehrman teachers!
Ariel earned her BA from Florida Atlantic University in Digital Media Communications and comes to us from Miami Country Day School where she was a teaching associate. Ariel has also worked in marketing and as a kids spirituality teacher. She has experience teaching each child how to connect with his/her best self to achieve success. Additionally, Ariel taught diverse forms of dance to young children both at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC and elsewhere. Her many skills make her a valuable addition to the Lehrman family.
Joanne received her BS in Elementary Education from Penn State University. She taught elementary education in Montgomery County Maryland for 20 years, and she and her husband raised her daughter, Jill and son, Adam. She relocated to Florida in 2015 to be near her son, daughter-in-law and beautiful grandson, Adrian. After teaching Grade 2 at The Gordon School, Ms. Silberstein came to Lehrman as an Associate Teacher and is thrilled to be a part of our family. Outside of school, she enjoys exercising, reading, and cooking.
Lauren moved to Miami in 2007 from New York and has lived here ever since. She has 3 children, all of whom attended Lehrman and are proud Lehrman alumni. Lauren has worked at Lehrman for 2 years in all grade levels. She really enjoys getting to know the students and being a part of their classrooms.
Before joining the Lehrman team, Lauren worked with special-needs children, both one-on-one and in a classroom setting. She also worked in a preschool in NY before having her own children. Lauren is a registered behavior technician and a certified personal trainer. In her free time, she loves to go running.
Upper Elementary: Grade 3-5
Hope received an MA in Arts and Education from Towson University and taught Grade 2 for five years at Miami Country Day School before joining us at Lehrman in 2012. Hope, who has experience working with elementary students through Grade 5, was very enthusiastic about returning to her Jewish Day School origins; she is a graduate of Krieger Jewish Day School in Baltimore, MD. Hope’s daughters Soleil and Simone are Lehrman students.
Although born in Buffalo, Karen Freedman Alvarez grew up in Columbus, Ohio, becoming a Buckeyes fanatic. Karen moved to Miami and joined Lehrman in 1983 and never looked back. She loves her students, treating them as if they are her own children. Outside of school, Karen spends time with family, loves to walk on the beach, plays tennis, and fishes on the family's flats boat. Son Eddie, a Lehrman alum, often returns to the school to serve as a counselor on school trips.
Lindsey is a Miami native and Jewish day school alumna. She graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a BS in Early Childhood Education, and is a die-hard Seminole fan! After graduating, Lindsey returned to Miami and began teaching pre-kindergarten for the Gordon School of Beth David. She joined Lehrman in 2014 as a first grade assistant and is now an elementary teacher. Outside of school, Lindsey loves paddle-boarding, snow-skiing, sailing, and spending time with her family.
Rebecca, who was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, attended Purdue University and graduated with degrees in both photography and art history. She despaired of the cold weather and after taking time to travel, Rebecca decided to take her skills to sunny Miami. She found her first job in education at Miami Country Day School where she enjoyed many years as a K-12 Media Specialist before she joined Lehrman’s faculty in 2017. Rebecca and her family live in Biscayne Point, and in her free time she loves kayaking and spending time with her son and their dogs.
Janet is Lehrman’s resident Brit and so it is no surprise that she loves to teach the European history component of the Grade 4 Core Knowledge curriculum! Her favorite activity is the 'Wax Museum’ project. Janet began teaching at Lehrman in 1981 and her children, Amanda and Jeremy, are both Lehrman graduates. She has a bachelor’s degree from FIU and a Master’s in Education from Nova Southeastern University. Janet serves as Lehrman’s Core Knowledge coordinator.
Kenny, who began his career at Lehrman in 2013 teaming up with Karen Alvarez, received his MA in Reading from Barry University. He is a veteran teacher with a background of working in both independent, Jewish day, and public schools. Kenny is a firm believer that school is a place where ideas and education should be facilitated more than taught. Kenny teaches a special class for Lehmran students in meditation and breathing. In his free time, he can be found at the beach surfing.
Judi is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and has been at Lehrman since 2003. She has taught a variety of age groups -including Grade 5, Grade 2, as well as reading and writing across several grade levels. Judi’s identical twin daughters, Marti and Dani, attended Lehrman from Toddlers through Elementary. Outside of school, Judi enjoys Barry's Bootcamp, spinning, cooking, and reading.
Cintia is from Argentina where she earned her Masters in Education and Psychology. She later came to Miami with her husband, daughter, and son. It was here in Miami where Cintia obtained certification in grades K-6 General Studies, and in K-12 Spanish Education. Cintia sees every day in the classroom as an opportunity to encourage students to push boundaries, find their potential, and work to the best of their abilities. She believes that every single child has a special strength and that guiding them to find that strength helps them become successful young adults.
Jackie moved from Caracas, Venezuela to the United States in 2002. She lived in Philadelphia, PA where she received her AA degree in Early Childhood Education. While living in Philadelphia, she worked in a preschool and realized she had a lot of patience and loved working with kids. In 2010, she moved to Miami. Jackie married in the summer of 2014, and has two boys who are both Lehrman Lions. In her spare time, she enjoys travel and shopping!
Hebrew & Jewish Studies
Morah Monica joined Lehrman as a Hebrew and Jewish Studies teacher in 2014. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monica learned to speak Hebrew and graduated with a Hebrew teacher’s degree. She taught Hebrew for 15 years in the elementary department of the Sholem Aleichem school until 2002 when she moved to Guadalajara, Mexico. There she taught in the “Colegio Israelita” for both elementary and middle school. In 2005, Monica and her family moved to Miami where she joined Beth Moshe as an early childhood teacher. Monica became acquainted with Lehrman as early as 2004 when her children attended the school; now she is an integral part of Lehrman and for many Early Childhood students, a favorite.
Sigal is a mother of four and was born in Israel where she served as a commander in the IDF. Following her service, Sigal was a Shlichah (emissary) and Youth Director in Belem, Brazil. Sigal received a B.ED. in the History and Geography of Israel, specializing in Experiential Education, and an M.A in Hebrew as a Second Language from Middlebury College of Languages. She is fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, and Portuguese. Sigal has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and Jewish educator. She believes that learning Hebrew, Jewish values, and learning about Israel should be interactive and fun.
Rachel, a sabra, takes great pleasure in helping children develop Hebrew and Judaic skills. Mother of three and grandmother of nine, Rachel began her career at Beth Torah Day School. She studied at St. Thomas University, earning her CDA in Kindergarten Education, and her Hebrew Teachers license while at Temple Menorah’s religious school. Rachel has been at Lehrman since 2000. Known for her joyful spirit, deep love for Judaism, and personal connection with her students, Rachel specializes in the TaL AM and Chalav u'Dvash curricula.
Morah Tiki came to the US from Kfar Giladi located in the Upper Galilee where she began her teaching career. She received her degree at Seminar Oranim of the University of Haifa. After teaching at Lehrman from 2000-2004, she moved to Kol Ami, but Lehrman was always home. Morah Tiki teaches both Hebrew and Jewish Studies, bringing her special flavor of Israel and imparting her deep love of the subjects she teaches. Tiki is married and has four sons and seven grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading and films.
Mika was born in Israel’s Galilee and she served in the Israeli Air Force as a Human Resources Coordinator. She came to the US in 2005 with a love for kids, a passion for child development, and a smile that won't quit. She believes in a loving and gentle learning environment to develop self-esteem, creativity, learning skills, and imagination. Her hobbies include spending time with family, spending time in nature, art, yoga, dance, and travel. Mika has a daughter, Gaya and a son, Eitan.
Mali was born and raised in northern Israel, where she served in the Israeli Air force and graduated from Kinneret College. While working at Lehrman as an Elementary Associate, she worked to complete her Judaic and Hebrew teacher’s licensing through CAJE and Tal AM professional development training. Mali later moved to Miami from New York with her family. Her sons, David and Daniel, and daughter Liya, are also part of our Lehrman family.
Angella grew up in Israel where she served in the Intelligence Force of the Israeli army. She earned her BA in Special Education from Levinsky College of Education, Tel-Aviv. Angela moved to Florida in 2013 after a sojourn of 11 years in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2014, with 12 years of teaching experience behind her, Angella joined Lehrman. Angella and her husband have three children; the youngest daughter, Lior, is a Lehrman student. Angella is fluent in four languages: English ,Hebrew, Russian, and Thai! She enjoys reading, cooking, dancing, and being with the family.
Mr. Daniel was born in Argentina and came to the United States in 2001. He studied economics at the University of Buenos Aires and ran a company that entertained and amused children at thousands of birthday parties. Daniel is also a composer and his children's song “yo nunca vi” (I never saw) has more than 25 million views on YouTube in its various international versions. He worked at Lehrman from 2004 to 2008 and returned in 2014. Father of two (his son is a physician and his daughter in international PR), Daniel is a soccer fan and enjoys barbecues with family and friends.
Gabrielle Levy is Lehrman’s in-house occupational therapist. She earned her Master's of Science in Occupational Therapy from Touro College in Manhattan, NY. She is a licensed occupational therapist with licenses to practice in both New York and Florida. Gabrielle has always had a passion for working with children and has over four years of experience in a school based setting. Gabrielle uses play-based interventions that are motivating while establishing and maintaining the just-right challenge to target the child's goals and to meet each child's individual needs.
Coach Gabe, born and raised in Miami Beach, came to Lehrman from the Miami Beach JCC where he coached and curated children’s programming for four years. During that time, he realized how much he enjoys not only coaching kids and tapping into their athletic abilities, but also learning from them and playing a part in their growth and development. Gabe is currently pursuing a degree in primary education at Miami Dade College.When he is not teaching, he enjoys working out and improving his personal fitness.
Coach Aaron, a native Miamian, is a trained EMT and paramedic. After working in the medical field, he decided to return to school and pursue a degree at FIU. Aaron has coached for the City of North Miami and Village of Miami Shores. He came to Lehrman in 1998. Not surprisingly, Coach’s favorite place to be is outside: gardening, bike riding, running, swimming, and going to the beach. He works out frequently and plays on a competitive flag football team.
Michael joined Lehrman in 2005, and hails from Canada where he received a BFA from McGill University. He is a father of four, including two Lehrman alums. Using Bells, Xylophones, flutophones, drums, guitars and of course voices, the children produce beautiful music and learn to read at the same time. A major passion for Michael is producing Lehrman’s Musical Theatre productions, which have included Aladdin, Fiddler on the Roof, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and currently, School of Rock. Outside of school, Michael serves as a professional musical director and musician.
Hayley, a Lehrman alum, received a BA in American Studies and Psychology from Columbia University. She uses her broad knowledge to make Science a dynamic class. She loves telling students about how the world works around them and encourages them to "think like scientists!” Hayley's passion for teaching stems from her time as a teacher in Breakthrough Miami. In college, she worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Freedom and Citizenship Program, leading her own sections, preparing students for college, and tutoring. During her free time, Hayley loves finding ways to make life eco-friendly, reading, cooking, and soaking up vitamin D.
Jill graduated with a double major in Consumer Journalism and Communication from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She discovered yoga unintentionally as a way to escape the noise of city life. Falling deeply in love with the practice, community and benefits of yoga; Jill became a certified instructor through Corepower Yoga (200HR E-RYT + Sculpt) and is recognized on Yoga Alliance. With the birth of her nephew, Jack, in 2018, he became the inspiration behind her expansion of yoga training towards children, adolescents, and trauma students. (95hr RCYT certification through Yoga ed.) In 2020, Jill launched her own yoga platform: Jack and Jill Yoga, Inc. -- www.jackandjillyoga.com.
What Jill has learned throughout her yoga journey and what she conveys to her students is that yoga is an ongoing practice and exploration of self-study. Jill’s intentions for her students is to feel welcomed, safe, supported, imaginative, and curious to explore something new, and have fun, exiting the practice with confidence and calmness!
Belen was born and raised in Miami but has origins in Nicaragua. Belen has always had a passion for working with children and has volunteered and worked at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Belen received her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from West Coast University and worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center in the oncology department for three years. In her spare time, she loves to travel and go to the beach.
José has lived in many places -- born in Cuba, studied in the Northeast, worked in the Caribbean and the Southeast --and then he came to Lehrman in 2000 to man our accounting department with his cheerful optimism and endless patience. Jose has two grown daughters, Solange-Marie and Nicole-Suzette. His wife, Marcia, is an expert in special education. Outside of work, Jose enjoys sports and TV, and he reads self-help books and biblical-related literature.
Stella is often the first face you see when you walk into the Lehrman office. You will recognize Stella if you frequent the Miami Beach JCC where she wore many hats before she started at Lehrman in 2019, including: Director of Membership Services, Front Desk Supervisor, and Registrar and Camp Office Administrator.
Born in Barcelona, Ruth left at six and lived in the Caribbean, Florida, and Long Island before coming to Miami Beach in 1992. Ruth graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in Psychology. At Lehrman since 2005, she feels right at home here. In her free time, Ruth can be found at the beach, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, or bike riding. Fond of detective/spy novels, she enjoys documentaries and anything regarding history. A soft spot in her heart is for animals; given the opportunity and funds, Ruth would travel the world to do good. Ruth is fluent in English, Spanish, and Catalan.
Maya moved from Israel to the states at an early age and loves living in sunny South Florida. Graduating from Florida International University with a degree in Psychology, Maya always had a passion for education. She quickly found her love for teaching and working with children. After holding both teaching and administrative positions at Brauser Maimonides Academy for six years, Maya was thrilled to join the Lehrman family. Maya enjoys time with her family, her pets or simply spending time outdoors.