Faculty & Staff Directory
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.
Janet started her relationship with Lehrman Community Day School as a parent who eventually became PTA President. She has worked for Lehrman since 1993 and is now Chief Operating Officer. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Janet earned a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Endicott College. She managed, owned and operated restaurants in Massachusetts before moving to Miami in 1981. Janet and husband Michael have two children, Jennifer and Jonathan, both graduates of Lehrman. The third generation, granddaughter Logan, followed in their footsteps and is also a Lehrman alum. Janet loves being a grandmother, traveling, cruising and visiting with her family, but two other notable claims to fame are that her ice sculpture was selected for her college graduation awards dinner and she had a cameo appearance in the 1998 film “There’s Something About Mary.”
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. Erica was 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 and 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 the day school there. Tel Aviv University certified Ayala to train 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 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.
Vanessa Shamosh is a native of Mexico who has lived in South Florida with her family since 2003. Vanessa came to Lehrman with over fifteen years of experience in not-for-profit Jewish organizations.
With a background in Political Science, she is a dynamic individual who has held a variety of administrative and leadership roles in our community, including programming, communications, and admissions. For Vanessa, Jewish Day School is the place where her personal and professional Jewish journeys intersect. She is passionate about Jewish education and strongly believes in the impact that Jewish day school has on students.
Vanessa lived in Israel where she attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Mechina. She is a graduate of Prizmah’s Atidenu Program and of the JTS’ Day School Leadership Training Institute. She is often invited to speak at independent school and Jewish day school conferences . She has also mentored other admissions professionals.
In her free time, Vanessa enjoys running, spinning, scuba diving, reading, and going on nature adventures with her family.
Dr. Raquel Heisler, Director of Education, came to Lehrman three years ago 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 one 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. She taught many different grade levels but the majority of her teaching and leadership experience is in kindergarten - grade 4. 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. She also earned a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University in 2003. She received her 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.
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 two kids, Natan and Mia, both of whom attend Lehrman.
Early Childhood: TURNING TWOS
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.
Maribel has taught almost every age group at Lehrman and was even a Camp Lehrman counselor. She was born and raised in Caracas 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.
Stacey, is a Miami Beach native and a Lehrman alumna. She feels so blessed to connect with parents and their children to bring smiles on their faces. Her greatest joy is to watch the progress of her students' journeys and their growth throughout the school year. Stacey worked at the Miami Beach JCC for 7 years. In her free time, she loves spending time with family frand iends, watching all Miami sports.
Licet joined the Lehrman staff full-time as an assistant 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.
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.
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).
Early Childhood: TODDLERS
Joanie has a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been a preschool teacher for 13 years. Joanie joined Lehrman in 2018 and has really enjoyed teaching her students and watching the progress they have made over the years.
Jessica joined the Lehrman team in early 2015. A graduate of Barry University and a fourth generation Floridian, Ms. Jessica's philosophy is to provide a safe and positive learning environment while encouraging children to learn, explore, and express themselves in a safe, loving environment. Her energetic personality makes her a perfect fit for our Early Childhood department.
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.
Edline has been working with children since 2000. A toddler associate teacher at Lehrman since 2016, Edline enjoys every aspect of teaching and loves how much her students teach her as she is teaching them. Edline treasures the opportunity to work with young children and to be a part of their foundation years at school.
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.
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. Rosario is very excited to be a part of the Lehrman family!
Lucia Marino is an assocaite in our Toddlers program. Lucia worked previously at the Suzy Fischer Early Childhood Academy where she was known for her love of art and her expertise in tapping into the emotional and developmental needs of her students through art.
Silvia Sapirsztein joins us from the Suzy Fischer Early Childhood Academy. She has worked in early childhood for the past seven years and enjoys building strong relationships with her students.
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 others and giving back to the community. In her free time, she loves to go for walks, read, journal, and learn new things. Silvia is so thrilled to be a part of such a great school.
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.
Karen came to Lehrman in 2013 from California where she earned an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood from Lake Tahoe Community College. Karen has been passionate about teaching for decades and she finds teaching some of the first foundations of early childhood education important and rewarding. Karen is grateful for what she is privileged to do everyday. Karen and her husband, “an amazing man,” have three young-adult children and two little chihuahuas.
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.
Jenna joined the Lehrman team in 2020 after substituting for Lehrman on a consistant basis. She taught in Colorado for 30 years; most recently she worked as a preschool teacher nearby at Tauber Academy in Aventura. Jenna has a degree in elementary education from Pittsburgh State University. Ms. Jenna has two grown children and one grandchild.
Erica recently 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. In college, she had the opportunity to teach lessons in person and via Zoom.
My name is Ms. Ana Silva. I was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S. 26 years ago. I got married to my husband, Marcos, 18 years ago, and we have two beautiful daughters. I speak both English and Spanish. I studied Early Childhood and have many years of experience teaching preschoolers. I am also a Registered Behavior Technician and have experience working with special needs children. My passion is to be creative, play, learn, and watch kids grow.
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!"
Early Childhood: PRE-KINDERGARTEN
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 assistant 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.
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 PK 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).
During Jen’s 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.
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.
Hallie Cajuste will join the Lehrman team from Miami Country Day's summer camp where she directed the arts program. Hallie is currently earning her degree from Florida Memorial University. Hallie will join us in Pre-K, working with Ms. Ingrid.
Sara was thrilled to join the Lehrman team in 2020 after experiencing the warmth of the Lehrman community as a parent. She earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida and has over 10 years of experience working with children and families as a clinical therapist. After having two children of her own she decided to pursue her longtime dream of becoming an educator. Sara is certified in both preschool and elementary education. Her two children Alexander and Madeleine both attend Lehrman. In her free time she loves traveling, hiking, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Lower Elementary: GRADES K-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, 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. Mrs. 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.
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 PK. In her free time, Meryl enjoys going to the beach, shopping, and spending time with her family.
Gina Schwartzman is a native New Yorker. She taught kindergarten at Lehrman through the 2020-2021 school year and is excited to teach first grade. Her teaching experience has ranged from pre-k through second grade. 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.
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.
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 winter cold, 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 in. 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.
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 2nd grade teaching assistant. 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.
Melissa was born and raised in the West Palm Beach area. She obtained a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida. The desire for seasons and snow drew Ms. Simani to North Carolina where she taught second grade at the Lerner School and later to Washington, DC where she taught Third grade at the Jewish Primary Day School. After her ten year exile from Florida, Melissa returned in the summer of 2018 to marry Simon, and fortuitously, join Lehrman’s faculty. In her free time, Ms. Simani enjoys yoga, running, hiking, and traveling to new places.
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.
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.
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 second grade 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.
Ariel Auerbach joins Kindergarten as Ms. Jelena’s teaching associate. 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.
Emily Kanter is a Lehrman alumna and is already an integral part of our 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 this past year - her jovial and upbeat personality quickly made her a favorite amongst children in various grades. Emily will team up with Ms. Kapp as her teaching associate in grade one.
Kyle received her MA in Educational Leadership from Barry University and BA in Elementary Education from Florida International University. She has a wealth of experience as a teacher, curriculum specialist, reading resource teacher, and as an assistant principal in Miami-Dade County.
After earning her first masters in school counseling in 2013 from Hunter College, Alixandra decided to dip her toes into teaching. It was once she started teaching that she learned it was her true passion. She soon decided to go back to earn her second masters at Hunter College for Early Childhood and Special Education (birth-2nd). During those years she worked at the 92 Street Y Nursery School with the 4.5/5 year olds. She absolutely love learning with and from the children about their passions. Alixandra wholeheartedly believes that the classroom is a family and we all must work together and respect each other. Working with fellow teachers, Alixandra wants to show the children that making "mistakes" is more than okay and that we are always learning and growing.
Rebeca began at Lehrman in September, 2019 as a 1st grade 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 worked 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 planned 5-7 week trips for 10th grade students.
Upper Elementary: GRADES 3-5
Although born in Buffalo, Karen Freedman Alvarez grew up in Columbus, Ohio, becoming a Buckeyes fanatic. Karen moved to Miami and 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, walks the beach, plays tennis, and fishes on the family's flats boat. Son Eddie, a Lehrman alum, who was a Bar Mitzvah on Thanksgiving, Karen’s favorite holiday, now 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.
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 who comes to us 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.
Janet is Lehrman’s resident Brit and so it is no surprise that she loves to teach the European history component of the 4th grade 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 and Janet serves as Lehrman’s Core Knowledge coordinator.
Hope received an MA in Arts and Education from Towson University and taught second grade for five years at Miami Country Day School, before joining us at Lehrman in 2012. Hope, who has experience working with elementary students through fifth grade, 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.
Judi is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and has been at Lehrman since 2003. She has taught a variety of age groups -- fifth grade, second grade as well as writing across the curriculum and across the grades. When she teaches reading, which she loves doing, she always completes the assignment, modeling the sharing with the students. Judi’s identical twin daughters, Marti and Dani, attended Lehrman from toddlers through upper elementary. Outside of school, Judi enjoys Barry's Bootcamp, spinning, cooking, and reading.
Originally from Argentina, where she earned her Masters in Education and Psychology, Cintia came to Miami with her husband, and their daughter and son. Once here they adopted a tri-color beagle named "Missy.” It was also here that Cintia obtained certification in K-6th Grade General Studies, and in K-12th Grade Spanish teaching. 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 capabilities. She believes that every single child has a special strength and that guiding them to find that strength helps them become successful young adults.
Ashleigh grew up in Ontario, Canada, and moved to Miami Beach when she married Mark. She earned her BS in Journalism from FIU, and her MS in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. Ashleigh taught 2nd grade at the RASG Hebrew Academy before joining the Lehrman family with sons Sammy, Matthew, and Joshua who flourished at Lehrman, from Turning Twos through fifth grade. When not in the classroom, Ashleigh enjoys working out, spending time with family, and traveling. She especially loves unwinding from the school year in Colorado, where she can be found playing tennis, hiking, and doing paddleboard yoga.
Elizabeth, a Miami native and Lehrman alum, earned her BA in Psychology from Duke University. Her passion for teaching and working with children grew while living in North Carolina, where she worked with kindergarten students at project-based private and public schools. She is excited to now join and support the third grade team at Lehrman. With past experience as a brand manager, creativity, curiosity, innovation and teamwork have always been at the core of her everyday. In the classroom, Elizabeth looks forward to building an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere that fosters a collaborative learning environment for all students. During her free time, Elizabeth loves bike riding, art, yoga, exploring new areas, traveling, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with family.
Ashley comes to Lehrman 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, she enjoys doing yoga, playing tennis 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 grades levels and looks forward to sharing her love of learning with the Lehrman students. Being a graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School in RI, she is greatly familiar with the routines and expectations of secular schools and shares a love for the culture and camaraderie that comes along with it! She has two children, Donald and Maya, who are very excited to experience the warmth and closeness of the Lehrman community.
Tina, who has taught generations of Lehrman children, came to the school in 1987 from our neighbor, Biscayne Elementary. While teaching at Lehrman, Tina also did testing at Feinberg Fischer for ten years. A native of Cuba, Tina has two grown children and two granddaughters and a grandson. Tina loves to knit and study Bible. Tina aids abused women in a shelter supported by her church and she works weekly with delinquent teens in an effort to steer them toward more productive pursuits.
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 aprt of their class rooms.
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 go running.
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. She loves being an Associate in our Kindergarten. Jackie married in the summer of 2014, and added to their family in 2015, which cut back some on her spare time activities: travel and shopping!
Jerusalem born Morah Etti served in the military police in the Israeli army, occasionally guarding prisoners. She came to America to visit her brother; the visit turned into forever when she met and married Adam. Etti earned her Master’s in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education from Siegal College and taught for 15 years in Jewish day schools in Atlanta, serving as a pilot teacher in the TaLAm program. Eti enjoys reading and computers, and of course family, which includes three sons, one of whom is currently a Lehrman student.
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 in the “Colegio Israelita” she taught in both elementary and middle school. In 2005, Monica and her family migrated 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 glad to return using all her experience and skills as a teacher.
Sigal, the mother of four, 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 teaching 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 Israel should be interactive, fun, and relevant for the student’s age.
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 USA from Kfar Giladi 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, two of which are students at Lehrman. She enjoys swimming, reading and films.
Angella grew up in Israel where she served in the intelligence forces in 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.
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 Talam professional development training. Mali moved to Miami from New York with her family. Her sons, David and Daniel, and daughter Liya, are part of our Lehrman family.
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 her constant smile, her love of kids and great passion for child development is clear. She believes in a loving and gentle learning environment to develop self esteem, creativity, learning skills, and imagination. Mika also has a deep connection to Judaism and Israeli culture. Her hobbies include spending time with family, relating to nature, art, yoga, dance, and travel. Mika has a daughter, Gaya and a son, Eitan.
Mr. Daniel, who was born in Argentina, 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.
Gabe, born and raised in Miami Beach, came to Lehrman from the Miami Beach JCC where he coached and did children’s programming for four years. During that time he realized he really 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. He 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 and he tries to squeeze in family time as well.
Deborah’s students will tell you that there are no mistakes in art; they also put everything into their work. Deborah is an excellent role model: In between her BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts), Magna Cum Laude and her MFA, both from the University of Miami, Deborah worked in her studio and had her own showings. She also studied art and art history in Italy, as well as ceramics at Alfred University in New York. At Lehrman Deborah has taught all ages and her students have participated and competed in competitions such as the Miami-Dade County Fair, the American Bar Association Law Day contest and the Miami Jewish Federation’s High Holiday Card Contest. She loves to create art, bake, travel and be with family, including daughter Sarah, a Lehrman alum.
Coach Aaron, a native Miamian, trained to be an EMT and a Paramedic. Later he returned to FIU and 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 walking around for vitamin D.
Diane became a techie before IBM developed the PC! After years in business, she taught at Bet Shira Solomon Schechter Day School and then Temple Beth Am. Diane came to Lehrman in 2006 to teach and take responsibility for all things technological. Diane loves finding new areas of technology to excite learning in our students. Mother of two married sons and grandmother to Julia, Ethan, Annabelle, and June, Diane is also a past Region President of Hadassah; she currently serves in a leadership position on the National Assembly.
Ilana is a graduate of Mills College (BA in Education) and Nova SoutheasternUniversity (MA Educational 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 helped us define and grow our iKnow Emporium as it develops as the hub of learning and discovery at Lehrman.
Jill is excited to return back to her hometown of Miami after living in New York City. Jill graduated with a double major in Consumer Journalism and Communication from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Go Badgers! Jill 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!
Jill’s Mantra: “You are just five breaths away from calm”
Nicole came to Lehrman as our counselor in 2010 from the Dan Marino Center where she worked with children with disabilities. Before that she founded and ran the outpatient children and teen program at Ft. Lauderdale Hospital for depressed and anxious adolescents.
At Lehrman she works with children in classrooms, in small groups and individually, both pro-actively and as needs arise. Ms. Nicole, as she is fondly known school-wide, received her BA from the University of Kansas and her MS. from Pratt Institute, specifically in Creative Arts Therapy with a speciality in Movement Therapy. She trained at both Mount Sinai and St. Vincent Hospitals in New York City, achieving Board Certification there. She also worked at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Her over twenty years of experience include working with both families and children, and especially children with behavioral issues, learning disabilities depression, among other mental health issues and she is certified to work with children on and with: Mindfulness, anxiety, anger management, ADD and autism. When she is not at school, Nicole enjoys spending time with her family, including Lehrman students Tommy '18 and Alexandra '21.
Mariet, a LPN, joined Lehrman in 2018 with a number of certifications and licenses as well as extensive experience in hospital and home health care pediatric nursing. Mariet has a Diploma in Nursing from Mercy Hospital School of Practical Nursing, an Associates in Arts from Broward College, and is on her way to a BS in nursing from Broward College. When not being a skilled nursing professional, Mariet loves being the mom of her elementary-school daughter, and even finds time for cooking, health and fitness, reading, dancing, and travel.
Cantor Joshua joined Lehrman in 2016 as the Director of Jewish Life. He also serves as cantor at neighboring Temple Menorah.
Using innovative teaching methods, Cantor Josh seeks to inspire our children to love their heritage. He teaches about tefillah (prayer), Jewish holidays, Jewish values, and parashat hashavua (the Torah portion of the week). His unique games and activities, along with his weaving of classic Jewish stories, makes his class time both exciting and anticipated.
Cantor Josh has served as Rosh Chinuch (Jewish Education head) at Camps Ramah in Canada and Judah West. He also worked at the American Jewish Committee headquarters as the Assistant Director of Domestic Policy and Legal Affairs where he lobbied and presented amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on issues relevant to the Jewish community and religious freedoms. He lived in Jerusalem where he worked as a writer and editor for the Jerusalem Post. At Temple Menorah, along with preparing children (including many Lehrman graduates) for their bar and bat mitzvah, Cantor Josh creates innovative Jewish programming.
Cantor Josh grew up in Atlanta and is a Braves fan, but he and his wife have made Miami home. When not at Lehrman or Menorah, Cantor Josh can be found working on his latest Jewish music album, playing basketball, wiffleball, or riding bikes with their three children.
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 is thrilled to join the Lehrman family. Maya enjoys time with her family, her pets or simply spending time outdoors.
Lehrman is fortunate that Brooklyn-born Amy came to Miami. Amy brought her three children to Lehrman, loved it so much that she became president of the parent association, and is now administrative assistant and teaches after school dance and theater classes. Amy, who started dancing at the age of three and continued into her 20s, performed and taught dance for 15 years. Her current favorite is hip hop. Besides time spent with her family or on the dance floor, Amy likes to travel.
“Papa Joe,” beloved by generations of Lehrman kids, was born in Haiti, grew up in Brooklyn, and moved to Miami in 1976. He has been strategizing Heats games with Lehrman students, parents and staff since 1996, but his heart has always belonged to his beloved Yankees. Papa is at Lehrman when the sun rises and he is still here way past sunset, yet he still finds time to watch sports, read, and spend time with his wife and their five children.
Ruby, who has been at Lehrman since 2005, was born in South Carolina, but moved to Florida when she was five. She lived in New York for 20 years while her children finished school, but then moved back here where she has lived ever since. Ruby has three daughters and one son, and five grandchildren, all of whom live in New York; she visits them over the winter break. Away from Lehrman, Ruby spends time at church, attending services several times a day on Sundays.
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.