Meet Our ECP Staff

Nan Blank - Director

NanHeadShotNan Blank has been an Early Childhood Educator for over 35 years. Joining Kol Ami’s senior staff in 2004 she brings with her a wealth of experience in early childhood and family education. Nan teaches our First Friends class for families with young children.

Nan comes from a Reform Jewish background, growing up in Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, New York. She has served in a number of lay leadership positions. Before moving to Rye Brook with her husband and children over 20 years ago, Nan developed holiday programs for families of young children at Temple Emanuel of Andover Massachusetts where she also served as both Sisterhood President and Vice President of the Temple. A former member of Larchmont Temple, she served as WRJ President and was responsible for developing the Cradle Roll Holiday Programs at the Temple. Nan is a former member of the Camp Commission for URJ’s Eisner and Crane Lake camps for 12 years and has taught parenting classes for Parenting Horizons in New York City.
Nan holds a BS in Psychology and Special Education from Russell Sage College and an MS in Special Education and Early Childhood Education from the Bank Street College.
Nan and her husband Wesley, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in NYC and a practicing Mohel, live in Westchester and have three wonderful daughters and two adorable son-in-laws and three precious granddaughters!

Tracey Schweber - Administration

TraceySchweberHi, my name is Tracey Schweber. I am very happy to be continuing at Kol Ami this year in the ECP office. I have lived in Scarsdale for the past 19 years with my husband and three children. I have been an active community member and PTA volunteer, chairing various committees. I am an avid baker (banana bread is my specialty), enjoy traveling and going to Broadway shows. I am an active member of the Food Allergy Initiative, as I have firsthand experience living with and parenting children with food allergies.  My love of children and working in a caring and compassionate environment is what makes Kol Ami such a nice place to come to every day.

 

Lisa Cohen - Administrative

lisacohenHi my name is Lisa Cohen. I am excited to be part of the Kol Ami ECP family working with Nan and Tracey in the office. I have lived in Edgemont for the past 19 years and have 3 children. I have been very active in the community as a volunteer, president of the PTA and on the PTSA board. I love travelling, going to theater, playing Maj Jong and bridge. I am really enjoying coming to such a fun and caring place every day.

 

 

Jodi Ruzumna - 2's

jodiruzumnaMy name is Jodi Ruzumna.  I am a head teacher in the 2's.  I received my B.A. from the University of Michigan.  I have a M.A. in Elementary/Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.  I am certified to teach nursery through 6th grade.  I live in Scarsdale with my husband, daughter, and son.  I love being part of the ECP Community and look forward to each new and exciting school year.

 

 

 

Paula Altneu - 2's

PaulaAltneuMy name is Paula Altneu and I am a head Teacher of the five day 2’s. I’ve been working at Kol Ami for over 25 years. Previously I worked for the New York State Experimental Pre-k Program. I hold a Master’s Degree in Early childhood Education from the Herbert Lehman College of the City of New York. I have 2 children, 2 sons- in- law, and 3 grandchildren and one cute dog named Cooper.

 

 

 

Jackie Kay - 2's

JackieKayFinalMy name is Jackie Kay and I am a Head Teacher in the 2’s. I have a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education from Hunter College. A lifelong learner, I am also Orton-Gillingham trained by a fellow in the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators to teach literacy to people with Dyslexia and learning differences.  I have been a teacher since 2005. I live in Ardsley with my husband and two children.

 

 

Barbara Weiner - 2's

BarbaraWeinerMy name is Barbara Weiner and I am a Head Teacher of the 3 day 2’s. This is my 13th year teaching at Kol Ami. I have a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. I live here in White Plains. I have three children and a French Bulldog named Coby.

 

 

 

Barbara Schwartz - 2's

BarbaraSchwartzMy name is Barbara Schwartz and I’ve been teaching the three day 2’s at Kol Ami for over 25 years. Previously I taught High School English in the New York Public School system and I hold a Masters in Education from Hunter College of the University of the State of New York. I have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, four grandchildren and an empty nest with my husband. I was inspired to begin working at the Kol Ami after my own children attended this wonderful school. I love being in the 2’s – it never gets tiring!

 

 

Debbie Klein - 2's

DebbieKleinMy name is Debbie Klein. I have been a Co-Teacher in the 2’s at the ECP at Kol Ami for many years. I received my B.A. in Education from SUNY Buffalo and previously taught kindergarten. I live in Rye Brook with my husband, two children and two dogs. I love working in the 2’s!

 

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Cheryl Bernstein - 2's

CherylBernsteinHi! My name is Cheryl Bernstein. I have been a Co-Teacher in the 2’s at the ECP since 2008. I received a B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Albany and have a Child Development Associate certificate in early childhood education from the National Child Care Council. I currently live in Scarsdale with my husband and two sons. I love being a part of this wonderful Kol Ami community!

 

 

 

Laura Abramsky - 2's

LauraAbramskyHi my name is Laura Abramsky. I have been an assistant 2’s teacher at Kol Ami since 2004 years. I have a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University and have completed my Child Development Associate certificate in early childhood education from the national The Child Care Council. I live in Edgemont and have two children. My daughter lives in New York City and my son graduated from college and lives at home.

 

 

 

Lisa Lawrence - 2's

LisaLawrenceMy name is Lisa Lawrence. I have been working as an Assistant Teacher in the 2’s for many years. I love working with the children in the ECP at Kol Ami. I received my B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. I live in Ardsley with my husband and our two children.

 

 

 

Lisa Beyer - 2's

LisaBeyerHi! My name is Lisa Beyer. I have been working as a floating Assistant teacher in the 2’s at ECP since 2010. I hold a B. A. degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences. I live in Edgemont with my husband and two sons. I love working with the 2’s and enjoy watching them learn and grow!

 

 

 

Joele Levenson - 2's

JoeleLevensonHi, my name is Joele Levenson. In 2014 I joined the Kol Ami Early Childhood Program as a floating Assistant Teacher in the 2’s and I love it!! I hold a B.S. degree from Lehigh University and I enjoy living in Scarsdale with my husband and I three lovely children. I’m looking forward to another wonderful year!

 

 

 

Meredith Cohen - 3's

MeredithCohenMy name is Meredith Cohen and I am so excited to be a Head Teacher in the 3’s teacher in the ECP! All three of my children have had a wonderful experiences here.  Prior to having children I worked for several years at an inclusionary preschool in New York City. I hold a B. A. degree in Communication from the University of Hartford and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.  My family enjoys living in Edgemont and on the weekends you can usually find me cheering on a soccer field or a basketball court.

 

 

Gerrie Schwartz - 3's

GerrieSchwartzMy name is Gerrie Schwartz and I love being a Head Teacher in the 3’s in the ECP at Kol Ami. I received my B. A. degree in Early Childhood from Pace University where I became certified to teach nursery through 6th grade. I have a Master of Science degree from Fordham University in Children’s Studies. I have worked in the 3’s and 4’s at Kol Ami since 1992. Besides being a teacher, I am also a mommy and now a grandma! I have two grown children and a beautiful grandson! My husband and I have lived in Pleasantville for over 25 years.

 

 

Allison Fiore - 3's

AllisonFioreHello, my name is Allison Fiore. I am a Head Teacher in the 3's. I received my B.A. from George Washington University and my Masters of Science in Teaching from Iona College. I live with my husband and two sons in Ardsley. Both of my children have attended Kol Ami and loved it!  I have been teaching the 3’s for many years and continue to grow and learn even more each year!  I am a big baseball fan and I love the Yankees! My family and I are huge sports fans and love to both watch and play many different sports together.

 

 

Erica Baker - 3's

EricaBakerMy name is Erica Baker. I am a co-teacher in the 3's. I received my B.S. in Education from the University of Delaware and a Masters Degree in Education from the college of New Rochelle. For ten years I taught grades 2-5 at an elementary school in Queens, New York working with general and special education populations. In 2014/2015 I worked as a substitute at the ECP in various 3’s and 4’s classes. I live in Scarsdale with my husband and our three children. Our two sons attended the ECP at Kol Ami and our daughter will be attending this year. I am so looking forward to working with your children and making their preschool experience a great one!

 

 

Jackie Barrett - 3's

JackieBarrettHi, my name is Jackie Barrett and I am a co-teacher for the 3’s. I have been a part of the teaching staff since 2011. I received a B.A. degree from Queensboro Community College and I have a Child Development Associate certificate in early childhood education from the National Child Care Council. I live in White Plains with my husband and two children.

 

 

 

Lauri Carey - 3's

LauriCareyMy name is Lauri Carey and I am an Assistant Teacher in the 3’s. The ECP at Kol Ami is like a home to me in many ways. All of my children have attended the ECP and my family have been members of the Temple for almost 20 years. I live in Scarsdale with my husband and our four children (two sets of twins!). I grew up in Southern California and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Psychology. Each year I fall in love with the children in my class and enjoy watching the incredible growth three year-olds achieve.

 

 

Dorian Nerenberg - 3's

DorianNerenberg 1My name is Dorian Nerenberg, and I have been a Co-Teacher in the 3's in the ECP at Congregation Kol Ami since 2013.  I live in White Plains with my husband Eric, our son Asher, and our wirehair dachshund Levi.  I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and am a southern girl at heart! I hold a B.A. in English and a minor in Dance from Emory University and an M.A. in Arts Administration Florida State University.  I also hold a Child Development Associate Credential in Early childhood Education from the National Childcare Council.   In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, exploring local farmer's markets, swimming, and bowling with my family.

 

 

Jen Strassler -4's

JenStrasslerMy name is Jen Strassler and I love being a Head Teacher in the 4’s in the ECP at Kol Ami. I live in Ardsley with my husband and our twin sons. My boys were both students at the ECP, and once they moved onto Kindergarten I loved the ECP so much I joined the teaching staff. I earned my undergraduate degree from Cornell University and received my Masters in Education from Hofstra University. Before my boys were born, I spent 10 years teaching in the Great Neck Public Schools. When I’m not at Kol Ami, you can usually find me shuttling my boys to and from hockey, baseball or a friend’s house. I love to cook but not to clean!

 

 

Elisa Goldman - 4's

ElisaGoldmanHi! My name is Elisa Goldman. I have my B.A. from Brandeis University and my Masters in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College. I have been a Head Teacher in the 4’s since 2011. Before coming to Kol Ami, I taught in the Bronx, New City, Yorktown, Great Neck, and Rye. Additionally, I was the Assistant Director for the East Ramapo Universal Pre-K. 

I live with my husband, daughter, son, and cat in Cortland Manor, on the second highest mountain in Westchester. I am a true Baseball, basketball and soccer Mom. In the rest of my free time, I love cooking and baking and just chilling with my family and friends.

 

Debby Yablow - 4's

DebbyYablowHi my name is Debby Yablow and I am a Head Teacher in the 4's at the ECP.  I have a degree in Education and Special Education from Brooklyn and Lehman College.  Prior to coming to the ECP I taught for four years in the south Bronx at CES 110.  I have been teaching at the ECP for over 25 years!  I  also teach Kindergarten in our Religious school at Kol Ami.  I am a proud "grammy" of twins (a boy and girl) and a toddler.  My younger daughter recently got married. I am an avid dog lover and my toy poodles are my very very good friends.  In my spare time I enjoy traveling and Broadway theatre.

 

 

Susan Epstein - 4's

SusanEpsteinHi, my name is Susan Epstein. I have been teaching at the ECP since 2010 and I am a Co-Teacher in the 4’s. I received my B.A. from the University of Hartford and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley College. Before coming to the ECP I taught in several schools in Massachusetts and then moved to New York City where I taught for a few more years. When I am not at Kol Ami I like to spend time with my two boys and my husband. We live in Briarcliff Manor and we like to walk, ride bikes and play tennis. We also love cheering our boys on at sporting events!

 

 

Becky Miller - 4's

BeckyMillerHi, my name is Becky Miller.  I received my B.A. from SUNY Albany and a Masters Degree in Education from Lehman College. Previously I worked as a teacher in New Rochelle. When I am not at the ECP I am home with my husband, son, daughter and our dog Gatsby. We enjoy going on bike rides together, playing cards and spending time walking around New York City.

 

 

 

Heather Ross - 4's

HeatherRossMy name is Heather Ross and I am very excited to join the 4’s team as Co-Teacher this year! I received my B.S. in Therapy from Northeastern University and worked in hospitals for 18 years treating patients with psychiatric and addiction issues. I was part of the NYC Teaching Fellows program and received a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Mercy College and taught 2nd and 3rd grade in the Bronx.

I live in Harrison with my husband, daughter and Son. I enjoy playing Tennis, reading and love cheering our kids on while they play all their sports! My children came to Kol Ami and had an amazing experience. I look forward to passing on the great experience to your children.

Erica Berger - 4's

EricaBergerMy name is Erica Berger and I am a 4’s teacher at the ECP.  I received my B.A. from Queens College in Art and Psychology. I began my teaching career in 1999 at the Ramaz School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After teaching at Ramaz, I spent two years teaching Kindergarten at Manhattan Day School on the Upper West Side. In2010, my husband and I moved to White Plains with our two boys Evan and Gabriel.  I started working at Kol Ami ECP as a Co-teacher in the 4's and also taught Hebrew School at the Kol Ami Religious School. I spend my summers with my children at Westchester Summer Day Camp where I am an assistant Arts and Crafts teacher. Each day I truly enjoy combining my creative side and my love of art with the joy I get from working with and teaching the wonderful children that attend the ECP.  I am looking forward to working with your children, but most of all having fun!

Ivy Shapiro - 4's

Ivy ShapiroHi, my name is Ivy Shapiro. I am a Co-teacher in the 4’s. I received my B.S. in Accounting at SUNY Binghamton and a Master’s Degree in Finance from NYU. Previously I worked for 8 years as a preschool teacher at a Westchester Temple nursery school. I live in Scarsdale with my husband and our dog Joker. I have two children, one is a college graduate and working in New Jersey and one is away at college. I enjoy golfing, cooking and just generally hanging around with my family and friends!

 

 

Sharon Sohl - 3's

SharonSohlMy name is Sharon Sohl. I am a Co-Teacher in the 3’s. I attended the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!) where I received a B.A. in Communications. I also have a Child Development Associate certificate in early childhood education from the national Child Care Council. I live in White Plains with my husband and two daughters, along with our cats and dogs. In my free time I enjoy gardening, the beach, cooking, entertaining, and spending time with my family and friends. I began working at Kol Ami in 2007 as a teacher in the 3's and 4's. Since the beginning I have felt extremely fortunate to work with such wonderful people in a warm and welcoming environment. Each day I learn something new and exciting through the eyes of the children and I always look forward to the following day where I know smiles, hugs and little giggles will be waiting for me.

 

Debbie Youngstein - 4's

DebbieYoungsteinMy name is Debbie Youngstein and I am a floating Assistant Teacher in the 4’s and the librarian at the ECP. I started working at the ECP in 2011. Before that I was home taking care of my twin girls.

A little over twelve years ago my family moved from Los Angeles, CA where I received an Elementary Multi-Subject Teaching Credential. During that time I taught for 8 years. I love interacting with children of all ages and look forward to going to work every day!

 

 

Cindy Zieman - 4's

CindyZiemanMy name is Cindy Zieman and I have been working at the ECP since 2007. I love working with children! I am Assistant Teacher with the 4’s and pre-k classes. I live in Edgemont with my husband Josh and two children. I grew up on Long Island and received a B.F.A at Tisch School of the Arts. I truly enjoy my time in the ECP and look forward everyday!!

 

 

 

Stacy Brodsky - Pre K

StaceyBrodskyMy name is Stacy Brodsky and I am the Head Teacher of theECP's A Step Ahead Pre-K program at Kol Ami. I received a B.S. from Drew University and I have a Masters of Professional Studies in Elementary and Special Education from Manhattanville College. Before teaching at the ECP I taught at Westchester Day School and Greenwich Academy. One of the most rewarding teaching experiences I have had thus far was working with learning disabled children (ages 5-13) at the Rose F. Kennedy Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. There I worked with students who possessed a wide variety of learning styles and created educational plans that would best meet their individual needs. Over the past eight years I have been blessed with two children, both with special needs. As an educator and a parent, I know that a compassionate, structured, organized classroom teacher makes ALL the difference in the world to ease a parents’ mind when sending their child to school each day. As a career changer, mother and teacher, I bring maturity, maternal instincts and passion to my classroom each day.

Julie Rabinowitz - Pre K

JulieRabinowitzMy name is Julie Rabinowitz. I am the Co-Teacher of the ECP’s A Step Ahead, Pre-K program and have been since its inception in 2011. After a successful career in resource development, I was lucky enough to be able to take a leave and be home with my three children for almost a decade. In 2006 I joined the ECP and since then have worked with many fabulous and talented teachers in the 3s, 4s and Pre-K. I also Co-Teach the ECP’s innovative and exciting Torah Alive! program. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. History and Judaic Studies from SUNY Albany and completed Master’s work at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University. I received my Child Development Associate certificate in early childhood education from the national Child Care Council in 2013. I live in White Plains with my family.

Jen Benalt - Pre K

JenBenaultI'm Jen Herman Benalt. I've been a part of the Kol Ami Early Childhood Program throughout the past 3 years as a parent. I'm excited to continue my connection to our enriching childhood program by joining the team as a Teacher in the 5's -A Step Ahead Program. I have an undergraduate background in Early Childhood Development from the University at Buffalo and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work. I am a creative educator that will offer your child the ability to challenge herself/himself in a supportive learning environment. I recognize that each child is an individual, with their own strengths and learning style. Together, with your child, we will make an unstoppable team. We will prepare your child for kindergarten, providing your child with opportunities to develop a greater level of independence, a enriched sense of self and challenge her/him to try new things. My favorite color is orange and I love the outdoors in all types of weather. I'm an avid watcher of the food network, love to travel, bake and play scrabble. I live in New Rochelle with my loving family, Adam my husband and Josh, my inquisitive and energetic 5 year old son. 

Schedule A Visit

Nan Blank, Director
(914) 949-4717 x107  

Click here to email Nan

Come see for yourself! Nothing takes the place of a personal visit. You will meet our staff and observe firsthand the programs that will nurture your child and begin their journey into the world of school and community.