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ABOUT OUR STAFF

Jody Glassman, Early Childhood Program Director
Jody Glassman is the creator and Director of the Mazel Tots program since its inception in 2001.  Her interest in teaching preschoolers began when she herself was a child.  Jody’s mother worked in a Day Care Center and would often take Jody to work with her.  It was there that Jody’s career path was formed.  The joy of working with children is in the family’s DNA.  Jody’s daughter is also a preschool teacher.

Jody has been in early childhood education and administration for more than 30 years.  Jody has taught every age group from birth to Kindergarten. She was an administrator at Mohawk Day Camp and had worked there for more than 20 years before starting Summer Stars.  Jody has been teaching in Scarsdale Synagogue’s Religious School since 1992.

Jody is active in the synagogue in a number of committees supporting the organization. 


Stefani Cohen, Educational Consultant
Stefani has been a long time member of Scarsdale Synagogue and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker receiving her MSW from NYU. In the past, she taught all levels of preschool at Temple Israel, White Plains. She is a parenting coach and educator, play therapist and child development specialist. Stefani has a love of animals, especially dogs. Together with her canine assistant, Fozzie, they visit Mazel Tots to teach the children about kindness to animals and safety around dogs.  

Mindy Dweck 
Mindy Dweck is an Assistant Teacher working with our three year olds.  After attending the University of Arizona, she continued her education at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. Mindy spent 15 years in retail both managing stores and in recruitment.  Mindy then took on her toughest, most rewarding job yet, that of stay-at-home-mom raising her two sons.  Once her sons were a little older, Mindy decided to return to the workforce, deciding to do something more in line with what she loved - working with children.  After spending a year at a special-needs school, Mindy joined Mazel Tots. For the past two years, Mindy has been a member of the religious school board at her temple, Congregation KTI in Port Chester, NY.  
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Ella Fayer
Ella Fayer has been a Head Teacher since 2008, having worked in early childhood education for more than 25 years. Ella earned a B.A. in Education from Farleigh Dickenson and continues her professional development with additional related college courses. 

She brings a love of teaching young children to Mazel Tots, using fun and creativity to foster classroom skills in her students. She joyfully watches the children mature and learn throughout the year. 

Dara Feuerstein
Dara Feuerstein is excited to be part of the staff at Mazel Tots.  She is an assistant teacher in the Toddler Program. Dara has B.A. in Anthropology from Binghamton University and a M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University. Early in her career, Dara enjoyed working in several museums throughout New York City. The Children's Museum of Manhattan was especially wonderful for her as she helped develop exhibits that allowed children to grow and explore in various ways.  As a mother of three children, all alumni of Mazel Tots, Dara is thrilled to be working with young children and helping them learn and acquire new skills.

Ellen Goltz
Ellen has worked at Mazel Tots for more than 15 years with all age groups. The children at Mazel Tots add great joy to her life. Ellen feels enriched by their hugs and giggles. She appreciates her role in their early learning experience, as well as, the support and love from the Mazel Tots family.

Ellen majored in education at CW Post College. Following college she joined ABC Television in New York City where she spent several years working in the children’s television division. In recent years an important part of her life has been the volunteer work Ellen does with several local animal shelters. One of the activities most important to her was the responsibility of providing guidance to young people adopting pets... sharing with them her love and caring for all living things.

At home, with the help of her husband Alan and daughter Ariana, Ellen takes care of her own menagerie of pets including 3 cats, a bird, a dog, and a tank full of fish.
 
Michele Gordon
Michele has a BA from Boston University in Public Relations and Mass Communications. She worked for a PR firm before becoming a mom. While raising her three children, she worked part time for GAP and J Crew for 22 years. ​

Michele was thrilled to start her second career with Mazel Tots in the Spring of 2017, working with the 2's and then Summer Stars.  Michele is active in the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and at Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El.

Minna Gröndahl
Minna  has been at Mazel Tots since 2004.  She studied Liberal Arts and Education at the Universities of Turku and Jyvåskylå, Finland and completed her BA at SUNY Purchase.  She also holds a diploma of Artisan in Ceramics from Kuopio Academy of Design.  She completed her studies, and earning her BA from SUNY Purchase.  

Minna has done volunteer work for local theatre and music programs for children. During her ceramic studies, she worked as a substitute art teacher in both public and vocational schools.  Later on, she produced art and architecture related short programs for the Finnish TV with her husband.

Working with the twos, Minna’s goal is to help children have a terrific first year at school.  Drawing from her art background, she inspires the children to explore new themes and expand their social skills in a warm, nurturing and fun environment.  She feels fortunate to be part of the Mazel Tots family, and finds it a very special and supportive place to work where collaboration with other teachers is a great joy.

Jocelyn Gross, Program Coordinator
Jocelyn is responsible for assessing and enhancing classroom curriculum and special events held throughout the year.  She works closely with the Mazel Tots staff and collaborates with them to create hands-on, age appropriate and unique educational experiences that engage all of our young learners.  

Jocelyn earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College.  She worked as an elementary teacher for 10 years in New York City and Pound Ridge, NY, where she facilitated school-wide curriculum development.  Jocelyn also worked as the Assistant Director of Mazel Tots for 7 years and is happy to be back to support the staff.

Jocelyn is an Aspire registered trainer in NY State and runs Spinning Tops Workshops which provides staff training for preschool teachers and parenting classes.  Jocelyn has two children, both graduates of Mazel Tots. She enjoys volunteering at Scarsdale Synagogue in fundraising efforts and youth activities.  

Ariella Kleinhaus
Ariella Kleinhaus is an assistant teacher in the Mazel Tots program. She is also a teacher at the Religious School at Scarsdale Synagogue. Previously, she has worked as an assistant teacher at the nursery school level. Ariella graduated from the University at Albany with a degree in Sociology, and received a Masters in Social Work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

Ariella worked as a social worker in health care for several years before becoming a mom. She volunteers her time to her synagogue and is an active PTA member in her children's school.  Ariella enjoys working with children and she is very excited to work with the kids and staff at Mazel Tots, and looks forward to helping the children grow and develop as they start down the path of their educational experience.

Liz Margolin 
Liz has been a Head Teacher in the 2’s since 2004, and a counselor at Summer Stars since 2012. Liz earned a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.  She began her teaching career at the 92nd St Y where she taught two year olds for 7 years.  

Liz is an active member at Scarsdale Synagogue working with the Family Fun Events Committee, PJ Library and the Early Childhood Committee.  She also chairs the Book Fair at Fox Meadow Elementary school.   

She loves being a part of the children's first school experience, and watching them grow as they journey through the older classes. As a mom of three boys who all had their preschool start at Mazel Tots, she feels a special connection to the nursery school.

Joan Mayo
Joan Mayo is an inaugural Assistant Teacher in the fours program. She attended Northwestern University and earned a B.A. from Syracuse in both Advertising and Public Relations as well as a minor in Retailing. Joan worked in the garment industry in various merchandising capacities. 

After raising her family, Joan started teaching at Mazel Tots and has enjoyed her involvement in the growth of the school and summer program. She likes working with the children and their families as well as with the great Mazel Tots staff.

Dawn Nickman
Dawn has a BFA in design from Kent University. After earning her degree, she began her career as an Art Director at an influential NYC design firm. Following many years of success, she founded her own design firm and did continuing work for other major firms. 

Upon getting married and having her three children, Dawn discovered a new passion; working with children and art. In that vein, she did extensive volunteer work at the 92nd street Y. After the 92nd street Y, she moved on to work as an assistant teacher at a private K-8 school. There she was able to expand on her love of art and working with children. She then founded a small art business catering to young children who did not have access to art in the same way at their schools. Here she had the opportunity to work with children in smaller groups to excite their passion with art. She is thrilled to be here at Mazel Tots!

Michele Older
Michele Older has been a Head Teacher since 2007.  She has a B.A. in Anthropology from SUNY Binghamton, and a Masters Degree in Education from Hunter College. Michele taught 5th and 2nd grade classes in New York City Public Schools before moving to Westchester County.

Michele has always loved working with nursery school aged children.  It is exciting to see the growth and development happen right before our eyes!  She also loves getting to know the families of the Mazel Tots’ children and working with wonderful colleagues.

Ivy Schwartz
Ivy has been a Mazel Tots Head Teacher since its inception, and has been a preschool teacher for more than 30 years. She shares her experience and love of teaching with her class and fellow teachers. Ivy went to Queens College, and later earned a CDA in Early Childhood Education.  She is a member of both NAEYC and WAEYC (Westchester Association for the Education of Young Children.) Ivy is a first aid responder and is MAT certified. 

She has also been a Hebrew School Educator for more than 25 years in Westchester

Sushma Shadaksharappa 
Sushma Shadaksharappa, has been an Assistant Teacher since 2011, falling in love with the program while her two children attended.  Sushma holds a Bachelors Degree in Commerce, but her heart is in working with children.  Before joining Mazel Tots, she worked with young children for the past 18 years at the American Embassy School in New Delhi India and in private schools in Indianapolis and Chicago. 

Julie Sikoryak  
Julie has been an assistant Teacher since 2003.  Julie is passionate about positively impacting these critical years in a child’s development. She is continuously looking for exciting and creative ways to make each year a unique, fun-filled experience for her class. One of Julie’s favorite parts of working at Mazel Tots is the fact that the staff is like an extension of her family.  She looks forward to going to work every day.

Janet Weinbaum
Janet has a BA in International Business from the College of Mt. St. Vincent's. After earning her degree she worked for AXA Life Insurance. Janet has three children and while her twins were attending Mazel Tots, she joined us as an assistant in the Toddlers Program.  After taking a break to spend more time with her family, she re-joined us in January 2017.  She is looking forward to working in the 3 day 2's program this year. She enjoys working with children and seeing how each child grows

Mon, October 19 2020 1 Cheshvan 5781