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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. 


Lisa Brasile

Lisa Brasile is a certified School Counselor in CT and NY, holding a Masters Degree and 6th Year Degree in this field. She is proud to have started her career as an Advisor for the federally funded TRiO Program-Upward Bound at UConn, providing academic and cultural opportunities to students. In keeping with this theme, Lisa found herself on the west coast at Stanford's Graduate School of Business guiding students to reach their potential and then as the Director of Education at LifeMoves, an SF Bay Area non-profit. 

Lisa has two young boys, one a current Tots student and the other a 1st grader in the Edgemont school system, and is excited to be part of the action as head teacher for an incredible Mazel Tots family.

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.  

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.

Vicki Fischer
Vicki has been a long-time member of Scarsdale Synagogue. Both her grown daughters had their Bat Mitzvahs here and her younger daughter is a Mazel Tots alum. Vicki enjoyed a successful career in publishing at Cosmopolitan Magazine before recently starting her second career as a 2’s assistant teacher.  She is thrilled to be joining the Mazel Tots family this year and looks forward to helping the children grow, develop, thrive and have fun! 

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.
Tonasia Jones

Toni Jones has joined Mazel Tots as an assistant teacher in the Three’s.  She is a student at Westchester Community College, majoring in Early Childhood Education.  Toni has been working with children for the past 12 years as a camp counselor and as an after-school teacher working with children ages 2-11.  She believes all children are unique and bring something special with them to the classroom.

Melissa Katz

Melissa Katz is honored and excited to be starting as a new assistant teacher in the Mazel Tots Program! Melissa grew up in Scarsdale, where she attended the Summer Arts Center performing arts camp at the JCC of Mid-Westchester as a camper, CIT, counselor and dance teacher. She holds a B.A in Psychology from Stony Brook University, where she was also an intern at the Stony Brook Childcare Center. Upon graduation from Stony Brook, Melissa followed her passion for dance and music, where she worked, trained and performed as a professional dancer and singer in New York City and Los Angeles. She recently graduated from NYU Steinhardt with her Masters in Dance Education. Melissa loves working with children of all ages, and is looking forward to being a part of the Mazel Tots community at Scarsdale Synagogue.

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.

Marie LaCassa
Marie joined the Mazel Tots family as an assistant teacher with our youngest children. She received her BA in Business Economics from The University of California – Santa Barbara and later earned her MEd in Curriculum Development from National University. Prior to moving from California to New York, she worked for eight years teaching middle school and high school math, while also spending several years as a secondary education coach. Marie and her husband, Michael, have two children who are both enrolled in Mazel Tots.

Jen Levy
Jen strives to create and maintain an environment where your child can grow and thrive as a Head Teacher in our 2’s.  She graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Sociology and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Hunter college. She also attended additional classes through Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Jen started her teaching career at P.S. 86 in Bronx teaching second grade for 11 years, and she has been teaching nursery school in Westchester for 11 years. She loves to teach through art, music and play, and she believes you’re never too young to learn. 

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.


Jeannine Palermo
Jeannine Palermo has been working at Mazel Tots as a Fitness Specialist since 2006. In the Fall of 2020 she also joined our staff as an Assistant Teacher in the Toddlers. She earned a BS in Marketing from Fordham University and spent many years in the corporate world before having children. While raising her two children, Jeannine started her own business as a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She works with all ages and loves helping people get active and stay healthy. Now that her boys are grown, Jeannine is excited to work with the Toddlers and be part of their first experience at Mazel Tots.

Lori Satterlee
Lori has spent the past twenty years at Barnes & Noble, where you may have seen her reading to preschoolers and toddlers at Storytime, and helping families stock up on bedtime stories. Her favorite part of being a bookseller was matching kids with just the right books to capture their interest and help them become lifelong readers. She is thrilled to bring this experience to a classroom environment. Aside from being a bookseller and Mazel Tots mom, Lori has volunteered with Meals on Wheels of White Plains, and Scarsdale Synagogue’s Food Pantry packing and delivery. Her favorite storytime authors include Chris Van Dusen, Mac Barnett, and Sophie Blackall, takes very seriously the behest of Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius: “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

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.

Gloria Tucker
Gloria has worked in nursery schools since 2015 and fell in love with Mazel Tots when she joined the Toddlers/January 2’s class in February, 2022. She enjoys watching the children flourish from the beginning of the year to the end.  She encourages the children to use their imagination and creativity when painting or working on an activity. Gloria loves seeing the wonderful personality of each child emerge while she builds a bond with every one of them.  She can’t wait to see those cute little faces every day. 

Thu, December 1 2022 7 Kislev 5783