About Our Staff
Jody Glassman, Director Mazel Tots
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.
Maryanne Reda, Education Consultant
Maryanne Reda works with the Mazel Tots staff, students and parents as the Education Consultant. She addresses child developmental concerns and assists with navigating the special education process. Maryanne earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Early Childhood Education from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master of Science in Special Education from the College of
She taught in the primary grades for the City of New York, and she was the Chairperson for the Early Childhood Committee. She left this position to raise her two children. For the past 14 years, she has worked as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT), Special instructor (SI), Family Trainer and Educational Evaluator. She has experience working with children with learning and developmental delays, behavioral issues and special medical needs. Maryanne is the co-owner of Clubhouse Stars, an after school program, that helps children develop social skills.
Maryanne is an active volunteer at her local school and in her community, was a Boy Scout leader for several years, and is presently a Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop. She was the Co-Chair of the Ardsley PTA Special Needs Committee. She believes that all children can learn and succeed if given the right tools.
Tara works in the Fall Parenting Class and in the Spring Toddlers Program with our youngest children. She has also been the karate teacher in the Enrichment Program since 2008. Tara has a Bachelor degree in Psychology from Cornell University and a M.A. in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Columbia University Teacher’s College. She also has extensive training (ABD) in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s Ph.D. program. Tara has experience with family, individual, and child therapy, and she has 9 years of experience teaching pre-school and elementary aged children karate throughout the Westchester community. Tara’s passion is to create a close relationship with children that allow them to comfortably learn about themselves and their world. As a mom of three children, Tara combines her warm and supportive manner with her martial arts and psychology background to create a classroom where the children can
learn, challenge themselves, explore, and grow in a safe environment.
Ella Fayer has been a Head Teacher since 2008, having worked in early childhood education for 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.
Shannon Feldman has been a Head Teacher since 2013. Shannon has a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University and an M.A. in Communications from Wake Forest University. Shannon began working in the Mazel Tots Enrichment program and is currently teaching our youngest students.
Prior to coming to Mazel Tots, Shannon was a program administer for non-profits working with inner city middle school and high school students in both Atlanta and New York City. She continues to work with educational non-profits with a similar focus. She is an active member of her children’s school PTA, serving on a number of committees, and volunteering as needed.
Shannon’s younger son spent four years at Mazel Tots, and she became increasingly involved with the school during that time. She enjoys working with children and helping them transition to the school environment.
Dara Feuerstein is excited to return to the staff at Mazel Tots this year as 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.
Jocelyn has been the Assistant Director at Mazel Tots since 2008. She 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 spends her mornings in the Early Childhood office, supporting the administrative work of the school. She loves watching the children explore, play and grow each school year. Jody and Jocelyn work together to plan for the continued growth of the youngest members of our synagogue.
Jocelyn has two children, both graduates of Mazel Tots. She has volunteered her free time running Family Events at Scarsdale Synagogue, the Quaker Ridge School Carnival, and coaching her daughter’s softball team.
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.
Danielle Feldman, Assistant to the Director
Danielle is thrilled to be joining the team at Mazel Tots after falling in love with the program that both her children attend. She earned her B.A. in Literature & Rhetoric from Binghamton University, and then pursued her passion for working with children and went on to earn her Masters degree in School Counseling. She spent nearly a decade working for the New York City Board of Education at the elementary and middle school level, providing counseling to individual and groups of students, facilitating workshops, working closely with administration and parents and chairing various school wide committees.
She is so excited to be spending her mornings working directly with Jody to continue to realize the dream and mission for the fantastic and ever evolving program that is Mazel Tots, and to watch each of the students thrive throughout the school year.
Ariella Kleinhaus is an assistant teacher in the Mazel Tots program. She is also a teacher at the Religious School at SSTTE. 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 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 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 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 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 has been a Mazel Tots Head Teacher since its inception, and has been a preschool teacher for the past 27 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 teacher for the past 22 years in Westchester
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.
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.
Jamie works with our youngest children in the Fall Parenting Program, and she is a teacher in the Spring Toddler Program. Jamie truly loves her work, and she loves creating meaningful experiences for the children in her class! She earned her BA in English from Montclair State University. She has been the Site Coordinator for the Scarsdale Adult School for over ten years and edits their course catalog. She has two teenagers attending Scarsdale High School. Jamie has been a Brownie troop leader, a class parent and is currently an active volunteer at the high school.