BZBI, where you learn

Meet Our Team

Yellow Room

Naomi Faszczyk, Lead Teacher

My name is Naomi Faszczyk and I am the Lead Teacher in the Yellow Room. I was born in Israel, and have lived in Israel and in the United States during different periods of my life. I have also lived in Spain and in Mexico for extended periods of time. I worked at BZBI over 25 years ago, and left to get a PhD at UPenn for Hispanic Studies and Literature. I left the program with my MA, and have been teaching all age groups since then!

I incorporate my love of the arts, music, yoga, and languages into all that I do. What I love the most about teaching (and teaching children) is learning through their point of view. Exploring and playing is serious business! I feel so grateful to be back at BZBI and to be working in a Jewish setting once again.

Angelita Benson, Assistant Teacher

I have worked as an Assistant teacher and Floater at BZBI since 2010.  The greatest role I have is as a mother and grandmother and I am fortunate to spend my free time with my grandchildren. I am also a nanny who feels part of the families that I work with.

Watching the children that are entrusted to me grow into kind people brings me great joy and pride. I have worked with many families within the Jewish community. I have learned so much about the passion that these families have for one another. There is a common value that they share and that is to always care for one another.


Peach Room

Stacey Lasky, Lead Teacher

I’m so excited to be the lead teacher in Peach Room this year! With almost a decade of experience in the Early Childhood classroom, I have accumulated a trove of fun and engaging educational activities from mentors and colleagues. Witnessing young children’s pride in their accomplishments is my greatest joy and motivating them to achieve these goals is my passion.

I lived in Israel for several years after graduating from the University of Florida with a BA in Jewish Studies and have always enjoyed being a Jewish Educator for all ages. I recently earned my MA in Education, with a concentration in Jewish Education Instruction from Gratz College. Just like the children, I am continually wanting to learn!

Evelyne Prefer, Assistant Teacher

I am Evelyne Prefer, originally from Marrakech, Morocco. I moved to NYC at 16, and later settled in Boca Raton FL for 22 years where I graduated from Palm Beach State College. After volunteering for SOS Children’s Village and B’nai Israel Preschool, I started working with children from infants to preschoolers. I enjoy my job tremendously.

I have been in Philadelphia for 7 years now to join my wonderful daughter who relocated for work. In my spare time, I am a workout enthusiast and enjoy playing Words with Friends. I love traveling and I am fluent in French, Hebrew, Spanish, and some Arabic. I am excited to start working with Stacey in the Peach Room and I am looking forward to meeting you all!


Green Room

Wakeelah (Keelah) Jackson, Lead Teacher

Hello, my name is Wakeelah Jackson, but everyone calls me Ms. Keelah. I have an Associated Degree in Early Childhood Education and I have over 10 years of experience as both an Assistant and Lead Teacher. I have been at BZBI since 2018.

This year, I will be the lead teacher in the Green Room. Working with children is something I have always enjoyed. What I love most about being a teacher is watching children’s unique qualities flourish, stimulating their very curious minds, and supporting their social-emotional and physical development. I take great pride in working in this rewarding field. I am excited for the start of the school year!

Carly Coburn-Sanderson, Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Carly! I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. I moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University where I received a Bachelors of Science in Public Health. 

While my recent degree is in Public Health, it is working with children that has always been a passion of mine. I’ve had the opportunity to nanny for many wonderful families. I love exploring outside, listening to little one’s curious questions and observations, reading books, and imaginary play. In addition to nannying, I am a volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where I hold and comfort babies as well as play with young children when their families are unable to be at the hospital with them. 

I am so excited to be a part of the BZBI community and join the Green Room in January!!

Memory Kline, Assistant Teacher

Hello, my name is Memory Kline and this is my first year with BZBI. I have my Bachelors degree in History from Florida Atlantic University and my Masters in Information and Library Science from the University of South Carolina. For the last five years, I have worked as a Youth Librarian for children and teens in both Florida and South Carolina.

Prior to this, I worked as a Kindergarten Assistant Teacher for two years. In the library setting, I have worked with children aged newborn to eighteen years old teaching STEAM and literacy programs. I love working with children of all ages and creating a learning environment that everyone feels welcome and excited to be a part of. I look forward to a great school year!


Blue Room

Becca Hann, Lead Teacher

This will be my second year at BZBI and  I am very excited to be working in the Blue Room this year! I started working with children in high school and during college I was part-time staff at an inclusive preschool with children who were typically developing and children with special needs. I graduated with a dual degree in Child Development and Psychology from Connecticut College. My first job was in Philadelphia working with children birth to three years old with special needs while I did graduate work in Early Childhood Special Education at Temple University.

I then worked with children ages 3-6 who were at-risk or had identified special needs while doing additional graduate school work in Elementary Education and Special Education at Arcadia University. Since then, I have worked with children from birth through high school and their families in a variety of settings. I happily returned to preschool teaching, my favorite age to teach, about 9 years ago with Head Start programs. I love working at BZBI and am looking forward to an amazing year ahead.

Anna Coyle, Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Anna Coyle and I’m excited to be starting my first year at BZBI in the Blue Room! I graduated from Arcadia University in 2021 with a degree in art therapy. I have since found myself working in various child care settings. I have experience working with children who are on the Autism spectrum, nannying and working in early childhood education centers.

I find myself coming back to early childhood education centers for the nurturing and collaborative community created between the children, their families and the teachers!

Rachel Sandison, Assistant Teacher

Hi! I’m Rachel and I’m so excited for my first year here at BZBI in the blue room. I moved to Philadelphia from Baltimore Maryland two years ago. I have worked with children in many settings as a swim instructor, nanny, and as a preschool teacher. I’m currently pursuing a CDA and hope to continue my learning in child development. I am so happy to join this amazing community of families!


Red Room

Sarah Fleischman, Lead Teacher

Sarah is no stranger to BZBI, having spent her entire life in the synagogue. From Tot Shabbat Leader, Preschool, and Hebrew School Teacher to Kadima & USY Advisor, she has made an impact in the lives of all ages at BZBI. She returned to teaching preschool full-time last year after 8 years of non-profit development work and has fully embraced being back in the classroom. Sarah is thrilled to be working alongside such amazing teachers and with such wonderful families!

Joann Zimbello, Assistant Teacher

I have been an Assistant Teacher at BZBI since 2010.  I am also studying Modern Hebrew with a dream of one day visiting Israel. I have a B.S. in Business, however, I have been working with children of all ages for as long as I can remember. In my spare time, I love to read, listen to music, do Zumba, and go to the theater. 

 

Jacob Zachary-Flanders, Assistant Teacher 

Jacob is very excited to start at BZBI this year as an assistant teacher in the Red Room! They grew up in Brookline, MA surrounded by a thriving and supportive Jewish community. This fall, they moved to Philadelphia after having graduated in the spring from Vassar College, with a degree in Studio Art. They have been working with children for several years and continue to be amazed by their energy, curiosity, and blossoming empathy. Outside of the classroom, their favorite things to do are painting, reading, and heading into nature with friends. They look forward to getting to know all of your unique and wonderful children this year while exploring the world alongside one another.


Violet Room

Merissa Richmond, Lead Teacher

My name is Merissa Eve Richmond. I have been a teacher for over 20 years.  I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Special Education, and I hold PA State Certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education.  I have been working at BZBI since 2014 as the Lead Teacher of the Pre-K program and since 2015 as the Lead Teacher of the Hebrew School Bonim class. 

My passion for art and nature is manifested in my teaching and classroom environment. I provide children with opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning.  It is my goal to provide the support and encouragement needed for my students to be confident, to be themselves and always do their best. I truly love being part of the BZBI community, and I am looking forward to another great year.

Ellana Cohen, Assistant Teacher

Hi, my name is Ellana! I’m an assistant teacher in the Pre-K class. I was born and raised in Miami in an Israeli/American Jewish household. I graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Certificate. In Miami I got certified as a Behavioral Assistant working with autistic children which was tough but rewarding. My grandma was also a Hebrew teacher at the temple school that I attended for Pre-K. Even today, after decades, kids she used to teach recognize her on the street and are so excited to see her. I aspire to make as big of an impression as she did.

I’m so fascinated by the breadth of imagination kids have and how unimpeded they are from limitations. Watching them play and explore art inspires my own experimentation in my art practice. I can’t wait to show them more ways of creating and see what they can accomplish!


Administration

Sara Dasher Goldfuss, Director of Early Childhood Education

Sara is a passionate Early Childhood Educator with over 10 years of experience teaching young children and coaching parents and fellow educators. She has taught at Germantown Jewish Centre and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, was a Tribe 12 Fellow in 2015, and an administrator at Society Hill Synagogue before joining BZBI in January of 2020. Sara, her husband Jamie, and their 4 children Izzy, Yaffa, Toby, and Adar are all proud Philly natives.

Liel Brenner, Programs Coordinator

Hi, my name is Liel, I also go by Revi, feel free to use either! I’m originally from Orlando, Florida and have lived in Atlanta, South Carolina, New York City and Ithaca, New York and I’m so excited to be a new Philadelphian! I’ve been involved with Jewish education for as long as I’ve been able to, starting as an assistant teacher and tutor shortly after my bar mitzvah. I’m a proud alum of USY and Ramah Darom and have learned Torah at Yeshivat Hadar, Drisha, and spent two years at List College, the Joint Program of Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary. I recently graduated from Cornell University and have been farming and cooking professionally throughout my time in college.
I am very passionate about music, food, and the environment and I’m looking forward to bringing those passions with me to the Early Childhood Education Program. I’m so excited to start my career at BZBI and look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful community.
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