Abigail R. Cohen
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Beth Zion-Beth Israel is very fortunate to have such talented, caring, skilled teachers in our Early Childhood program. For more information about the caring teachers who are the foundation of the program, please read below:
Abigail R. Cohen Preschool:
Daena Berdougo, Pre-K Head Teacher
Daena is the Head Pre-K teacher in the Kochavim classroom. Her passion for children and enthusiasm for Judaic-based teaching have led her to the BZBI family. Daena holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Fordham University, and has over 5 years experience teaching in Jewish classrooms. Daena’s teaching philosophy emphasizes child-centered learning, where student interests and exploration drive much of the learning experiences. Daena enthusiastically implements the ‘Handwriting Without Tears’ Pre-K curriculum, a multi-sensory teaching approach that addresses varying learning styles. As a Pre-K teacher, Daena’s goal is to ensure that each child will build the necessary foundation for entering Kindergarten. Daena also teaches the Arts and Crafts Enrichment class, conceptualizing various ‘hands on’ projects and fostering a creative environment for the children.
Sarah Fleischman, Preschool 3 Head Teacher
Sarah is very excited to be returning to BZBI as a lead teacher in the 3's class. She grew up in the neighborhood and was raised at BZBI, having gone to preschool and Hebrew School here myself. Throughout college she was a substitute teacher and summer assistant teacher and she was so excited to be offered a position as a full time lead teacher after she graduated from Brandeis University. Sarah absolutely loves her job and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Seeing how excited children are to come to school every day puts the biggest smile on her face and she feels so fortunate that she gets to spend every day with them. In addition to teaching preschool, Sarah leads the Tot Shabbat program during the summer and is the USY youth group advisor for our high school students.
Alison Getson, Preschool 3 Head Teacher
My name is Alison Getson and I am a new and proud teacher for the preschool 3’s Kofim Class. Personally, I am a resident of the Queen Village section of Philadelphia with my husband as a happy newlywed. I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University and a Masters in Elementary Education from Arcadia University. I bring this valuable education and six (6) years of teaching pre-K to 8th grade to this position. I have quickly developed a strong passion and dedication to Temple Beth Zion Beth-Israel and its congregation. With pride and excitement I wake up looking forward to working; interacting; and teaching with the children. These lessons, communicated through play, translate while observing the children explore, socialize, and communicate with their classmates. I am so very grateful to share my days with these gifted students.
Stacie Jacoby, Preschool 3 Lead Teacher
Stacie Jacoby Elias is the lead teacher in the Older Playschool classroom and grew up in Margate, New Jersey. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from The George Washington University and her Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving her Masters, Stacie worked as an assistant in Miss Susan’s Pre-K classroom while attending school at night to receive her Reading Specialist Certification from Saint Joseph’s University. She has also been the lead teacher for both the Three's and Pre-k classrooms. Stacie believes in creating a strong classroom community and follows the socially responsive classroom approach. She loves working at Beth Zion Beth Israel because it is a warm, welcoming and supportive environment.
Donna Scutti, Pre-K Assistant Teacher
My name is Donna Marie Scutti, I currently attend Community College of Philadelphia to further my education in Early Childhood. I have been working with children for five years and have been enjoying every minute of it. I love working with children because it is amazing to see the different ways children grow and develop. I love guiding their learning.
Debbie Williams, Head Assistant Teacher in Playschool/Preschool
Miss Debbie is returning for her 12th year as one of our most beloved assistant teachers. Miss Debbie cares deeply about each child and always strives to make sure they get the care and attention they need. She believes she is the luckiest person in the world to do something she loves everyday and have fun with it. Miss Debbie loves seeing children start school not too sure of themselves and leave at the end of the year feeling like they are the kings of the world. Most importantly, if there is one thing to know about Debbie, she loves to laugh, especially with the children!
Ayala Woidislavsky, Preschool Assistant Teacher
My name is Ayala Woidislavsky, I was born and raised in Israel. In 2005 my family and I moved from Moshav Bait Halevi, Israel, to Bala Cynwyd, PA. I worked for four years as a Lead Teacher at the JCC, working with young children, ages six months to two years old. During the summer, I work as a camp counselor for four to five year olds. I feel privileged to be able to share the smiles and happiness of your children each day, to be trusted with their care, learning, experiences, exploration, and growth.
Joann Zimbello, Preschool Assistant Teacher
My name is Joann Zimbello. I am a graduate of Philadelphia University. This is my 4th year working at BZBI in the older play school, as a teacher’s assistant. I love working with children, and couldn't imagine doing anything else. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love.