Margie Zeskind

Head of School
305.538.7231 ext. 227

Margie Zeskind holds a Master of Science degree in Pre-K/Primary Education. She started her tenure as the director of early childhood education at the Foundation School in July 2007.

Prior to this position, Margie was the director of the Helene and A.B. Wiener Early Childhood Department for the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami, Florida. There she provided professional resources and consultation for staff development, mentoring and leadership development for early childhood education directors and educators for twenty-one Jewish early childhood programs. Prior to this position, Margie was a Jewish early childhood educator and a religious school educator at Temple Beth Am, a reform synagogue in Kendall, for nine years.

She authored two simultaneously awarded National Covenant Foundation Grants for the Jewish south Florida early childhood community. Additionally, she is co-author of the, “I Went To My Cousin’s Crispening,” and “The S.A.G.A. Approach,” which is a resource guide for Jewish early childhood educators working with issues surrounding religious diversity, and was funded by The Jim Joseph Foundation. She is one of the co-developers of the Kesher L’ Yisrael Initiative that was designed for early childhood educators to partner with children and families to build connections to Israel, the land, the people and the state.

Stacy Penson

Stacy Penson

Assistant Head of School
305.538.7231 ext. 229

Stacy graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Elementary Education. She holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education as well. She is trained in helping children learn to read and enjoys sharing literacy with children. She has been teaching since 1990 and at the Foundation school since 1999. Her hobbies include reading and exercising. She enjoys spending time on the beach with her family, husband John, and daughters Marley, Delila, and Ruby. She believes that every child has a voice and commits herself to being in the moment with them. She is eager to work with teachers, children, and families as Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School’s Mentor Teacher.

Liset Leyva

Studio/Environment Specialist
305.538.7231 ext. 100

Liset, holds a degree in fine arts which facilitates her extensive familiarity with materials. She also has previous careers in Theater Set/Costume design and Graphic Art Director in the corporate world. This blend of art related pursuits contribute to her keen sense of Environment Development as applied to the Early Childhood Setting. As an Early Childhood Educator, her creative nature manifested in dramatic curriculum related transformations in the classroom.

Liset was born in Santiago de Cuba, Oriente but spent most of her childhood and early adulthood in New York; however, she also lived in Madrid, Spain and Venezuela. Sharing life with her two children Ibel and Ulysses is her biggest reward and connecting with children and their families by assisting them with the enhancement of their awareness of our responsibilities to earth, God, and love.

Dalia Katz

Director of Supplementary Educational Programs
305.538.7231 ext. 238

Dalia was born in Argentina and came to Miami in 2003 with her husband Ariel. She has been an Early Childhood teacher since 1992. She started working at our Temple in 2003 as part of different programs. She was a teacher in in our Foundation level for 11 years before taking over the role of Director of Supplementary Programs. Dalia also taught Hebrew in Rabbi Leon Kronish School for Living Judaism program.
Dalia holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has two beautiful children Matias and Melanie Nudel that are former Foundation School students and current Rabbi Leon Kronish School for Living Judaism students.

Mark Flaxer

Executive Director
3055387231 ext. 231

Mark Flaxer serves as Executive Director and COO of Temple Beth Sholom. Born in Orlando, Florida, Mark earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Florida.

After graduating college, Mark moved to Atlanta, Georgia and began his career in public and private-sector companies. He has worked at The Walt Disney Company, Macy’s Southeast, SED International, and eventually used his entrepreneurial spirit to create and grow several companies.

Mark has been active in the Atlanta Jewish Community as a member of Temple Emanu-El since 1992. There he served as a Board member, Executive Board member, and finally as Executive Director and COO. He was a member of SEDAR; involved in the PAL Program through Jewish Family and Career Services; and with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Mark was also active with Just People Inc, a program focused on services for adults with developmental disabilities. Mark was a youth and high school lacrosse coach and referee certified by US Lacrosse and the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Mark is married to Staci, and they have two daughters attending college at the University of Southern California. Mark and Staci made the move to Miami Beach to join Temple Beth Sholom in November 2016.

Nerissa Balland

Director of Communications & Marketing
305.538.7231 ext. 375

Over the past eighteen years, Nerissa has immersed herself within communications, marketing and events. Nerissa attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1999 from the University of Maryland, in 2001 she received a certification in Digital Design at the Denmark Design School in Copenhagen and in 2002 received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Pratt Institute.

The majority of her career was spent working within marketing and advertising in New York City servicing clients including American Express, Pepsi and Diageo. Nerissa began transitioning into the non-profit space in 2008 when she was recruited to join the Board of Directors of International Special Events Society as the Vice President of Communications. Nerissa spent three years developing their volunteer-based communications department and oversaw all communication outlets, along with managing her own thriving event design and planning business located on Madison Avenue in the Flatiron District.

In 2012, Nerissa moved to Miami Beach to continue her focus in nonprofit communications and joined the National Parkinson Foundation as the Director of Marketing. There she was tasked to oversee all marketing for national programs. Nerissa joined the Temple Beth Sholom team as the first Director of Communications in July of 2015. When Nerissa is not working she enjoys spending time with her husband Michael and their sons Eli & Teddy.

Ilana Gilat

Ilana Saposnik Gilat

Director of Advancement
305.538.7231 ext. 134

Ilana graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, with a concentration in painting and minors in both Business Administration and Art History. During college, Ilana worked at the Hillel Foundation at the University of Florida and participated in one of the first Birthright Israel trips in 1998. After graduation, Ilana was a Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow at the Hillel Foundation at the University of Texas, Austin.

For several years afterwards, Ilana’s career focused on the for-profit sector. She served as a regional property manager for a national student housing developer on college campuses, focusing on marketing, sales and property management before circling back to her true passion, the Jewish community.

Before moving to Miami in 2012, Ilana was the Create a Jewish Legacy Program Director at the Jewish Community Foundation in Jacksonville, Florida. Most recently she worked at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and successfully launched and ran the Create a Jewish Legacy initiative in Miami. Ilana joined Temple Beth Sholom in June 2014 as the Director of Advancement; helping grow, nurture and sustain the Legacy Endowment Campaign.

Lorna Rodriguez

Director of Finance
3055387231 ext. 237

Lorna has been leading the finance department since 2001, working closely with the budget and finance committee and professional staff on all budgetary and financial matters of the Temple. Prior to joining Temple Beth Sholom, she worked at Congregation Bet Breira for fifteen years with Executive Director Emerita, Alice Miller. She decided to make the commute from Kendall to Miami Beach to be part of the Temple Beth Sholom team.

Lorna was born in Cuba, the daughter of an overseas engineer and educator, and lived in several countries before making Miami her final destination. She attended Southwest Senior High and later Florida International University where she majored in Business Administration. Lorna and her husband, Luis, have raised two amazing children, Melissa and Daniel, and are now the proud grandparents of Brianna.

Diana Burnet

Administrative Assistant Lead
305.538.7231 ext. 223

Diana was born in Ohio but moved to Miami so long ago that she has forgotten what turn signals are! She began her working life in retail sales and management, honed her professional skills in sales and marketing, but found her true happiness as Administrative Assistant for Early Childhood Education at Temple Beth Sholom. Diana is active volunteering with local social and political organizations.

Ana Sheridan

Administrative Assistant Supplementary Programs
305.538.7231 ext. 277

Ana Sheridan recently joined the Temple Beth Sholom Family in February 2017. She was born in Rochester, New York and moved to South Florida at two years old. Ana is married and has three amazing boys. She has worked at various Jewish organizations and businesses throughout the years including Temple Emanu-El of South Beach and Executive Kosher Caterers. After giving birth to her third child, Ana decided to enroll at ITT Technical Institute to study Software Development. During her free time, she loves spending quality time with her family, friends and exercising but her true passion is music and dance. Ana’s goal is to make a positive mark in the Jewish Community.

Kayla Green

Registrar (TBSIS & Supplementary Programs)
305.538.7231 ext.100

Kayla joined the Temple Beth Sholom family in June, 2017. Having grown up in Miami Beach, she attended school in Miami and then moved to New York for two years to work the “fashion retail life” in Manhattan. After returning to Miami Beach, Kayla had several positions that allowed her to develop extensive office skills, which have been a great asset to our temple.  Moving over to our Innovative School is a perfect fit for her, since she also loves working with children —  she has been a counselor at several day camps, has experience with children who have special needs, and has worked with the kids program at her temple for a few years. She is very happy to be part of such a welcoming and friendly team here at Temple Beth Sholom.

Education Committee

Suzanna Meltzer

Chair of Education Committee

Bio to come.

Caryn Musaffi

Foundation Level Co-Chair

Bio to come.

Amy Ostroff

Foundation Level Co-Chair

Amy Ostroff is the Co-President of the PTO. This is her second year on the board, and she enjoys having an active role in the Foundation School. Amy lives in Miami Beach with her husband, Eric, and three children, Daniella, Tyler and Kylie.

Amy has a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Miami-Dade Schools since 2002.  At this time, she is doing private speech therapy. In her free time, she runs Paper Plenty, an online business for personalized gifts and stationery, along with wedding and bar/bat mitzvah invitations from her home.

Johanna Reyes

Elementary Level Co-Chair

Bio to come.

Aaron Tandy

Aaron Tandy

Elementary Level Co-Chair

Aaron Tandy grew up in the Northeast, the son and grandson of school teachers.  Since moving to South Florida almost twenty years ago, he has had the privilege of serving on Temple Beth Sholom’s former school board and Board of Trustees, on education related search and evaluation committees and the Temple’s budget committee.  Aaron currently serves as Co-Chair of the Temple’s Elementary School Committee.  He is the father of three school-age children (Harrison, Jon and Catie) all of whom are alumni of TBS Foundation School and husband to Heidi Howard Tandy, former chair of the City of Miami Beach’s Quality in Education Committee.   A graduate cum laude of New York University School of Law, Aaron is currently a partner at the law firm of Pathman Lewis, LP, where he focuses on employment law and litigation.

Meet the Clergy & Board of Trustees

In addition to our administration and education committee we’d like to introduce you to our Clergy team and Board of Trustees. Learn more about Temple Beth Sholom and all that we have to offer!