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Foundation Team

Jillian Barnett
Lead Teacher
A Miami native, Jillian received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida and her Masters of Science in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Miami. She has worked in both private and public school settings, including five years working with three to five year olds with autism. She is married with two children, Bliss and Cooper, who are both students in the Foundation Level.
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Kim Coetzee
Lead Teacher
Kim is a Miami native, growing up in South Miami. She received her undergraduate degree in religion with a minor in women’s studies from the University of Georgia. She moved back to Miami to study law and received a juris doctorate degree from St. Thomas University. Kim has three daughters, who all attended the Foundation School. It was at this time, with her time spent in her daughters’ classrooms, that Kim found her passion for connecting with and teaching children.
Feliza D'Abreu
Lead Teacher
Feliza D’Abreu is originally from the Philippines. She holds a degree in elementary education and an associate degree in early childhood education. In addition, Feliza has earned the Child Development Associate Credential. She’s been a pre-school teacher since 2001. Feliza is married and has a son.
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Rachel Ebener
Lead Teacher
Rachel Ebener grew up in Miami and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in marketing. She has been teaching gymnastics since 2002 and working in schools since 2007.
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Monda Gjeka-Arch
Lead Teacher
Monda comes from Albania, where she lived 27 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in the art of teaching Albanian language and world literature. After graduating college, Monda worked as a high school teacher for four years before moving permanently to the US in 2001. She joined our teaching staff at Temple Beth Sholom in 2005. While working in Foundation Level, she earned the Child Development Associate Credential and completed many courses and college classes to further extend her knowledge in early childhood education.
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Diana Hyde
Assistant Teacher
Diana was born in Peru and moved to Miami when she was 14. She joined our teaching staff in 2006 when her nephew and niece were Foundation School students. Diana enjoys being part of children’s experiences and has dedicated much support and creativity to the Foundation School and summer camp programs. She has earned the Child Development Associate Credential.
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Mayra Isla Abanto
Lead Teacher
Mayra is from Peru and came to Miami in 2001. Even though her background and education was in business, she found her true love working with children and families when she moved here. Mayra started working as a substitute teacher in the Foundation Level in 2013 and joined the full-time staff in November 2015. She is currently working toward her degree in early childhood development.
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Martha Leyva
Assistant Teacher
Martha Leyva was born in Santiago de Cuba, where she lived until she was 14. She also lived in Madrid, Spain. Martha has a degree in marketing and merchandising. She enjoys traveling and has been to the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and the Dominican Republic. Martha has a son, Johnhenry.
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Tennille Maisner
Assistant Teacher
Tennille Maisner was raised on Miami Beach and attended North Beach Elementary, Nautilus Middle School, and Miami Beach Senior High. After graduating high school, she studied for her Bachelor of Arts in music education at Miami Dade College and FIU South. Tennille has completed her Child Development Associate Credential here at Temple Beth Sholom and has been a part of all the youth programs and musical theater productions under the direction of Cantor Haas.
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Nancy Pasternak
Lead Teacher
Nancy Pasternak is an educator from Argentina with an associate degree in early childhood education and the Child Development Associate Credential. She relocated to Miami in 2000. Nancy became a teacher because of her love of working with children. She joined the Foundation Level staff in 2007. Nancy is married and has a daughter, who spent three years in the Foundation Level before graduating from pre-K.
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Ruth Stein
Assistant Teacher
Ruth Stein was born in Granada, Nicaragua, and has been living in Miami Beach since 1985. She started to work at Temple Beth Sholom as a Parent/Child Center teacher from 2002 to 2004. Ruth joined The Foundation School team in 2011. She has earned the Child Development Associate Credential, and she loves working with children.
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Luz Guerrero
Assistante Teacher
Luz Guerrero is from Colombia and has lived in Miami for 10 years. She graduated college in Colombia and studied Early Childhood Education at Miami Dade College. She has been working with children for 8 years . Luz is the proud mother of a son and enjoys traveling and spending time with family.
Mailin Galvan
Assistant Teacher
Mailin Galvan was born in Cuba and moved to the United States in 2012. She graduated as a Physics and Electronics teacher for high school students in her native country. In Miami, she has always worked with children of ages ranging from 2 months to 4 years of age. She has a 21- year-old daughter who recently earned her Bachelor of Sciences majoring in Biology and Chemistry. Mailin's hobbies include reading, watching documentaries, working out, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Ebener
Assistant Teacher
Caitlin Ebener is from Miami, Florida born and raised. She graduated from the University of Phoenix with her Bachelor Degree of Arts in Psychology. She has been in the child care field for several years working as a gymnastics coach and then moving on to becoming a nanny for the past 8 years. She has experience working with children from birth to sixteen years old. Caitlin has a passion for children and animals. She enjoys outdoor activities spent with her family, friends and her dog, Tribilina.
Yolibet Garcia
Assistant Teacher
Yolibet Garcia, was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and came to the United States thirty years ago. She has three children and a grandson, two girls, a boy and little baby Isaac. Her oldest daughter, Hazel, is a broker, while her two younger children Jenssen and Ashely are nursing students. After obtaining her high school diploma she became certified to work with children. She has fifteen years experience working in Early Childhood Education and enjoys working as a guide for children and their families, contributing as a grain of sand for the future of the children. She likes to read and meditate on the teachings and promises of the bible, listen to classical music and sing along with the children. She also enjoys traveling, seeing other places and making new friends.
Lucia Eixarch
Assistant Teacher
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Lucia Eixarch has lived in Miami Beach for the past 18 years, and now warmly joins our TBSIS family. Lucia is an artist with a playful mind and a passion for people. Her artistic spunk, love for Judaism, positive aura and passion for learning are just some of the characteristics she exudes. Since joining our community, Lucia has opened her heart to all of us here at TBS.
Francia Jerez
Assistant Teacher
Francia Jerez was born in Venezuela and has been living in the United States of America since 2016. She is married and mother of two girls, Francia V Martinez and Valeria Martinez. She is currently an assistant teacher at TBSIS and during the afternoons works with children with special needs. She enjoys family time, bike riding and listening to music.
Wendy Belkin
Assistant Teacher
Wendy Belkin is a native New Yorker who moved permanently to Bal Harbour, Florida in 2008. A graduate of Boston University, she holds a BA in Early Childhood Education. She continued her love of children by earning a MA in Special Education. Wendy is the mother of two fabulous daughters and has five incredible grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys bike riding, tennis and the beach. However, her favorite pastime is visiting with her children and grandchildren. Wendy is thrilled to be returning to TBSIS
Colleen Farnum
Lead Teacher
Colleen Farnum is a New York University Tisch School of the Arts graduate. After her successful performing arts career as a dancer, she began rehearsal directing, choreographing, creating sets, costume designing and directing for numerous dance companies including her own Atma Yoga Dance nationally and internationally. Colleen has worked at Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Performing Arts Network, Jiva Mukti yoga center NYC and danced for Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane dance company and many other dance and yoga training and performing centers. Her passion is teaching, inspiring children, teens, and adults with her unique approach to incorporating dance, yoga,pilates and meditation into a movement therapy called YogaDance. This technique is for professionals and non professionals alike.Her passion and enthusiasm for being creative perfectly fits into the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.
Maryol Arape
Assistant Teacher
Maryol Arape has been working with children since 1986 and graduated in Early Childhood Education in 1993. She first experienced working with the Reggio Emilia Approach in her native country, Venezuela. When she arrived in Miami, she continued working in Early Childhood Education, but it has not been until joining our TBSIS Program that she has reconnected with the Reggio Approach to learning. She is very grateful to life for reuniting her with this amazing philosophy.
Amber Alonso
Lead Teacher

Amber Alonso was born in Miami Beach, Florida to a Cuban mother and Dominican father. She has always had a very close relationship with her family and considers herself to be a family-oriented person. She has traveled to Asia, Europe and parts of the Caribbean. She loves children and had one of her own on February 7th 2021, a little girl by the name of Callie. She enjoys working in early childhood and has dedicated 14 years of her life doing so.

Michele Khatmor
Assistant Teacher

Michele Khatmor was born and raised in Miami Beach, she graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School, where she was the yearbook editor. After high school she continued her education at the University of Miami. She often travels to Israel to visit her family and study. She enjoys the beach, family time, and working with children.

Lilibeth Garcia
Assistant Teacher

Lilibeth Garcia was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to the United States in
2015. While in Cuba she graduated high school and began to study speech
pathology. Upon her arrival to the states, she worked for three years in an early
childhood program and this year joined the TBSIS community. She is a life- long-
learner and believes that the Reggio Approach helps her do just that. Her hobbies
include watching documentaries, exercising and of course, spending time with her
loved ones.

Oriana Mendez
Assistant Teacher

Oriana is originally from Venezuela where she was a registered Law
student prior to coming to the United States. She has been living in Florida
for 6 years and recently obtained her Child Development Associate (CDA)
and her Directors Credentials. Since joining the TBSIS professional team
she has been very happy and looks forward to advancing her education
and relationship with families and children.

Veronika Castro
Assistant Teacher

Veronica was born in Peru. She arrived in the United States via Puerto
Rico. She holds a Bachelor in Business from Usil University in Peru. She has
been working with young children since 2018 and enjoys listening to their
stories and creating art with them. She is a full time mom and enjoys
spending time outdoors with her children, especially at the beach.

Fernanda Ojeda
Assistant Teacher

Fernanda was born in Cusco, Peru. She arrived in the United States
two years ago. After graduating HighSchool she studied Psychology
at the University of Andina del Cusco. She is now enrolled in Miami
Dade taking preliminary courses for a degree in Nutrition. She is also
very interested in expanding her knowledge of therapy with children.