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.
Bani holds an honor’s degree in psychology from her home country of India and lived for almost 10 years in Nairobi, Kenya, where she taught elementary school. She moved to Miami and was a parent in the Foundation School when she fell in love with the culture and energy of the community. (Her son, Rahul, is one of our pre-K graduates!). Bani moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she was an early childhood educator, and came back to join our Foundation Level as a staff member in 2008.
Yolanda also known as Yoly, was born in the United Kingdom. She spent her childhood living in Europe, her teen years in Ecuador, and early adulthood in Spain, England, and the United States. Having been exposed to different cultures, Yolanda has a passion for travel and has explored parts of Africa, Asia, Middle East and Caribbean. Yolanda holds an associate degree in Human and Social Services. She worked at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, a nonprofit organization where she assisted families with enrollment in government programs. She enjoys going to the beach, bike riding, exercising, and spending quality time with her nieces and nephews. Yolanda is extremely excited to join the school and start an amazing new chapter in her life.
Sonia was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She has been working with children for over ten years. Sonia is currently working on a double major in Elementary Education and Sociology. She enjoys every aspect of teaching. Sonia joined the school staff as a substitute teacher during the 2016 school year and is now a member of the professional team for the 2017 school year. She believes that Temple Beth Sholom is a wonderful place for children to begin their education both academically and emotionally.
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.
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.
Rebecca Edelson was born in New York and raised on Miami Beach. She studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and entertainment law. She then received her paralegal certificate from The University of California, Los Angeles, and continued with a successful career in the entertainment industry, working for several large companies including Spelling Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, and DIRECTV. After relocating back to Miami from Los Angeles, Rebecca began as a substitute teacher in the Foundation Level. She developed a strong relationship with the students and the staff and joined our teaching staff in the fall of 2016.
Brad grew up in North Miami Beach and has called South Florida home for over 40 years. He studied business at the University of South Florida. Brad has been a licensed real estate agent for over 20 years. He is the proud father of two teenage boys. Brad joined the school staff as a substitute teacher during the 2016 school year and is now a member of the professional team for the 2017 school year.
From Curaçao, Scarlet was raised in Peru and lived for many years in Brazil. This combination of living in diverse places among different cultures and learning to adjust to new situations as a child is one of the reasons she decided to become a teacher. Scarlet holds a Bachelor of Arts in special and elementary education and a Master of Arts in educational therapy.
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.
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.
Born in Miami Beach, Kimberly followed the passion of her mother, Diana Hyde, and joined the staff at Temple Beth Sholom. Her first role was as a camp counselor in the summer of 2006. She worked subsequent summers and then became a substitute teacher in the Foundation Level in 2015. Having spent many years as a part of the Beth Sholom community and working with young children, Kimberly is proud to join our school’s professional teaching staff. Her son, James, is currently enrolled in the Infant/Toddler Level. Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid movie fan.
Mayra Isla Abanto
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.
Lee Levy Friedman
Lee Levy Friedman came to the US from Israel, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and special education from Haifa University. She is married with four children — Yoshai, Ozzy, Roel, and Uma. Lee has been with our Foundation Level for more than five years.
Marcie was born and raised in New York and attended Rockland Community College. She lived in the South of France before moving to Miami in 1998. She is the mother of one daughter who is preparing for Bat Mitzvah here at Temple Beth Sholom. Marcie is a certified Holistic Life Coach. She has a passion for positive physiology. She loves to see both children and adults thrive.
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.
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.
Lucia Martino is originally from Spain, where she was an early childhood educator working with pre-school and kindergarten children and children with special needs at the Ronald McDonald House. She moved to Miami in 2009. Lucia joined the Foundation Level as a substitute teacher in the fall of 2013 and as a staff member in 2014.
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.
Bronwyn was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, where she studied at the University of Natal for a degree in arts and science. She and her family moved to Miami in the early 1990’s. She is married with two daughters, loves living in Miami, and is excited to join our family at Temple Beth Sholom.
Saskia was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Venezuela. She moved to Miami in 1996 where she met her husband and started a family. She became familiar with Temple Beth Sholom by way of her two beautiful children who are alumni of the school. Saskia joined the staff as a Parent/Child Program teacher in 2013 and was a regular substitute teacher at TBSIS before joining the staff in January 2018. Her professional background was working in business and marketing for Estee Lauder in Venezuela. In her spare time she creates and sells handmade jewelry.
Giuliana Sierralta is from Peru and has lived in Miami since 1986. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Kaplan University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned the Child Development Associate Credential. Giuliana is the proud mother of Cole Young, who is a former student of the Foundation Level. In her free time, Giuliana enjoys the beach, running, traveling, and spending time with her son and family.
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. Ruth enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
Patricia Tobon is from Colombia and moved to the United States in 1995. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism. In 1998 Patricia started working as an assistant teacher providing support for children who required behavioral supervision. There she found that her true passion in learning and working with children. Patricia joined the Temple Beth Sholom team working in the Parent/Child Center from 2007 to 2010 and happily rejoined our staff in 2015. A yoga practitioner for more than ten years, Patricia also teaches yoga and mindful meditation to children in different facilities in Miami Beach.
Irma was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has been living in Miami Beach since 1981. Passionate about teaching children, she has been working in the Foundation Level since 2003 and received her Child Development Associate Credential in 2007.
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 nationally and internationally. Colleen has worked at Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and numerous training centers inspiring children, teens, and adults with her unique approach to incorporating dance, yoga, and Pilates into a movement therapy called YogaDance for professionals and nonprofessionals alike. Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching perfectly fits into the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood development.