Click on a staff member below for more information.
Eve Margol is an educator with 18 years’ experience in the classroom and individualized instruction. She is the Director of the Early Childhood School here at B'nai Shalom of Olney. With a Master’s Degree in Early childhood Education, concentration in special education, coach for Non-medicated strategies for children with ADHD and trainer for the Phono-Graphix® reading technique, Eve’s guiding philosophy is to create a specialized learning environment that offers differentiated instruction and social/emotional strategies designed to help student learn and navigate their world. In addition, Eve is the owner of LinkEducation Resources which offers consultation services, training and educational therapies to meet the individual needs of students and the teams that support them.
Almost instantaneously, Christine joined the Early Childhood School team two years ago when she saw the joy and pure happiness that the children brought every day. She fell in love with the idea of working with preschool-aged children and quickly made the ECS her “second home”. On a daily basis, Christine provides administrative support to the ECS office team with a background of a bachelor's degree in Information Systems.
Rabbi Hoffman earned a BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, an MHL and ordination from JTS in 1991, and more recently a Ph.D. in Talmud and rabbinics from New York University. His primary academic interest is the analysis of Biblical and rabbinic texts, often in ways that are "outside the box." Most of Rabbi Hoffman's career has been spent serving two congregations in Long Island, the Lake Success Jewish Center (1995-2007) and Temple Israel of South Merrick (2007-2018). He is a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau/Suffolk/Queens and has served on the boards of the RA Executive Council, the Hillel Institute for Conversion, the Long Island Board of Rabbis, the Great Neck Interfaith Clergy Association and the Black/Jewish Coalition for Justice.
Hazzan Sara Geller, a lyric soprano, is marking her twenty-fifth year in the cantorate. She has served B'nai Shalom of Olney since 2002. Hazzan Geller prepares b'nai mitzvah students, teaches music and prayer in the religious and early childhood schools, and leads Shabbat and Festival services.
Julie Lowe is a Master Naturalist with a degree in cognitive science and artificial intelligence. She is a certified Knowledge Engineer and has 18 years of Early Education experience. Raised in the mountains and on the plains of Montana, she spent her childhood on horseback, playing with the local fauna, particularly reptiles and amphibians. This instilled in her a love of nature, science, the environment, and a curiosity of how it all works together. Her mission has been to share that love with children, as expressed through the quote by Naturalist David Polis. ‘Why must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the stars and the mountains above. Let them look at the waters and the trees and the flowers on Earth. Then they will begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education.’ As with animals, children learn through play. Mrs. Lowe integrates play through hand-on science, using nature, animals, and all five senses as the very first and best teacher of social/emotional, literacy, cognitive and motor skills as children learn to understand and thrive in their world.
Elyse Kitt is a passionate educator of the young mind. With a dual associates degree in early education and special education, she had been able to develop her own inspiring curriculum and strategies for the past 11 years. She has worked with a variety of ages ranging from 14 months to 5 years old in professional settings. Elyse was a lead teacher at another Montgomery County Synagogue for 4 years as a 2's teacher and Pre K teacher. Outside the classroom, Elyse has tutored, mentored, and supported children from birth to 8 years old. She is also trained in Handwriting Without Tears® and embraces the value of bringing letters and writing to the classroom using various interactive materials. She is currently attending St. Leo University, working toward her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She is so excited to be on the ECS team and looks forward to her professional journey at the ECS.
Ilana Bennaim has been with B’nai Shalom of Olney ECS for 24 years, teaching a variety of age groups. She focuses on learning through free play and of course, singing Jewish songs with children. In addition, she leads the Hebrew Club at the ECS. She began her teaching career in the United States at the Silver Spring learning center, gaining her 90 hours early childhood education experience. Before she came to America, she was living in Israel while working as a social worker.
Lee has worked in childcare for most of her life, starting at Kids After Hours, Temple Emmanuel, and Julia Brown Montessori School. She has her Toddler 45-hour certification as well as her Preschool 45-hour Certification and 90-hour Child Development Certification. She loves working with toddler age as well as preschoolers. I believe that preschool is an extremely important time for children and that we as teachers can help them grow and learn so much. I am creative and love doing arts and crafts with the kids as well as singing and teaching them basic sign language. Teaching in an early childhood facility is such an honor and I love getting to see young minds grow and develop.
Sara has a B.A, in Behavioral Science with a concentration in Elementary Education from Barry University and have been working in the education field since 2002, specifically in Early Childhood Education since 2010. After living my whole life in Miami, FL I decided to move to Maryland in September of 2018. I am so happy to be a part of the Early Childhood School and B'Nai Shalom and to work in the new Toddler class.
Maria joined ECS 3 years ago and she enjoys working with children because every day they teach her something new. A native Spanish speaker, Maria brings a dual-language perspective to her classroom. A lover of nature, Maria heads up our gardening program, teaching the children about the outdoors, plants and how we eat what grow.
Laurie Martin has been a teacher at B’nai Shalom of Olney for twenty years. She has taught eighteen-month olds to five-year old’s and every age in between. Laurie attended Montgomery College where she earned the 90-hour Child Growth and Development certification for preschool. In addition, she has earned her 45-hour certification for Infant and childcare. I have the utmost dedication to the social and emotional development of every child, making this my mission each and every day.
Believe it or not, I never wanted to be a teacher- a doctor, a rabbi, a writer, a psychiatrist, but never a teacher. And look what I ended up doing for many of my working years! As an early teen, I volunteered and worked at a summer camp for physically impaired and emotionally and mentally challenged children and young adults. During my college years, I continued doing similar volunteer work at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York , while completing both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology and Special Education. The beautiful words on cards and thank you notes that I received from some of the patients and staff at Creedmoor when I was leaving the New York area have remained etched on my heart for close to 50 years now! I didn't realize how much I enjoyed working with preschool aged children until I had my own children. Now, years later, as a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, and the grandmother to seven grandchildren, my appreciation and fascination with the early years of children and their education seems to have become a natural extension of my own being. I guess it's true that some kids never grow up!
Brian began his journey into the world of teaching with ECS in September 2019, and it's been an unforgettable experience so far! “I've learned a lot so far and have been able to utilize my own experiences working as a camp counselor and as a high rope's instructor/technician as well. I am a strong advocate for educating children about the world around them through hands-on learning and in-the-field observation. I love being active, being outdoors, or both if I can manage it!"
Keilah, but known to everyone as Keke earned her bachelor's degree in social work from Oakwood University in Alabama. This will be her third year here at the ECS. Keke is creative and her approach to building art projects combined with literacy allows the children to learn in an exciting and dynamic way. Each year she is excited for the new opportunities to learn, grow and answer the many questions that come from the children.
Arlene been an assistant teacher at ECS for the past 8 years. She enjoys helping the children learn and grow. It is great working at ECS and I am looking forward to another great school year!