Click on a staff member below for more information.
My name is Aurora Pollak, everyone calls me Rori. I believe that all students are unique and thrive in a safe and stimulating environment that supports healthy growth and development. I want to continue the ECS success where the children flourish and explore to reach their full potential. My goal is also to create a warm, loving environment, so the children feel safe to take risks and express themselves. For the last 35 plus years, I have worked in the field of early care and education. I have held positions starting as an assistant teacher, to later becoming a lead teacher, and then, a school director at various programs throughout DC, Virginia, and Maryland. I have a Bachelor’s Degree with a focus on Early Childhood Education and Child Development from the University of Maryland. Additionally, I have a Director’s Credential from the University of the District of Columbia. After nine years as the Executive Director at a full day parent cooperative in Virginia, I wanted to return to working in Jewish environment. Prior to my position in Virginia, I ran the Tikvat Israel preschool. My Judaic background also includes 10 plus years working for the Rockville and DC Jewish Community Centers as well as 20 years teaching religious school. I also have extensive training in various early childhood educational curriculums with a strong emphasis on intentional teaching and Conscious Discipline, a social/emotional curriculum. I am looking forward to continuing the literacy and art programs Eve has developed and seeing where it will lead us.
Kamri is a very hard working and enthusiastic person. She is currently studying business and has a dream of one day opening her own foster care. Kamri is well experienced in early childhood education, and has received many certifications that demonstrate her knowledge of working with children in a school setting. Kamri also has years of experience in administration and has received skilled training as a front desk.
Dilini is a passionate early childhood educator who has nearly twenty years of experience in the early childhood field. She earned her Child Development Associates (CDA) after relocating to the USA twelve years ago. She also possesses a Diploma in Primary and Preschool education from Sri Lanka. Dilini is currently pursuing an early childhood degree at Montgomery College. Prior to joining B’nai Shalom of Olney, she had taught at the World Bank Children Center, Shaare Tefila Preschool and Primrose School in Bethesda. She believes that every child is unique, and they learn best when they are in a loving, nurturing and secure environment. In her free time, Dilini loves to travel, read, and listen to music. Dilini is excited to join B’nai Shalom ECS!
Tenley is an Olney native who is a proud mom of four (4th grader at Greenwood, 3 yr old, and 18 month old twins who will also be attending ECS) plus two stepchildren. She is Bilingual in English/Spanish and speaks conversational Portuguese. Tenley recently graduated from Montgomery College with an A.A. in Secondary Education - English, Spring '21. She will be attending University of Maryland, College Park to continue her pursuit of a B.A. with a double major in English/English Education (Secondary Ed). Though her end goal is to teach higher education, she has always loved working with young children. She believes the early childhood years are such a crucial time in development and can't wait to help nurture/guide your child as they learn and grow throughout the year!
Arielle is so excited to be joining ECS as part of the Dubim team. She's looking forward to all the fun and learning everyone will have, and finding out what the favorite books of all the Dubim are. Arielle started working in early childhood education in her high school's preschool teacher's program, and completed her 90-hour Child Development certification, with honors, in 2018. She primarily has taught 18-24-month old's, but loves all age groups. Arielle was born in Israel and moved to the US when she was eight years old. She speaks Hebrew fluently. In her free time, she loves to bake challah and spend time with family and friends.
Every child is special and unique, allowing for diversity within the classroom. I believe that it is our role as a teacher to embrace those differences, which then allows each child as an individual to soar and exceed from the inside out. My goal is to consistently engage each student at their level, leading to their ultimate success. Last but far from least, bringing a positive attitude into the classroom on a daily basis will provide a safe space to learn and grow. I hope to inspire each and everyone of your children to be the best that they can be.
Britzell joins our school as a new assistant teacher excited to learn about the social and emotional development of children. She is happy to join the Pre K team as a floater between both classes to support the teachers and well as the students.
Dana Foster is the Director of Education and Youth at B’nai Shalom of Olney. She was born and raised in Montgomery County, where she attended Hebrew Day Institute and graduated from Quince Orchard High School. She spent her summers with her mother's family in Israel and was active in her synagogue, Tikvat Israel, serving as President of her USY chapter there. She went to the University of Maryland where she studied English and Social Studies Education. In 1997, she studied Holocaust history in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany as part of Hillel's "Bridges for Understanding" program. Dana first started teaching religious school her junior year of college and has done so consistently for the 20-something years since. She worked for 10 years at the Close Up Foundation, a civics education organization, developing curriculum and training teachers from all over the country in experiential and issue-centered education. She is thrilled to join the BSO Kindergarten program as the Shabbat Sing leader and Jewish studies teacher, where we will focus on bible stories, parables and holidays. Dana lives in Olney with her husband, Christian, and their two sons, Mason and Jacob. When she isn't on sports fields cheering for her boys, she can be found listening to musicals, reading or cooking.
Julie is an occupational therapist who specializes in working with children of all levels and abilities particularly those with developmental delays and sensory processing needs. Julie is passionate about helping children of all ages and developmental levels maximize their potential in a fun and motivating way. Julie has worked in a number of schools and outpatient specialized programs in New York City and the D.C. Metro area, providing services for children with special needs. Julie is dedicated to continuously expanding her knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. She holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Towson University, a Master of Arts degree in Motor Learning and Control from Columbia University (her thesis focused on sensory processing disorder in the classroom), and a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement Science from the University of Michigan. She is also certified in levels one and two of the Radiant Child Yoga Program (RCYP 1-2) and has taken courses in emotional regulation, yoga for kids, executive functioning skills, and Handwriting without Tears.
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 as our Toddler and Me teacher 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.
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!