Meet Our Staff

Click on a staff member below for more information.

Aurora (Rori) Pollak
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
ecsdirector@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Be kind to spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham
Kamri Pinkney
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
ecsadmin@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
Dilini Ediriweera
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
dilini.ediriweera@bnaishalomofolney.org

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!

Favorite Book:
Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch.
Tenley Pereira
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
tenley.periera@bnaishalomofolney.org

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!

Favorite Book:
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Randi Kay
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
randi.kay@bnaishalomofolney.org

Randi is a new team member of the ECS. She has over 20 years experience working with all ages of children. Randi has a B.S. in Secondary Education/Biology from Monmouth University in New Jersey, where she grew up. After raising her own 3 children, she is now a “Nana” to 4 beautiful grandchildren! She feels as if it is very important to listen to and then validate what a child may be feeling or trying to say. When given the right tools and language through role modeling, a child will feel more comfortable and confident in the classroom. Randi loves to be creative and feels that Music & Art are like therapy for the soul.

Favorite Book:
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Arielle Pesach
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
arielle.pesach@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, by Bill Martin Jr.
Anat Tadmor
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
anat.tadmor@bnaishalomofolney.org

Anat brings a fun, fresh perspective to childhood education, and is incredibly excited for the upcoming school year! With over 30 years’ experience in teaching, Anat is used to wearing many hats – she has been a Lead Teacher for kindergarten and pre-k students at Washington Hebrew Congregation; the Physical Education teacher for pre-k to 2nd grade students at Hebrew Academy; and a Hebrew Teacher at B’nai Shalom for 2nd, 6th, and 7th graders. Anat also has her 90-hours certification for child development and actively seeks out new trainings and masterclasses that allow her to bring novel and exciting approaches to the classroom. When she isn’t teaching or running after her grandkids, Anat enjoys cooking delicious Shabbat dinners, training for marathons (she’s ran over 470 miles!) and travelling the world.

Favorite Book:
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Michelle Kleiman
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
michelle.kleiman@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Where The Sidewalk Ends By Shel Silverstein
Britzell Cruz Castill
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
britzell.castill@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
No David! By David Shannon
Dana Foster (Director of Education and Youth)
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
dana.foster@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
There's a Wocket in my Pocket! by Dr. Suess
Anna Piper (Music)
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
apiper22@gmail.com

Anna is a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) with almost a decade of experience working in early childhood settings. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music and her Master's in Early Childhood Education & Special Education from Catholic University. Over her career, Anna has enjoyed working with clients to address a range of challenges including mental health and addiction, dementia and Alzheimers, Parkinson's Disease. Anna's main areas of focus include children, teens, and adults with various neurotypes including ASD and ADHD. At B'nai Shalom ECS, Anna aims to create a music environment in which children feel free to explore their connections to music through fun and engaging multimodal activities.

Favorite Book:
Julie Kobylarek (Occupational Therapist)
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
jktherapyllc@gmail.com

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.

Favorite Book:
Jessica Sawyers
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
jessica.sawyers@bnaishalomofolney.org

I am originally from Washington DC, but now reside in Silver Spring, MD. I have been teaching preschool for a little over 4 years. I am a lover of the arts, especially dance and music. I love all things green. When I’m not busy chasing after my 8 year old daughter, I like to curl up with a good book or try out new recipes!

Favorite Book:
"Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peaky Spying" by Barbara Park
Julie Lowe
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
julie.lowe@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Andrews
Elyse Kitt
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
elyse.kitt@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Ilana Bennaim
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
ilana.bennaim@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Sidney Petersen
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
sidney.petersen@bnaishalomofolney.org

Sidney has been working with kids for as long as she can remember. She is very excited to further her teaching experience at BSO ECS. She plans on getting her bachelors in Early Childhood Education/Special Education. Her favorite thing about working with kids is watching them grow and develop before her eyes, and she loves being able to be a helping hand in that process. When not working, she loves to hike, bake, travel, and read.

Favorite Book:
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Lee Winter
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
lee.winter@bnaishalomofolney.org

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.

Favorite Book:
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Neta Ishbir
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
neta.ishbir@bnaishalomofolney.org

Neta is a new team member of the ECS and new to Maryland! She loves working with kids and has done that for most of her professional life. Educating a child to be safe, happy, friendly along with curious, independent, and responsible has become one of her biggest aspirations in life. Prior to moving to the USA, Neta worked as a pediatric nurse in Israel.

Favorite Book:
Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Arlene Honig
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
arlene.honig@bnaishalomofolney.org

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!

Favorite Book:
Once Upon a Shabbat by Jacqueline Jewels
Kylie Lyon
Director
School Administrator
V.P. Youth & Education
Rabbi
Cantor
Lead teacher
Assistant teacher
kylie.lyon@bnaishalomofolney.org

Hi! My name is Kylie and I am a new team member of the ECS. My goals are to become a teacher and progress in the educational world. In my free time, I like to paint, draw, and listen to music.

Favorite Book:
Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon