"We recognize that a highly qualified and well-trained staff is among the primary factors that contribute to a program of excellence."
Each of our classrooms has two lead teachers with a minimum of a bachelor's degree and four additional training courses in the field of early education. The vast majority of our staff, however, hold early education master's degrees, far exceeding the standards set by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
Each classroom is enriched by additional assistant teachers, equally qualified with degrees and continued education. All of our classrooms see our full time Judaic Coordinator several times a week for Jewish learning and enjoy weekly visits from musician-educator Wayne Potash for music and movement.
Even with our staff's exceptional credentials, professional development and academic training are ongoing to continually bring innovative and best practices to our school.
Helen Cohen, Director
Helen Cohen has been at the forefront of shaping the direction of early childhood education in the Boston area for over two decades, receiving significant recognition and accolades as a leader in the field. She is the Founding Director of the FJECC at Temple Israel, where she has served as Executive Director since 1994.
Helen is a graduate of McGill University and received her master’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Lesley College. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate student-teachers at Wheelock and Hebrew College and has presented at numerous conferences, including those hosted by the Bureau of Jewish Education of Boston and the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism.
Helen has served on the Educational Advisory Council of Brookline and is a past board member of the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children. Her work with parents, both on a daily basis and in more formal settings such as workshops, lectures and parenting programs, enable her to understand the challenges of parenting and how best to be a support.
Lisa Scott, Assistant Director & Admissions
Lisa Scott has made her career working in Jewish education. After teaching kindergarten for 14 years at the Maimonides School in Brookline, Lisa pursued a master's degree in Special Education at Framingham State University and taught 1st through 3rd grade in that field. Lisa then moved to administration, first as an Assistant Principal, and then as Secular Studies Principal and Student Support Services Coordinator. In 2011, Lisa's passion for early childhood education brought her to the FJECC, where she oversees the school's operations and admissions.
Alexa Halberg, Office Coordinator
Alexa joined the FJECC staff in July 2013. She brings over 25 years of nonprofit administrative experience to her role of coordinating all office operations. Her previous work has included office management/administration for an organization that provides an innovative alternative high school education model for at-risk urban youth, as well as for a research consortium working to improve systems of care for children with special health care needs and their families. She also has worked with adolescents with multiple disabilities in both classroom and residential settings. Alexa is very pleased to be part of the vibrant FJECC community, where every day she is lucky to hear the delighted laughter of the wonderful young students.
Jess Jarvis, Extended Day Coordinator
Jess has been in the field of education since 2000. She joined the FJECC teaching staff in 2009. In addition to pursuing her Master’s degree in Jewish Early Childhood Education at Hebrew College, she is now coordinating our very popular Extended Day program. Jess loves the creative process that each teacher uses to develop the wide variety of classes, and then seeing the students' enjoyment and participation in the different offerings.
Iryna Zakhozha, Judaic Coordinator
Iryna has joyfully taught in Jewish Education since 1992. Her first few years of teaching were in the Ukraine (where she was born), before continuing her career in England for several years. Since 2006 Iryna has been working at Jewish preschools in Newton and teaching 2nd grade and Kindergarten at Temple Israel's Religious School. Iryna holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood and Jewish Education. Her love of young children and passion for Judaic teaching creates a perfect combination for integrating Judaics into every aspect of the FJECC curriculum and guiding the children through their Jewish journey.
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