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Meet the ECLC Staff

April Schafer, Director of Early Childhood

April Schafer (Director)

“I love going into a classroom to sit on the rug, tell a story, sing a song or even easel paint with a little friend…Work doesn’t get better than this!

  • Spent the early years of her educational career as a pre-Kindergarten teacher
  • Has been working in the field of early childhood for 16 years.
  • Elaine joined us as Director in 2008 after six successful years as the Head of Early Childhood for the Chatsworth Hills Academy.

Toddler Learning Center
Flora Kohanbashiri

Flora Kohanbashiri

“I feel blessed to be a part of the childrens’ lives and the University Synagogue family.”

  • First started working with children at the Bay Cities JCC
  • Has been teaching at University Synagogue for 9 years
  • Fulfillment comes from watching her students “master all the milestones of childhood”

Tessa Cramer (Assistant Director)

“A truly comprehensive education involves a productive partnership between parents and school…”

  • Grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she earned her degree in Education, and was instrumental in the creation of after-school recreational activities for Johannesburg’s youth
  • Became Program Coordinator of the Toddler Learning Center at University Synagogue in 1996
  • Received the Sara and Simha Lainer Distinguished Educator Award for Early Childhood Educators in 2001, and the Heroes Among Us Educator award in 2007

Alison Glanz
Sarah Kebre

Lucy Castillo
Juli Peller

Stephanie Share
Annette Sarver

Sarah Kebre

“Pre-school is the key to a child’s educational and social development. I love to nurture their eager minds through creativity in a loving environment.”

    • Has been working in childhood development since she was a teenager
    • Has worked at Adat Shalom and Temple Isaiah’s pre-school programs
    • Has been teaching at University Synagogue since 2008

Ester Nassi

“I became a preschool teacher because I love children. The early years in the child’s life are the most important, and I am happy to be able to help them grow emotionally and developmentally.”

  • Teaches the morning program and such enrichment classes as Poetry and Puppetry, sculpture and arts and crafts
  • Has been teaching preschool-aged children for more than 22 years
Has been teaching at University Synagogue for 10 years

Annette Sarver

“Seeing life through the eyes of a young child is a gift I receive each day.”

  • Other than her years attending college in San Diego, she has spent her whole life living in the San Fernando Valley
  • Prior to becoming a preschool teacher, she spent 6 years as the Director of Extended Learning at Lanai Road Elementary School in Encino
  • After a year at ECLC, as everyone’s favorite “sub”, she began teaching full-time in September 2010

Hayley Naiman

“I look forward to the hugs and kisses from my students, and love giving them a new learning experience daily.”

  • Has been teaching for nine years
  • Previously taught at Temple Ahavat Shalom and Chatsworth Hills Academy
  • Is in her third year at University Synagogue

Joan Becker
Rubi Aquino

Rubi Aquino

“I have always loved being around children, seeing them smile and giggle. I love doing this every day.”   

  • Childhood dream was to teach one day
  • Has worked at University Synagogue for 19 years

Joan Becker

“I love teaching the children and watching them experience a whole new world.  Seeing them explore, create, and grow is such a rewarding experience.”

  • Teaches in both ECLC and University Synagogue’s Religious School
  • Has been teaching at University Synagogue since 2002

Yana Peymer
Emily Blumenberg

Emily Blumenberg

Yana Peymer

“Here I am, 19 years later, and still love being a part of the University Synagogue family.”

  • Holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development
  • Holds a Master’s Degree in Music
  • Began her teaching career at University Synagogue in 1992

Gesher Lions
Sarah Beyeler
Delanie Maghen
Venetia Lambo

Sue Hoffman

“Every September when I meet my new class they are always four years old, but I am always a year older. How does that happen? …I love working with children and figuring out new things to challenge them all the time.”

  • Has been teaching pre-K for over 20 years
  • Has been at University Synagogue since September 2008

Jen Flowers

“For me there is nothing more inspiring then helping a child better understand the world he or she lives in.”

  • Was a substitute teacher in LAUSD for nearly 11 years
  • Formerly a professional dancer, choreographer, and voiceover artist
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