Mayim Outdoors Jewish Learning Guides (Teachers)

Kindergarten

Lila Klaus

JLG for Kindergarten

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

lklaus@tbsneedham.org

I am a recent graduate of Bard College, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a minor in Theology. Prior to joining TBS, I have spent my time as a madricha for Kindergarten through third graders, as well as working at a URJ summer camp as both a counselor and a unit head. I have also been a dance teacher, where I brought into the classroom ways in which Jewish values can be applied to the creative movement process. With both my educational and artistic backgrounds, I strive to bring to TBS a classroom environment where creativity and curiosity are encouraged, and to instill a love of learning about Jewish ideas.

First Grade

Matt Emmer

JLG for 1st Grade

Pronouns: He/Him/His

memmer@tbsneedham.org

After working with Mayim as a t’filah and song leader, I am excited to join the team. I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York, and am a proud alumni of URJ Eisner Camp, spending 14 summers as a camper, counselor, and eventually head song leader. In the spring of 2016, I graduated from Clark University in Worcester, where I studied English and Jewish Studies. I’m passionate about making the classroom a space for exploration and helping students find their connection to Judaism and the world around them. 

Mia Riess

Counselor for 1st Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Second Grade

Emily Kestenbaum

1st and 2nd Grade Curriculum Coach

JLG for 2nd Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

ekestenbaum@tbsneedham.org

 

I always felt that the best educators I had were the ones who were continuously learning and growing. I strive to follow their path and learn from my colleagues and students every day. I believe that building a rapport with each child allows an educator to help that child access the curriculum in a way that is meaningful to them. Each year, I take the time to get to know each child personally - their backgrounds, theirs interests, and their families.  This helps me to bring highlight pieces of the curriculum for each child, where he/she may connect most to Judaism. Working at Temple Beth Shalom provides me the opportunity to be a part of a team that values the fostering of connections between children through our shared history and values, and to build on those relationships each year so they can continue to develop.

I joined the Mayim family in September 2016, and am thrilled to continue learning from this amazing group of educators and professionals on a daily basis. I am originally from Stonybrook, NY and come with experiences as a full time public school teacher, Hebrew school teacher, and youth group director. I also spent five summers working as the Waterfront Director at Eisner Camp. I live with my husband, Ben, in Northborough and enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and swimming!

Evie Happel

Counselor for 2nd Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Sophie Small

Counselor for 2nd Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Third Grade

Tzipora Crandell

Third Grade Curriculum Coach

JLG for 3rd Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

tcrandell@tbsneedham.org

As a Needham native, I grew up attending Temple Beth Shalom and am so happy to be returning home as a Mayim and Mayim Tamid Jewish Learning Guide. The foundation for my interest in Jewish Education was laid as a student at TBS and strengthened during summers at URJ Crane Lake Camp and a high school semester abroad in Israel.

 

As a teacher, I believe that children grow and learn at their own pace, and I fully embrace each child’s individuality.  As someone who continues to learn through music, play, and experimentation, I strive to create an inviting and curiosity-inspiring environment in the classroom. 

Bethany Smith

JLG for 3rd Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

bsmith@tbsneedham.org

My teaching philosophy is to approach every moment with compassion. Students do not exist within a bubble of school and deal with a bevy of outside factors that can affect their engagement and attitudes. By meeting every moment with understanding, we can make sure we provide a well-rounded education that caters to the students’ social and developmental needs as much as the topic we are working to convey. 

 

I grew up in Columbia, SC and  I graduated from Tulane University of Louisiana in 2018 with a degree in Psychology and Political Science. After graduation, I  moved to Atlanta where I worked as the Youth Education Coordinator for two years. In my free time, I enjoy spending the day outside, reading, or watching television.  I am  beyond excited for my first year in Massachusetts and  to get to know the TBS community!

Sean Haviland

Counselor for 3rd Grade

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Fourth Grade

Hannah Elbaum 

4th Grade Curriculum Coach 

JLG for 4th Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

hrelbaum@tbsneedham.org

I'm delighted to continue working at TBS for my second year! I love visiting museums, reading, baking gluten-free treats, and practicing yoga. Before joining the faculty at TBS, I graduated from Smith College, where I studied museum education. 

In teaching, I believe that questions are the foundation of meaningful learning, and I strive to empower students to find their own answers with guidance and support. My goal is to create a classroom community that inspires exploration of ideas, fosters deep relationships, and values the perspectives and experiences of each individual. 

Ianne Sherry

Educator for 4th Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

ISherry@tbsneedham.org

I am passionate about instilling a love of learning and a love of Judaism in the children with whom I have the honor to work. I grew up in Fairfax Virginia, received a BA in Education, Economics, and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, and am currently working on my Master of Arts in Teaching at Brandeis. I plan to use this education as well as my experience working with children in both classrooms and experiential settings to create engaging learning experiences for my students. I am excited to work as a JLG to build relationships with my students, create community in and out of the classroom, and learn together. I’m looking forward to another wonderful year at TBS! 

Ali Klein

Educator for 4th Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hannah Fleckner

Counselor for 4th Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Fifth Grade

Mason Siros

JLG for 5th Grade

Pronouns: He/Him/His

msiros@tbsneedham.org

I am very excited to be a Mayim teacher this year. I have been working at 6 points sci-tech academy the past 6 summers and I am looking forward to applying what I learned there to my teaching at TBS. In my spare time I enjoy reading fantasy books and playing video games. 

As a teacher it is my goal to nurture my students’ interests while also introducing them to new concepts and perspectives. I love to see children's enthusiasm for learning and want to encourage that as much as possible.

Michael Wagner

JLG for 5th Grade

Pronouns: He/Him/His

mwagner@tbsneedham.org

I have loved teaching ever since my middle school did “Student Teacher Swap Day” when I was in the eighth grade. It’s been 10 years since then, and I couldn’t be more ready for my first full-time teaching job. I’m so excited to work with each individual child this year to help them towards their dreams, cares, and passions. Before TBS, I was an engineer at IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY, and have taught Programming and Coding at 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy for the past 3 years. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018 with a BS in Computer Engineering, where I was a Teaching Assistant for the Intro to Computer Science course and a volunteer for multiple after-school coding clubs at nearby middle schools. Apart from coding, teaching, and teaching coding, I love acting and building sets for theatre as well as hiking in New Hampshire.

Gabby Emerson

Educator for 5th Grade

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Floating

Jess Green

Inclusion Support Specialist 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

jgreen@tbsneedham.org

I once heard a writer explain that they chose to become a writer because they believe that we are all tools of G-d and once we figure out what kind of tools we are we’d better get to work. This philosophy resonates deeply for me, for both myself as an educator and for my students. All children have strengths, interests, and potentials that are unique to them. I highly value teaching with a focus on inclusion and social emotional learning. I am personally drawn to nature, cooking, creativity, community, and books and the power and joy of these experiences are deeply reflected in my classroom and work with students.

 

This is my sixth year at TBS and I bring an additional ten years of experiences working with children in camps and schools. My undergraduate degree is in Women's Studies from the University of Maryland and I hold a Master's in Jewish Education with a concentration in Special Education from Hebrew College. I have lived in Boston for fifteen years and am deeply connected to my Jewish communities and chosen family here.

Zoe Summit

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

zsummit@tbsneedham.org

 

I am so excited to be a part of the Mayim family again this year. I feel strongly that, as educators, it is our job to meet each child where they are and foster a love for learning and for Judaism from there. As a special educator, I am a firm believer in individualizing education. I never assume every kid in the room needs the same things or can access the same things in the same ways. I love how many access points there are to each concept in the Mayim curriculum and how the Hebrew groups are structured so that we can always make this happen!

 

When I'm not at TBS I teach in an autism program in Boston Public Schools. My favorite part of this work is building relationships with amazing teachers, students, and parents. I love learning from and growing with everyone in this community!

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Temple Beth Shalom

670 Highland Avenue

Needham, MA 02494

(781) 444-0077

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Looking for information about our 6th-12th grade programming, Etzim? Click here to visit our Etzim page!

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