Director of Learning and Engagement
Mara believes deeply that Jewish education is a lifelong journey that should be meaningful, challenging, dynamic, and inspiring. Originally from Texas, Mara’s identity and early Jewish experiences were strongly influenced by her family, participation in youth groups, and summers spent at camp. Mara earned a BA from Brandeis University and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Prior to joining TIC, Mara served for five years as the Director of the Wasserman Center for Family Life and Director of Programs for Infants + Young Children at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, helping to build community and foster growth and development at all ages and stages. Before that she was the Director of Education at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners, NY where she led a large and diverse K-12 religious school, developed and implemented a vision for Jewish education, and created curriculum and family programming. Mara is also a Board member of Kehilat Hadar and a member of the Education Advisory Council of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.
Director of Inclusion
Michelle has worked in Jewish Education and Jewish Special Education for more than twenty years, teaching in day schools and synagogue schools, serving as a counselor in summer camps, and as an advisor to youth groups. She has been at Temple Israel Center since 1998.
Michelle graduated Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women with a B.A. Degree in Education and an Associate’s Degree in Judaic Studies. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in Special Education at Hunter College, specializing in Learning Disorders and Behavior Disorders. Michelle has led professional development sessions for the Temple Israel Center staff, Board of Jewish Education and MATAN. In addition, Michelle serves as a MATAN mentor for Educational Directors seeking to bring inclusion and awareness to their synagogue schools. Michelle is a 2002 recipient of the Grinspoon Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Nursery School Director
Susan has worked in the field of Jewish education for nearly 40 years. She believes children are capable and competent, and that providing children with many opportunities to explore, discover, problem solve and use their imagination is critical to their growth and development.
Susan earned a M.S. in Supervision and Administration from the College of New Rochelle. After teaching in Early Childhood for 12 years at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ, Susan joined Beth Rishon Nursery School as it’s Director of Early Childhood Education. She then spent nine years at Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, NY, which is where she began her Reggio Emilia journey. In her spare time, Susan loves to read, travel, cook, bake and needlepoint.
A lifelong New Yorker, Michele’s experience as a Jewish educator includes teaching and administration. Prior to joining Temple Israel Center in 2019, she was the office manager at Temple Sholom Learning Center in Greenwich, CT, where, for eleven years, she assisted in the administration of the school, coordinated and implemented school and community-wide programming, in addition to teaching Hebrew and a variety of subjects for their Kehillah (community building) program.
Previously, Michele taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies for eight years at Temple Shaaray Tefila’s religious school in Bedford Corners, NY. Since 2003, Michele has taught Hebrew, Jewish culture, history and B’nai Mitzvah prep to unaffiliated children in her Northern Westchester community. She was an active volunteer for Jewish Women International, Meals-on-Wheels, and local shelters and community centers. Michele’s love of history led her to pursue a BA from Binghamton University and an MA from Northeastern University.
Assistant Director of Shorashim
Arielle’s passion for Jewish education was shaped by her experiences growing up in the Conservative movement, participating in youth groups, spending many summers at Jewish camp both as a camper and counselor, and time with her family. She is deeply committed to empowering learners in their educational experience by following their lead. Since she joined Temple Israel Center in 2017, her goal has been to create a hands-on, multi-sensory, cooperative learning environment that challenges individuals of all ages and abilities to develop their Jewish identities. An educator for more than 12 years, Arielle obtained a bachelor’s degree at UMASS Amherst, a Masters in Elementary Education from CUNY Hunter College and a permanent teaching certificate in Early Childhood education.
Nursery School Assistant Director
Carol is passionate about connecting with others and welcoming new members to the Temple Israel Center community. Previously, she was a preschool teacher at Community Synagogue of Rye, a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) with Theracare as well as a Fundraising Coach/Recruiter for the American Cancer Society. Carol earned a B.A. in Psychology from Clark University and a M.A. in education from Hunter College. Carol enjoys volunteering and has held leadership positions on The URJ Crane Lake and Eisner Camp Board, Community Synagogue and The Rye Youth Council.
Education Team Administrator