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Our Educators

Our facility is a community of teachers who are all committed to Jewish early childhood education. We come from diverse backgrounds and settings and we all have one thing in common: our love of children. 

Hamutal Appel

Hamutal was born in Israel and moved to Chicago when she was 5 years old. She is married and has 4 children. Hamutal has been working at BJE since 2015. She enjoys cooking and spending time with family. "Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded." - Jess Lair

Wilma Bahrmasel

Wilma retired from the corporate world in 2006. She has been with BJE-ECC for more than 15 years. Wilma says she is "excited to have assisted in the development of these beautiful children in every age group. I am happy to be part of their lives and consistently tries to make their time here meaningful and enlightening.

Yael Fliegelman​

Yael has been with BJE-ECC since 2015. Yael studied at Oakton Community College. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two children and dog Leo. Yael enjoys working with children because they are genuine and speak from the heart.​

Susan Goldberg

Susan received a degree in Primary Education from Roosevelt University. She taught pre-school enrichment classes for seven years as well as the two year old transition class.Susan has been with BJE-ECC since 2020. She taught in the city for a number of years prior to starting a family. During Susan's free time, she enjoys spending time with family including her three children and seven grandchildren.

Jami Gryll

Jami has a Masters in Human Services/Counseling from National Louis University. She started BJE in 2021. In her free time, she loves spending time with family, reading, dancing and snuggling her dog, Sloan. Working with children has always been a passion of hers. She says, "I enjoy watching their creative, developing minds explore their surroundings and constantly learning new things."

Natalie Gurin

Natalie has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology from University of Pennsylvania. She received a master’s degree in Language and Literacy from Vanderbilt University. Natalie has been with BJE-ECC since 2000, first as a parent and then in 2007 as a teacher. Natalie loves to spend time with my family and friends, attend their special events, bake, read, and of course, watch sports, especially the Kansas City Chiefs! Being a part of BJE has always been special to Natalie. In her words, "I love having the opportunity to work with children, especially as they have that “aha moment” when they first discover something. The messier the better!"

Liz Hartzler

Liz has a Bachelor's of Applied Science degree in Recreation Management from Illinois State University. She also obtained her Level 3 credentials for Early Childhood Education from Heartland Community. Liz started at BJE in the fall of 2021 and has been working with children since 2019. In her free time, Liz likes being out in nature, exploring new areas, and photography. Liz says working with children "gives me a sense of accomplishment, feeling like I can make a difference in a child's life." "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." - Mark Van Doren

Nicole Hoffman

Nicole started at BJE-ECC in 2020 graduated from the University of Illinois- Champaign with a concentration in Child Development. She enjoys playing the ukulele and enlightens the children with her music! In her free time, Nicole likes all things arts and crafts including knitting and painting. Nicole loves working with children and seeing their growth and development throughout the year.     "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."- Benjamin Franklin

Joanna Jablonska

Joanna has a degree in Health and Wellness through the College of Lake County. Joanna is also a wellness coach and personal trainer certified through The American College of Sports Medicine. She started at BJE in March of 2020. During her free time, Joanna loves reading, the outdoors, hiking, camping, canoeing, and nature. Joanna says she loves children and “am forever fascinated by their view of the world and their thinking and reasoning skills. By working with children I can delight in that and bring a little of the childhood magic into my adult life.” “My best teachers were not the ones who knew all the answers, but those who were deeply excited by the questions they could not answer” –Brian Greene

Sue Jacobson

Sue has a B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She started at BJE in 2011.  Her favorite hobby is musical theater. She enjoys performing on stage and working on the staff of community theater productions, and attending musical theater productions of all kinds.  Sue says she enjoys working with young children. She says, “I love to share in their enthusiasm, energy, curiosity, and joy for learning. I feel that I learn as much from the children as I hope they learn from me.”

Julie Korol

Julie has a degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University and a Masters in Special Education from National-Louis. She joined the staff at BJE-ECC in 2017. “I love working with the families at BJE-ECC, Northbrook. I feel lucky to be able to work in a Jewish environment.”

Naomi Korol

Naomi taught elementary school for eight years and worked at Congregation Beth El Pre-school. She started at BJE in 2021. She takes pride in her three sons. “Our preschool years were wonderful and joyous!”

Alana Lebovitz

Alana has an MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work. She has been teaching preschool since 2009. In her free time, Alana enjoys being outdoors and in nature. She also likes to travel. Alana says, "I love being a teacher and I have learned so much being a teacher at BJE-ECC. I enjoy being able to use my creativity to encourage children to wonder about the world and to facilitate in their joy of learning. I have met so many wonderful families and have made many friends at BJE-ECC."

Kayley Levine

Kayley started at BJE in 1997 as a preschooler and after three wonderful years graduated and took her love for learning throughout her schooling. Kayley then went on to graduate from Illinois State University with a degree in Recreation and Park Administration in 2019. When Kayley is not at BJE you can most likely find her playing with her three dogs, volunteering for Make-A-Wish, or going on adventure with her G-d kids. Kayley enjoys working with young children because "every day is unique and a new adventure." To Kayley, "No two days are the same." “No matter what you step in,keep walking along and singing your song. Because it's all good” -Pete The Cat

Michelle Mantel

Michelle graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Journalism. She was a Chicago Teachers Project fellow, undertaking coursework and intensive training on early childhood Reggio-inspired Jewish learning from 2017-2019. Michelle started a BJE-ECC in 2015. Aside from teaching, Michelle manages BJE-ECC's social media and marketing. She also teaches Religious School at the Ezra-Habonim Niles Township Jewish Congregation. During her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, spending time with her friends, family, and cat Moglie. “If you give them branches, they will climb”

Karen Morrison

Karen has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Reading from the University of Illinois. She began working for BJE-ECC in 2016. Karen loves to read, cook and learning new things. Karen says, " I love how honest the children are in their feelings and emotions, the sheer joy each child brings to the class."

Betsy Nickow

Betsy has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin. She began working for BJE-ECC in 2006. In her free time, Betsy loves crafting (especially beading) and running. Betsy says "I love the children’s curiosity and excitement they bring every day."

Jackie Roiter

Jackie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from the University of Illinois. She joined the BJE-ECC family in 2001. Jackie loves to read in her free time. "I want to make sure that each child leaves my classroom with a love of learning and a strong sense of self."

Becky Rottner

Becky has worked in the Education/Early Childhood field for many years, in various capacities. She received her Bachelor’s degree from National Lewis University in Applied Behavioral Sciences and minored in Psychology and Human Development. Becky is married and has a baby daughter named Millie. In her spare time, Becky likes to spend time with family and friends and go to concerts and musicals. Becky also loves spending time with her schnoodle Harley, reading and listening to music. Her favorite thing about working at BJE is all of the laughs and hugs! "A person's a person, no matter how small." Dr. Seuss

Avigayil Singer

Avigayil was born and raised in Jerusalem, and lived in London and Kansas before moving to Chicago, where she resides with her son. Abbie has a degree in photography from Columbia College Chicago. Prior to joining BJE in 2016 as an afternoon teacher in Beginning Steps, she ran her own daycare. In her free time, she likes to go swing dancing. "Working at BJE is my perfect job because I love getting to know children and seeing their personalities emerge."

Libby Snediker

Libby has a certificate in Early Childhood administration and an ECE Certificate from Oakton community college. She has been working in childcare since 2006 and kicked off her career at BJE in September of 2020. Libby enjoys cooking/baking, going on long walks with her dog, and spending time with friends and family. She also has a fish named Libby that lives in her classrooms. Libby enjoys working with children because it is very rewarding. Libby says, "Watching them learn and grow and getting to know each child individually is amazing, every day is a new and wonderful experience. I heard this quote once and it has always stuck with me, 'It takes a big heart to help shape little minds.'”

Melanie Steindler

Melanie Steindler graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in psychology and received her masters in social work from The University of Chicago. She started working at BJE in the Fall of 2018. Melanie loves playing with her kids, hanging out with our dog, walking around the city and eating lots of sweets! "I love working with children because they are so much fun to be around. They are creative, spirited, and funny which always makes for an eventful and entertaining day."

Barbara Stern

Barbara has an Elementary and Special Education Degree from Northern Illinois University. She began working for BJE-ECC in 1995. In her free time, Barbara loves spending time with her grandchildren.
"I love that the children have so many ideas they bring to class and we never know where it will lead."


Tali has been a teacher at BJE since 2011. She has a Bachelor degree in Psychology from Northeastern University, which includes studies in child psychology and child development and has continued her studies with early childhood education. Tali was born and raised in Israel and teachers Hebrew School. She is married with 2 children and loves spending time with family. During her free time, Tali enjoys music, art, and adventurous road trips. Tali’s goal is to give children a physical and emotionally safe environment, where they can be who they are, and thrive. One of her favorite things is to be a part of their first time experiences. " I enjoy teaching young kids, because even though they are little in size I know they all have great potential, their own interests and an abundance of imagination."

Robin Tehrani

Robin graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Psychology. Robin started working at BJE-ECC in 2019. Before becoming a teacher, Robin worked in finance.

Jordan Tyner

Jordan has a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from North Park University. She started at BJE Summer 2021. Jordan enjoys singing, playing the ukulele and writing songs. Jordan enjoys working with young children because she loves seeing the world through their perspective. In fact, Jordan says she " could chat with them all day!" “There’s no harm in being wrong y’know, no, in fact to me it’s common ground” -Paolo Nutini

Makenna Tyner

Makenna has a B.S. Special Education and A.S. in Psychology from Union University. She also spent two years as a behavior therapist working with children with autism. She started at BJE in February of 2021. Makenna enjoys going on hikes in Marquette Michigan and then stacking rocks on the beach afterwards! She loves working with infants because they’re so curious about the world around them. Makenna thinks it's fun to watch and to help infants experience things they’ve never seen, smelled, touched or tasted before. She also loves to teach early language skills and help children learn how to communicate. “We don’t stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing” - George Bernard Shaw

Shannon Tyrrell

Shannon Tyrrell has two degrees from Northern Illinois University, a Bachelor of Science: Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Services and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences - Family and Individual Development. Shannon also has a Minor in Deafness Rehabilitation. Shannon started working at BJE in 2020. She enjoys spending time with her dog Finn. "I very much enjoy watching the kiddos grow and learn new things. Children are our future."

Aaron Zisook

Aaron has a Bachelor's Degree in Health & Wellness and Physical Education & Recreation from Northeastern Illinois University. He started at BJE during the Summer of 2016. Aaron loves spending his free time with his niece Zoey. He has worked with children in both an elementary setting and early-childhood for 17 years. "I could never imagine not working with children. Helping children and their families to achieve success in school is one of the most rewarding jobs I could have! Also, the most important thing is that the children are healthy, happy and safe. That makes for a great learning environment."