All staff members are experienced, highly motivated and devoted early childhood educators. They work closely with the students and parents to provide a warm loving and secure environment. Our first priority is the children’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. We work to establish a strong sense of independence and high self-esteem for each child. All staff participate in at least 16 hours of training each year and are First Aid/CPR certified. Teacher to child ratios are strictly maintained at 1:4 for children under the age of 2; 1:5 for children ages two to three and 1:8 for children ages 4 and older. All staff complete several background checks, including FBI fingerprinting, are required to have an annual physical and TB Screening, and are strongly encouraged to receive an annual flu vaccine.
This is Maggie’s first year at Etz Hayim and she loves the warm welcome she has received from the children and families. Prior to joining CEH, Maggie worked as the Assistant Preschool Director for 4 years at the Edlavitch DCJCC. Maggie has also worked as an assistant education director at a local synagogue, a social worker and a preschool teacher. Maggie has a master’s degree in social work and in Jewish Communal Service. She enjoys bringing her love of Jewish Education and play based constructivist philosophy to the CEH preschool. Maggie likes baking and gardening and enjoys making Maggie’s Muffins for preschool snack. She is also wife to Roy, mother to David age 8, and 2 quarantine kitties.
Peelim Lead Teacher
Robyn started working for Etz Hayim Purim of 2007 and worked as an assistant until the end of the year. She co-taught the following year and then became the teacher of the younger 3’s class. When the pre-K teacher retired In December 2011, she took over the class and has been there ever since. Robyn also teaches religious school here at Etz Hayim. She grew up in NJ in a conservative household attending Jewish Day School and Yeshiva High School. She studied Biology and Psychology at University of Maryland. Her husband, Allen, is an Entomologist with the USDA and they have four grown children. Robyn enjoys biking and pickleball, but LOVES board games.
Chatool Lead Teacher
Morah Milena is from Colombia and has a degree in Economics. She has worked at Etz Hayim for 6 years now. She enjoys working with kids in different areas and ages and is glad to be part of the staff. Milena loves teaching and helping children at the preschool to grow and grow along with them. She likes creating and having fun with Playdough as well as being with her family and dog. Milena loves to do puzzles in her free time.
Chatool Lead Teacher
Ana has a degree in education from Colombia. She has had great experiences with children as a teacher in elementary and primary schools. At Etz Hayim Preschool, she has been in different classes (Chatool, Shafan and Parpar) as a teacher assistant and co-lead teacher for 6 years. She loves to bring lots of joy and love into the classroom each day
Peelim Assistant Teacher
Tamara has been an assistant teacher at the preschool (Pilim/pre-K) class for four years. She has an undergraduate degree in political science from Barnard College and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After practicing law for 11 years, she became a stay-at-home mom to two daughters, both of whom attended Etz Hayim preschool and are now teenagers. She lived in Israel and speaks Hebrew. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, tennis, swimming, biking, baking and travel.
Extended Day Teacher
RayNisha joined the Extended Day team this year. She attended UDC and received her AA in law enforcement with her favorite subject being mathematics. However, her love for children came after having her son AJ who will soon be 7 years old. She’s worked with children the last 3 years and even worked for DCPS teaching preschoolers. She gets so much joy out of being around children and learning new things along the way. She enjoys painting, decorating and mostly anything pertaining to water.
Extended Day Teacher
Berniqua Parker joins the Etz Hayim preschool team this year. Berniqua has worked in childcare since 2010 serving in roles at Bancroft Elementary, Bright Horizons, and the Sylvan Learning Center. We are excited that she is bringing with her an immense childcare background. Berniqua is looking forward to playing outside with the students and having time to sit down and read with them.