Meet Our Teachers

Younger Infant EducatorsClassroom Arnahvot (Bunnies)

Kallai Linnen, Anna Azarkhin, Tavia Moore and Gretchen Braund

Young Toddler EducatorsClassroom Nemaleem (Ants)

Hannah Petrone, Nikki D’Abarno, Rachel Busse and Michele Sullivan

 Twos EducatorsClassroom Arayoht (Lions)

Bryce Tallon, ParaDise Pitt-Callahan and Lucia Petrone

Lead Educator, Bryce began working with children through babysitting, as a counselor at overnight camp. She has been at Beth Shalom four years and her educational background is in Applied Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education. Bryce also teaches first grade for J-JEP. Her favorite teaching moments are watching the children grow and being a part of their growth. Her favorite children’s book is Eloise and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Outside of Beth Shalom, she is interested in Lily, her kitten, hanging out with her husband Tim, coloring books, and Netflix. Bryce says, “This community has given me a home in Pittsburgh.”

Twos EducatorsClassroom Parparim (Butterflies)

Samantha Shelton and Kristen Schwalm

Lead Educator, Sam has her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been teaching for 7 years; 3 years at Beth Shalom. Sam’s favorite teaching moment is “that click” that happens when a child fully realizes they have the potential to succeed at something, whether it be remembering the alphabet or using sign language to communicate. Outside of Beth Shalom, Sam loves spending time with her puppy Naomi, playing tennis, and reading.  

Threes EducatorsClassroom D’Voreem (Bees)

Norah Cauley, Maryann Runco, Holli Stegner and David Warga

Lead Educator, Norah is a graduate of West Virginia University; she graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and Public Relations. She returned to Pittsburgh and took classes through CCAC, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh in the fields of early childhood development, elementary education, and special education. She has been a nanny and a day care teacher for over 10 years. In her room, she and her staff provide great structure  to ensure a positive and safe learning environment, and give unlimited care and attention to each child individually. They offer involvement from families and the Beth Shalom community to aid in the immense development that occurs in the next years of their child’s lives.

Pre-K EducatorsClassroom Dolfeeneem (Dolphins)

Michelle Mark, Bree Prioleau and Fran Dun

Pre-K Educators – Classroom Krisheem (Sharks)

Krista Ondish and Dynesha Drake

Lead Educator, Krista holds an Associates Degree in Child Development and a Management Degree in Cosmetology. While raising her two daughters and working in excess of 25 years running a salon, Krista spent her summers babysitting, led the neighborhood Girl Scout troop, and working at the Girl Scouts’ summer camp. After retiring from the salon, Krista went back to work at a daycare in Greensburg. At the age of 50, Krista went back to school to pursue her new life’s love-teaching. Krista has been with Beth Shalom since 2016 as a Support Educator, and in 2018 took over as Lead Pre-K Educator. Her favorite teaching moment is seeing the delight in a child’s eye when they have those ah-ha moments. “The Giving Tree” is her favorite children’s book. When not at work, Krista enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren, paper crafting, scrapbooking, Disney, and camping. 

Support Educators

Caroline Goldstein

Early Learning Center Operations

Rosie Valdez

Art Specialist

Julie Lewinter

Julie has a Child Development Associates degree and has been working at Beth Shalom for over 10 years. Her favorite teaching moment was when she received the job of Studio Educator. Julie loves Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Outside of Beth Shalom she rides horses, goes fishing, enjoys outdoor cooking, and the Pittsburgh Penguins! Her favorite thing about Beth Shalom is that she has become like sisters with her other Beth Shalom educators.

Science Specialist

Elaine Catz 

Elaine has a BS in Applied Math, Engineering, and Physics, and a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working in the industry, she spent four years teaching at a preschool. In the mid-1990s she mixed her former jobs together, found her true calling in science education, and has taught in a multitude of venues ever since. When she isn’t spending time with her husband and daughter, Elaine can often be found tending her garden and photographing insects.

Music Specialist

Debbey Altman-Diamant

Debbey has a BA in Psychology, a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, and certification as a Music Together teacher. Through college and grad school she taught Hebrew School music. After working for years in a variety of therapeutic settings, including Easter Seals, Head Start and the Center for Movement Therapy, she has spent over 10 years as an Early Intervention Home therapist and several years as a Music Together teacher. Debbey loves singing, moving, dancing and making music with the children and staff at Beth Shalom and sharing the joy it brings to everyone.  

Director

Hilary Yeckel

Hilary has a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education. She has worked in a variety of child care centers and after school programs, and spent a year teaching special education students in North Carolina. Her favorite teaching moment is story time. Interacting with the children by asking questions is also always enlightening. Hilary’s favorite children’s book is Oh the Places You’ll Go! Outside of Beth Shalom, she enjoys shopping, listening to music, working out, and anytime spent with friends is treasured. This is her sixth year at Beth Shalom and second as Director.

 Assistant Director 

Pamela Stasolla

Pam brings years of working with children of all ages along with a knowledge of Pittsburgh and Squirrel Hill. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Theater, a Master’s Degree in General Psychology, and a PA Certified Teaching License for grades Pre-K thru fourth. She has also completed coursework in infant/parent development and early intervention.  This is her second year as Assistant Director with Beth Shalom.


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