Meet Our Teachers

Younger Infant EducatorsClassroom Arnahvot (Bunnies)

Kallai Linnen, NaTosha Green and Michele Sullivan

Bio coming soon

Older Infant EducatorsClassroom Dageem (Fish)

Brenda Madyun, Lauren Evans and Anna Azarkhin

Lead Educator, Brenda has been working in child care for many years. She spent over twelve years running her own in-home child care service. She enjoys teaching at Beth Shalom ELC where she has acquired her Child Development Associates in Infant and Toddler care. Brenda previously worked in the Young Infant classroom before moving to a Lead role in the Older Infant classroom. That time was spent nurturing beautiful babies and building lasting friendships with their parents. She is always excited and eager to start every new year getting to know the new families that come to Beth Shalom while continuing her bond with the existing ones.

Young Toddler EducatorsClassroom Nemaleem (Ants)

Hannah Petrone, Nikki D’Abarno, Rachel Busse and Akayla Bennett

Lead Educator, Hannah has been working with children for over 10 years, with 9 years at Beth Shalom. Hannah is currently working on getting her CDA from Point Park University, and has taken classes for education at CCAC. Hannah’s favorite part about teaching is seeing the children go from babies to young children with opinions, likes and dislikes! Outside of Beth Shalom, Hannah loves cooking, baking, and finding antiques. Family is very important to Hannah as she comes from a big Italian family of 10 children!

Older Toddler EducatorsClassroom Doobeem (Teddy Bears)

Bryce Tallon, ParaDise Pitt-Callahan, Kristen Schwalm 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 Arayoht (Lions)

Julia Dennis and Brittany Greeley

Lead Educator, Julia has a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from the University of North Florida.  She has been working in childcare since 2010. She loves sharing her love for art and music. She also loves when a child sings a song that she taught them or creates something unique during art projects. Her favorite children’s books are The Monster at the End of this Book and Pete the Cat. Outside of Beth Shalom she enjoys collecting musical instruments, playing musical instruments, painting, drawing, sewing, and thrift stores.

Twos EducatorsClassroom Parparim (Butterflies)

Michelle Mark, Samantha Shelton and Elizabeth Mulenga

Co-Lead Educator, Michelle has a BA from Point Park University in Early Childhood and has over 25 years working in Early Childhood Education. She also babysat and worked at camp. She loves when kids have the ah-ha connection and the book Where the Wild Things Are. Outside of Beth Shalom, Michelle enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and cuddling with her dog, Cooper. Her favorite Beth Shalom memories include the friendships she has made with her colleagues that have lasted for over 25 years, and how after the fire at Beth Shalom the community came together.

Co-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 Peeleem (Elephants)

Elana Raz, Lauren Begun and Anita Gargano 

Lead Educator, Elana holds a BA in Education from Levinsky College in Tel Aviv and has taught at Beth Shalom for 10 years. She loves the smile on a child’s face when they grasp something new and the book Room on a Broom. When not at Beth Shalom, she enjoys the outdoors and playing kickball with her three children.

Threes EducatorsClassroom D’Voreem (Bees)

Norah Cauley, Jessica Thornton and Bella Markovitz

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)

Katie Rahuba, Chen Kirshner and Diane Dzurikanin

Lead Educator, Katie has her BA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Child Development and Family and Relative Studies. She has been teaching early childhood education for ten years. She has so many favorite teaching moments she can’t just pick one! Her favorite children’s book is There is a Monster At the End of this Book, and outside of Beth Shalom she enjoys spending time with her family and camping. Katie’s favorite Beth Shalom moment was meeting the staff on her first day. “Everyone made me feel like I was a part of their family.”

Pre-K Educators – Classroom Krisheem (Sharks)

Krista Ondish, Fran Dun and Bree Prioleau

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, Tavia Moore, Rochelle Packard, MaryAnn Runco, Garnet Starr, Holli Stegner and David Warga

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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