Meet Our Teachers

 Younger Infant Educators 


Olivia Marquard, Shelby Mehn, Natasha Houston 

 and Kallai Linnen


Lead Educator, Olivia has a BA in Elementary Education and Early Childhood from California University of Pennsylvania. She has experience teaching in the public school and also in the daycare setting. She just loves seeing the kids laugh. Her favorite children’s book is Olivia the Pig and outside of Beth Shalom she loves to cook, garden, and do Pinterest projects. Her favorite Beth Shalom experience was the first time she went to Shul.

 Older Infant Educators


Brenda Madyun, Lauren Evans

Anna Azarkhin, Christina Chianelli and Jessica Mull



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 worked in the Young Infant classroom for 6 and a half years and moved to a new role as Lead in the Older Infant class.  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 Educators


Hannah Petrone, Nikki D’Abarno,

Rachel Busse


 Older Toddler Educators

(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 for almost three years and her educational background is in Applied Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education. Bryce also teaches first grade for JJEP. 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 Educators


 Julia Dennis, Brittany Young and

Rachel Lecocq


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 Educators

(Parparim- Butterflies)

Michelle Mark, Samantha Sheldon

and Elizabeth Mulenga


Lead Educator, Michelle has a BA from Point Park University in Early Childhood and 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, Callie. Her favorite Beth Shalom memories include the friendships she has made with her colleagues that have lasted for twenty-five years, and how after the fire at Beth Shalom the community came together.

 Threes Educators


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 eight 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 Educators


Norah Cauley and Jessica Thornton


Lead Educator, Norah is a graduate of West Virginia University.  She graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and Public Relations in 2006.  Soon after, she returned to Pittsburgh and took various classes through CCAC, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh in the fields of early childhood development, elementary education, and special education.  It was then that she found her passion for early childhood education.  She has been a nanny and a day care teacher for the past twelve years.  She is beginning her sixth year at Beth Shalom, her fifth as a lead teacher.  In her room she and her staff provide great structure  to ensure a positive and safe learning environment.  They give unlimited care and attention to each child individually.  They also 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 Educators


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


Krista Ondish and Fran Dunn


 Support Educators

   David Warga, Maryann Runco,

Garnet Starr, Tavia Moore,

Caroline Goldstein, Bella Markovitz,

Leanne Sloan, Rebecka Hinson

and Rochelle Packard


 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.

 Art Specialist

Julie Lewinter


Julie has been working at Beth Shalom for 7 years and recently received her Child Development Associates degree. She finds working here to be fulfilling at the end of the day. Her favorite teaching moment was when she received the job of Studio Educator. Julie loves Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, and 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.

 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, always loving to sing and share Jewish music.  After working for years in a variety of therapeutic settings, including Easter Seals, Head Start and the Center for Movement Therapy (all in CA), she has spent the last 12 years as an Early Intervention Home therapist and 7 years as a Music Together teacher.  Debbey loves singing, moving, dancing and making music with the children and staff at the ELC and sharing the joy it brings to everyone.  


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 fifth year at Beth Shalom and first 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 PreK thru fourth. She has also completed coursework in infant/parent development and early intervention.  This is will is her first year as Assistant Director with Beth Shalom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s