ELC Staff

ELC Director

Lisa Botelho - Lisa Botelho has been in the field of education for over 20 years. She began her career as a preschool teacher, then moved on to administration. Lisa has worked for Head Start, Early Intervention, and in the public school system as a Reading Interventionist and Science teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and holds a National Director Credential from the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at Louis National University. Lisa has a strong science background and loves to teach hands-on science and in natural environments. Currently, she resides in Fall River with her husband, two teenagers, two dogs and three cats.


Marissa Kaye – Marissa has been working and volunteering around Temple Shir Tikva for many years. She started working as a madricha (student teacher) for the 3rd and 4th grade, and most recently, she was an administrative assistant for the Hebrew school. She is very excited to join the ELC team as the administrator for the preschool.

Caterpillar Room: Young Toddler

Nina Tarasula – Nina is lead teacher certified. This is her first year teaching at the ELC, with five years of experience in various early childhood settings. She has worked in the past from preschool to infant to toddlers. She is very excited to be at TST to bring my passion of Judaism and early childhood education to TST. Learning through play is very important to her. Nina is very excited to build relationships with the children, their families and staff at TST.

Jill Lerner – Jill is joining ELC as a floater in the toddler rooms. She is excited to help the little ones learn and grow and brings an artistic flair to everything she does.

Giraffe Room: Older Toddler/Young Preschool

Brittany Schneider - After one year of running our extended program and working with the toddlers, Brittany is now co-teaching the young toddler class. Having completed her degree in early Childhood education, Brittany brings a love of young children and an enthusiasm for helping children explore and create.

Ali Brockman – After being a parent here at TST, Ali is now beginning her second year working with our toddlers. Ali creates a place where our youngest children can feel safe and have the opportunity to explore and be creative.

Panda Room: Preschool

Renee Henrich – Renee is thrilled to be part of the ELC team as she starts her seventh year teaching preschool. Renee has a diverse teaching background that includes having worked at public school district-run preschools as well as privately-run ones before making her home here at the ELC. This has given her a unique teaching style that focuses on developing not only age-appropriate academic skills, but also social-emotional well-being. Renee strives to provide a language-rich environment in which the children can learn through play, with carefully selected, age-appropriate activities.

Renee lives in Wayland with her husband, Michael, and their two sons, Graham and Theo. They are thrilled to be members here at TST, so don’t be surprised when you see her at a Temple event! Outside of work and Temple events, Renee enjoys traveling, reading and cooking.

Michelle Deitel – Michelle is in her third year here at TST. She has studied education at Lesley College and has previously taught at the Children’s Way in Wayland.  In addition, Michelle has worked at Camp Sewataro and had been the Ganeinu teacher for 2 years at Temple Shir Tikva’s religious school. Michelle is also the owner of a small business called, The Clutter M.D. She is a Home Organizer, Wardrobe Consultant and Personal Shopper! Michelle lives in Sudbury with her husband Paul, son Jason (12), daughter Jessica (14), and her 3-year-old Havanese Ozzie.

Eagle Room: Pre-Kindergarten

Lisa Trefry – Lisa has been in the field of early childhood education for 14 years. She began her career at the JCC as a toddler teacher and over the years has worked with all age groups. She strongly believes in creating a play-based learning environment that fosters creativity, independence and a sense of wonder. She draws inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach and is talented at implementing an emergent curriculum rich in language and literacy. Her passion for art and nature can be observed in her classroom as a way to engage in deeper learning. In addition, Lisa enjoys teaching the art enrichment and storybook theater classes. She hopes the children she teaches develop a love of learning, feel supported in their achievements and always maintain their enthusiasm for learning.

Laurie Caplan – Laurie comes to the ELC as a floater in the pre-school classrooms and our Extended Day program. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood Jewish Education and a master’s in social work. She has over 10 years’ experience teaching pre-school. She is excited to be a part of the ELC team!

Gazelle Room: Pre-Kindergarten

Laura Silva - Laura has her degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Special Education.  Most recently, Laura has been the Pre-k teacher at the JCC in Newton and brings with her a love of art and a passion for play based curriculum.

Jeff Merritt – This is Jeff’s 6th year as a teacher at TST, and before that he was a preschool parent here for two years. He brings an enthusiasm for good stories and the outdoors to his role at the preschool. Jeff appreciates the unique qualities of each child and welcomes the opportunity to help his students make exciting discoveries and new connections in their world.

Extended Day

Marcia Gitlitz- Marcia is joining TST as the Coordinator of Extended Day. She brings with her many years of early childhood experience in both secular and Jewish settings.

Marcia has over 30 years of teaching experience in a wide variety of settings and age groups. She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. She went on to teach preschool, was the director of a small private preschool, and worked as an Education Specialist for homeschooling families in San Diego. Marcia loves teaching preschool and was especially thrilled to return to a Judaic setting here at Temple Shir Tikva ELC.


Arianne Berryer – Arianne joins TST this year as a floater in the ELC. She brings with her an understanding that every child learns differently. You can often find Arianne enthusiastically reading to our young leaners or lending a helping hand to anyone and everyone.

Developmental Specialist

Mala Strassfeld - Mala is a part-time developmental specialist who provides direct service and vital support to children, parents and staff, as well as, consulting with the teachers to design appropriate teaching strategies.  She helps to assess children’s growth and development and when necessary provides referrals for outside services.  Mala spends time in all the classrooms working and observing the children both individually and in small groups.