ELC Staff


Pam KnowlesAn invaluable member of the ELC team, Pam is responsible for the day to day needs of the school and all billing related issues. A former ELC parent herself, Pam is committed to furthering the mission of the school as she supports the teachers and the parents of the early learning center.

Red Room אדום (Adom) - Toddler Room

Pam Carrara – Lead Toddler Teacher. Pam has over thirty years of experience in early childhood education and is committed to creating a developmentally appropriate environment for young children. She sets up a space that is always inviting; a place for young children to explore and grow. Pam with her tireless patience and dedication has started countless numbers of children on their educational journey.

Elena Bershak- Assistant Teacher. Elena joins us after spending the past two years as an assistant in the toddler class in a cooperative preschool. She is bi-lingual in English and Russian and her calm and caring nature make her a wonderful match for our youngest students.

Yellow Room צהוב (Tzahov) - Preschool I

Renee Henrich - Lead Teacher. Renee is beginning her 6th year in early childhood education. She brings with her a strong understanding of the social emotional needs of young children. Renee creates a safe environment for children to learn about themselves and how they connect with their world, fostering a strong sense of community within her classroom.   

Michelle Deitel -  Teacher.  Michelle is beginning her second 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 Pegasus and is the Ganeinu teacher for Temple Shir Tikva’s religious school.

Purple Room סגול (Sagol) - Preschool II

Lisa Trefry – Lead Preschool Teacher. Lisa is beginning her eleventh year in early childhood education.  She brings her artistic sensibility into the classroom and exposes her students to a variety of medium. Lisa is a dedicated and passionate teacher who strives to bring out the sense of wonder, individuality and creativity in all of her students

Tish Oksanen – Teacher (Monday/Wednesday). Tish is beginning her eleventh year in early childhood education. She is committed to creating a safe, healthy, caring environment to the children she teaches. Tish’s warmth and smile are known throughout the school as she is also a substitute teacher in our other preschool rooms.

Abby Ward - Teacher (Tuesday/Thursday/Friday) Abby has over ten years of experience in early childhood education both in preschool and kiindergarten age programs. She brings with her a stong sense of creativity and a passion for nurturing a young child's sense of self. 

Blue Room כחול (Kachol) – Pre-Kindergarten

Janeen Cox - Lead Preschool Teacher. Janeen is a recent graduate of Framingham State University's Early Childhood Education program. She has over fifteen years of experience with young children, including FSU's on- campus child study lab school and a public school kindergarten. Janeen's commitment to social emotional development and her ability to help each child find their place makes her classroom a safe place for all children to thrive. 

Jeff Merritt –  Teacher. Jeff is beginning his fifth year as a teacher at TST.  Having taught at Drumlin Farm, he now brings his enthusiasm for the outdoors to his role here in the preschool. Jeff appreciates the unique qualities of each child and welcomes the opportunity to help students make exciting discoveries and new connections in their world.

Extended Day

Karin Simas – Teacher – Karin joins us for her second year here at TST, moving from the toddler program in the mornings to the extended day program in the afternoon.  Having also taught in our summer camp, Karin brings her warmth, her creativity and her love of children into our mixed age group afternoons.

Brittany Schneider – Teacher – Brittany joins us at TST with four years of experience in various early childhood settings. She is currently completing her Early Childhood degree and is excited to bring her knowledge and passion for young children to our program.


Brooke Stein -  After being an active parent volunteer and a substitute teacher in the ELC, Brooke now joins the staff as a floater.  Brooke also runs the Shabbat Yeladim program for TST and is eager to share her creative energy with the preschool on a daily basis.

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.