OUR STAFF

Our early childhood program is led by our Director and inspired through collaboration between our teachers.

Professional, dedicated, and loving—these words speak volumes about the team at Burbank Jewish Preschool. Equipped with years of study and professional experience, our staff strives continuously to respond to the individual needs of each child and offer cutting-edge methodology in education.

In order to uphold the high standards of our program, staff meetings and constant development are ongoing throughout the year. This ensures that our teachers remain alert to the ever-changing needs of today's families and to the findings of current research.

 

Our coordinated curriculum has both English and Hebrew, which leads to a high level of academic rigor and an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that is engaging and meaningful. Current research shows that second language acquisition is highly beneficial to the development of brain functions and cognitive skills.

 

Our teachers are an unusually dedicated group of professionals whose level of commitment to each child does not stop at the classroom door, and whose commitment to early childhood education is truly an avocation. As a result, they bring to their jobs a unique and special blend of professional skills and personal experience.

Rabbi Shmuly Kornfeld

Administrator

I grew up in Seattle, Washington where my father is a leading Rabbi of the Jewish community and serves as the Educational Director of Chabad of Greater Seattle. Growing up in the warm and giving environment of Chabad outreach profoundly affected my dreams and goals.  I attended school in Detroit and at the educational institute Oholei Torah in Brooklyn, NY.  I served as a mentor to students in Kfar Chabad, Israel, worked in several day and overnight camps and headed the learning department in Camp Gan Israel, Montreal.  I visited many cities in the United States, but my favorite travel experience was a summer spent in Ireland, where I was able to provide educational programs and holiday events benefiting the Jewish community there. I studied for my Rabbinical Degree at the Rabbinical College of America, and received it in 1997.

Elana and I married in 1998, and just six months later we opened Chabad of Burbank.  We started out small, in our home, grew into a storefront, and approximately six years ago, bought the building we are currently in, with dreams of the future.  Walking into Chabad daily, gives me personal pleasure, because it serves as a multi-purpose institution for adults and children alike.  All are welcome to our Chabad, and I feel blessed to be able to do what I love—to teach and inspire others, and hopefully add in acts of goodness and kindness into this world, making it a better place for all.

Elana Kornfeld

Director

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to work with children.  My father is a Cardiologist/Nephrologist and my mother has her PhD in Art Therapy and Counseling.  My parents brought us up in a loving home, with good values and a strong work ethic.  I met my husband, Rabbi Shmuly, in 1997 and we married in 1998. We moved to Burbank just six months later, as soon as I finished college, and opened the Chabad Burbank Jewish Center. We have eight children, and we work together as a family. I can honestly speak on their behalf to say that we all feel blessed to be a part of such a special community. 

 

I originally got my Degree in Speech & Language Pathology & Communication Disorders, interning with special needs children.  I loved playing with them and seeing their wonder and excitement for the world around them.  I slowly transitioned into general education have been involved with teaching children of various ages for the last 14 years.  I found my calling when we opened  Burbank Jewish Preschool.  Together with our wonderful staff, families and children, we have created a school where each child is cherished and loved. I absolutely love coming to school every day (with some of my own children), and it is truly an honor being able to participate and watch the children in our school grow and flourish.

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Lydia

Office Administrator

Hi, my name is Lydia Forsyth and I am thrilled to be the office administrator this year. I am so excited to get to know all the children as well as the parents! I love the fast pace of the office, but I especially love when I have the opportunity to step in and help out in the classroom when needed. 


I graduated this summer from the University of California, Riverside with a B.A. degree in economics. I've always had a keenness for math and solving problems. I feel very welcome and love working in Chabad of Burbank and meeting our Burbank Jewish Preschool family. 

Some fun things to know about me are that I'm from the UK and that I like to run. I was a student-athlete at my university. 

Looking forward to a fabulous year together!

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Morah Emma

Hi, my name is Emma. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Burbank. This is my first year at Burbank Jewish Preschool. I am so excited to be a part of the BJP team! I realized my passion for working with children when I volunteered at a nursery when I was in high school. Since then, I’ve worked at a preschool in New York, Boys and Girls Club, and babysat. I am so grateful my path led me to Burbank Jewish Preschool! I’m currently going to school for child development and education. When I’m not working, I love listening to music, writing, and reading. I like to incorporate my love for music and reading in the classroom. I’m looking forward to expanding my education and experience with children.

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Morah Mara 

Hello! My name is Mara Lopez Higuera. I am excited to be part of the Burbank Jewish Preschool family enriching the lives of the students we are so blessed to teach every day. It has been an amazing journey learning alongside the children and families we serve. 

 

I am a proud mother of six incredible children. While raising my children, I had the privilege of volunteering as much as possible at their schools and learned a lot from their teachers and staff.  Additionally, I babysat several wonderful children at home for eight years. Once my children were older, I decided to pursue a career in early childhood education. I received my
training through the West Valley Occupational Center in their Early Childhood Education and Development Program. Throughout my career, I have worked with children of all ages and backgrounds. 

 

In my free time you will find me working on a variety of different projects and crafts. Pinterest is my go-to inspiration app! I enjoy singing, cooking new recipes, and spending time with my amazing family, and dogs Nutella and Fluffy.

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Morah Meaghan

Hi, my name is Meaghan and I’ve been working with children for over 15 years. I received my B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Fullerton.

While attending college I went into my degree intending to work in elementary education but it was during this time I realized my passion was working with little ones. I have worked with a variety of ages ranging from infancy to 3rd grade. I have been a student teacher, a youth water polo coach, babysitter, and a teacher for a variety of preschool ages. All of which have led me to my position at Burbank Jewish Preschool.

I am so happy to be a member of this team and a part of the BJP community.

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Morah Shannon

Hello, my Name is Shannon Traxel. I am very proud and honored to be a part of the team here. The love, dedication, passion and teamwork is so inspiring to be around on a daily basis here at the preschool. Being greeted by sweet smiles, faces, hugs and stories of mitzvah notes makes it feel like a family. Making learning fun for the children and helping build skills for future life events is a passion. 

I am a mom of three wonderful children, Blaine who is 22 and a graduate from CSUN, Brooklyn age 13 who keeps me on my toes, and my third Jimmy is 7 and an all around sporty kid. 
I have volunteered for many years at the children’s school, campus supervisor, unit director at the Boys and Girls Club, and safety coordinator at the Burbank Adult School. I have a bachelors in child development through Valley college.


I’m an extreme bike rider, when given the chance you’ll catch me on the path on my skates. I love animals, so much so that I have 18 pets (which includes a few fish). 
Thanks for the opportunity to share my passion with your children 
 

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Morah Stacy

My name is Stacy Herman and I am so excited to be teaching Pod 2 this year! I am proud that I helped build the foundation of our school with Elana Kornfeld from the very beginning, and I am beyond thrilled to be back home!

I started working in a preschool when I was 17 and I loved everything about it. Working with children was definitely a calling, and I received my degree in Early Childhood Education from Long Beach Community College.

When I'm not in the classroom (my happy place!) you can find me spending quality time with my husband and four children, often at Disneyland (the “Happiest Place on Earth” ™ … outside of the classroom)!

Morah Dee 

Hi, my name is Dee Moore and I’ve been an Early Childhood Educator for 27 years. I received my B.A. Degree in Psychology from California State University of Long Beach, and then continued my education in Early Childhood Education at Los Angeles Valley College in order to obtain the education I needed to teach young children.

 

My passion for teaching young children began in high school when I interned in various elementary schools in Redlands, California. I assisted children in 2nd and 5th grade with homework, tutored students in Math and English, and assisted teachers with test grading.

 

After receiving my education, I was offered a teaching position with young toddlers at The Nurtury Preschool in Sherman Oaks. I immediately accepted the challenge and in time found the love and passion to teach. As my teaching experience broadened, I pursued the challenge of teaching children ages 3-5 years old, which led me to become the Lead Teacher. Years later, I accepted the position as the Senior Head Teacher of all the classrooms.

 

After many years of teaching at the Nurtury Preschool, I accepted a Lead Teacher position with ages 3-5 years old at Warner Bros. Studios Children Center. I then taught there for 17 years.

 

I am very pleased to be a part of a great team and family at Burbank Jewish Preschool. I love how the children continue to help me grow and challenge my teaching skills. I also love the children’s ability to give me laughter and strength to continue my passion, which is teaching young children. I look forward to working as a team with each family.

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Morah Jamie

Hi, my name is Jamie! I was born and raised in Los Angeles. This is my first year working here at Burbank Jewish Preschool and I absolutely love it. I get to work with such an amazing teaching and administrative staff that continue to help me be the best Morah I can be! Not only do the teachers teach me, the children here teach me and help me grow as a teacher and person. I have learned so much from them already. It’s such a privilege to work with such great kids as my job.


In my free time, I love running! I ran cross country and track at Burbank high school and later became a California cross country state champion in college. I still continue to run now and hope to run a marathon in Miami in 2023.
I also love writing about things that inspire me. I hope to put forth my ideas into action and write scripts for shows and movies!

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Morah Blanca

Hi, my name is Blanca, and I have been working in Burbank Jewish Preschool since they opened in 2010. We have so many fun activities and lessons planned for this year; I can’t wait to get started!

 

I got my teaching degree in Guatemala in 2002, and worked for three years there. Since that time I have spent my career working with babies and children, and I absolutely love my job!

 

A few facts about me: My favorite store is Target, and I love listening to music! My favorite drink is tea and my favorite season is winter.

 

I am thrilled to be back in the Nook, and am looking forward to a special and exciting year ahead!

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Morah Jennica 

Hi My name is Jennica and this is my first year teaching here at Burbank Jewish Preschool. I was born and raised in Glendale, California. I am a wife and mom to an almost 2 year old little boy. 


I  previously worked in the nursing field but quickly realized that it wasn't for me when I started babysitting my nieces and nephew and that I was more passionate about pursuing an education in child development. In between going to school I also had other jobs babysitting and nannying for other families. 


In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring new places around our area. I enjoy crafting, party planning, going to the gym and our monthly visits to Disneyland. 
 
I am extremely excited and honored to be
able to teach here at this school to teach the next generation of kids, to learn and grow as an educator.

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Morah Isabelle

Hi, my name is Isabelle and I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to love coming into work evey day. ! I was born in Armenia and moved here when I was 5 years old. I've always had a passion for children and have played and worked with them my whole life. I knew that early childhood, and educating young children was my calling. I was a student teacher in Adat Ariel and then worked there as a lead teacher for 4 years. I also worked in Christopher Robbins Preschool, a boutique Reggio school and when I moved to Burbank and applied for a position at Burbank Jewish Preschool, it was love at first sight and I knew I found my new  home. I worked here for 5 years and then took a 3 year hiatus to birth and raise my twins, Sam and Nola. I'm so excited to be back here with them as students and walk into the building every single day, knowing that my children are in the most spectacular preschool in Burbank!

I look forward to meeting your children and giving them a year filled with love and warmth, helping them find their confidence and creativity within, in the most meaningful environment where they can construct new ideas, learn to think and problem-solve as they discover who they are and the world around them.

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Morah Natalie

Hi! My name is Natalie Suissa, this is my first year teaching as in BJP and I’m so excited to be here! 
 
I went to California state university and received my BA in history. Growing up I always wanted to teach high school history. However, while I was in school, I worked in several preschools as a substitute teacher and as a teacher's assistant. I realized that I love working with young children and in the field of early child education even more than teenagers. I come into work each morning so excited for the day and I look forward to greeting all the BJP children and their families!

Some fun facts about me. I'm getting married in October 2022. I was born and bred in Los Angeles. I really dislike bees but try to control me fear as much as possible in front of the children:)

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Morah Darian

I grew up in Yuba City, California where I taught dance to children and babysat for many years. When I moved to Southern California for college, I worked as a nanny. I studied performing arts in Los Angeles and New York from 2017-2019 and started working with kids again after I graduated. I have tutored and worked as a behavioral therapist.

 

I absolutely love working at Chabad Jewish Preschool because of how strong the community is and the children always make me smile. I love coming to work every single day. 

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Morah Brittany

Hi, my name is Brittany DeWeese. I have been working here at BJP since my second day in LA upon moving here from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania almost 4 years ago. I loved the school right away!

 

I am a professional dancer and choreographer. I graduated from Point Park University with a BA in Dance. Teaching has always been my passion which is why I received a second BA in Dance Pedagogy (theory of teaching). I am so thankful to have been a part of Point Park’s amazing education program and to have had the opportunity to grow as both a dancer and educator throughout my college experience.

 

I have spent many years teaching dance and gymnastics to preschool age children all the way up to high school. This year I am working in the office as the BJP Administrator but I love every opportunity I have to get back in the classroom with the children.