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.

Debbie matsumoto

Office Administrator

Hi, my name is Debbie Matsumoto and I was born and raised in Chicago. I received my B.A. in English from DePaul University, and was lucky enough to spend the final semester of college studying French and Art History in Paris, France. After college I moved to California, where I eventually met my amazing husband, Chris. We have two beautiful children, Braeden and Avery, and our family is my everything.

I began my career as an Administrative Assistant and eventually worked my way up to Executive Assistant, first at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and later for an entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills. After that, I was fortunate to take a substantial amount of time away from my career to raise my children. 

I've spent four very happy years as the Office Administrator for Chabad of Burbank/Burbank Jewish Preschool. I love the variety of the work that I do for both Chabad and BJP, and I especially love that I am able to spend every day in a warm, friendly environment  where I can connect with both children and their parents. Helping people is the best part of my job! 

Morah Geyzi Victoria

Hello, my name is Geyzi Victoria. I have been working as a nanny, tutoring, and mentoring kids ages 2 through 11 since I was in high school. Over the years, I have discovered that I really enjoy educating, entertaining, and communicating with children. There is always something new and fun to experience when working with children, and I find myself learning from them just as much as they do from me. Kids have wild imaginations, unique personalities, and endless amounts of energy, and these are all attributes their caretakers should have as well. Children bloom when they feel safe and comfortable to explore the spaces and materials presented to them, which is why I focus of listening, nurturing, and spreading positive energy in my classroom. As a Morah, my goal is to find the individual interests my students have and help them develop new ones as well. I am so happy to be working with the children in Aleph 2!

 

Here's a little more about me: I am a UCLA graduate, an LA native, a film enthusiast, and a Spanish speaker. Some of my favorite activities to do with the children include: imaginative cooking, reading, costume play and theatrics, gardening, baking, beading, story-writing, jewelry-making, fashion designing, playing kickball, building castles and towers, painting with watercolors and pastels, tap dancing, and singing acapella. I spend most of my free time with my little sister and brother, biking at the beach, roller skating at the rink, watching movies at the drive-in, and dancing salsa with my friends. 
 

I am so happy to be joining Burbank Jewish Preschool's team this year!

Morah Mindy Hellman

Hi! My name is Mindy Hellman, and I’m a born and raised native Southern California valley girl. Some of my earliest and most meaningful jobs began in the classroom. From a young age I noticed how children hold an ability to transform everything into a learning experience with their natural and intuitive intelligence. After high school I decided to turn my love for learning and nurturing children into a career and went to school for education at Los Angeles Valley College. Even with over 15 years of experience, I still feel like there’s so much room to learn and grow. Fortunately, being in education puts me in the forefront of a dynamic learning environment. Whether it's exploring texts that discuss the latest research or going to lectures from experts in the field, I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to enhance our classrooms and learning experiences, as well as improving myself too! As much as the experts know, I still believe that the children know themselves best and I look to them to help guide the direction and set the tone of the learning, exploring and creating through a process and play-based methodology. Their direction never ceases to amaze me. I also believe in incorporating multi-sensory approaches into every aspect of learning possible in order to speak and cater to every type of learner.

 

After two years of subbing and one year as a classroom Morah here at Burbank, I am honored to say that this will be my fourth year as a Morah at the Burbank Jewish Preschool. Thank Gd I'm blessed with an exceptional husband and five children, each with their own unique strengths. They, like my students, continue to teach me daily as they explore, learn and show me the world through their individual sets of eyes. I’m looking forward to another fantastic school year here at BJP and I look forward to learning from each of your precious children and all of you!

Morah Stacy Herman

My name is Stacy Herman and I am so excited to reintroduce myself to the Burbank Jewish Preschool family! I am proud that I helped build the foundation of our school with Elana Kornfeld from the very beginning.  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. 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 Connie Jara

Hello, my name is Connie Jara, and I am the Burbank Jewish Preschool and Infant Care Lead Teacher. I feel very fortunate to be teaching in The Nook. This opportunity allows me to continue to work with infants, which I love!

 

Long ago I made the decision to follow a career path in teaching young children. As such, I studied at California State University Northridge. While studying I trained at the university’s inclusive preschool and received my B.A. degree in Child Development. I chose to continue my education and received a Master’s in Family Studies while I worked as an infant teacher at a private child care center for several years. This led to my working for a hospital-based nonprofit organization by First 5 LA. It was a role that allowed me to support new mothers by connecting them to community resources while teaching them about the importance of bonding with their newborns. After several years of serving these families, I am happy to be teaching infants. I’m excited to be part of the Burbank Jewish Preschool & Infant Care team!  

Morah Meaghan

Hi, my name is Meaghan Towler and this is my first year with Burbank Jewish Preschool. I have been working with kids since I was in high school, ranging from volunteering at an elementary school to teaching two through five-year-olds today.
 

I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Fullerton. My time there allowed me to nail down exactly which age groups I wanted to work with, which is how I ended up where I am. I love seeing the development that takes place during the early years of children’s lives and helping them to grow during this time.
 

In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my dog, Nellie, my cat, Simon, and of course my husband, Sam! Since my husband works for Walt Disney Imagineering we also spend a good amount of time at Disneyland!
 

I am so excited to spend the year with all of the families and children of Burbank Jewish Preschool. I look forward to getting to know everyone and for you to get to know me.

Morah Meaghan

Hi, my name is Meaghan Towler and this is my first year with Burbank Jewish Preschool. I have been working with kids since I was in high school, ranging from volunteering at an elementary school to teaching two through five-year-olds today.
 

I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Fullerton. My time there allowed me to nail down exactly which age groups I wanted to work with, which is how I ended up where I am. I love seeing the development that takes place during the early years of children’s lives and helping them to grow during this time.
 

In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my dog, Nellie, my cat, Simon, and of course my husband, Sam! Since my husband works for Walt Disney Imagineering we also spend a good amount of time at Disneyland!
 

I am so excited to spend the year with all of the families and children of Burbank Jewish Preschool. I look forward to getting to know everyone and for you to get to know me.

Morah Stacy

My name is Stacy Herman and I am so excited to be teaching Kita Bet 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 Moore

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.

Morah Malourie

Hi! My name is Morah Malourie. This is my first year at BJP, and I’m so excited to be here and to get to know all of the children! Getting to teach and spend my days playing and watching them grow is the best thing ever!

I received my certificate in Preschool and Infant Care from Pierce College. I began my career in childcare at Canoga Park Preschool & Kindergarten teaching 3-year-olds. Most recently, I spent nine years at Today Montessori in West Hills working with 3 to 4-year-olds.

I love photography and traveling with my best buddy, my silly son Sebastian! He’s four years old, and I especially love taking pictures of him! My favorite colors are purple, pink, and teal. In my free time, I love to go to the beach. My current favorite sports are soccer, basketball, and tennis.

I’m looking forward to many wonderful experiences with my new friends in Kita Bet!

Morah Faygie Ossowiecki

My name is Faygie and I have loved playing with, babysitting and being around children for as long as I can remember. Every child in my classroom is special, and watching them grow each day is so rewarding and amazing! I love Burbank Jewish Preschool’s philosophy of promoting school readiness by educating the whole child while laying the foundation for creating a strong Jewish identity. I am particularly passionate about helping children develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically in a hands-on environment centered around Jewish principles. I feel truly lucky every day for this special opportunity I’ve been given. I am so happy to be teaching in Aleph 2!

 

When I am not in school I love spending time with family and friends, and I also enjoy crocheting. I especially love snuggling with my new baby!

Morah Blanca

Hi, my name is Blanca, and I this will be my second year teaching and learning in the Nook! We have so many fun activities and lessons planned for this year; I can’t wait to get started!

 

I got my degree in teaching 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!

Morah Simi Stiefel

Hi, my name is Simi Stiefel, and I am so excited to be teaching at Burbank Jewish Preschool this year! I love being with the children every day and watching them grow and flourish. What makes all the work I put into teaching so rewarding is watching the children grasp the concepts and put them into practice in their everyday play. I love all of my students and feel so loved in return. What better place to be every day than a place filled with so much love and happiness. This will be my sixth year working in a preschool and I can’t wait for the year to start!

Morah Ilana

Hi! My name is Ilana Coen and I have the pleasure of being one of the Kita Aleph Morahs. This will be my first year lead teaching and I’m so excited for the year ahead!

 

Being blessed to have grown up in a large family, I have always been surrounded with children. I’m one of eight kids and I currently have 19 nieces and nephews... don’t ask me how many cousins I have! Fun fact: I became an auntie at the young age of 6! 

 

I grew up as a traditional sunny LA girl, loving beach days, collecting sea shells and just enjoying all the beauty that surrounds us! I currently live in West LA, and I just celebrated my first anniversary with my high school best friend turned post-high school sweetheart! I feel so lucky to be a part of this beautiful Burbank family and I can’t wait to get to know each of the precious children and families here at Burbank Jewish Preschool. I know we’ll have an incredible year full of learning and growth—I can’t wait to see what we learn from each other!

Morah Rivka

Hi everybody! My name is Rivka Rubio and, I've been living in California for almost 35 years, 20 of them in the city of Burbank.

 

I'm mother of three and a grandmother of five. I'd worked as a nanny for 25 years, and I decided it was time for a change.  Now I'm an assistant teacher in the Nook, and I love working with the little ones here at Burbank Jewish Preschool!

 

I enjoy keeping my mind and body active, so in my free time I like to go hiking, read, exercise, take Zumba and do jigsaw puzzles. 

 

I'm very happy working here at BJP—everyone is so nice and helpful! Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this team!

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