Meet Our Staff 2017-11-10T19:26:26+00:00

Meet Our Staff


Sara Sinai, Preschool Director

Sara Sinai, has been with KI preschool since 2013. Born in Tel-Aviv, Sara is fluent in both English and Hebrew.  She was raised in Brookline, attended the Devotion School and Kehillath Israel Hebrew School! Sara went on receive two degrees from Simmons College in Elementary Education and English. She also holds a degrees in Early Childhood Education and a MA in Education and Judaics from Hebrew College. A long time educator and director, Sara has served as a preschool teacher, admissions director, and a Jewish Family educator. Sara has three children Oren, Elan, and Keren, and two dogs (Emma and Molly).  When not in the office or classroom, Sara enjoys hiking with her dogs, playing sudoku, reading and gardening.



Valerie Kiviat, Office Administrator

Valerie Kiviat has been working with the preschool for 12 years. She holds a BS and Ed.M. in Education from Boston University. Valerie is married to a Brookline native, whose parents were married at KI! She lives in West Roxbury and has been privileged to share in the raising of three super awesome step-children, along with Dakota, the family cat. Valerie’s warm and welcoming presence is an integral part of the KI community.



Teaching Teams

Dubonim (Toddlers): 

Ruth Walsh

Ruthie is a certified Lead Teacher who attended Lesley University. She has been involved in children’s education for many years — owning and running her own family daycare,  and teaching at a Cambridge preschool for several years. Ruthie has also worked as a birth and post-partum duola. She has been a familiar face at KI for the past 9 years; first as a volunteer, then as a substitute teacher, and as a teacher for the past seven years. Ruthie is a welcoming presence for KI’s youngest students and she is looking forward to another exciting year at KI!  

Michelle Rothberg

Michelle is very excited to begin her fourth year at KI. Michelle has been working with children and families for over sixteen years, with experience in public elementary, Headstart, and Jewish preschools. She also teaches second grade Sunday school at Temple Beth Abraham. Michelle has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Southern NH University. She recently received her Masters in Education degree from Lesley University, and she has extensively studied the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, gardening, and hoop-dancing.  During her time at KI, Michelle has served as a teacher in the Kofim classroom and as a curriculum coordinator.  This year she is exciting to be working in the Dubonim classroom!  



Elyssa Schick

This is Elyssa’s eleventh year at KINS. Elyssa holds a BA in Psychology and Liberal Arts from Skidmore College and a Director Certification in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining the preschool she taught at Boston Children’s School in Boston and interned at a psychiatric hospital in New York. Elyssa not only teaches in the Kofim classroom, but also works with the Early Bird Program & serves as the Afternoon Program Coordinator.  She greatly enjoys working with young children, and looks forward to yet another year in the Kofim classroom!  

Nancy Myers

Nancy began her teaching career at a volunteer at our preschool.  Before joining the Kofim team Nancy was a substitute at the school and co-teacher at KI’s summer program. Nancy is ecstatic about joining the staff for her fourth year in Kofim. Before entering the world of early childhood education Nancy was a successful copywriter specializing in marketing, advertising and public relations for a wide variety of corporate and nonprofit organizations. She holds a BA in English Literature from Oberlin College and received her Lead Teacher Certification from Mass Bay Community College. Prior to our school, Nancy taught at the Wellesley College Child Study Center, a lab school on the Wellesley College. She lives in Roslindale with her husband with whom she shares a passion for movies, cycling, cooking, reading, and crossword puzzles.  



Joyce Naggar

Joyce has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is a seasoned Early Childhood teacher with over twenty years experience. This will be Joyce’s fourth year teaching in the Parparim classroom. She grew up in Brookline where she currently lives with her husband and four children. In her free time she loves to read books and travel to different places with her family. Joyce is always cooking up something fun in her classroom and she is looking forward to the new school year!

Gaby Zwiebach

Gaby has over fifteen years of experience as a childhood educator. She received her MA degree in Japanese studies from Harvard and a BA in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley. She also has her early Childhood certification from Mass Bay Community College. She has worked as both a preschool teacher and director at Beth El Preschool in Newton.  Most recently she was a Kindergarten Hebrew teacher at Jewish Community Day School, yet returned to the preschool setting after realizing that she missed working with younger students! She is excited to be returning to Parparim for her second year at KI.  



Lisa Miller

Lisa has been teaching preschool for over fifteen years. A native to the Boston area, Lisa received her BA from Mount Ida College and has a Lead Teacher certification from Mass Bay College. Lisa’s goal as an early childhood educator is to build her students’ self-esteem and develop successful relationships between students, parents, and teachers. This is Lisa’s fourth year in the Pre-K classroom. In her spare time, Lisa in an avid sports fan who loves to go to any and all games!

Tirzah Katz

While this is Tirzah’s second year as a teacher at the preschool, she is also KI parent! Her older son was a student a KI and her youngest is currently in the preschool. Tirzah has a degree from Wheelock College in Human Development with a Child Life concentration, and she a certificate in Early Childhood education. Tirzah’s work experience includes working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Child Life intern. She has been a Training Coordinator at LilleBaby Corporation and at Brighton Hospital Child Care Center where she served as a Teaching Assistant for three years. Prior to  teaching at KI, Tirzah was a much-loved nanny for several families in the area. Tirzah is excited for another year in G’malim!


Carrie Merriman

This is Carrie’s twenty-eighth year with KI preschool! She is a graduate of the Threshold Program at Lesley College. She first came to our school as a student teacher in 1987 and later decided to stay as a teacher’s assistant. Carrie loves her three wonderful pets: her dog, Noah; her retired horse, Adam; and her newer horse Limelight. She enjoys spending her “down time” with them on the North shore. Carrie’s warmth and enthusiasm is an essential part of our community as she continues to work with our oldest students.





Specialty Staff

Philip Alexander, Music 

Philip Alexander is one of New England’s premiere children’s entertainers. He’s an an alumnus of Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music and performs throughout the Greater Boston area. As a children’s musician, Philip delights young and old alike – with interactive performances featuring voice, guitar, dulcimer, bamboo flute, ocarina and percussion. In addition to teaching his own weekly parent/child music classes, he performs in schools, libraries, summer camps, and at concerts,birthday parties and corporate events. Philip is delighted to be working with the children and staff at KINS for his third year.


Jenn Harrington, Creative Movement  
Affectionately known as “Miss Jenn,” Jenn will be starting her ninth year at the preschool. For over ten years Jenn has worked with children of all ages, ranging from one year to eighteen years of age, teaching creative movement and gymnastics classes through her business, Imagination Runs Wild. Every class that Jenn teaches at KINS incorporates fun and planned out themes that help the children stay physically fit, as well as give them the opportunity to practice their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skill development. Jenn will teach creative movement classes on Mondays once a week to each preschool class. She also teaches an enrichment program on Wednesdays from 2-3PM for preschool children. This program will incorporate gymnastics into her movement activities.


Shirah Rubin, Hebrew Language Specialist

While Shirah has been a part of the larger Kehillath Israel community for many years, this is her second year as the Hebrew Language specialist at the preschool. Shirah joins each class weekly teaching them Hebrew and supporting their Judaic learning. In addition to her responsibilities for the school, Shira is also the Director of Congregational Learning at Kehillath Israel. She served as the director of Hebrew Play and has an extensive background in Jewish education and art. Shirah received a Masters in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She has led and developed arts workshops and curricula in a variety of settings, including the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book, and Gann Academy and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.