We know an early learning environment is as good as the people supporting it; that’s why we hire the best!  We currently are accepting resumes for well-qualified, collaborative full time and part time teachers, with positions available as soon as this Spring.  Interested teaching candidates please email Hannah Williams – hannah@ahavalearning.org

Experience and/or Education in the field and excellent references are a must!

Experience with Reggio Emilia/Constructivist Philosophy and/or Project Approach a plus!

Teachers must be comfortable using technology to communicate with parents and colleagues and/or willing to learn new tech skills (Blogging, Facebook, iPod touch, Constant Contact, Google Docs, etc.)

Please share if you have any of the following skills in your cover letter/resume: yoga, gardening, guitar/song-leader, story-teller, studio art or art education, Hebrew language, Judaic knowledge, etc.

Our Director

Hannah Williams

Hannah Aranson Williams was delighted to return to Atlanta and the AA community after serving as the Preschool Director for the Lerner School in Durham, NC for five years.  She holds a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Emory University and an MA in Jewish Studies Education from Siegal College.

Hannah has fifteen years of classroom experience as an Early Childhood Educator in Atlanta, GA, Asheville, NC and Palo Alto, CA. Hannah’s professional development includes participation in several national Fellowships, including the Covenant Foundation Fellowship for Leadership in Early Childhood Education and the Covenant/JECEI (Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative) Fellowship. These prestigious programs incorporated in-depth study of Best Practices in Jewish Early Childhood Education with a focus on the Reggio-Emilia Approach, a Study Tour in Israel and site visits to vanguard preschools throughout the United States and Israel. Hannah is passionate about supporting teachers, children and families along their journeys!

Our Faculty and Administration

Teachers at Ahava value each child and each child’s family members as individuals and as partners. By modeling responsibility, welcoming and caring, teachers foster the children’s growth and development. Our teachers have the educational qualifications, experience working with young children, dispositions, knowledge and professional commitment necessary to help craft a program where children and their families are respected in their individuality and as a part of the community. Teachers work together with their colleagues to develop, implement, and evaluate the classroom pedagogy, to provide a quality educational program that reflects the goals and values of our Reggio Emilia inspired school. They document children’s play and learning and attend to classroom management, including the flow of the day, group dynamics and guide children to develop the social skills necessary to be contributing members of the school community and to negotiate conflicts with other children when they arise. Our teachers are co-constructors, researchers, documenters and advocates for children. Ahava teachers value and promote children’s play, indoors and out, are curious about each child’s perspective, understand child development and guidance in a constructivist context and are attuned to the learning process for each child. While teachers nurture physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual growth and development of each child, their first responsibility, beyond the safety and well-being of the children, is to be with the children joyfully. They provide care, protection, consistency, and guidance to the children, in the framework of a developmentally appropriate emergent curriculum. Teachers model anti-bias practices and cultural sensitivity, ask for help, accept suggestions and offer guidance. Our teachers are lifelong learners who stay current in the field of Early Childhood Education and take time for regular reflection and self-evaluation.

BETH ARNOLD HELMEY, PEDAGOGISTA

Beth Arnold Helmey was thrilled to join the Ahava team in its inaugural year. A native of Atlanta, Beth has fond memories of attending Ahavath Achim Synagogue as a child, and is excited to rekindle her affiliation with the congregation. She holds a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MA in Teaching from Mercer University. Beth has 11 years teaching experience as a Kindergarten teacher and as a Special Education paraprofessional in Gwinnett County Public Schools.  Her introduction to the Reggio Emilia philosophy began when she and her two children were a part of the Cliff Valley learning community. She considers herself fortunate to have been immersed in a program that emphasized the importance of a play-based education centered on the child’s interests. As a believer in the Reggio Approach, Beth continues to refine her practice, using reflection and documentation as tools for her own learning.  Her ongoing professional study has included visiting the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Beth continues to draw inspiration from collaboration with other teachers, and enjoys learning from new sources of inspiration through Ahava.  As our Pedagogista, Beth works closely with Hannah to guide our curriculum, mentors and supervises our teachers, and ensures a quality learning environment is provided for the students.

HEIDI HERMAN, ADMINISTRATOR

Heidi Herman was born in South Africa and emigrated to Atlanta in 2001 with her husband Barry and their sons, Daniel and Aaron.
After a long career as an administrator and team leader in various organizations, Heidi discovered her passion for working in the early learning school environment as the Administrator at Chaya Mushka Children’s House preschool in Sandy Springs, for the last 3 years. She loves the varied aspects of her job, especially nurturing and interacting with the children, while being a trusted friend to their parents.  Heidi strongly believes in the Reggio Emilia way of learning.
Heidi looks forward to utilizing her strong administrative skills, which together with her passion for working with the children and their families, will ensure that she serves their needs, as well as those of the teaching and administrative staff.

BEVERLY HEGMON, TEACHER – KEHILLAT SHALOM

Beverly Hegmon taught preschool environment for more than ten years before joining the Ahava faculty, four of which were in a Reggio Emilia inspired school.  Beverly’s kindness, and her gentle and warm nature make her a perfect fit for our youngest children! Growing up in Atlanta, Beverly attended the Paideia School and studied at Hampton University in Virginia.  She is a mother of 2 teens and 1 Boston Terrier.

JOANNA GOLD, TEACHER – KEHILLAT SHALOM

Joanna (Jojo) Gold grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and was happy to escape the cold winters when she moved to Atlanta nine years ago! Jojo has worked in Early Childhood Education for more than ten years and has experience with a range of ages from newborn to 4 year olds. Jojo holds a CDA and an infant/toddler Montessori certification from AMS.  She has attended several college courses in ECE at Indiana University and plans on finishing her BA in the near future! She taught infants for the past 7 years and has a great passion for teaching and nurturing the youngest of children.  Jojo has also taught Sunday School at The Temple. She is looking forward to embracing and learning more about Reggio Emilia philosophy and implementing it in the classroom!  She believes that parent/teacher communication is the key to a child’s success and is passionate about parent education.  Jojo has a 3 year old Nephew and 7 month old neice, to whom she is very close and she adores spending time with them!

PRECIOUS LYONS, TEACHER – KEHILLAT SHALOM

Precious Lyons is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, who has seven years of experience working with young children. Precious joins our faculty this year after we have gotten to know her as one of our favorite substitute teachers since 2016. Precious is looking forward to furthering her own education as she pursues a CDA.  She is a mother of one son, Jhaiceon. Precious is excited to join the Ahava team, and she looks forward to the journey that lies ahead!

JULIA EGBEBIKE, TEACHER – KEHILLAT TIKVAH

Julia Egbebike is excited to join the Ahava community.  She has worked with children ages 1-5 for over 7 years. Julia holds a BA in psychology with a minor in education from the University of North Florida. Julia’s favorite part of teaching is witnessing children develop their own personalities and beliefs, and she is honored to take part in the education of our future leaders and community members. Julia looks forward to learning more about the Reggio Emilia approach and using it in the classroom. When Julia is not teaching, she loves to hike, travel, try new foods, and spend time with her friends and family.

MELANIE KAPLAN, TEACHER – KEHILLAT TIKVAH

Melanie Kaplan has experience teaching and tutoring preschool through college age students. Melanie has an extensive science background, and holds a MS in Space Sciences, a BS in Physics, and a BS in Space Sciences, from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. Melanie has an insatiable curiosity and loves learning, and she believes that children learn better and appreciate learning when they are given opportunities to choose their own areas of interest – to explore, discover, create, investigate, dream, and experiment. Being part of the Jewish Community is extremely important to Melanie. She is very involved at her Shul, Congregation Shearith Israel, where she frequently volunteers to read Torah and Haftarah, and is a Hebrew Enrichment and Support Teacher for their religious school. Melanie is delighted to be able to share her love for Judaism, Torah, Science, and Learning with our Ahava Community!

KAVITA BRAHMBHATT,  TEACHER – KEHILLAT SIMCHA

Kavita Brahmbhatt holds a Bachelors of Arts in Child Development and Family Studies from University of South Carolina-Upstate.  Kavita loves challenging children and wants to help them explore and develop. She is excited about continuing to work with young children and expanding her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia approach within the Ahava community.

SAMANTHA OXMAN,  TEACHER – KEHILLAT SIMCHA

Samantha Oxman is happy to join the Ahava staff. She has several years of experience in the classroom teaching toddlers, 2 and 3 year olds. Samantha completed the Early Childhood program at Athens Technical College. When she is not babysitting, Samantha enjoys taking Zumba classes, attending concerts & festivals and attending Jewish community events with friends. She is thrilled to be working at Ahavath Achim  where she and her family have been members for decades.

ELLEN MCNEILL, TEACHER – KEHILLAT YOFI & LEARNING RESOURCE SPECIALIST

Ellen McNeill holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies and a second major in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was on the Dean’s List and graduated with Highest Distinction.  Through her program at UNC, Ellen studied and worked in the lab school at the world renowned Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.  Following graduation, Ellen worked at The Little School at Duke, a Reggio-Inspired school in Durham, NC, as a Lead Teacher.  Professionally, Ellen has also worked as an English language instructor, and as a behavioral therapist at the Marcus Autism Center.  In her free time, she loves to sing, dance, and cook. Ellen is passionate about the field of early childhood because she truly believes that high quality learning environments and teachers make lasting positive impacts on all children.

In addition to her classroom responsibilities, Ellen is our Learning Resource Specialist (LRS). As our LRS, a position that was created in partnership with the Jewish Abilities Alliance of the Atlanta Jewish Federation, Ellen supports  all of our faculty, and the children in all of our classes by helping us provide an individualized inclusion program to support children with special rights at Ahava.

ERIN PATRICIA JOHNSON, TEACHER – KEHILLAT YOFI

Erin Patricia Johnson holds an M.Ed. in Counseling and Personnel Services from University of Louisville and a B.A. in Psychology from Berea College. Erin has over 10 years of experience working with children and youth in a variety of settings and roles, including: educator, tutor, nursery attendant, counselor, program director, camp leadership staff, mentor, residence life director, chess instructor, nanny and religious school teacher at B’nai Sholom in Huntington, WV. She embraces the Reggio Emilia approach, believes in learning through play, and celebrates the inherent value in every human being.

NJERI (NAJ) FORD, TEACHER – KEHILLAT YOFI

Njeri (Naj) Ford was born and raised in Portland, Oregon where she found her passion for working with children as a volunteer at her church’s nursery. Naj recently graduated with honors from Clark Atlanta University with a degree in psychology. Naj has many years of classroom experience as a tutor and teachers assistant at both Jones Elementary and Finch Elementary School located in Atlanta, Georgia. Her hobbies include painting, makeup artistry and cooking. She looks forward to continuing to deepen her knowledge of early childhood education and the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

SARAH RUBEN, TEACHER – KEHILLAT MASA & JUDAICS/DOCUMENTATION SPECIALIST

Sarah Ruben is delighted to join the team at Ahava as a teacher and as a member of the leadership team, supporting her colleagues in the areas of Judaics and Documentation.  She is an experienced early childhood educator, having taught in California, New York, and Chicago.  As an Anthropology Major at Stanford University, Sarah studied how different cultures value and approach childhood and education.  Later, deepening her study in the field, she earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.
Sarah loves early childhood education for its possibilities in discovery and imagination.  She sees successful early childhood classrooms as laboratories for exploration and growth, in which children can build their own knowledge and develop modes for processing the world around them.  As a dancer since childhood, Sarah also enjoys incorporating movement into the classroom, from creative movement to Israeli Folk Dance.  Sarah and her family are new to Atlanta, and look forward to making a home at Ahava – their daughter, Selah, also attends school here!

JENNIFER KEENEY, TEACHER – KEHILLAT MASA

Jennifer Keeney  studied Environmental Science and Forestry at SUNY Morrisville in upstate NY, holds an early childhood certificate, and is an internationally certified Kindermusik educator. She pursued her interest in early childhood education with her own children by volunteering at summer camps, school and as a Girl Scout leader for 5 years. Jennifer also worked as an assistant teacher and parapro in the Fulton County for 8 years. Jennifer incorporates her love of music and learning through her thriving piano/percussion/Kindermusik studio for students ages 1 month to adult. In her spare time, Jennifer loves spending time with her better half, Greg, her 3 teenage daughters, a rescue dog named Joey, and 2 rescue bunnies, Franklin & Nightfury. Jennifer shares the love and joy of learning that she has shared with her own children with the parents and young children with whom she works. Jennifer is delighted to share her love of education and to instill her passion for learning within every child’s heart and soul.

AVIVA SUMMERS, TEACHER – KEHILLAT MASA

Aviva Summers graduated with honors from Binghamton University in Upstate New York with a bachelors degree in Judaic Studies. Aviva spent all of her school breaks volunteering in the Reggio Emilia early childhood program at Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs. Her experiences also include working in kindergartens in Israel and substitute teaching. She loves playing the guitar and singing in both Hebrew and English, and can’t wait to share her love for Judaica with the Ahava community!

BETELHEM (BETE) TEWELDEBRHAN, TEACHER – KEHILLAT MASA

Betelhem (Bete) Teweldebrhan was born and raised in Boston, Massachussets and grew up in a large family, where she first developed her love of children.  She started volunteering at day care centers while attending high school.  After graduating highschool, she worked at several childcare facilities and babysitting on the side. She is currently attending Atlanta Metropolitan State College, majoring in Early Childhood Education, and minoring in Business.

KELSEY PARSELL, TEACHER

Kelsey Parsell attended Argosy University where she earned her BA in psychology and, while she loves studying and implementing brain-based learning, she is equally passionate about art, music, creativity, and nurturing a passion for learning in children. She has worked with children in many facets including as a babysitter, in a daycare, as a nanny, and a teacher. Before joining Ahava, Kelsey taught classes encouraging cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development for young children and their families. She is excited about continuing to encourage the growth and development of young children and furthering her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia approach within the Ahava community.

JIZELA BOMBARDIERE, TEACHER

Jizela Bombardiere is a Florida native who obtained her Associate’s in Education from Indian River State College.  She moved to Atlanta to advance her education and career. Jizela’s passion is educating young children at the preschool age, and she is looking forward to being a part of the Ahava family and to creating a comfortable environment for our children to succeed while she completes her Bachelor’s degree in Early Education at Kennesaw State University.

LYNN ABRAMS, KITCHEN MANAGER

Lynn Abrams began working with Ahava in early 2016 as a substitute teacher, and joined us as a teacher in our premier infant/toddler classroom.  Lynn was excited to try something new, and began planning nutritious menus and cooking delicious food in early 2017. Lynn is a lifelong AA congregant who has experience as a nanny and loves working with the youngest children!  Lynn has a BA in psychology, loves to travel, and practices tai chi regularly!

“MR. MICHAEL” LEVINE, MUSIC TEACHER

“Mr. Michael” Levine is the co-founder of The Learning Groove (TLG) music & movement company.  He also is the music producer of the first four New York Times bestselling Pete The Cat books by Eric Litwin and James Dean, and he regularly performs Pete The Cat stories & TLG songs at concerts, workshops & keynotes throughout the nation.

As a singer-songwriter, he has won many awards and has opened for such acts as Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Live, Joe Walsh, and many more. As a performer for children, he plays guitar and uses the latest hip-hop technology to demonstrate how interactivity can make reading & music awesome for kids.