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About – Our Teachers

The adult’s role in children’s journey is to support and facilitate their growth and development. To assume this role- to teach young children, is a great privilege and responsibility. Teaching is a mission – a valued and time-honored Jewish tradition.

We look for teachers who are passionate and will offer a nurturing experience for the children. Our teachers have a deep understanding of children and the way they think, and have the desire to create meaningful relationships with the children. All our teachers believe in the importance of seeing each child as an individual. Our teachers plan and adapt the curriculum and the environment to meet the needs of each child.

In the Reggio Emelia approach, the teacher sees herself as a learner – alongside the children – open to new thoughts and ideas. The teacher listens carefully to the children, observes and documents their work, and provokes and stimulates their thinking. As teachers, we are committed to strengthening and enriching our knowledge of young children by continuing our own education.

Our teachers are professionals who encourage our children to reflect, to be independent, to explore, to cooperate, to negotiate, to wonder, to love and to laugh.


Infant Center Teachers

soniaSonia Fleck
More than my profession, teaching is my passion. I have been teaching for more than 15 years and excited to come back for my second year at the Infant Center. I was born and raised in Colombia and got my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in Colombia at “Universidad de la Sabana”. I believe children should be treated with respect and as individuals because they each learn in their own special way. Children have extraordinary potential and they each learn at their own pace. For me, it’s really important to include families (nurture & nature) because the family system has a huge impact on a child’s development and each family is their unique qualities as well. I’m looking forward to another great year working together with my team at PJECC as the lead teacher and watching the children grow in body, mind and spirit.
img_1353_#2Nagel Frameta
My daughter is the love of my life. In fact, she influenced me to become involved in teaching. Being part of the daily lives of my students is so exciting for me. I am also interested in the importance of healthy living, and find that I can make an impact in developing good health practices with the children from an early age.
CindyCindy Rivas
I find education of all ages fascinating- from tutoring English to college students to what I am doing now- working with children. What I find amazing about children is that it also teaches me about myself. I like to bring in fun activities and allow the children to feel joy while learning new things. I love to expand the children’s horizons through art, music and print- which are all my passions. My aspiration is to inspire the children to be curious, empathetic, loving, and to “dream big”.
EvelynEvelyn Velesquez
I have always loved to observe and play with children, so for me it was natural to want to become a teacher. I love to teach children their colors, shapes, and new songs as well as be part of their overall growth. This gives me a sense of accomplishment, where I can help others. I admire community helpers and am glad to be part of these “givers” in our society.
EvelynEvelyn Virgin
I made the decision to become a teacher, because I want to make a difference in children’s lives. I realize that the impact extends far beyond the classroom. One of my passions about teaching is to inspire children with creative activities. I enjoy bringing in happiness through  dancing and singing with the children. Seeing children’s minds develop through language and helping them develop a positive mindset are some of the miracles I see everyday.

Gesher Class Teachers

BridgetBridget Daniels
A warm “Hello!” PJECC families! I am so honored to be a part of this amazing school. I look forward to getting to know all of you. Heres a little about me….

I am a Palisades mom of two. My family has been here for generations and my kids have been at Pali Elementary since their kinder years. I have a 5th grader, JJ , who loves sports and being social. My daughter, KaLeah, is in the 3rd grade. She loves dance and painting. I co-parent and absolutely love being a part of the warm, friendly, and supportive palisades community. I especially enjoy the beach, sunsets, and breezes here.

I’ve earned an Associates Degree from Santa Monica College in Early Childhood Education and continue to study best practices in our field. I have a passion for working with young children, I became an aunt in early elementary school and coming from a large ,all hands on deck, family with seven sisters. I am in my happy play here playing, exploring, and watching the development of our students.

As a parent, I know just how crazy raising children is. I am here to help in any way I can with the care and education for your children. I know how much trust is given to us as early years teachers. Thank you for inviting me into your child’s life and I look forward to the adventures that await us this year.

shirlyMiriam Kerbel
I am very excited to join the PJECC family and continue this awesome job opportunity. As a mother of 2 boys, I am extremely happy to teach children and be a positive example for them. My background in Mexico City where I got my bachelor’s degree in psychology from “Universidad Iberoamericana” and relocation to Cincinnati, Ohio where I spent the last 8 years are experiences that hopefully will contribute to another wonderful year here.

Two Year Olds Teachers

shirlyMarisa Abel
Ihis will be my third year at P.J.E.C.C., and my experience here has been more than amazing!  Working with children and making a positive impact in their lives is something that makes this job so rewarding. I am the mother of an almost five-year-old who recently graduated from our preschool and started Marquez Elementary. Through the years, I have been so happy being part of a fantastic team of educators. It has inspired me to further my education in this field. Children really bring brightness and light into my life, and I could not have asked for a better environment to help expand each one of the children’s minds.
shirlyShirly Bendavid
I am very delighted to join the wonderful team at PJECC! I have been teaching and inspiring young minds for many years and love every minute of it. I hold a BA in child development as well as California State Credentials. These young minds always keep me on my toes and never seize to amaze me with the amount of brilliant information they hold. My favorite thing about teaching children is the fact that you can actually see the knowledge growth throughout the year. The moment there is a connection of information in their minds is the moment that makes my job most meaningful. I thrive not only educate our children, but to also provide them with all the necessary skills they will need in the years to come. I always ensure our classroom is a place where students feel safe, happy, and inspired for learning!
img_1353_#2Elise Benveniste
I am so excited to be starting my 2nd school year at PJECC. I have been teaching in the Jewish early childhood field for over 20 years. I have great love and respect for young children and believe that they are very capable to lead their own learning through inquiry, investigation and research.
I will provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment where each individual child feels important and has a voice. I plan to incorporate literacy, math, science, engineering and technology into our daily curriculum and set up meaningful provocations that will intrigue these young minds to ask “what is that, how does it work and can I do it”?
I am a Southern California native and have attended both Pirece and Valley Colleges. I hold my Early Childhood Certificate from UCLA and have been teaching in Jewish preschools all over the San Fernando Valley as well as the Palisades.
img_1353_#2Susy Kajomovitz
Being that I originate from Galveston, Texas and lived in Mexico City, it’s amazing to think that I am now part of the awesome PJECC staff. I am so happy for the opportunity to work with the children again, something I did in Cincinnati, Ohio. Being married and having 2 children and 5 grandchildren has inspired me to work with children. I bring with me my passion for sports (I was an Olympic gymnast and competed in the 1972 Maccabiah Games in Israel where I won a Team Silver medal) and my interest in cooking (I helped my husband with a restaurant that he owned for 14 years). Most of all, my deep interest in teaching is reflected in my study of the Montessori teaching philosophy while I lived in Mexico.

Three Year Old Teachers

chaya1Chaya Cunin
Teaching is something I care passionately about. I believe that each child is a whole world, and therefore should be treated as such. As a teacher for young children, I believe that my job is to respect each child as an individual and to recognize their own unique qualities. I love spending time with children, watching them discover the world around them. After studying education abroad and attending an intense teacher training program in New York, I am really looking forward to spending my second year with your wonderful children. I am so blessed to be part of the PJECC family!
Yehudis Greenberg
Teaching children always been my passion. After studying psychology and early childhood education at U.C.L.A. I began my journey in this wonderful world. Every day is an adventure. I particularly enjoy the arts and am always looking for ways to incorporate new ideas and methods in the classroom. I find the children’s programs at the Los Angeles Crafts Museum and the Hammer Museum to be great sources of ideas and inspiration. It is so exciting to explore and learn with the children.

Four & Five Year Old Teachers

chaya1Chanie Cunin
I am so excited to be teaching the Senior class this year! This is going to be my 2nd year teaching in PJECC and 1st year working with the oldest group. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up here in Pacific Palisades. As a preschooler, I was part of one of the first graduating classes in PJECC. I grew up in a large family Ka”H and therefore spent a lot of time with children. I always had a passion for teaching and I am so happy to have the privilege of following my passion in such an amazing school and environment. Each child is compared to a whole world with unique interests and passions. As teachers, we strive to respect the children as individuals and give them the tools to reach their highest potential. I am looking forward to see how we can all grow together. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!
SylviaSylvia Olmedo
Nothing makes me happier than knowing I am making a positive difference in people’s lives. It has always been one of my greatest motives in life, which is why I began my college journey wanting to study Nursing. I quickly discovered however, that my true passion was working with children. I believe they hold a significant value in our world. Therefore, I decided to pursue a career within the Child Development field. Everywhere I go, children gravitate toward me. I possess a strong work ethic and I am very committed to my duties as an educator and caregiver. I enjoy bringing a fun, loving and positive energy into the classroom. I am always willing to lend a helping hand and ensure other people’s needs are met before my own. I find it very rewarding putting a smile on other people’s faces. I come from a family of five sisters, which has definitely played a factor in my motherly nature with children. The first few years of a child’s life are the most critical and I am determined to maintain a warm, loving and overall enriching learning environment at PJECC.


img_1352_#1Chana Hertzberg
I feel privileged to be a part of the Palisades Jewish Early Childhood Center, with its excellent reputation for growing and nurturing young children’s hearts, minds, and souls.Holding a B.A. in Child Development, an M.A. in Clinical Sociology, and having over twenty years of experience in early childhood education, I have found it most important to focus on providing a kind, loving and nurturing educational atmosphere that plants and teaches new and engaging ideas into young minds. Children have tremendous potential. They are bright and capable, and therefore, we must create an environment to develop and challenge their young minds in the best way they can receive and “take-in” these new skills and concepts.Having been born in Russia and raised in sunny California, as well as having lived, married, and mothered in the land of Israel, are all experiences that have enriched my life. These things have taught me to appreciate all children’s inherent differences, and to learn from them. By being attuned to each child’s needs, interests, and emotions, we can empower every child to reach their full potential.