Meet Our Staff
Elyssa Schick, our Director, is excited to be entering into her second year as director after being a dedicated teacher in the Kofim classroom the previous 12 years. Elyssa holds a BA in Psychology and Liberal Arts from Skidmore College and a Director Certification in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining the team at KI, Elyssa taught at Boston Children’s School and interned at a psychiatric hospital in New York. Elyssa is also proud of her athletic ability, as she annually completes the Spartan Race, a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances.
Valerie Kiviat, our Office Administrator, has been been working with the preschool for 15 years. She holds a BS and Ed.M. 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 raising three super awesome stepchildren, along with Dakota, the family cat. Valerie’s warm and welcoming presence is an integral part of the KI community.
Katie has been working at KI Preschool in various capacities since 2012. She began teaching in Parparim, and took time off to have her son, then spent time in Susim and Dubonim before taking another leave to have her daughter. She is now back as the Assistant Director and is so excited to assist Elyssa and the team of teachers in all their amazing work. She has a BA in American Studies from Boston University and M. Ed. from Hunter College in Early Childhood Education. Outside of KI, Katie enjoys spending time with her kids, husband and crew of rescue animals (2 dogs, 1 cat), running, and cooking up a storm.
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. Ruthie has also worked as a birth and postpartum doula. Ruthie is a proud mom to two daughters and two wonderful grandchildren. She has been a familiar face at KI for the past eleven years; first as a volunteer, then as a substitute teacher, and as a full time teacher for the past nine years. Ruthie is a welcoming presence for KI’s youngest students and she is looking forward to another exciting year at KI!
Rachel is very excited to be joining the Dubonim classroom. She has been an infant toddler teacher for over 24 years in Cambridge. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is a certified lead teacher. She is the proud mama to one beautiful daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, traveling, listening to music, and when she can, catching some live music. She loves having dance parties with the little ones as well!
Aida (“Mimi”) is super excited to join the Dubonim team. Mimi studied at the International University of Sarajevo, majoring in Political Science and Journalism and speaks both Bosnian and German. She also has 17 years of experience as a preschool teacher. Mimi is a proud mother of 3 smart and beautiful children and grandmother of Victoria. She is fond of music, the visual arts, dancing, organizing, reading, traveling and loves, loves children!
Deirdre has taught at KI Preschool for many years, mostly in the Kofim classroom. Deirdre is particularly passionate about literacy and uses storytelling, drama, and poetry in the classroom to wrap preschoolers in the magic of language. Deirdre began her teaching career as a Parent Educator for Early Intervention and welcomes engagement with her students’ families. She took a few years away from teaching at KI to explore teaching at other Brookline schools and is delighted to bring that experience and knowledge back home to KI Preschool. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Emerson College, and in her free time she writes poetry, children’s stories, and is currently working on a book, Strong Words, about teaching conflict resolution skills to young children. She has two (almost) grown-up daughters, and outside of school she can usually be found in her backyard tending her organic vegetable garden, or playing with her mischievous young pup, Giuseppe.
Carrie has been with the preschool for over twenty years! She is a graduate of the Threshold Program at Lesley College. She first came to KI Preschool as a student teacher in 1987 and decided to stay on as a beloved member of KI Preschool’s staff. Carrie is an avid pet lover and a proud owner of three wonderful pets: her dog, Kilvert; her horse Limelight; and her cat Oliver, and enjoys spending her down time with them on the North shore. Carrie brings her warmth and love of children directly into the classroom. She is a wonderful storyteller! This year she will be joining the Kofim team.
Dawn is a native of Jamaica, West Indies. She moved to Boston in 1987 with her husband of 37 years. She has an associates degree in human services and early childhood from Bunker Hill Community college. She is the proud mother of three adult children, a daughter and two sons, and is delighted to say she’s the grandmother of four grandchildren. Dawn loves to exercise, garden, and spend quality time with her family. She has always had the ability to bond with children and although she enjoys working with children of all age groups her preference is working with toddlers and preschoolers.
Tania is excited to start her first year at KI in the Kofim classroom. She has a degree in Liberal Arts and is going into her 9th year of teaching. She loves reading a good book, running daily, anything related to Star Wars, video games, and her cat, Kratos. She is looking forward to getting to know everyone in the KI community!
Lizzie is excited for her third year as a part of the Parparim team! Before that she spent 8 years at KI student teaching, substituting and working during the summer program. She recently graduated from UMass Boston with her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Before taking a teaching position at KI, Lizzie nannied for a former KI family and thoroughly enjoys being a part of the KI community. Lizzie is very excited to be a part of the Parparim team with Tirzah and Aida (Mimi)!
Tirzah is joining KI Preschool for her sixth year. Tirzah has a degree from Wheelock College in Human Development with a Child Life concentration, and has a certificate in Early Childhood Education. Her work experience includes working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a child life intern, and has been a much-loved nanny for many families in the area. Tirzah is so proud of her two KI Preschool Alumni (graduating classes of 2016 and 2019). She’s excited for another year in Parparim!
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 seventh year teaching at KI Preschool. 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 has more than twenty years of experience as a childhood educator serving as a preschool lead teacher, kindergarten Hebrew teacher, and as director of the Beth El preschool in Newton. She received her MA degree in Japanese studies from Harvard and a BA in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley. Gaby also holds an early childhood teacher and Director 1 certification from Mass Bay Community College. Gaby is fluent in English, Hebrew, and Spanish and conversant in Yiddish and Japanese. She is excited to be returning for her fifth year at KI!
Carrie has been with the preschool for over twenty years! She is a graduate of the Threshold Program at Lesley College. She first came to KI Preschool as a student teacher in 1987 and decided to stay on as a beloved member of KI Preschool’s staff. Carrie is an avid pet lover and a proud owner of three wonderful pets: her dog, Kilvert; her horse Limelight; and her cat Oliver, and enjoys spending her down time with them on the North shore. Carrie brings her warmth and love of children directly into the classroom. She is a wonderful storyteller! This year she will be joining the Susim and Parparim teams.
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 fourth 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.
This year we have welcomed the amazing Olivia from Jammin’ With You as our new music teacher. A bit about Jammin’ With You: Jammin With You’s music enrichment program offers an unequivocal educational experience to children in the earliest, and most important, stages of development. Our trained professionals will get students dancing, singing and jamming — all while promoting healthy social/emotional, cognitive and physical development. JWY songs touch on relevant topics such as imagination, family, and love as well as educational themes including numbers, colors, language and rhythms. At JWY, we believe music enrichment should be an experience children engage in, not just a recording they listen to. All of our teachers are highly skilled musicians who perform live, in the classroom. We also incorporate classroom themes and goals into our sessions to provide continuity in learning.