Gan Avraham Director
Rachel is happy to be joining the TBA family. She has been working in Jewish Early Childhood Education for 16 years of her almost 20 years in the early childhood field. Rachel has a passion for community building starting with our youngest community members and their families. She feels at home here as a lifelong learner and looks forward to growing alongside the children. Rachel lives in Oakland and in her spare time enjoys adventures with her family, dance and yoga.
Gan Avraham Teachers
Amanda has worked at GAN Avraham since Fall 2017. She has a B.A. in Child Development from Mills College and loves teaching preschool. Amanda also has a graduate certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education from Gratz College in PA. Amanda’s main goals in the classroom are relationship building and helping children and families develop a positive Jewish identity. Amanda lives in Vallejo, Ca. with her husband, Chuck. They have two tripod dogs, Mort & Felix, and a kitty cat, Popo. On her weekends and time off, Amanda enjoys traveling, the beach, photography, and visiting old cemeteries.
Ann is a Bay Area native. She is a proud Cal alum (Go Bears!). This is her 13th year teaching at Gan Avraham. In that time, she has seen lots of changes at TBA, but has always felt warmly welcomed into the community. This summer, she and her husband, John, completed a remodel project on their house in Temescal. They are loving cooking in their new kitchen and spending time with their dog, Gracie, out in the backyard.
Chelsie is excited to join the Gan Avraham mishpacha (family)! She recently moved to Oakland from Los Angeles to be closer to family. She has experience teaching in a Jewish preschool in Santa Monica, as well as coordinating Jewish youth groups and working as a Rosh Edah (unit head) at a Jewish sleep away camp. She loves to cook and go on hikes, as well as visiting local museums and landmarks. Her dog Gillis loves it when she takes him on walks with her.
Christina is so happy to have joined Gan Avraham and teach in the Kitah Keshet classroom. She began working in early childhood education in 2008. She first fell in love with teaching while volunteering in her aunt’s first grade classroom. She received her A.A in Early Childhood Education from Skyline College in 2011 and holds a California Site Supervisor Permit. Christina is coming to us from Ganon, where she worked for the past 9 years and taught in their mixed aged program. For the last three years, she served as Ganon’s Jewish Resource Specialist and finished up her last year there as the Administrative Director. She has a passion for children’s literacy and early math concepts. She believes that all children are unique and have something special that they can bring to their own education. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tabletop games, like Dungeons and Dragons, with her husband and friends. She also loves to bake sweet treats and all things Disney.
Josh has been a Jewish early childhood educator since 2000. He has been a teacher most of his adult life in one form or another including working as a sailing instructor, outdoor educator, team building instructor, and music teacher. He has worked with all preschool ages and is also the Gan’s music teacher. He lives in Kensington where he teaches guitar and ukulele lessons. Josh enjoys woodworking and carpentry, sailing, baking, and playing music.
Karen has been in the field of early childhood education since 2003. She joined Gan Avraham in 2008 upon earning her B.A in Liberal Studies with emphasis in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University. Before joining the Gan, Karen worked for Jumpstart in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, focusing on literacy and kindergarten readiness. She also holds an A.A in Early Childhood Education from Chabot College and had the honor of joining the faculty as an Education Specialist- mentoring future preschool teachers. Her work in rethinking the way two’s are viewed in a preschool setting has led to her presenting at national and local conferences for Jewish educators as well as consulting at various Jewish preschools in the Bay Area. Karen sees herself as a lifelong learner and partakes in professional development opportunities whenever she can. She lives in Oakland (born and raised) with her partner, Brian. In her spare time, she enjoys reading comics/books, listening to true crime podcasts, and everything Star Wars! Before these unprecedented times, she’d travel to Disneyland as often as possible and volunteer at San Diego Comic Con every summer.
Lauren has worked at Gan Avraham for almost 5 years and one summer in 1988! She has a BA in Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development from UC Santa Cruz. She has 15 ECE units from Merritt College. She especially loves sharing children’s literature with kids. She lives in Alameda with her husband and two cats. During her time off she likes long walks, playing mah jongg and doing yoga.
Sammy is thrilled to be joining the Gan community this year. She received her B.A. in psychology and in legal studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has 2 and a half years of experience in Applied Behavior Analysis working with children ages 2-12. Sammy just moved to Alameda with her partner Ryan and their recently adopted kitty, Machine. In her free time, she loves trying new dessert recipes, painting, camping and visiting lakes. She hopes to bring her love for creativity to the classroom and encourage the children to hone into their own creative expression.
This will be Stephanie’s 3rd year at Gan Avraham. She earned her early childhood education units at Santa Rosa Junior College. She enjoys working with children because of the authenticity and honestly they embody. She also appreciates observing the relationships they develop with themselves, as well as those they have with their peers. In her free time, she likes to garden, do puzzles (both of the word and jigsaw variety), and snuggling with her kittens, Willow and NeNe.
Tristan has worked at Gan Avraham since February 2019. Prior to that she taught at Yellow House Play School in Oakland for 5 years. Tristan earned her units in early childhood education from Merritt College. She worked as a parent-teacher for 2 years while her son attended preschool at Montclair Community Play Center. She continued facilitating the Toddler Time class there for an additional 2 years. Tristan’s focus in the classroom is to explore and celebrate the Jewish faith, and to provide her students with the social emotional tools needed to navigate relationships and academia. Tristan lives in Oakland with her husband and their son, Elias. Some of her favorite things to do are reading books, listening to music and going on adventures!
Vanessa has been teaching at Gan Avraham since July 2018 and is currently in the Kitah Perachim classroom. She completed her B.A. at UC Santa Barbara and her Masters in Social Work at San Jose State University, with an emphasis in Child Welfare. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two kittens, Kimaris and Ender. Vanessa loves sharing her joy of reading with children and is interested in finding more ways for families to be a part of the classroom experience, especially during these times.
Say hello to our facilities crew!!! Juston, Gilbert, and Joe help our GAN stay clean and safe! We are so grateful for our partnership!!
When not at TBA, Joe enjoys water play and hanging out with his dog, Spec! Spec and Joe enjoy hanging at the lake on their jet skis with Spec’s mama (and Joe’s “partner in crime”), Karen! 🙂
Juston is a man of many talents! When not supporting the GAN, he enjoys training and boxing. Not only does he keep himself fit, but helps others train and focus on their health, too!!
Gilbert has a huge family in New Orleans and travels to Louisiana as often as he can. Around MardiGras you can find him enjoying King cake and gumbo!!!!