Every teacher at Kaplan is an experienced, college educated Early Childhood Educator with either a BA or an MA in the field. They not only undergo rigorous background checks, but are also trained on how to handle difficult situations appropriately; our goal is that all students are happy and thrive at Kaplan.
Rachelle Grossman is the founder and director of the Kaplan Cooperative Preschool. In 2000 a small group of USH members, Rabbi Scheinberg and teachers worked together with Rachelle to create this special early childhood center.
Rachelle grew up in Jersey City. She has a BA in early childhood education from Rutgers University and an MPA in administration from City University of New York. Prior to working at the Kaplan Cooperative Preschool, Rachelle worked for 15 years at the Association for the Help of Retarded Children, taught kindergarten in the Orange Public Schools and preschool at Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn.
Rachelle lived in Hoboken from 1989-1994. She was married at the United Synagogue of Hoboken and now lives in West Orange with her husband, Bob Seelenfreund, a retired public defender. Her two daughters plan to follow in their parents footsteps. Emily attends Harvard Law school and has taught 3rd grade at Church Rock Academy on a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico as part of Teach for America. She was a member of the U25 US women’s wheelchair basketball team and the U.S. team that played in the Maccabiah Games in 2013. She played for the University of Alabama college team in Tuscaloosa. Michelle graduated from the College of New Jersey in May 2015 with a degree in early childhood education . She is a 3rd grade techer at the LIttlebrook elementary school in Princeton. Last year she volunteered in Israel in a program run by the Reform Movement for college graduates that focuses on pluralism, coexistence, social justice, Jewish learning and Hebrew/Arabic study. She has worked 8 summers at JCC Camp Deeny Riback.
Rachelle loves to use the knowledge she has gained from her rich educational background to nurture and mentor the parents, students and faculty at Kaplan.
Marcy Goldman Assistant Director
Young Jewish Family Programs Coordinator
Marcy was born and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She earned her B.S. in Human Development at Binghamton University and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. Marcy has taught children ages 2.5 - 5 since 2006 at other synagogue preschools in Manhattan and spent a year teaching Kindergarten at an international school in Tokyo, Japan. She has been working at Kaplan in different capacities since 2014 including as the head teacher of an older 3s class and 2.5s class. She is also the program coordinator for families with children 5 and younger. Marcy moved to Hoboken with her husband in October 2013 and they have since welcomed two sons - Grey and Joey.
Laura started working at Kaplan at the end of 2018, getting back to her teaching roots after working for several years in digital marketing at large media companies. You'll now find her in the office as one of Kaplan's administrators. She started her teaching career at the 92nd St Y Nursery School in NYC after college, and earned her master's degree in early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education. Before heading to the corporate world, Laura also taught first grade for the NYC public schools. Laura grew up in Rockville Centre, NY and now resides in NYC. In her spare time, Laura enjoys baking, cooking, traveling, spending time with friends and family and taking advantage of NYC culture.
Karen started her family around the corner from USH, almost 30 years ago, before a move to the suburbs. During those years she was the Purchasing Manager for a large international candy company and then changed paths into agencies providing parent advocacy. She now resides in NYC with her husband. At the end of 2019 she was happy to make the circle back to Hoboken using her business and social service experiences to work for USH. Karen has a BA from NYU College of Arts and Science (concentration in Psychology) and a MA from the School of Education, Health, Nursing and Art Profession (concentration in management). In her spare time Karen enjoys her family, long walks, bike riding, theatre and being in New York City.
Enrichment Art Teacher
Heather came to the Kaplan Preschool in 2006. Previously she owned Echo of Art, an arts and activities center that provided art and music lessons, parties, and much more to the Hoboken community. Echo of Art was a popular Kaplan school field trip destination. Heather has worked both in magazines and museums. She spent twelve years as a photo editor at various magazines in addition to three years at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, NY. She has a Bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s in Art History from Indiana University. Heather is the proud mother of Jacob and Nellie, both college students.
2.5s Assistant Teacher | Enrichment Teacher
2.5s Head Teacher | Enrichment and Aftercare Teacher
Megan graduated from Rutgers University in 2009 and quickly began her career in early childhood. In December 2013, she earned her Masters in History and Culture and shortly after began working here at Kaplan. Megan loves spending time with her family and friends and enjoying life in Hoboken.
Roberta was born in Willingboro, NJ, but spent most of her childhood growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan’s Residential College, with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a minor in Jewish studies, she returned to her family’s “roots” of New York City, to pursue a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College of Education. After receiving this degree, Roberta taught children ages 10 months to four-years-old in the city and in Brooklyn. Before coming to Kaplan, Roberta’s most recent position was that of a preschool director at Newark Preschool Council (NPC) -Head Start program, once NJ’s largest Head Start program. Outside of KPS, Roberta can be found hanging with her cats, Betty Boopaloopa and Bella the Monster Kitty, keeping up with her five-month-old nephew, Alex, who lives in Utah, enjoying a good book, doing yoga, and practicing her cello.
3.5s Head Teacher l Shalom Chaverim Teacher l Enrichment Teacher l Aftercare Teacher
Felice has been a resident of Hoboken for nearly thirty years and has been teaching at Kaplan since the very beginning! After graduating from Buffalo State College she had a career in textile design in the garment district. When not at school she enjoys spending time with her three sons and husband and cooking.
Allyson was raised in Edison, NJ. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Ramapo College and her teacher certification from Kean University. She came to Kaplan in 2019 and is thrilled to be working here. Allyson lives in Jersey City with her husband Andrew. In her free time she loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends.
Susan Chanin is an art educator and teacher who has been with the Kaplan Cooperative Preschool in many capacities since 2005. She has collaborated with the teachers and administration for the "Art with Susan” Curriculum, Shabbat programs, Gan Katan Program in Hoboken and Jersey City, as well as Shalom Chaverim . Susan earned her BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and has worked extensively as a photo director and creative consultant in NYC during her career. She is the proud mother of two Kaplan Cooperative graduates who are now attending university. Susan and her husband Joe have lived in downtown Jersey City for over 20 years and they love being part of the Kaplan and UHS Community.
Nora Martínez Debenedetto
2.5s Teacher | Enrichment Teacher
Nora was born and raised in Hoboken and is thrilled to be back at USH after many years - she used to babysit at the synagogue on Saturday mornings when she was in high school! After receiving an undergraduate degree in theater from Syracuse University and dabbling in various fields, Nora finally settled in a career in Early Childhood Education and received her graduate degree in Education from New Jersey City University; she started working at Kaplan in 2008. Nora lives in Hoboken with her husband and their son, Otis.
Meg Donaldson Carson
Science Teacher l Music Teacher
Meg grew up in Houston, TX. She moved to NYC to go to NYU and fell in love with the Northeast. She has worked for almost every major children’s company. She developed a preschool science program for the American Museum of Natural History. Meg continues to teach at the museum and at Kaplan.
2.5s Head Teacher l Jersey City Program Manager
Laura has been a lifelong resident of Hoboken and member of USH, having celebrated her baby-naming and Bat Mitzvah here many years ago. Laura worked at Kaplan volunteering throughout high school and college and is thrilled to be a part of this community. After spending time in nursing school, she realized her true passion was working with children. Laura received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education at Drexel University in 2009, and started working at Kaplan that same year. In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Marilyn has been a member of the United Synagogue since she and her husband moved to Hoboken in 1974. She was one of the young mothers who attended services with children before there was an educational component, and helped start the first "Tot Shabbat" program at USH in the early 80's. She is still teaching youngsters on Shabbat through the USH Learning Center some 31 years later, and has seen countless of her students achieve Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and even weddings! Her youngest daughter (Laura) is a Kaplan teacher. Marilyn is now retired from a long Federal Govt. career and spends every Friday in the Susim Class (4's), which makes Shabbat a very special time for her and the students.
Music Teacher l Gan Katan Teacher
3s Head Teacher l Enrichment Teacher
Gordon graduated from Elon University. He has been working at Kaplan since 2011, in different capacities . He is enthusiastic and very excited to be teaching the three’s! Gordon and his wife Trisha live in Jersey City with their daughters Harper and Avery.
3s Teacher l Enrichment Teacher (currently on maternity leave)
Malki Gruzman Mori was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. She moved to New York to attend college and fell in love with NYC. She continued to earn a Master's degree in Social Work from Hunter College and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. Since then, she has taught and assisted in several schools with kids ages 2,5 - 5. She also developed and lead a mommy and me class for kids ages 0-3 at the Educational Alliance while working there. Malki lives in Hoboken with her husband and three young children.
Tami went to school at Caldwell College and received a degree in Preschool through 3rd grade Special and Regular Education and also Psychology. She started working at Kaplan in 2012 and loves being part of our preschool community. She lives in Morristown with her husband and bulldog Stella. She likes cooking, baking and spending time with her friends and family.
Debbie came to Kaplan School in 2018 after being a Prek teacher in Brooklyn and in Montclair, NJ for 30 years, teaching in Progressive Schools. She studied Education at Brooklyn College and received her Masters Degree as well as an advanced Degree in Supervision and Administration. Debbie was fortunate to attend the Early Childhood Teachers Conference in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2004. She happily works alongside Ana, continuing to serve Prek children. Debbie has 3 adult children, all living in different states on the West Coast.
Shana grew up in Jersey City but for the last twenty years calls Hoboken her home. Shana has her bachelor’s degree from The American University in Visual Media and Theater Arts. She has been working at The United Synagogue of Hoboken since 2004, first as a teacher in The Learning Center and now as a specials teacher in the preschool. She brings Jewish curriculum into the classrooms around holiday time and runs the Friday morning Tot Shabbat class for toddlers. She came to USH after working as a television producer and being a stay-at-home mom after her first daughter was born. She has three children, Alexandra, Elizabeth and Jared, who are all Kaplan alumni. In her free time, Shana likes to go to the gym, read and play Words with Friends.
Stephanie Napolitano was born and raised in Bayonne, NJ. She has since moved to Jersey City with her fiancé, James. She studied English Literature with a concentration in Education at Montclair State University. She has many years experience working with children. She has been with Kaplan since 2018 and is the Head Teacher of Gan Katan. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, bowling on her league, and doing various charity work.
Emily was born in NYC, but grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. She moved back to New York when she was 18 to attend Binghamton University. After graduating in 2007, she taught in the city for 6 years before coming to Kaplan in April 2013. Emily is currently on maternity leave.
2s Assistant Teacher
Maya Pacheco-Berger is originally from Hoboken, NJ and attends university in NY. Before joining Kaplan in 2017 as a staff member, she was part of the graduating class of 2003! She enjoys watching movies and taking photos in her free time.
3s Assistant Teacher | Enrichment Teacher (currently on maternity leave)
Ana was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. She earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from UCM in Madrid, with an emphasis in Special Needs children. After graduating from college she moved to Chile where she worked for three years teaching 5th and 6th grade at Lincoln International Academy. Back in Madrid, she taught 3rd to 6th grade English and Science for a few years until she moved to the US when she married. Ana has worked at Kaplan since 2008. She lives in Jersey City with her husband and two young sons, who are both Kaplan alumni.
2.5s Assistant Teacher | Enrichment Teacher
Liz was born in Paris, France and was raised in Vineland, NJ. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Fairleigh Dickinson and graduate credits in Special Education from William Paterson University. Since then, she has taught special needs including multiply handicapped and autistic children for over 30 years. She retired in 2019. However, she missed teaching and was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be a teacher assistant at Kaplan. Liz lives in Montclair and has a daughter who is an architect in Israel.
Lauren received her BA in Dance from Muhlenberg College in 2008 with Magna Cum Laude Honors having trained in various styles and techniques. Since then she has been performing, choreographing, and teaching. She moved to NYC in 2015 and currently dances professionally with Rod Rodgers Dance Company. She is excited to be teaching movement at Kaplan since 2019.
2.5s Head Teacher | Enrichment and Aftercare Teacher
Ali has been a member of USH since she was two years old and began her work with Kaplan as a summer camp counselor. After graduating from Pace University in 2013, she worked in television news before making her way back to Kaplan. In her spare time Ali enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
3.5s Assistant Teacher | Enrichment Teacher
Reyna Steinberg has been part of the USH community since 2008, when she started teaching in the Learning Center while attending Montclair State. She graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and started teaching in a HeadStart program with the Newark Public Schools. During that time she also was certified as Yoga Teacher at Real Hot Yoga in Hoboken and started teaching yoga to adults and children. She is so excited to be teaching in the Dubim with Felice.
Gladys Vega-Dunn was raised right here in Hoboken, NJ. She attended Montclair State University where she majored in Business Management. She developed a love for teaching while working as a nanny for many Hoboken families, some who had children enrolled in the Kaplan Cooperative preschool. She is thrilled to be working as a teacher's assistant this year and is excited to get to know all of the children and families that are part of the Kaplan community. Gladys still lives in Hoboken with her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Isabell.
Natasha Veerden is originally from Jersey City and attended Saint Peter’s University where she earned her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Media Communications. Before joining Kaplan this school year, she worked as a First Grade teacher in Newark and Preschool teacher in East Orange.
Natasha currently lives in Jersey City with her family, including her 3 year old daughter Juliette, and enjoys meditating, reading, and drawing in her free time.