AJ Preschool

  • Phone: 502.451.3434
  • Mail: preschool@adathjeshurun.com
  • Website: http://ajpreschool.com
  • Address: 2401 Woodbourne Ave. Louisville, KY 40205
Administration

Sara Gambrell

Director

I am thrilled to be joining the AJ Preschool community! I have lived in Louisville for the past eleven years, and taught a preschool classroom of four- and five-year olds for the past eight years. I completed both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work, with a clinical focus. I also completed a specialization in School Social Work through the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. I live with my husband David, two teenage daughters, Miriam and Noa, and a beloved cat Opal.

Lynn Hartman

Administrative Assistant

I have been at A.J. for 30 years.  My son attended A.J. as a 3 year old, 4 year old and kindergartener.  Needless to say, I love A.J.!  I am a walker and have completed somewhere around seven Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathons.

Michelle McCarty

Childcare Coordinator

AJ has always been a part of my life. I went to preschool here as a child. My mom (Barb Bennett) has been a teacher here for over 30 years. I worked here all through high school and college. After graduating from Bellarmine with a BA in Psychology, I worked for the Division of Child Support Enforcement and at First Steps before being a stay-at home mom for a few years. When my children were old enough they all attended AJ and it seemed a natural progression for me to return "home" when my kids went off to grade school. I have been back at AJ since 2006. Outside of school, I am married and have 3 amazing daughters. I spend most of my "free time" chauffeuring them to their activities.

Karen Carroll

Assistant Director

In June 2003, Kathy Ralston hired me to work late day during Summer Camp. After that summer she offered me the positions of a substitute, librarian and science teacher… all of which I emphatically said YES to! Since then I have had the unique opportunity to get to just about every child that has come down the hall. Thirteen years later I still enjoy exposing these young minds to the wonders of science.  Along with this, I also enjoy spending time with my two kids, our dog, sewing & quilting.
Chef

Sean Haggerty

Chef

Younger Infants

Jennifer Keener

My name is Jennifer Keener and I have been working at AJ in the older infant room for 2 years now.  I have been working in childcare since I was 18 years old and especially love working with the babies!  For the last six years, I have been a foster mom and recently adopted my 9 year old son, Ethan.  I am also currently fostering a 3 year old special needs child, Eli, who I hope to adopt soon.  I love being a part of the AJ family!!

Patti Ford

I have worked at A.J. Preschool in the Infant Room since 2011 and LOVE IT!  I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri.  I grew up in Louisville and am a member of A.J. Synagogue.  I have three children who attended A.J. Preschool.  I enjoy good food, shopping and spending time with family.  I look forward to each day at A.J. with the sweet babies.

Maddie Halloway-Brown

Older Infants

Jordan Leanhart

Hi, my name is Jordan and this is my third year working at AJ and my first year as a full-time teacher! I graduated from Ballard High School in 2010 and received a BA in Theatre from Northern Kentucky University in 2014. After graduation, I moved to Orlando, FL and worked at both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. I moved back home in April of 2016. I have loved children since I was a child myself and working at AJ has only strengthened that passion. I recently got married to my longtime boyfriend and am hoping to soon have children of my own! In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching films, and singing.

Ally DeMarcus

Hi, I'm Ally and I became a part of AJ in 2017. I love getting to interact with the babies and watch them grow. I have a daughter who also attends and loves it!

Sheila Rodriguez

I was an adult critical care/burn unit nurse prior to having my two sons. I became a "stay at home" mom for 25 years and then found my new freedom (which I enjoy) to be lacking the joy and sense of wonder that comes only from being with young children. It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to spend time with your children and watch them grow.
Toddlers

Sherry Fischer

Hi! My name is Sherry Fischer. I am thrilled to be a part of this loving AJ Family. I am "Mom" to Rebecca & Ryan, amd "Mimi" to Liam & Vega. I enjoy traveling, walking, and gardening.

Barb Bennett

Hi, my name is Barb Bennett.  My career at AJ started in 1984 when the director, Mary Artner, invited me to be a sub and 30+ years later I’m still here.  I am a wife, mother and grandmother.  My 3 children and 5 grandchildren all attended AJ.  Before starting at AJ, I worked as a R.N. in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  You could say that working with children has always held a special place in my heart.  When not at work I enjoy my family, gardening, sewing, cross-stitch and knitting.  You may see me walking through the neighborhood alone or with my dogs.

Megan Bauer

Hi, I'm Megan Bauer and this is my third year teaching at AJ but I have been teaching children since 2010! I have two kids, Sophia and Patrick, who are 7 and 12. In my free time, I like to take my dog on walks, play games with my kids, and read books! I am excited for what this year has in store!

Jenny Hagan

Hi, my name is Jenny and I have worked at AJ for almost a year now! I graduated from the University of Kentucky with an Art Degree, but have always worked with children. Coming into AJ every day and teaching is something I love doing! In my free time, I like to spend time with my husband and my dog. I also enjoy painting and reading!
Two Year Old

Tera Allen

My name is Tera Allen.  I began teaching at AJ in the spring of 2003 with Harriet Waldman, who had taught children at AJ since 1971.  My two oldest children, Hannah and Joe, started the following fall and my youngest, James, began the following year.  I have had the pleasure of teaching with Carter Gaw.  We have had a fun nine years together.  I am a native of California and have made Louisville my home since 1999.  I am grateful to have found such a loving work environment.  I have learned so much about teaching and parenting from the AJ staff and can call them all my friends.  I have met many wonderful families and am proud to be a part of the AJ family.

Mona Schramko

Born and raised in Louisville, I am a third generation member of Adath Jeshurun. After graduating from Bradley University with a double major in Creative Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Marketing, I moved to Chicago and worked in healthcare advertising for a large agency. My husband Frank and I moved to Louisville in 1999 and I started working at AJ as the Youth Director for the synagogue’s two youth groups, USY (high school) and Kadima (middle school). I also started a third group for 3rd -5th grades called Shalom Club. My three children: Bennett, Eli and Carly, are all AJ graduates. I started teaching at AJ in 2006, when Carly was old enough to attend. I love teaching at AJ, it truly is the best preschool in town!

Carter Gaw

I am married and have three beautiful children.  It has been a great pleasure to watch them all thrive in the wonderfully warm and caring hands of the AJ teachers.  I joined the AJ staff in 2000 and have enjoyed teaching several different age groups.  My teaching philosophy is that every child is an individual, and play is the best way to learn.  I am blessed and thankful for the opportunity to work in a nurturing environment where children can learn and experience new challenges in a positive way.  I have also had the opportunity to work alongside an amazing teacher, Tera Allen, for the past ten years.  My favorite thing about AJ is working with an exceptional staff and the cherished children of AJ.

Shelly Zeiden

I have dedicated my life to two passions:  children and art.  I have worked with children for the past 30 years.  During that time I owned an art studio, Artclub in the Highlands, where I taught art classes to children of all ages.  I returned to AJ Preschool with all of my passions in line.  Every day is filled with imaginative play and creative activities and projects.  My classroom is filled with puppets, paint, music, books, love and laughter.  With a graphic design degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology I have much experience and many talents that I always enjoy sharing with those around me.
Two Year Old (Continued)

Adrienne Pfannerstill

I have been at AJ since April 2018 and have loved every minute of it! I am married and have a daughter, Maddie, who is an AJ alumnus. I remember her days here fondly and was thrilled when the opportunity to join the AJ family came available. I absolutely love working with children. I can't imagine not having children be a part of my life. I grew up in a home with a home daycare and loved helping my mom with the children. I knew from a very young age that is what I was meant to do. My favorite thing about AJ is working with amazing, caring, and talented teachers and being in a place that is more than a job, it's a family.

Molly Jacobs

Three Year Old

Robbin Lester

I am Robbin Lester.   I have spent 21 years teaching, learning and discovering at A.J.  For me, each and every day is an exciting opportunity to create a new teachable moment.  The excitement for me is that I am often a first witness to so many groundbreaking moments. I love AJ Preschool.

Julia Spears

Hi, my name is Julia Spears.  I am married to David and together we have raised 5 children.  I studied Early Childhood Education at Illinois State University and have a Child Development Associates Degree.  I started teaching at A.J. in 1995.  I taught science for one year.  I was in a 4 year old class for two years and I have been teaching 3 year olds for the last 17 years.  In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, cooking, entertaining, knitting, reading, walking and going to Lakeside.  I honestly think that A.J. is the best preschool in Louisville and I feel very honored to be a part of it!

Beth Ernst

This fall will be my 13th year teaching at A.J. Preschool.  I graduated from Bellarmine College with a dual major, a BA in Sociology and a BA in Business Administration.  A.J. is a terrific preschool and I love the reputation our school and staff have earned.  I enjoy working with children, trying to give them something they can tell their family each day when they go home.  Outside of school I am an avid walker and really like outside activities.  We are also big UofL fans and attend home football and basketball games.  I also love spending time with my family; my husband, Marty, my sons, Marty and Daniel and my daughter, Molly.

Sheila Ellis

I have been a proud teacher at AJ for 22 years. I have had the privilege to be in childcare for over 40 years as a teacher and a nanny. I have watched many AJ alumni grow from toddlers to college graduates. I have been happily married to my husband Paul for over 30 years. A few hobbies: I love to go shelling and shark tooth hunting. I also enjoy gardening.
Three Year Old (Continued)

Diane Howell

Prior to working at AJ Preschool, I directed a religious Sunday school program for 8 years.  I began my career here 32 years ago as a teaching assistant when my youngest daughter was in kindergarten at AJ.  Both of my older daughters are also graduates!  I have three grandsons and two granddaughters.  I delight in gardening, reading and cooking but my greatest pleasure in life is the time I am able to spend with my family.
Pre-K

Barbara White

My journey with A.J. began when I attended Sunday School. I am married to Roger White and we have two children, Whitney & Matt  When our youngest, Matt, entered Mrs. Waldman’s class in 1979 she recommended I come to A.J. and the rest is history.  I completed a secretarial course at Spencerian Business College and have a CDA Credential.  I am busy with my family, singing with Pride of Kentucky Chorus Sweet Adeline’s International and, of course, working at A.J.  It is hard to believe 39 years have passed and I am still at A.J. and loving every minute!

Heather Wells

Dana Boone

Hello!  My name is Dana Boone.  I am married, a mother of two sons and their wives, and the proud grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter, Barrett. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from the University of Kentucky. I love to spend time with my family, to read and watch college basketball and football. Before coming to AJ, I was the site director at JCPS Chenoweth Elementary Preschool for 13 years. I've taught two and four year olds at AJ for 20 years and I love the dedicated staff and child-oriented philosophy. I especially love teaching Educational Enrichment for four year olds and feel we lay a firm foundation for the years ahead.

Cathy Lynch

I have been educating preschool age children for over 36 years and have been teaching at AJ for a total of 20 years.  I love Adath Jeshurun and truly believe it is the best preschool in Louisville!  I began working at AJ after my daughter completed the two year old program here.  She is now 28 and has also taught at AJ in the past.  I am a very passionate teacher with decades of experience who enjoys educating and witnessing each child’s success.  I love singing, telling stories, reading books, and puppet play with young children as part of my teaching curriculum.  Most importantly, I enjoy having fun with all the kids.  In my spare time I love hiking/walking, spending time with my family, animals and taking trips to the beach.
Pre-K (Continued)

Lori Hubscher

Working with children has been a passion of mine for most of my life.  In Montreal, Canada I taught preschool (ages 3-5 years old) and was an Assistant Playgrounds Coordinator for a Municipal Recreation Department’s summer day camp program.  I was involved in the registration, grouping and scheduling of over 500 children and the hiring and supervision of 100 staff members.  When I moved to the United States in 1994 I taught two and tree year olds preschoolers in Gainesville, Florida and was also an Associate Program Director for the YMCA after-school program.  I took 9 years off to be at home with my two daughters and during that time (in 2001) my family relocated to Louisville.  I returned to teaching in 2005 in a 3 year old classroom at Saint Frances Preschool before joining the program at A.J. in 2008.  I currently teach in a Pre-K class where I provide a fun, safe, positive and nurturing environment while promoting a love for learning and instilling good self-confidence in each individual child.  In my spare time I enjoy baking, cooking and working on a variety of fun projects and crafts.

Nanette Silverstein

I have been at A.J. for 28 years.  While my own children were attending preschool here I served as Chairman of the Parent Auxiliary.  Years later my granddaughters attended A.J.  I am with a pre-k class helping the children grow socially and academically and watching them build self-confidence.  Outside of school I enjoy my time with my family, reading, knitting, cruising, traveling and spending time at the beach.  I know I have the A.J. spirit!
Floats

Dalton Maldonado

Hello, my name is Dalton Maldonado, and this will be my second year working at AJ. I am from a really small town called Mud Creek. My passion is to help others as I was picked as one of the Out 100 Most Influential People in America in 2015! I love working with kids and seeing them grow. I currently am a senior at the University of Louisville and will be attending Law School the following year!

Angie Gaines

My name is Angie Gaines. Before I started working here at AJ I worked as a CNA for 13 years. In 2001, I began working upstairs for Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in maintenance, and then as the kitchen coordinator for 13 years. In 2014, I began working downstairs in the preschool. I love working with the kids!! I am a floater so I get to work with all the children.  I have two sons, William & DiJon. William attends WKU and DiJon works for Big Boy restaurant.

Peyton Andres

Lori Kalodimos

Enrichment

Dana Boone

Hello!  My name is Dana Boone.  I am married, a mother of two sons and their wives, and the proud grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter, Barrett. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from the University of Kentucky. I love to spend time with my family, to read and watch college basketball and football. Before coming to AJ, I was the site director at JCPS Chenoweth Elementary Preschool for 13 years. I've taught two and four year olds at AJ for 20 years and I love the dedicated staff and child-oriented philosophy. I especially love teaching Educational Enrichment for four year olds and feel we lay a firm foundation for the years ahead.

Cathy Lynch

I have been educating preschool age children for over 36 years and have been teaching at AJ for a total of 20 years.  I love Adath Jeshurun and truly believe it is the best preschool in Louisville!  I began working at AJ after my daughter completed the two year old program here.  She is now 28 and has also taught at AJ in the past.  I am a very passionate teacher with decades of experience who enjoys educating and witnessing each child’s success.  I love singing, telling stories, reading books, and puppet play with young children as part of my teaching curriculum.  Most importantly, I enjoy having fun with all the kids.  In my spare time I love hiking/walking, spending time with my family, animals and taking trips to the beach.
Extended Day

Marie Johnston

My name is Marie, I've been working at AJ for a year and a half now, spending most days in the older infant room. I am 20 years old and working on two majors in Spanish and Psychology at IUS. After I graduate, I hope to continue my education and go to med school, but first I hope to get some traveling in (I'm planning a volunteer/education trip to Peru for the summer). In my spare time, I love to express myself by painting, drawing, dancing, and writing. Still, almost nothing makes me happier than sharing the love with little ones.

Sydney Haydon

My name is Sydney Haydon. I've been working at AJ since May 2017. I am a sophomore at Bellarmine University and I also graduated from Assumption High School. I've been babysitting since I was 14, so working at AJ  has been so much fun! I love spending my free time outside, exploring nature, and attending concerts. I've grown to love the kids at AJ like they are my family and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see them grow into smart and loving kids!

Sydney Tudor

I have been working at AJ for almost 6 months now and I love working here! I go to Bellarmine University and I am studying Psychology. I want to do either occupational therapy or speech pathology. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family, and I like spending time outdoors. I love working at AJ because I love watching them learn and grow!

Jessica Heinz

Hi, my name is Jessica Heinz and I am so excited to start my second year here at AJ. While I am originally from Chicago, I was welcomed with open arms into this lovely community. I am currently a senior studying music therapy at the University of Louisville. After teaching at my synagogue throughout high school and then working at a summer camp this past summer, I knew that AJ was the place for me!
Extended Day (Continued)

Jiyoung Kim

I studied language in college and graduated with master's in Christian Education in the U.S. I went to various countries and taught Korean to students in China, Mongolia, and the USA for 10 years. I love and enjoy children. I am so happy to work at AJ Preschool!

Holly Zoeller

Hi, my name is Holly Zoeller and I am a freshmen Brown Fellow at the University of Louisville studying Spanish and Public Health. I have been a babysitter for my entire life and live in Seneca Gardens, so working at AJ for me has been perfect. My dad, Dan, is the principal at Trinity High School and my mom, Pam, is a speech pathologist. I also have an older brother and sister, and my brother works for Metro Louisville, while my sister is studying at the London School of Economics. I recently graduated from Assumption High School and I also do a lot of work for Operation Smile, a global non-profit which works to fix cleft lips and cleft palates for children. In my free time, I like to play guitar and piano as well as travel. A fun fact about me is that I am fluent in Spanish and I have been a vegetarian for 11 years. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to work with your wonderful kids!

Destiny Mitchell

Hello! I had the pleasure of starting at Adath Jeshurun Preschool at the beginning of the 2018 school year. I've greatly enjoyed getting to know the children and staff at AJ. I have, in total, about 7 years of experience working with children in different facets. I also have 3 years experience studying children and education. None of that holds a candle to the experience I've gained as a new mom! My almost-2-year-old keeps me on my toes for sure. He, too, loves AJ Preschool and we are excited to continue our journey here!

Brittney Horn

Extended Day (More)

Lily Rich

Special Areas

Jane Biek

Movement & Spanish

Hola.

My name is Jane Biek, and I am very excited to be teaching your children Spanish and Movement this year. All of my children attended AJ preschool, and I am so happy to be a part of the AJ community again. I am so pleased I can join this great group of teachers as we mold your precious children’s minds and bodies.

I have a B.A. in Foreign Languages from Lewis and Clark College and I spent a semester in Seville, Spain, where I learned a great deal about Spanish history and culture. I have many Spanish Songs that are a big part of my curriculum. I have been teaching Preschool Spanish for 10 years, and this is my 3rd year teaching movement. I love all exercise! I am a swimmer, a runner, a cyclist, and I walk everywhere, so Movement comes naturally to me. I also have been taking Boot Camp for the last 8 years, and I get a lot of good ideas from the classes I take. AJ students are such a bright and eager group and I know we will have a wonderful time learning together.

If you have any questions about the curriculum, or if you are just curious to know about your child’s progress, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. jane@biek.org

John Gage

Music

I am a Louisville based singer/songwriter who performs my music, originals and covers, from roots deep in the tradition of folk, blues, gospel and 60s rock.  I am a founding member and host of the Kentucky Homefront radio show heard on WFPK FM 91.9 on Saturday mornings at 8:00 am.  I enjoy working with preschoolers in building their appreciation for and ability to respond to music as a medium of self-expression.  With much the same goal I also perform in clinical settings and nursing homes to support the healing process for patients.  For me, music is a life-long joy and ongoing learning process that keeps me connected to creativity and the gift of life.

Karen Carroll

Science

In June 2003, Kathy Ralston hired me to work late day during Summer Camp. After that summer she offered me the positions of substitute, librarian and science teacher… all of which I emphatically said YES to! Since then I have had the unique opportunity to get to just about every child that has come down the hall. Thirteen years later I still enjoy exposing these young minds to the wonders of science.  Along with this, I also enjoy spending time with my two kids, our dog, sewing & quilting.

Mary Jane Baker

Speech/Language Pathologist

I have been on staff since 1990 as A.J.’s speech pathologist.  My focus has been working with children with speech and language delays and disorders, including articulation/phonology, receptive and expressive language delays, autism spectrum disorders, fluency, voice and central auditory processing disorders.  During the year I screen all children in the 3’s and 4’s classes and younger children by referral.  Comprehensive evaluations may follow screenings and individual therapy is offered at school (cost of therapy provided by parent).  In addition, I consult with parents and teachers throughout the year.  I received my B.S. from Purdue University and my Masters from Ball State University both in speech and hearing.  I have four adult children and six grandchildren, ages 3 to 18.  Yes, I love to observe their language development!  I love to read, play tennis, walk my dogs, and travel!