AJ Preschool

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

Staff

Our well-trained professionals

We have an open door policy. You are always welcome to come in and talk to your teacher face-to-face, or observe your child in class. Or if it’s more convenient, you can call the school: 502.451.3434, or email: preschool@adathjeshurun.com, and we will be happy to pass your message on.

Administration

Kathy Ralston

Director

My name is Kathy Ralston.  I am so fortunate to be back at AJ Preschool.  I have worn many hats at AJ including working extended days, science teacher, kindergarten teacher, and director.  I took time off to be with my children for the past ten years.  The lucky opportunity to come back to AJ happened this year and I jumped on it.  AJ is family.  I am so fortunate to work with an incredible staff and administration.  All of us are passionate about educating children and their families.  We continue to educate ourselves with the new and ever changing early childhood research on childhood development. I graduated from Spalding University with my BA in Early Elementary Education.  My family is my husband, Bill, daughter, Meg and son, Zach.  We love sports and love to attend U of L sporting events.

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 (most of those have been with Miss Kathy, our Director).

Michelle McCarty

Daycare 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.
Chef

Sean Haggerty

Chef

Younger Infants

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

DeAsia Brooks

Mary Stewart McMillan

Older 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!!

Sarah Tabor

Hi, I am Sarah Tabor. I graduated from Male High School in 2017. I co-oped my senior year at UPS. My biggest responsibility is my dog, Kash. I started working with kids at a very young age and I really enjoy it. My favorite thing about working with younger kids is watching them grow physically and emotionally every day.

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.

Kaylyn Taylor

Older Infants Continued

Ally Nguyen

Hi, I'm Ally and I am 23. My daughter and I love being a part of AJ. In my spare time I like spending time with my family.
Toddlers

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.

McKenna Whorton

I have been a part of the AJ family for many years. I live in the Highlands with my husband Eric and twin 11 year old boys, Cole and Wilder, who are both AJ graduates. I am also a realtor with Gant Hill and Associates.

Megan Banaszynski

Ellyn Berman

My name is Ellyn Berman. This is my 3rd year teaching the young toddlers at AJ. All three of my children are graduates of AJ Preschool. Outside of school I enjoy cooking, baking, swimming and being with my family.
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)

Megan Tabor

My name is Megan Tabor. I’m a University of Louisville graduate. My future plans are to work in law enforcement. I enjoy interacting with the kids by playing with them outdoors and doing different hands on activities. In my spare time, I like to hang out with my friends, family and dog. I’m glad I get the opportunity to work at AJ Preschool!

Lori Kalodimos

Three Year Old

Robbin Lester

I am Robbin Lester.   I have spent 17 years teaching, learning and discovering at A.J.  For me, each and every day is an exciting opportunity to create a new teachable moment.  I am married with one son who keeps us busy with high school basketball.  I also have one adorable Boxer fur baby. “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun. But you must know how!” - Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

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 19 years. I have had the privilege to be in childcare for 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 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.
Four Year Old

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 36 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 and the proud mother of two sons, David and Adam, and respective daughter-in-laws, Bobbie Lee and Brittany.  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 sports, especially football and basketball.  Before I came to A.J. I was a preschool teacher and site director for 13 years at a JCPS tuition based preschool, Chenoweth Elementary.  I have been a teacher at A.J. for two year olds and four year olds for 17 years.  I stay because I love the dedicated staff and child-oriented philosophy.  I especially love teaching the Education Enrichment class for four year olds and I believe we lay a firm foundation for all those school 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.
Four Year Old (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

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.

Jordan Brown

Hi, my name is Jordan and this is my first year working in the late day program at AJ! 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 am also a part-time administrative assistant at Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay. I am currently in the process of returning to school and pursuing a MAT with a focus on Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education. I have loved children since I was a child myself and working at AJ has re-introduced me to that passion. In my free time I enjoy reading, watching films, and singing.
Enrichment

Celia Kelly

I have lived in Louisville most of my life.  I graduated from Centre College in Kentucky with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Art.  I continued with post-baccalaureate classes at the University of Louisville in painting and photography.  I have been teaching at A.J. for 12 years and my three children are alumni.  Over this span, I have taught Movement, been a sub and a floater, been a classroom teacher for 2’s and 4’s, helped develop the Educational Enrichment program for 4’s, and most recently, the Summer Camp coordinator.  I love helping the Enrichment class develop “books” that they create themselves, from the story to the artwork.  Outside of school I am an artist working with oil paint, pastel and watercolor.  I love to hike and swim for fun.  Most of all I love being a mom to Hugh, Reid and Barrett.

Dana Boone

Hello!  My name is Dana Boone.  I am married and the proud mother of two sons, David and Adam, and respective daughter-in-laws, Bobbie Lee and Brittany.  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 sports, especially football and basketball.  Before I came to A.J. I was a preschool teacher and site director for 13 years at a JCPS tuition based preschool, Chenoweth Elementary.  I have been a teacher at A.J. for two year olds and four year olds for 17 years.  I stay because I love the dedicated staff and child-oriented philosophy.  I especially love teaching the Education Enrichment class for four year olds and I believe we lay a firm foundation for all those school 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

Sydney Haydon

Lily Pope

My name is Lily Pope. I am currently a Junior at the University of Louisville. I am majoring in Communications and I love it so far! This is my second year at AJ.  I have worked with children since I was 16 years old! Coming into work is my favorite part of the day because of how loving and smart these children are! I love art museums, attending concerts, and traveling. When I’m not at work, I usually am listening to music, hanging with my friends/family, and studying for school!

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.

Jessica Heinz

Hi my name is Jessica Heinz and I am so excited to be welcomed into the AJ family. While I am originally from Chicago, I was welcomed with open arms into this lovely community. I am currently a sophomore 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)

Alex Gaines

Presentation Academy graduate of 2016. Herman Talent Model and Actress. Has worked at AJ Preschool since August. Loves ice cream and anything chocolate. In love with children and puppies. Singing and exercise are my hobbies

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!

Jenny Hagan

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!