SARA LOSCH, DIRECTOR OF LIFELONG LEARNING
Sara Losch has the been the heart and soul of our wonderful preschool for almost 25 years. Sara was born in Flushing, Queens, and possesses a B.S.Ed. in Special Education with a minor in Theater, and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.
Sara came to Barnert Temple in 1989 when she was hired to design and launch the Temple’s preschool program. According to Sara, “I was asked to design the preschool of my dreams where my own son would be one of the first kids to walk our halls. What could be better than that! Our goal then and now was to do more than simply raise smart kids. We wanted to raise mensches!” More than anything, Sara envisioned a preschool that served as a second home for families and their children; a place where parents, grandparents and family members were part of the preschool community. Her commitment to this goal is evident in our school’s name: Barnert Temple Preschool & Family Center. According to Sara, “We are more than just a school. We are a place where children develop a lifelong love of learning; a place where parents create lifelong friendships; a place where parents and family share a sense of what the world should be through their children’s eyes and experiences.”
After twenty years at Barnert Temple, her passion, commitment and enthusiasm for working with children and families are evident in all that she does. “Barnert Temple Preschool is a happy place! My staff is excited to come to work. My kids are happy to be at school. I love what I do!”
In 1996, Sara’s role at Barnert Temple expanded as she also became the Religious School Director. She wanted to expand her role in shaping and guiding the learning experience for Jewish children and families. According to Sara, “I wanted our Religious School program to create a sense of excitement about Judaism, a sense of pride in being Jewish, and a feeling of community for our Jewish families and children. I didn’t want a program that simply focused on memorizing facts and figures. As I often say, ‘This is not your parents' Hebrew school!’.”
Shortly thereafter, Sara’s role changed once again. It became clear that learning at all levels needed to be coordinated at Barnert. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) started a branch called Lifelong Learning, and Sara assumed the role as Director of Lifelong Learning at Barnert Temple. According to Sara, “As the Director of Lifelong Learning, I get to work with children from their earliest years into their adult years. Our first preschool class is now graduating from college! What an amazing honor to work with and watch children and their families grow and learn together.”
Barnert is proud of Sara’s 24 years of dedicated and passionate service.
NAN SUMNER, ASSISTANT DIECTOR/HEAD TEACHER PRE-K
Nan Sumner is an early childhood educator and Assistant Director at the Barnert Temple Preschool, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. She is in her 20th year of teaching. As Head Teacher in the Pre-Kindergarten class, Nan continues to enthusiastically add to her curriculum. Nan presents at conferences around the country. Past presentations included topics like: Creating a Developmentally Appropriate Writing Center, Changing Things Up in the Classroom, and How to Develop a Fine Arts Curriculum With 100 % Parent Engagement.
Nan continually leads staff development workshops on documenting and displaying children's work, as well as best practices for communicating with parents. A long time Reggio and nature inspired enthusiast, she recently took a giant leap (and deep breath), by incorporating loose parts, Forest Fridays, and a more inquiry-based learning approach in the classroom.
She is guiding, supporting, and encouraging the preschool’s staff to make the leap as well.
In addition to her role as Assistant Director and teacher, Nan founded and directs the Barnert Temple Preschool’s popular and successful After-School Enrichment Program.
Nan is a strong advocate for the use of social media as a tool for early childhood advocacy. She believes in its power for professional development, parent teacher communications and children’s learning. Her new blog is allowing Nan to share her teaching experiences on a wider platform, inspiring early childhood educators, parents and anyone who supports young children’s learning. As stated in the “about” page, Nan is “passionate about empowering children to step into discovery, risky play, collaboration, the outdoors and inquiry. The world is for a child’s taking and I am honored to be a part of their journey. I love to learn all things in early childhood education and believe in emergent curriculum. Aha moments and inspiration fuel my passion for learning and educating. I intend to inspire others with all that I know and will continue to learn and grow throughout my career.”
You can find Nan on:
Facebook: Nan Sumner
Facebook: Nan Sumner Educational Website
ALICE BERDY, ADMINISTRATOR
Alice grew up in Dumont, NJ. In a past life, she was the VP of Marketing for a large software company. She now lives in Wyckoff, NJ with her husband. Alice's daughter, who grew up in the preschool and religious school, also worked as a camp counselor and madrich in the Religious School.
Alice became interested in Judaism when she met her husband. She was drawn to the ideas of Tikkun Olam (Reparing the World) and Judaism's emphasis on living an ethical life. She studied with Rabbi Glustrom at the Fair Lawn Jewish Center and converted to Judaism at the age of 26. Her path to Reform Judaism gives her a unique and valuable perspective on the challenges faced by our interfaith families.
After staying home for a while to raise her daughter, when Alice decided to return to work, she reached out to Sara Losch and began working as a substitute teacher. She then returned to school to begin working on her Master's in Early Childhood Education. Since joining the staff of Barnert Temple Preschool, Alice has worked in numerous classrooms, serving as an assistant, a head teacher in the Rising Stars for two years, a head teacher in the Big Shots for four years, and a religious school teacher for the third and fifth grades.
In 2007, Alice left her teaching position at our preschool and joined the administrative team as the School Administrator under Sara Losch. According to Alice, "My personal goal is to help grow and support what I believe is the best preschool around. I love coming to work every day and being surrounded by happy children who are being taught to love learning." We are lucky to have Alice's unique blend of teaching, marketing and management experience to help move our wonderful preschool into it's 29th year of service to families and children.
ILENE KANDLER, HEAD TEACHER, LITTLE SPROUTS