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Staff

Ali Abikzer<br/>Director

Ali Abikzer
Director

Favorite book to read aloud
Anything by Mo Willems
Favorite day of the school year
Pajama Day
Favorite project or unit to teach
I love fairytale steam 
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Cerulean
Fun fact about yourself
I love playing Just Dance with my two boys on their Nintendo switch.
Mendije Haxhija<br/>2s Teacher

Mendije Haxhija
2s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Favorite day of the school year
Pajama Day
Favorite project or unit to teach
Doctor’s office
Favorite color in a box of crayons 
Purple
Fun fact about yourself
I love to cook!
Michele Levy<br/>2s Teacher

Michele Levy
2s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
Favorite day of the school year
Picture day. All the children look so adorable!
Favorite project or unit to teach
Feelings
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Sky Blue 
Fun fact about yourself
I attended Riverdale Temple Nursery School as a child.
Sammi Coogan<br/>3s Teacher

Sammi Coogan
3s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud 
Green Eggs And Ham by Dr. Seuss
Favorite day of the school year 
The day before Winter break in December
Favorite project or unit to teach
The Life Cycle of the Chicks 
Favorite color in a box of crayons 
Yellow!
Fun fact about yourself 
Whenever I meet a dog, I have to say hello. 
Robin Meyiri<br/>3s Teacher

Robin Meyiri
3s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert 
Favorite day of the school year
Pajama day 
Favorite project or unit to teach
Butterflies and Purim
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Yellow
Fun fact about yourself
I ride horses, and I ski.
Gabby Bolanos<br/>UPK Teacher

Gabby Bolanos
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Snow by Urie Schulevitz  
Favorite day of the school year
Winter Sing
Favorite project or unit to teach
I think that the Water Unit is my favorite!
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Blue
Fun fact about yourself
I am originally from Ecuador in South America. What is more fun than that?
Anna Dropiewska<br/>UPK Teacher

Anna Dropiewska
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Hot On The Scent by Peter Lind
Favorite day of the school year
Graduation Day
Favorite project or unit to teach
Our space unit and building the rocket ship with the children
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Pink
Fun fact about yourself
I collect and upcycle old chairs as a hobby.
Virginia Purdy<br/>UPK Teacher

Virginia Purdy
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone is my favorite read-aloud because the story’s a classic and I love to ‘do’ the voices.
Favorite day of the school year
The first day of school is the most exciting, because we all get to meet and start our learning adventures together.
Favorite project or unit to teach
My favorite unit is our Fairy Tale unit in March, because we transform into a magical kingdom filled with kings, queens, knights and wizards, while learning a ton of literacy skills.
Favorite color in a box of crayons
My favorite color is turquoise blue-green, because it’s the beautiful calming color of the Caribbean sea.
Fun fact about yourself
I love animals, and I love to travel! I used to live in Kenya, and I worked at the KSPCA helping all kinds of animals.
Kara Tatelbaum<br/>Movement Teacher

Kara Tatelbaum
Movement Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Favorite day of the school year
Pajama Day
Favorite unit or project to teach
Waltzing
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Purple
Fun fact about yourself
I am a blizzard baby! My mom had to take a snowmobile and a helicopter in over four feet of snow to get to the hospital.
Sindy Cutler<br/>2s Teacher

Sindy Cutler
2s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Favorite day of the school year
January 2nd, because you see such a growth in the children 
Favorite project or unit to teach
Our Shabbat/Mitzvah unit
Favorite color in a box of crayons 
Fuchsia 
Fun fact about yourself
I mostly listen to sports radio, as I’m a huge sports fan!
Anna Walko<br/>2s Teacher

Anna Walko
2s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud 
Anything by Mo Willems
Favorite day of the school year
Truck day!
Favorite project or unit to teach
I love cooking with my little chefs. We cook every Friday.
Favorite color in a box of crayons
White and pink, of course!
Fun fact about yourself
I speak 3 different languages (Polish, Russian and English) and love to cook.
Madelyn Goodman<br/>3s Teacher

Madelyn Goodman
3s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Favorite day of the school year
Purim
Favorite project or unit to teach
Vincent vanGogh/Sunflowers
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Razzle Dazzle Rose
Fun fact about yourself
I love to dance!
AnnMarie Melia<br/>3s Teacher

AnnMarie Melia
3s Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Love You Forever By Robert Munsch 
Favorite day of the school year
Passover/Spring Show 
Favorite project or unit to teach
Springtime/Chick Unit 
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Purple 
Fun fact about yourself
When I was 3 years old, my Daddy worked for Madison Square Garden. He took me to the  Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and I was able to go backstage to see the tigers and elephants.
Kathleen Melvin<br/>3s Teacher

Kathleen Melvin
3s Teacher

Favorite book to read
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Macaroni and cheese
Favorite lesson/ to teach
Planting our spring seeds/gardening
Fun fact about me
I love to make people laugh.
Sandra Daniels<br/>UPK Teacher

Sandra Daniels
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak
Favorite day of the school year
Thanksgiving Feast
Favorite project or unit to teach
Food Unit
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Purple
Fun fact about yourself
I love to laugh.
Sarah Bender<br/>UPK Teacher

Sarah Bender
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller, Sheppard M. Greene and Paul Meisel
Favorite day of the school year
The day we celebrate Earth Day!
Favorite project or unit to teach
I have a few. I really enjoy teaching units on space, biodiversity, germs, recycling and the five senses.
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Robin’s Egg Blue
Fun fact about yourself
I love baseball and am a lifelong Yankees fan! I also greatly enjoy photography, baking and science.
Claire Viola<br/>UPK Teacher

Claire Viola
UPK Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Are you My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Favorite day of the school year
The days leading up to Thanksgiving are my favorite. I enjoy getting the children thinking about spending time with family and the meal itself. I also love hearing how grateful the children are for the family and friends they have in their lives.
Favorite project or unit to teach
Living and Non-Living
Favorite color in a box of crayons
Purple
Fun fact about yourself
In my spare time, I like making earrings.
Anthony Purdy<br/>Yoga Teacher

Anthony Purdy
Yoga Teacher

Favorite book to read aloud
Zoo Zen by Kristen Fischer
Favorite day of the school year
I like the first day of school, because I know I have a whole year of yoga with the children ahead of me!
Favorite unit or project to teach
That’s easy: yoga!
Favorite color in a box of crayons
The blue of a beautiful, cloudless summer sky
Fun fact about yourself
I grew up in East Africa and often saw wild African animals!
Linda Herman<br/>Director

Linda Herman
Director

Linda Herman was born and raised in the Bronx. She now lives in Staten Island. She is married to Donnie, the love of her life, and has two wonderful children, Chris and Becky, their spouses, Claudia and Jared and three incredible granddaughters, Luna, Nila and Lily.

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Kathleen Melvin<br/> 3’s Teacher

Kathleen Melvin
3’s Teacher

Kathleen Melvin has been at The Riverdale Temple Nursery School for 7 years. She is married with one child, a son, and lives in Hastings on Hudson, New York.

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Samantha Coogan<br/> 3’s Teacher

Samantha Coogan
3’s Teacher

Samantha Coogan, or Sammi as she prefers to be called, is a native New Yorker from Larchmont in Westchester County.

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Ali Abikzer <br/>UPK Teacher

Ali Abikzer
UPK Teacher

Alexandra (Ali) Abikzerwas born and raised in sunny South Florida, but has been in New York for the past 10 years. She has worked with children for many years, and she holds a Master’s degree in Early childhoodEducation from Hunter College.

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Claire Viola<br/> UPK Teacher

Claire Viola
UPK Teacher

Claire Viola is a native New Yorker from Thornwood. She has been working with children of all ages at Riverdale Temple Nursery School.

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Sindy Cutler<br/> 2's Teacher

Sindy Cutler
2's Teacher

Sindy Cutler was born in New York and moved to Riverdale at the age of three. She was a congregant of the Riverdale temple as a child and remained a member with her own family when they lived in the community.

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AnnMarie Melia<br/> UPK Teacher

AnnMarie Melia
UPK Teacher

AnnMarie Melia is a Native New Yorker, who was born and raised in the Bronx. She has been working with children in Riverdale for 15 years, and she holds a Master Degree in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College.

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Virginia Purdy<br/> UPK Teacher

Virginia Purdy
UPK Teacher

Virginia Purdy, hailing from Brooklyn NY, homeschooled her own daughter (now a Special Ed/Early Childhood Educator) and rediscovered her passion for teaching after a career in post-production media.

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Kara Tatelbaum<br/> Movement Teacher

Kara Tatelbaum
Movement Teacher

Kara Tatelbaum has been eating, sleeping, and dreaming dance since she was a toddler. Now she’s excited to be teaching them!

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Madelyn Goodman<br/> 3's Teacher

Madelyn Goodman
3's Teacher

Madelyn L. Goodman is a native New Yorker from Brightwaters, New York. She has been working with children for over 20 years at the Riverdale Temple Nursery school.

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Robin Meyiri<br/> 3’s Teacher

Robin Meyiri
3’s Teacher

Anna Dropiewska<br/> UPK Teacher

Anna Dropiewska
UPK Teacher

Anna is originally from Warsaw, Poland, but has loved living in New York for the past few decades. Her background and education are in architecture, but Anna’s passion in life is children — she has worked at Riverdale Temple Nursery School for over 9 years, teaching two year olds, three year olds and four year olds.

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Sandi Daniels<br/> UPK Teacher

Sandi Daniels
UPK Teacher

Sandi Daniels is thrilled to be part of RTNS. She has been teaching Early Childhood for twenty years. Teaching is not just a job, but is a passion.

She has her Master’s Degree from Manhanttanville College in Purchase, NY.

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