Faculty & Staff
Learning at Columbus Jewish Day School is a transformative and joyful experience thanks to our remarkable teachers. Both our faculty and staff are drawn to CJDS because they want to inspire students with love and excitement for learning, which they themselves model every day. Our teachers seek to make a difference in every child’s life.
Ronald Alderson – Maintenance Supervisor
Ron has served as a journeyman electrician for many years and brings a rich array of maintenance skills from decades of experience. He is thrilled to be working in a school because “the kids keep me rolling” with the things that they say. Ron appreciates how friendly everyone is at CJDS and how welcome the school makes you feel. He enjoys being a part of that warm experience, and always has a smile for you. Off campus, you’ll find Ron cheering on his favorite basketball and football sports teams, the Cavaliers and Cowboys. Plus, he also loves to watch Animal Planet.
Annelyn Baron – Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Kindergarten
Annelyn, the Jewish Studies kindergarten teacher, is a founding teacher of CJDS. She is very proud of her pioneering role in the school and has taught Jewish education to two generations of Jewish children in Ohio. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati, and brings deep experience -- both to the Kindergarten classroom and the school as a whole -- to her role as Coordinator of Jewish holiday Programming, which includes planning CJDS’ unique all-school Kabbalat Shabbat assemblies. Before coming to CJDS, Annelyn served for over 21 years as the Pre-Kindergarten teacher at the preschool of the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus and as an Art Specialist for many years at Jewish summer camp. Annelyn was awarded the Jeffrey and Lori Lasday Jewish Educator of the Year Award in 2000 and has been selected several times to travel with contingents of CJDS staff to Israel, on Kivunim, the Institute of Experiential Learning for Israel and World Jewish Communities Studies. Annelyn has also been a part of the Educators Delegation to Israel, a connection between Jewish Educators in Columbus and our sister city of Kfar Saba.
Annelyn enjoys gardening with her husband Rickey, celebrating holidays with extended family, and entertaining friends in their home. She especially loves it when her children come for weekend visits, and when she gets to play with her two grandchildren, Brett and Tatum.
Brent Bloomster – School Behavioral Consultant
Dr. Brent Bloomster, a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, has been working closely with CJDS students and supporting our teachers since 2014. Across his extensive career of over 30 years in the behavioral health field, he has worked with both children and adults in various settings, including in both public and private schools, community mental health agencies, a residential treatment center, and a community corrections facility. Brent holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with Doctoral Equivalence in Psychology from The Ohio State University, a B.A. in Psychology from Taylor University and a Master’s Degree of Education in Counselor Education from Temple University. “Dr. B,” as he is affectionately known to CJDS students and teachers, delights in seeing the investment that goes into each student’s education at CJDS and supporting staff in their efforts to educate the whole child. Drawing on a variety of areas of training, Brent works with CJDS students individually, in small groups and in whole classes, in addition to consulting with faculty one-on-one and in small groups. He has a love of humor, adventure, outdoors, travel, nature, wildlife, bicycling, and camping. He enjoys basketball and tennis, board games, and singing. Originally not fond of heights and water, he turned this around and has participated in rappelling, high ropes courses, and whitewater canoeing. Married for over three decades, he is a parent of three young adults and now a grandparent!
Farryl Briston – General Studies, Kindergarten
Farryl is the General Studies kindergarten teacher, bringing a decade of experience as a teacher-leader. Farryl has taught both Jewish and general education in Florida and comes to us most recently from the Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School in South Bronx, NY, where she was a shining exemplar of their mission to help students build strong character and develop critical thinking. Farryl has taught a variety of elementary and middle school grades, but her passion remains with the soul and spirit of Kindergarten. She is attracted to the students’ insatiable curiosity about themselves and the world they live in, and loves to harness this curiosity into great learning. She relishes those sweet moments when a student’s struggle of learning transforms into a feeling of confidence. Farryl and her husband, Dave, who works at Nationwide Children’s and in OSU's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Department, have a daughter named Samelia Rose. When not at school, Farryl enjoys baking and spending time with family. Indeed, one of the many benefits of her move to Columbus was being able to be near her brother and cousin, as well as her husband’s extended family.
Carol Cohen – General Studies, 4th Grade
Carol brings to CJDS 25 years of teaching experience, primarily preschool through fifth grade. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University. Carol has been an educator in the Jewish community teaching a variety of learners, including preschoolers, elementary students, teens and adults. From a young age, Carol has always loved watching learning unfold before her eyes and considers it a gift to be a part of the process. Carol appreciates deeply how CJDS combines three of the most important things to her - joy, empathy, and honesty. She believes that teachers play a vital role in helping students discover their perfectly unique and beautiful gifts and showing them how they can share their gifts with others. Off campus, Carol loves cooking, creating jewelry, gardening, entertaining, and spending time with her husband Scott and their two sons, Jacob and Evan.
Susan Couden – Art Teacher, K-6
Susan is a founding faculty member at CJDS, and has served as the school’s visual art teacher since 1998. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts with a focus on drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Susan has also completed graduate level coursework in art education, folklore, architecture, and grant writing. Combining so many diverse talents and disciplines, Susan continues to be the most instrumental thought leader behind CJDS’ cutting-edge model of curriculum integration. In her role as Coordinator of Curriculum Integration, Susan leads weekly integration team meetings by grade that have become essential to the school's philosophy, facilitating connections among math, science, language arts, visual arts, P.E., music, Jewish text, values, Hebrew language, environmental education, and symbols and moral lessons of the day. Susan’s own artwork is a testament to her talent and passion as a Jewish artist in her own right, and the urge to integrate all the various parts of herself is in her very DNA. Susan also pioneered the development of a number of special programs at the school, including a student-led extracurricular Tzedakah Club in which 3-6 graders research worthy causes and determine how best to support them. She is honored to be a new advisor for the Better Together initiative, a program which uses environmental education to help feed and connect to older members of the local community. A member of a large and diverse family, she is the oldest daughter in a family of seven children and the mother to a blended family of ten children. Thirteen grandchildren call her Savta.
Angelo Dunlap – Music Teacher, K-6
Angelo Dunlap is excited be the music teacher here at the Columbus Jewish Day School. He came to CJDS with over ten years of teaching experience in a Jewish setting. He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The Ohio State University. He also serves as a religious school educator and as a Youth Coordinator at Temple Beth Shalom where he received the Torah Ora Award for providing an outstanding learning environment. He also brings over a decade of experience at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. Angelo believes that music is a fundamental language that helps us express ourselves and that it is the task and duty of music teachers to help each student find and use their voice, whatever it may be. He also believes that music serves a powerful role of bringing a community closer. He feels like he is the luckiest teacher because he gets to teach Jewish music and its history at Columbus Jewish Day School, learning and singing together with students and colleagues. Music is his passion and he tries to make use of its connective abilities whenever he can. In his free time, Angelo plays piano and guitar for Temple Beth Shalom’s services. He also enjoys late night long boarding through Bexley. You can often find him in a coffee shop with friends.
Julie Ecker – General Studies, Grade 2-3
Julie graduated from the Teaching All Learners program at Indiana University where she learned to implement effective strategies associated with teaching in classrooms with students having a wide range of abilities. She is credentialed with a dual license in elementary and special education. Julie is drawn to the developmental stage of eight- and nine-year-olds, when students are actively transitioning to a more intellectually abstract curriculum. She derives great satisfaction from witnessing the immense strides students take in reading and math at this stage of their education. Julie loves the collaborative atmosphere that permeates CJDS, and was drawn from the very beginning to its warm and welcoming faculty and staff. Julie’s involvement in the Columbus Jewish community also includes her role as the advisor to Congregation Beth Tikvah’s youth group, BethTY. In her spare time, she enjoys playing golf and traveling. Julie is also a board game devotée, and is convinced that game-playing is a great tool for learning.
Katie Feldstein – Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Grade 1
Katie began at CJDS as a graduate intern and has now taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies for over 16 years in either first or second grade. With a Master’s in Education in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University, Katie is certified in Ohio to teach K-8. Her own upbringing and Jewish education instilled a passion to impart her love for the Hebrew language and Jewish religion, along with guitar, music, and dance, to her students. Her favorite ways to do this are through song, dance, and dramatic presentations. Katie believes so strongly in the child-centered and integrated approach at CJDS that she and her husband, Jonathan, enrolled their son, Sam (CJDS ‘19). Outside of school, Katie enjoys singing, dancing, reading, and spending time with Sam, Jonathan, and the family dog, Chewie. Katie was thrilled when her parents, Steve and Elaine Edelstein, moved back to Ohio in 2015 and chose to live nearby; they can often be found volunteering at CJDS.
Gina Freeman – Director of Environmental Education and Service Learning
Gina Freeman holds Doctorate, Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science Degrees in Education with Minor Degrees in Management and Human Resources, Health Education and Biological Science from The Ohio State University. She also holds licensure in School Administration, Physical Education, Adapted Physical Education, Health Education, and Biological Science. As a founding faculty member who has served as Dean of Students for many years, Gina has always been drawn to CJDS’ whole-child, learner-centered, integrated education. She is driven by her passion to help every child reach his/her full potential. As Director of Environmental Education and Service Learning, Gina is delighted to combine and integrate three core values of our school’s curriculum: caring for the earth, feeding the hungry, and respecting elders. Gina is a military veteran and was awarded the Medal of Merit which is the highest award for a noncombat soldier. Gina enjoys gardening, volunteering, reading, yoga, walking, camping, fishing, sewing, and kayaking with close family and friends.
Beth Hawks - Learning Specialist
As CJDS’ Learning Specialist, Beth is responsible for working with students with learning differences of all kinds, including giftedness, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. Beth comes to us from just down the street at Marburn Academy, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology (focusing on Early Childhood Development) from The Ohio State University (2006) and a teaching license from Ashland University. Beth excels in addressing learners’ different needs, and has been focusing on supporting teachers through observation, diagnostics, and analyzing data, to develop student plans. She is someone who sets high expectations, is committed to making it safe for each learner to take risks, and believes that being fair looks different for each student. Beth brings a magical way of getting kids to love their subjects, and to really love reading and math. Most recently, she has served as an all-star math education specialist. Beth lives in a fixer upper in Columbus with her husband, George, along with their son, Samuel. Beth enjoys working on her house and yard, sewing, and taking her dog to the park.
Yehudit Kanfer – Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Grade 2-3
Yehudit’s teaching career began in New York City in the late 1970's with a rich array of positions, most notably at the distinguished Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, which provides Talmud study to women under Orthodox auspices. Yehudit believes that the education of young children is a sacred enterprise upon whom the future of the Jewish people hinges. She was drawn to CJDS because of its mission, which is committed to teaching children to connect their Jewish identities through (in Heschel's words) "the art of asking the right questions" and to empower them to act upon their responses to those questions. Yehudit has been a faculty member at Columbus Jewish Day School for almost two decades, and has taught Hebrew and Judaic Studies to students in almost every grade. She was awarded Columbus’ “Jewish Educator of the Year” for 1996, and was the recipient of the 2009 Shin Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary for her contributions to the Agudas Achim community. She has been working with students from kindergarten through high school since 1977, including teaching day school for nine years at Columbus Torah Academy. Yehudit holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary and has completed course work for a Ph.D. Concurrently, she earned a B.A. in Classical Languages from New York University, and spent a year at Hebrew University’s Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora. When she is not teaching, you can find Yehudit jogging or biking along the streets of Bexley. She enjoys spending time with her far-flung family, including her daughter and two sons, and her grandson, along with extended family in New York and Ann Arbor.
Jessica Kohl – General Studies, Grade 1
Jessica Kohl grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to Columbus after college. She attended Indiana University where she studied both general and special education. She loves teaching, which is a central passion in her life. For her, few things are better than knowing she can participate in shaping young children's knowledge and watch them grow as each year progresses. She is thrilled to be able to work at CJDS where she can integrate her Jewish identity with her professional teaching identity. Jessi values working closely with students and teachers, learning from both, and employing a rich variety of different lessons and activities. It is also vital for her to be able to create a classroom that has a good strong sense of community, and she feels that CJDS is the perfect place to be able to do that. When she’s not teaching, you’ll find her catching up with her close-knit family in Chicago. She also enjoys going to yoga, working out, cooking, spending quality time with her dog, and going to the movies on the weekend.
Shanna Lipp – General Studies, Grades 5 & 6
Shanna, the full-time General Studies sixth grade teacher, brings over a decade of teacher-leader experience to the CJDS community. She earned her education degree from Ohio Dominican University, where she focused on middle school education with specializations in language arts and math. As a middle school educator, Shanna has taught grades 4 – 8 and is passionate about walking with middle schoolers through this important transitional time of adolescence and moving them to be independent thinkers and leaders. She values the freedom CJDS allows for creative, cross-disciplinary integration. CJDS gives her the opportunity to meet each student where he or she is through individualized instruction and group collaboration. Shanna is married to Joey, who teaches Classics at The Ohio State University and Latin and Critical Reading at Columbus School for Girls. Shanna, Joey, and their three boys reside in Bexley. Outside of CJDS, Shanna is a director of both theater and children’s summer programming in a tiny ocean town on the Jersey shore. Shanna’s hobbies and passions include theater, music, dance, running, biking, painting, and writing. She loves the power of the written and spoken word and the beauty of the world in which we live.
Kristina Palma – Physical Education K-6
Kristina teaches physical education and health in grades K-6. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with a B.A. in Physical Education and an adapted physical education minor, with a focus on modifying sports equipment to meet the individualized needs of athletes with disabilities. Upon graduation, she earned her Certificate in Health Education from Capital University. Before joining the CJDS faculty in 2010, Kristina taught and coached in Westerville schools. She was attracted to CJDS because of the curriculum and the amazing students, faculty, and parents. Kristina is driven by a passion to make physical education so enjoyable for the students that they will want to continue to be active for life. It is not uncommon for CJDS students to see Kristina at hockey games or diving competitions. Proudly part of a family of “K names,” Kristina is married to Keith, who works at Cardinal Health, and they have two amazing daughters, Kylie and Kamryn. Kristina’s passions are weight lifting, snowboarding, boating, hiking, and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
Lin Raveh – Israel Education Youth Shalicha (Emissary)
Lin grew up in Nazareth Illit, a small city in the northern part of Israel. In the midst of earning a degree in political science and informal education, she is taking a break from her studies to come and work with our youth in Columbus. She fell in love with CJDS the moment she walked in the school. She feels that the school’s atmosphere is like nothing she has seen before and she is so appreciative to a part of a learning community where each child can find what is right for him or her and shine in his or her own unique way, in a learning process that is fun, interactive and as relevant as possible. Before coming to CJDS, Lin served as a combat medic in the first mixed IDF combat unit, Caracal. For the past four years, she has worked in different informal education programs with all ages and with different groups from the Israeli community and across the community spectrum. Lin attended a Jewish American camp in Michigan, Tamarack, as both a camper and Counselor in Training (CIT). In 2014, she came back to camp as the Jewish programing and Israeli culture supervisor. She is so excited to be a part of our CJDS community every Tuesday, and the students light up when they see her.
Eran Rosenberg – Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Grades 4-6
Eran serves as Jewish Studies Coordinator and teaches Hebrew language and Jewish Studies, grades 4-6. Born and raised in Israel, Eran began his professional career as an organizational and occupational psychologist evaluating educational systems and instruction, both in Israel and abroad. A former tank commander in the IDF, Eran is now passionate about being a Jewish Educator in Columbus, and promotes the love of learning with all his soul and all his might. Eran devotes countless hours to offering every one of his students a fully experiential, personally relevant, and intellectually rigorous Jewish education. He has developed numerous creative pedagogical and curricular resources, many of which have been featured in workshops in Columbus and beyond. Eran regularly incorporates creative play into his teaching methods and, accordingly has amassed an impressive collection of masks and costumes to engage his learners in new and exciting ways all the time. He was awarded the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and the Lasday Jewish Educator of the Year Award (2010). Eran is a founding member of the National Association of Teachers of Hebrew and is involved with developing and sharing educational materials across the field of North American Jewish day schooling. Eran is also active in the Jewish life of Columbus, serving on the steering committee of the Partnership Together Program (a program connecting Kfar Saba, Israel, and the Columbus Jewish communities), offering B’nai Mitzvah instruction, chanting Torah at a variety of synagogues, conducting children’s programs, serving and leading on community holiday planning committees, and acting in local community theater. Eran especially enjoys hosting friends in his home for meaningful Shabbat and holiday meals.
Kerry Selfinger – Front Office Assistant
Kerry is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science focusing on Early Education (2010). She has worked in many fields -- from non-profits and school to the corporate environment -- but keeps getting drawn back into education. Kerry comes from a family of teachers and loves seeing the progress that students make, and watching them grow. Kerry is always seen with a smile on her face and can be found organizing anything she can get her hands on. A teacher herself, Kerry enjoys being around children and learning every day. She is thrilled to support CJDS administratively, and is eager to help it grow and develop. She enjoys traveling, watching the Buckeyes, and spending time with family and friends. Kerry currently resides in New Albany with her husband, Scott, an Accountant at Cardinal Health, and their daughter, Kate, who was born in spring 2017.
Eva Tibor – Jewish Studies Grades 5-6
Eva first came to teach at CJDS in the 2000-2001 school year as the third grade Judaic Studies teacher, but has ever since found her educational calling in adolescence. She inspires fifth and sixth grade students to explore and examine their Jewish journeys, with a particular emphasis on mindfulness and meaning-making. Eva brought over two decades of teaching experience to CJDS, from years serving the Samuel Melton Religious School at Columbus' Congregation Tifereth Israel. Eva holds a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Jewish Studies from The Ohio State University. Before attending graduate school, she spent six months on Kibbutz Yad Mordecai as a volunteer and in ulpan (intensive Hebrew language instruction). That experience was pivotal for her Jewish and professional trajectory. Upon returning to the United States, Eve fulfilled her plan to go to law school and, in 1996, received her J.D. from Capital University Law and Graduate Center and then spent five years practicing law. All of these life experiences have helped Eva realize that her true passion is to support and teach Jewish youth as they navigate the formation of their own Jewish values and identities. She co-advises CJDS’ very active Tzedakah Club with Susan Couden. Eva is a recipient of Columbus’ Jeff and Lori Lasday Jewish Educator of the Year Award. Along with ten other educators in Columbus, she was also given the opportunity to travel to Israel for a month of study and exploration at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. Eva’s passion for teaching and learning stems from a love of re-viewing and re-seeing the world through the eyes of young people and beholding their moments of self-realization. As a child of Holocaust survivors, Eva appreciates the joys and challenges of being Jewish and American and hopes to help students navigate those waters. Eva resides in the Bexley area and enjoys reading, gardening, yoga, Pilates, singing, being a part of the Harmony Project, taking walks, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Jay, and her children, Simone and Josh, Michelle, Ari and her grandson, Jack, who can be seen cruising up and down the halls of the JCC Preschool.
Lynn Vottero – Speech Pathologist
Lynn has been the speech/language pathologist at CJDS since it began in 1998. She became acquainted with our school through a student who attended speech/language therapy sessions at Lynn's office, Northrup and Associates. Lynn received her Bachelor of Education degree in Speech Therapy from the University of Toledo and her Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Tennessee. She holds a license from the Ohio Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology and the Ohio Department of Education. Lynn also has a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Lynn provides screenings, evaluations and treatment for all areas of communication: articulation, receptive and expressive language, language processing, voice, fluency, and pragmatic/social skills. Lynn also contributes her important wisdom and insight as a member of CJDS child studies. Lynn enjoys providing CJDS classroom lessons from those in kindergarten focusing on the speech helpers to those in the upper grades focusing on social communication. Lynn is active in the Columbus Chapter of CISV (formerly Children’s International Summer Villages), an international non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of world peace by providing opportunities for all ages to be inspired and enriched by cultural diversity, travel, and educational programming. Lynn and her husband, John enjoy being empty nesters. With their son's marriage in 2016, Lynn and John are hoping to be grandparents very soon. Now that their daughter lives in Miami, Florida, they have a nice place to visit. Lynn spends her downtime playing computer games, watching TV, reading, and traveling whenever possible.