Staff - Center City Jewish Preschool
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Our Staff

Here at Center City Jewish Preschool, our teachers see their classrooms as a vibrant mix of an educational and community center. At CCJP we are at the apex of excellent early childhood education, wonderfully-imbued Jewish values, and a community center where friendships are born. Our teachers are an unusually dedicated group of professionals whose commitment to each child under their tutelage does not stop at the classroom door. We know that our preschool plays an important part in every family that is a part of our program, and are grateful for that opportunity. Each of our teachers bring a unique and special blend of professional skills and personal experience that can’t be found anywhere else, and that is why we call CCJP our home. 

The staff meets weekly to discuss curriculum, plan programs, and share and exchange ideas in order to uphold the high standards of our program. Staff development is ongoing to ensure that teachers can successfully adapt to the ever-changing needs of today’s families and to the findings of current research.


Leah Goldman, Preschool Director
Leah Goldman was born and raised in Israel where her family still resides in Tel Aviv. After completing her studies and receiving her degree in education at Beth Rivkah College in Kfar Chabad, she began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Jerusalem. In 2001, Leah founded the Center City Jewish Preschool with a small group of only 7 children. The goal was to create a warm and nurturing environment for young children to play, learn and grow and where they would feel loved because their teachers believed in them. Today, the preschool is renowned in the community as a place which unites children, teachers and families in a positive and constructive early childhood experience. As the director, Leah is committed to providing a superb educational experience for her students through ongoing exploration of progressive educational methods, so that each and every child can reach their true potential and become a contributing member of a caring community. Leah and her husband are the proud parents of seven children.


Morah Alissa Peskin, Curriculum Director
Alissa is a native New Yorker and has been living in and loving Philadelphia since 2007. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and her Masters of Education with a duel certification in Inclusive Early Childhood and Special Education from Hofstra University. Her passion for child-led education led her to explore the Reggio Emilia approach and she found a home with the supportive and like-minded progressive staff at CCJP. She lives nearby with her husband and 2 children, both of whom are CCJP students alumni.

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Morah Shira Rudavsky, Lead

Shira is happy to be returning to Center City Jewish Preschool, this year as a Kitah Gimmel teacher. Shira grew up in Pittsburgh PA, and has a B.A. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Temple University. Shira has worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in the School District of Philadelphia, and at Abington Friends School. She lives in Pennsport with her husband and her four children, all of her children are CCJP alumni.

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Morah Jacqueline Schaefer, Lead

Jacqueline grew up in Rockaway, NJ and has lived in Denver, Colorado with her husband and dog up until a year ago. Since then, they have lived in Philadelphia and love calling Philly their home. Jacqueline received her Bachelors of Science from Rutgers University in Public Policy and loves to use her education policy background as well as her teaching experience to advocate for better early childhood education practice and laws in the US. Jacqueline has been working in early childhood education for over eight years and believes that it is the key to future success and creating a better world. Working in Jewish preschools with a Reggio Emilia inspired approach is where she feels at home and sees this as her own way to manifest the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam. For Jacqueline, there is no better feeling than creating warm environments for both her students and their families.


Morah Karlee Markarian, Lead

Originally from New York, Karlee now lives in Philadelphia with her fiancé. Karlee has been working at Center City Jewish Preschool for three years now and enjoys being part of the wonderful and vibrant community. Aside from early education, Karlee teachers both dance and pilates.

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Morah Diane Richman, Lead

Diane completed her B.S. in elementary education at Penn State University, and her Masters Degree in the same area at Temple University. She spent 22 years as a public school teacher teaching kindergarteners. She has served on many school district committees, including one specifically for researching and implementing a developmentally appropriate full day kindergarten program. Wanting to stay true to her values and beliefs and continue to provide excellent children’s education in a child-centered, nurturing, and respectful atmosphere, Diane took a year off to take courses and network with people and organizations that truly believe in children. Upon observing CCJP utilizing the Reggio Emilia philosophy, she felt right at home with CCJP. Diane lives in Center City Philadelphia and is very excited to join the Daled class this year!


Morah Rene Weiner, Lead

Rene has been working at Center City Jewish Preschool for many years now and has seen it grow into the vibrant and lovely community that it is. Rene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons. When Rene isn't teaching, she spends her time going to concerts and especially appreciates jazz. Rene loves providing a nurturing environment where each child can learn the way they do best. She is so happy to be teaching in the Gimmel classroom again.


 Morah Tayla Kaye, Judaic Enrichment

  Morah Yaho Castellon-Sanders, Assistant

Morah Claire Rimerman, Assistant
  Morah Amanda Thum, Assistant

Morah Zissi Press, Assistant
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Morah Jackie Long, Assistant

Jackie Long started her time at CCJP in January of 2017. A native to Texas, she received her BS in biology and minor in music at Southwestern University. She then headed off to Nome, Alaska to serve as a volunteer in youth programming for two years. After receiving her Masters of Divinity degree from Claremont school of theology she worked as a hospital chaplain focusing on pediatric and behavioral health units. Her work in the clinical setting lead her to the Swedish Institute in New York where she earned her associates degree in massage therapy. Since 2008 she has lived in Philadelphia with her husband Kevin and son, Francis. Jackie is excited to bring her love of music, science, and the pursuit of education to CCJP!

Morah Emily Johnson, Ass istant

Morah Amanda Robinson, Assistant

Morah Andy Martinez, Assistant

Morah Tierney Greene, Assistant

Morah Yancidera Morales, Assistant

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