top of page

Our Staff

Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 12.00.55



Merril has been involved in early childhood education for her entire professional life. Before coming to Brotherhood, Merril worked at the All Soul's School and the AJ Heschel School, both in Manhattan. She served as a mentor for students at the Jewish Theological Seminary and as a literacy staff-developer for the NYC Board of Education. Merril was also a member of the education department at Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University. When Merril is not functioning as Director of the Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School, she serves on the board of the Jewish Early Childhood Association. Recently, Merril helped train UPK staff in mathematics for young children. On the national level, Merril has been involved in professional advocacy issues for early-childhood professionals as a staff member for the Coalition for Advancement on Jewish Education (CAJE). Merril holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Bank Street College Graduate School of Education.



Rivki began teaching preschool in Center City, Philadelphia, after studying in a girls' teaching program in Jerusalem. She moved to New York in 2007 and resides in Brooklyn with her husband, Yossi, and their four wonderful children, Mendel, Henna, Dovid, and Ari. Rivki went to Touro College where she earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts (concentrating in psychology, early childhood, and special education) and later received an M.A. in special education. No stranger to the Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School, Rivki has worked here since 2007. For her first three years, Rivki worked as Director's assistant, after which she started teaching in the Yellow Room. 

Lauren Hart HS.jpeg


Lauren is an actor/singer/songwriter and graduate of the MFA program at the American Conservatory Theater. She has been leading Shabbat services since her teenage years, and is so excited to spread the joy of Jewish music to the little ones! She also teaches in the Brotherhood Hebrew School. Some favorite stage credits include "The Rocky Horror Show" (Janet) "The Unfortunates" (Roxy), and "A Christmas Carol" (Ghost of Christmas Past) at ACT, "Born in East Berlin (Lotte) at SF Playhouse, "Peter and the Starcatcher" (Molly), and "Tartuffe" (Elmire) at Summer Repertory Theatre.



Annabelle was born and raised in NYC. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she received her BA in Sociology and certificate in Social Work.  Upon graduating, she spent time abroad working with children ages 4-17. Annabelle returned to New York in 2017 and has been teaching children ages 2-4 since. She earned her MA from Bank Street College of Education in Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention. Annabelle is thrilled to be back teaching at Brotherhood Nursery School. 



Danielle was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She got her undergraduate degree in speech language pathology and audiology at the University of Texas at Dallas. She worked as a nanny through college and upon graduation gave a year of national service with the AmeriCorps program City Year, serving as a tutor, mentor and role model in a 6th grade math class. After a brief stint in a cubicle land office job, she joined the ECE at Akiba Academy, a modern orthodox day school in Dallas. She was a toddler teacher there for 5 years. New York is her latest adventure where she is pursuing a graduate degree in developmental psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is absolutely thrilled to be joining the Brotherhood team!



Naoko was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. After arriving in the United States in 1988 she established the Japanese parenting and nursery school program for Japanese-American children at the Educational Alliance. At the same time, she established her Creative Movement and Ballet at Peridance. Now she teaches at several venues including the 92nd Street Y, Park Avenue Synagogue, and Peridance. Naoko is also a master trainer and owner of Gyrotonic® on Broadway.

Sara Cohen pic.jpg

Assistant to the Director

Sara grew up in an Orthodox home in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents, one a Holocaust survivor, both immigrants, stressed the importance of Jewish education, strong family units, and hard work. Their devotion to Judaism and its traditions, unwavering and deep-rooted, has guided Sara throughout her life. Sara came to Brotherhood Synagogue with her husband, Stephen, to celebrate their aufruf in 2004. Not long after, with two young children, they became members of the community. Sara studied buying and merchandising at FIT, simultaneously working as a buyer. For the past 25 years, she held various positions both in retail and wholesale markets. Sara hopes to bring her management and customer service skills to her present role. She is excited to be further involved in the Brotherhood community.



Nehama grew up in  a large family in Jerusalem, Israel. Her family is deep rooted in Jerusalem's history living there for over 5 generations. She moved to a Kibbutz when she was 14 years old and later spent three years as an officer in the Israeli Air Force. Following her time in the Air Force, she moved to New York, where she has lived ever since. Her years teaching children in the Kibbutz inspired her to want to work with children & her Jewish faith guides her in her daily life.



Anna Levenstein is very excited to be a part of the Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School community. She lives on Roosevelt Island with her husband, Pascal, and two children; Eden and Noam, and her dog Sugar.

Before coming to BSNS, Anna was an assistant teacher at Roosevelt Island Day Nursery for five years, and before that taught Hebrew at East End Temple and Rodeph Sholom. Anna is a singer and singing teacher specializing in Early Music and enjoys listening to music and taking walks with her dog.


Hayley Mcculloch.jpeg


Hayley has taught preK-12 students of varied abilities in socio-economically diverse communities with the DOE where she designed and implemented a culturally inclusive humanities curricula. In public, private, and charter schools, she has gained a wide knowledge of effective pedagogy based on student centered learning, culminating in 20+ years' experience as an artist and educator. Hayley is a NYCTF recipient, and completed her MS in Education at CUNY’s CCNY, and received a BA in Studio Art at Hunter College, with a minor in Creative Writing.

Jillian Pic and Bio (1)_edited_edited_ed


Jillian was born and raised in New York City. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated in 2021 with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. After graduating, Jillian worked at a local preschool in Wisconsin as a 3’s Head Teacher and upon her return to NYC she worked as a head teacher for the Turning 2’s Program at the JCC. This fall, Jillian will begin her Master’s Degree at Hunter College, where she will work towards a MSED focusing specifically on Early Childhood. Jillian has worked with children ages 2-8 in a variety of settings for over 7 years and is so excited to start her journey at Brotherhood this coming fall!


Early Childhood Consultant

Lisa Karlin, a clinical social worker, comes to the Brotherhood Synagogue as our Early Childhood consultant. Lisa has worked with highly respected schools and programs around New York City. She has a degree in social work degree from NYU. Lisa has done course work at Bank Street and she studied family dynamics at The Ackerman Institute as well. A lifelong New Yorker, Lisa's post-graduate education has focused on child development and special education and she maintains a private practice in Brooklyn Heights. She loves nothing more than spending time with children and teachers in the classroom, and meeting with parents. Lisa looks forward to getting acquainted with you and is delighted to be a part of the Brotherhood Community.

bottom of page