The Beth El Team
Bern Becker is co-lead teacher of the Early Preschool class. Bern, who started her career as an elementary school art teacher, loves helping children explore their creativity and discover their capacity for collaboration. She has a BA in English Literature with a minor in Art, an Early Childhood Education Credential and has recently completed the year-long EChO Pyramid Teaching Seminar. This will be Bern’s tenth year teaching at Beth El. Bern’s children, Sara (11) and David (12) both attended Beth El Preschool. In her spare time Bern is a freelance artist with a specialty in pyrography – the art of designing wood.
Laura Day is the co-lead teacher for Toddler Time TTh. Laura, who has a masters degree in Speech Therapy, loves helping toddlers learn to speak, sing, dance and interact with one another. This is her first year teaching at Beth El Preschool. Prior to taking an official position as the Toddler Time teacher, Laura was a much-beloved substitute teacher and summer counselor. Laura has also worked as a speech therapist in the Chapel Hill Schools. In her spare time, Laura volunteers at a local homeless shelter and enjoys travelling with her family.
Rebecca Bosworth is co-lead teacher for Toddler Time MWF. She loves helping toddlers learn to express themselves, develop confidence and form social relationships. Rebecca has a Masters Degree in Counselor Education and Family Therapy and recently completed the year-long EChO Pyramid Teaching Seminar. Rebecca, who has been at Beth El Preschool for 10 years, also teaches religious school at Judea Reform Congregation. Her sons Benjamin (14) and Joshua (9) both attended Beth El Preschool. Rebecca’s hobbies include exercise, cooking, baking, and spending time with her family.
Melissa Eimer is co-lead teacher of the PreK Class. This is her seventh year teaching at Beth El Preschool. Melissa, who has a Special Education Teacher Certification, loves supporting the academic, social and emotional growth of young children. Before moving to Durham, Melissa worked as an inclusion specialist in the New Jersey school system. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys being outside with her husband and children and exploring the many wonderful parks and places of Durham. Melissa’s two children Nathan (13) and Julie (11) both attended Beth El Preschool.
Lorri Gudeman is the Director of Beth El Preschool. Lorri has been the director since 2007. She also served as lead teacher/director of Beth El Preschool from 1998-2001. In the interim between her jobs as a preschool teacher and director, Lorri practiced law in Durham and served as Program Director at Judea Reform Congregation. Lorri is a graduate of Harvard University and Duke University’s School of Law. She has an Early Childhood Education credential and many courses in Early Childhood Administration. Lorri’s daughters Sara (25) and Heather Jo (12) both attended Beth El Preschool.
Jill Hennen, our most senior teacher, is co-lead teacher in the PreK class. This is Jill’s twentieth year at Beth El. Before discovering how much she enjoyed working with children, Jill was a staff development coordinator in management and banking. Jill has an Early Childhood credential and particularly enjoys helping children develop their creativity, social skills, and their appreciation for nature. Both of her children, Jessica (23) and Joshua (21), attended Beth El Preschool. In her spare time Jill enjoys gardening and working with clay.
Karen Kumin is co-lead teacher of the Early Preschool class. Karen, who has a Master’s in Sacred Music and was ordained as a cantor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), enjoys sharing her love of music with children. This is her first year working at Beth El and she is very excited to be teaching our 3 year-olds When she is not with us, Karen sings for Yavneh, a Jewish Renewal Synagogue in Raleigh and tutors bar and bat mitzvah students. Karen also enjoys yoga, spending time with her husband and walking her two dogs.
Anne Pirani is co-lead teacher of Toddler Time MWF and TTh. Anne is a certified Montessori teacher with a strong interest in Reggio Emilia. She loves doing art, science, outdoor learning and creative play with children. Anne recently completed a year-long EChO Teacher Pyramid Training seminar. This is Anne’s tenth year teaching at Beth El. Before Beth El, Anne worked in various creative teaching venues including Durham’s Scrap Exchange. Anne has two children Joe (19) and Laura (13). In her spare time Anne is a girl-scout leader.
Erika Lipkin is our bookkeeper. Erika is a licensed CPA with a BA in Business Administration from UNC-CH and a Masters in Accounting from CUNY Baruch. Prior to the birth of her children, Erika worked full-time as a software deployment consultant and CPA. In addition to accounting, Erika enjoys volunteering, cooking, jogging and exercise classes. Her children Jenna (9) and Jack (5) both attended Beth El Preschool.
Beth El is a wonderful, nurturing environment. The teachers are dedicated, caring, and engaged. There seems to be a nice balance of structure and freedom. It's been amazing to see our child grow and blossom! --2015 Parent