Meet the Director

Peter Martin Blair has joined the senior management team of the Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine as the new Director of Early Childhood Education. Peter is relocating to Orange County from Seattle, Washington where he was the early childhood director of the Mercer Island and Seattle campuses of the Stroum Jewish Community Center.

Dan Bernstein, president and CEO of the JCC said, “We are looking forward to having Peter meet with the preschoolers and their parents in our community to share his extensive knowledge of early childhood education. We will be having two open houses to meet our new director on Sunday, August 22, and Wednesday, August 25, from 9 a.m. to noon.”

During his tenure in Seattle, Blair was a member of the Stroum JCC’s senior leadership team and managed all aspects of operations of two schools for early childhood education serving 325 students ranging in age from 3 months through kindergarten.  He supervised a leadership team of 8 and a teaching faculty of 80. In addition he increased preschool enrollment maintaining the school at 95 percent of capacity and improved faculty and family retention rates from 75 to 90 percent annually.

Blair recently taught a course in Early Childhood Philosophy as an adjunct professor at Bellevue College in Washington. In 2009 he was one of twelve scholars nationwide to receive the Covenant Foundation Fellowship for Leadership in Jewish Early childhood Education.  Blair received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on the executive committee of Kidsquest Children’s Museum and has served on the Bellevue College Early Childhood Education Department Advisory Board.

In a recent phone conversation Blair said, “I am overjoyed at the opportunity to work with the Orange County community in building a shared vision in educating our children to be lifelong learners. As Jews and as global citizens, we should cultivate a love of learning and a rich embracing community.  I’d like to take the Merage JCC preschool, which is currently very good, and make it excellent.”

According to Merage JCC’s website, the “Gan Tapuz Early Childhood Learning Center is designed to provide a tender transition from home to school where children learn to explore and relate to a wider world. At the Merage JCC Preschool our goal is to build a foundation for a joy of lifelong learning. We offer programs for children six weeks old through Transitional Kindergarten.”

The Merage Jewish Community Center is open to everyone in the community and offers a wide variety of services including: a health and fitness complex, preschool and toddler care, teen center, gymnasium, swimming pool, adult education rooms, theater and Kosher café. The “J” is located at 1 Federation Way in Irvine. For more information, call (949) 435-3400 Ext. 237 or visit www.meragejcc.org.

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