Preschool People

There are new faces and people in new places at the Merage Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  Dan Bernstein, president and CEO of the JCC, announced the changes in January.

Nicole Ben-Artzi, M.Ed.
ECLC Director

Nicole Ben-Artzi has been promoted to Director of the JCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Nicole Ben-Artzi as our director,” Bernstein said.  “Nicole brings tremendous education and vast experience to our team.”  Ben-Artzi, who served as the Merage JCC assistant ECLC director, will take over in February when the former preschool director Peter Blair moves to Milwaukee to assume the position of assistant JCC director.

Ben-Artzi holds a master’s degree in education with honors from Pepperdine University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in communication and fine arts.  She also holds a California multi-subject teaching accreditation.  She has eleven years of teaching experience working at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Brawerman Elementary School in Los Angeles and the Rodeph Sholom School in New York City.

Enthusiastically embracing her new role, Ben-Artzi said, “The ECLC is such an amazing place where parents, educators and students can collaborate, learn and grow as a family.  I am proud that our faculty shares a passion for learning and takes pride in sharing our core values with every member: Community-Kehillah, Respect-Kavod, Peace-Shalom, Love-Ahavah, Inquiry-D’rash and Responsibility-Tikkun Olam.  I am thrilled to continue with our school’s philosophy and look forward to educating our children to become lifelong learners.”

According to Ben-Artzi, “All parents want the best for their children: a warm welcoming environment where families are enriched and children can wonder, create, share, discover, smile, understand, explore, imagine, laugh and PLAY!”

Tracy Zieve, MA
ECLC Assistant Director

Tracy W. Zieve, MA, has been named the Merage Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Learning Center assistant director.  Zieve had been the child development lead supervising teacher at the UCLA Fernald Infant Development Program where she promoted the development of children through daily emergent curricula and routines.  She also trained, supervised and mentored undergraduate student interns from Pierce Community College.

Zieve has worked with children ranging in ages from birth through age 18, including children who are mainstream functioning to those with debilitating developmental delays.  She is a member of both NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and CAEYC (California Association for the Education of Young Children).  She received her MA from Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

“It is my goal to combine my range of experience with my ability to be an organized, methodical and compassionate coordinator who will make a positive contribution to the preschool community at the Merage JCC,” Zieve said.

Adena Kaufman, M. Ed
ECLC Admissions Director

Adena Kaufman, MA, has been named the Merage JCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center admissions director.  Kaufman has extensive experience tutoring students in reading, writing and mathematics.  She has worked as an instructional aide at Vista Verde Elementary School in Irvine and as a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.

Kaufman has designed curriculum and created, planned and implemented developmentally appropriate lesson plans.  She has assisted with staff development and worked on continuing staff education.  Kaufman has also chaired numerous volunteer committees for Vista Verde and the Merage Jewish Community Center.

Kaufman earned a Master’s degree in education from Pepperdine University.  Her three children were all graduates of the Merage JCC preschool.

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