Lower School

Our Lower School (grades Pre-K through 5) curriculum integrates Jewish learning, including acquisition of Hebrew and values-based education. Kabbalat Shabbat, daily tefillah, and holiday preparations are joyful, shared experiences where the children become familiar and comfortable with basic Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish behaviors, rituals and concepts, including mitzvot, God and tzedakah

In the GOA Pre-K program, children learn through a wide variety of exploratory play activities, led by energetic teachers specializing in early education. Our preschool staff uses art, music, and creative movement to stimulate learning at a level appropriate for this age. Using hands-on tools, such as blocks and puzzles, GOA preschoolers develop an early proficiency with logical thinking that will provide the foundation of future math and reading skills. Our teachers also employ play as a route to socialization and getting along in a group.

Each year builds sequentially on the next, and each day is a reflection of the mission of Golda Och Academy. Lower School children build an identity as students and members of the community, becoming increasingly masterful at abstract thinking. Caring, nurturing relationships between teachers and children enable our students to question the world around them and formulate carefully considered opinions. As they interact with each other, they grow to understand the value of belonging to a group, a family, a community and the Jewish people. We provide a text-rich learning environment, where students are exposed a variety of genres and begin a more formal study of reading and writing in both English and Hebrew. Highlights of Lower School include a Siddur play and Chumash Celebration, as students deepen their understanding of Judaism and begin formal Torah study.

To promote optimum learning, each classroom in the Lower School is equipped with Smart Boards and computers. Additionally, iPads are rotated among the classes to use in both General and Judaic Studies. 
"My favorite memory from the Golda Och Academy lower school is getting my buddy. I liked being his recess buddy and doing other activities with him. I also loved having all of the plays, whether it was the Siddur play in first grade, the Chumash play in second grade, the Havdalah play in thrid grade, the Torah Text Fair in fourth grade, and getting ready for moving up in fifth grade."

Eli Berman, Middle School Student

Webinar: Motivating My Child To Do What I Ask Without Losing My Temper, presented by Caryn Mandel, MSW, LCSW

Learn More About First Grade at GOA

    • First Grade at GOA

List of 2 members.

  • Carrie Siegel ’92 

    Lower School Principal
    973-602-3633
    Brown University - BA
    Jewish Theological Seminary of America - MA
    Day School Leadership Training Institute (JTS) - Certificate
  • Karen Spector 

    Lower School Assistant Principal
    973-602-3711
    Brandeis University - BA
    NJ Board of Education - Teaching Certification

Faculty Spotlight

List of 2 members.

  • Rebecca Kurson 

    Lower School Faculty, Science
    973-602-3600
    University of Chicago - BA
    New York University - MA
    Caldwell University - Teaching Certification
    Bio
  • Jessica Wise 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Indiana University - BA
    Bank Street College - M.Ed.
    Bio

Lower School Faculty

List of 50 members.

  • Jenny Ackerman 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Oranim College of Education, Israel - Bachelor degree - Special Education
    Achva Academic College, Israel - Master’s degree- School Management
    Ministry of Education in Israel - Additional diploma- E-learning
    Ben Gurion University, Israel - Additional Master’s degree
  • Tammy Anagnostis 

    Dean of Faculty - Lower School
    Hofstra University - BA
    Lesley University - Master of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Hope Aronoff 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Binghamton University - BA
    CUNY Queens College - MA
  • Cindi Barash 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Brooklyn College - BA
  • Anat Benoliel 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Bar Ilan University - BA
    Hadassah Hospital - RDH
    Adler Institute
  • Andrea Berkowitz 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Columbia College, Columbia University - BA
    Touro College - Masters in Education
  • Tracy Bernstein 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Mercy College - Masters of Science in Education
    University of Georgia - ABJ
  • Valerie Bloch 

    Learning Specialist - Lower School
    Rider University - BA
    Marygrove College - MET
    Centenary College - Teacher Certification - Special Education
  • Stephanie Bonder 

    Lower School Faculty - General Studies
    State University of NY at Albany - BA
    Rutgers Graduate School of Education - M.Ed.
  • Jamie Breitman 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Cedar Crest College
    Rutgers University
  • Michelle Brittner 

    Lower School Faculty
    Monmouth University - BS
    Saint Elizabeth College - Pre-school certification
  • Rachel Brown 

    Library Media Specialist - Lower School
    Ithaca College - BS
    State University of New York at Buffalo - MLS
  • Ruth Cohen 

    Lower School Faculty, Music
    Montclair State University - B.A
  • Natasha Cooper-Benisty 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Vassar College - BA
    Gratz College - MA
  • Roberta Coopersmith 

    Nurse - Lower School
    973-602-3704
    New Jersey State University - BS
    Christ Hospital School of Nursing - Nursing Degree
  • Greg DePugh 

    Lower School Faculty, Physical Education
    Monmouth University - BS, M.Ed.
  • Sandi Fein 

    Learning Specialist - Lower School
    Ithaca College - BS
    Hunter College - MS
  • Debra Feldman 

    Lower School Faculty
    Rutgers University - BS
    New Jersey City University - MA
    William Patterson College - NJ Teacher's Certification
  • Mindy  Fliegelman ’12 

    Admissions Associate and Teaching Assistant
    Muhlenberg College - BA, Summa Cum Laude & Elementary Education Certification
  • Beth Freiman Cannon 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    State University College at Buffalo - BA, Magna Cum Laude
  • Linda Friedman 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Kean College - BA
  • Vera Galleid 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
  • Linda Glasofer 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Vassar College - BA
    New York University School of Education - MAT
  • Marcy Gorman 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    SUNY Cortland - BSE
  • Alexis Gruber 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Wurzweiler School of Social Work - MSW, Jewish Studies Certificate
    Indiana University - BA
  • Gena Jarmel 

    Program Coordinator - Lower School
    973-602-3748
    Montclair State University - BFA
    Seton Hall University - MA
    Caldwell University - LDT-C Certification, Special Ed. Certification
  • Donna Karp 

    JFS Social Worker/Guidance - Lower School
    Simmons College - BA
    Simmons College - MSW
  • Zohar Katzav 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest - Certificate - Project Moreh
    Matan Institute - Certificate - Teaching Children with Special Needs
  • Diane Kleinman 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    University of Iowa - BA
  • Sharon Knoller 

    Lower School Faculty, Trope
    University of Rhode Island - BS
    Adelphi University - M.Ed.
    Gratz College - Certificate
  • Rebecca Kurson 

    Lower School Faculty, Science
    973-602-3600
    University of Chicago - BA
    New York University - MA
    Caldwell University - Teaching Certification
  • Ravit Landsberg 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Hebrew university of Jerusalem - BA
    Bet Beral-Education
    Master of arts in human behavior
  • Anat Lev Tov 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
  • Sari Manor-Cohen 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Hebrew University - BA
    Teachers' Seminary, Jerusalem Israel - Teaching Certification
  • Aliza Mayer 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Rutgers University - BA
    William Paterson University - M.Ed
  • Kelly McAllister 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Kennesaw State University - Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Jul McCormick-Anesh 

    Director of Aftercare/Funtracks, Lower School Faculty
    973-232-8749
    Kean University - BA
  • Shari Mevorah 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Brooklyn College - BS, Summa Cum Laude
  • Michael Newman 

    Director of Educational Technology - Lower School
    973-602-3728
    Rutgers University - BS, M.Ed.
  • Carol Nydick 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Kean College - BA
    Montclair State - M.Ed.
  • Richard Perini 

    Instrumental Music Faculty - Lower and Upper School
    Trenton State College - BA
  • Nila Pusin 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
  • Dorri Ramati 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
  • Sarah Reinholtz 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Kean University - BA
  • Yael Safran 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    The Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance - BA
    The College of Saint Elizabeth - M.Ed.
  • Neta Shvartsman 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    Kaye College (Beer Sheva, Israel) - BA
    Tiraspol State University of Moldova - M.Ed.
  • Elissa Siegel 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    University of California Los Angeles - Bachelor of Arts
  • Paula Spack ’84 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies and Mathematics
    Brandeis University - BA
  • Tsipi Taube 

    Lower School Faculty, Judaic Studies
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - B.Sc.
    Tel Aviv University - Sackler School of Medicine - M.Sc
  • Jessica Wise 

    Lower School Faculty, General Studies
    Indiana University - BA
    Bank Street College - M.Ed.