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Meet the Shomrei Preschool Family

Aylah Winter, Education Director
Since moving to Montclair Aylah has become involved in the Shomrei community. She has served on the Shomrei Education Board for two years and worked in the preschool as an assistant teacher. She also worked to coordinate travel to Israel for individuals, families and groups with a private tour operator.  Prior to moving to Montclair, Aylah and her family lived in Manhattan where she worked for several Jewish non-profit organizations. Most recently, she worked for American Jewish World Service coordinating their international Alternative Spring Break program for Hillel students around the country. Aylah is passionate about experiential education and its value with young adults. During this time she had the opportunity to travel extensively through central America.


Lesley Gering, Preschool Administrator
Morah Lesley is a certified teacher in Elementary K-8 education and Special Education. Previously, Lesley worked in the Elizabeth and Summit public schools, before staying home to raise her two children, Jackson and Taylor. She loves spending her summers at the beach and lake with her family.





Natalie Dowd, Teacher

Morah Natalie is a dedicated early childhood teacher, with a background teaching preschoolers (especially handicapped children) in Trenton and Elizabeth for many years. She holds a teaching degree from Kean College in early childhood/elementary education, with a special education certification. In her free time, Natalie can be found rowing on the Passaic River with her husband and 3 kids!



Rachel Poggie, Teacher

Morah Rachel adores working with 2-year olds, and she has taught at Shomrei for over 10 years. She holds an MA in Early Childhood Education from Wagner College, and is the proud mother of 2 children. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and jazzercise!




Vanessa Reis, Teacher

Morah Vanessa is excited to join the teaching team at Shomrei.  She was educated at William Patterson University, and has an extensive teaching background in the early childhood world.  Most recently, Morah Vanessa taught at the Summit JCC.   Vanessa loves to see the world through the eyes of a child, and creates a classroom environment where students can learn through play, discover new experiences, and take risks that build confidence and independence.  She loves to travel, shop and spend her days outside with a good book!




Blimie Daskal, Assistant Teacher


Morah Blimie grew up in Brooklyn, but now currently lives in Livingston with her husband Harry and two boys David and Josh. For the past five years, Blimie worked in preschools with children ages 2-5, and is trained as a Reggio Emilia teacher. She has a passion for teaching and meeting children where they are, to help each child grow according to his or her needs. Blimie is an excellent cook, and she even sold her own takeout food while living in Florida, where she was famous for her pretzel fried chicken!


Catherine “Cat” Fears, Assistant Teacher

Morah Cat initially worked as a medical assistant and holds a degree from the Bay Area Medical Academy. Several years ago, fell into early childhood education and worked with 2-4 year olds in a preschool. We are glad Cat found her way to Shomrei! Cat is a mother to two boys. She loves to foster animals and volunteers her time to help dogs and cats find their way into loving homes.



Megan Felber, Assistant Teacher

Morah Megan studied communications at Fairfield University, and she worked as a recruiter in NYC. Megan also previously taught in a preschool readiness program at the Geyer YMCA. She loves to spend time with her family, which includes her husband Brian and 3 children: Ellie, Colin, and Riley. Megan loves the water, and you might see her coaching for the YMCA swim team or at the Montclair Beach Club!



Sara Henriquez, Assistant Teacher

Morah Sara was born and raised in Brooklyn and is a proud early childhood educator for over 20 years. She is married to an amazing jazz musician and they are the parents to three boys. She loves babies, music, cooking, bright colors, and summer!




Kathy Leslie, Assistant Teacher

Morah Kathy loves working with the students at Shomrei. Kathy holds a BA in Psychology from Montclair State University and spent over 25 years in Human Resources, most recently serving as the Director of HR for a NY publishing company. An avid skier, Kathy adores her time on the slopes in Vermont. She also raised her 2 daughters in Montclair.




Amy Polen, Assistant Teacher

Morah Amy has been delighting children at Shomrei for many years. A graduate of Lehigh University, with a BA in Art and Psychology, Amy can often be found making jewelry and mixed media assemblages (sculptures!) in her free time. She also loves spending time with her family, which includes her husband, daughter, and 2 sons.