Meet Ronit Amit!
Ronit is excited to return to JCDSRI for her fifth year as a Hebrew teacher for our 4th and 5th graders. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Haifa where she also trained in special education.
Prior to working at JCDSRI, Ronit taught Hebrew at the Striar Hebrew Academy in Massachusetts, the Akiba Hebrew Academy in Pennsylvania, and was a Hebrew resource room teacher at Solomon Schechter in New York. Every year, Ronit looks forward to getting to know each of her students as individuals. She offers a unique learning experience by giving students strategies, not only to learn Hebrew, but also to become empowered and successful people. Ronit aims to teach to the specific needs and abilities of each child in her class.
In her free time, Ronit loves to hunt for unique, rustic items. She also enjoys home-designing, reading, traveling and cooking.
Ronit AmitHebrew - 4th and 5th Grade
Meet Donna Baer!
Donna is excited to begin her first year at JCDSRI as the Administrative Assistant. She holds an Associates Degree in Data Processing from Johnson & Wales University, and is also First-Aid and CPR certified. For the past five years, Donna has been working at local Montessori schools in different administrative and teaching assistant roles. Prior to that, she worked at The Wheeler School for fourteen years as Director of Outdoor Education. Donna co-founded and operated a canoe/kayak business with her husband from 1986-1998. In the beginning of her career, she was a Computer Programmer/Analyst. Donna looks forward to getting to know and love each and every child here at JCDSRI.
In her spare time, Donna is an avid kayaker, hiker and outdoor enthusiast. She loves all animals, plants and children!
Donna BaerAdministrative Assistant
Meet Rosemary Boucher!
Rosemary began at JCDSRI in November 2020 as a substitute teacher, and then officially became part of the JCDSRI family this year as a teaching assistant and after school care provider. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Film/Media with a minor in English. Rosemary has worked in the food service industry, the West Warwick Public Library, and at Snapology, a Lego based engineering program for kids ages 5-13, where she continues to work during the summers. Rosemary loves the environment here at JCDSRI and looks forward to being around the kids and teachers everyday.
In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys video editing and building intricate models.
Rosemary BoucherExtended Day Provider and Assistant Teacher
Meet Kareesh Bour!
Kareesh is excited to return to JCDSRI for her seventh year, first as a 3rd grade teacher and now as a 1st-grade teacher. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Kareesh taught in Lincoln Public Schools, at the Learning Community Charter and Blackstone Valley Prep. Every year, Kareesh looks forward to sparking the love of learning in her students! She especially enjoys finding the perfect book for beginning readers and watching their excitement when they complete science experiments together in class.
In her free time, Kareesh loves gardening, visiting the beach and going on bike rides with her children.
Kareesh BourGeneral Studies - 1st Grade
Meet Anthony Bucci!
Anthony is excited to return to JCDSRI for his third year as the Director of Security and Facilities. He holds an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Anthony served as a Police Sergeant and a member of the SWAT team; he is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. Every year, Anthony looks forward to watching our students learn and grow while keeping them and the entire JCDSRI community safe.
In his free time, Anthony is the President of the Edgewood Eagles Football and Cheer Organization in Cranston. He also coaches lacrosse and boxing. Anthony’s favorite pastime is spending time with his family.
Anthony BucciDirector of Security and Facilities
Meet Meghan Cavanaugh!
Meghan is excited to return to JCDSRI for her fourth year as our School Social Worker. She holds a Masters of Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work and is an independently licensed clinical social worker. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Meghan worked at Jewish Family Service (now Jewish Collaborative Services) for 8 years. Meghan currently works in private practice when she is not at school. Every year, Meghan looks forward to building relationships with students and families. She particularly loves her time in the classrooms, teaching social-emotional lessons and having fun with the students.
In her free time, Meghan loves playing sports and wishes she could be out playing at recess time!
Meghan CavanaughSchool Social Worker
- inspiring teachers to grow to be the best teachers they can be by creating a space where teachers feel like their ideas are heard and feel comfortable and excited to work collaboratively on any given task and/or project
- connecting with children and their families on an intimate level for trust to be established
- developing curriculum as a whole staff that is progressive, integrated, and project-based
- facilitating a learning space where children can thrive which helps nurture and embrace their love for learning
Jill DavisGeneral Studies - 2nd Grade; Director of General Studies
Meet Shayna Fel!
Shayna is excited to return to JCDSRI for her third year as Director of Admissions and Community Engagement. Shayna is a graduate of JCDSRI (formerly the Alperin Schechter Day School) and has loved getting reacquainted with the school and community that gave her a strong and meaningful foundation. She is also the proud parent of a first grader and kindergartner and has a future JCDSRI student at home who cannot wait to join the fun. Shayna holds a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education from Boston University and an M.S.W. from Hunter College. She is an independently licensed clinical social worker. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Shayna spent 15 years working with children, teens, and young adults with diverse learning needs in schools, camps and community organizations. Most recently, she worked on the admission team at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. Every year, Shayna looks forward to watching as students and families make JCDSRI their home for learning, exploring and experiencing joy.
In her free time, Shayna loves to read a great novel, go to the beach and have dance parties in the rain with her kids.
Shayna FelDirector of Admissions and Community Engagement
Meet Meredith Friedman!
Meredith can’t wait to enter her second year (her first full year!) as the Administrative Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the Head of School here at JCDSRI. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in International Affairs and Comparative Government from Radford University. Meredith was formerly a Special Education teacher who taught Science and English/Language Arts at the high school level. Additionally, Meredith owns and operates a local construction company with her long-time partner.
In her spare time, Meredith LOVES to sing, enjoys traveling, and is a Mommy to two doggies, Elsie and Grover. She is especially looking forward to fostering long-term relationships with the JCDSRI community, and especially students and their families.
Meredith FriedmanExecutive Assistant
Meet Rebecca (Becca) Hirschmann!
Becca is excited to join JCDSRI for her first year as the Head Ilanot (4-year-old) teacher! She holds a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Literacy. Prior to teaching at JCDSRI, Becca taught in classrooms for children ages 6 weeks – 3 years old.
In her spare time, Becca enjoys singing! She is really looking forward to making strong, long-lasting connections with the JCDSRI community, the children, and their families.
Rebecca HirschmannGeneral Studies - Ilanot (4s)
Meet Hillary Guttin!
Hillary is excited to return to JCDSRI for her sixth year. She is the 4th and 5th grade Judaic Studies teacher as well as the T’fillah (prayer) coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Brandeis University. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Hillary taught at camps and Hebrew schools. Additionally, Hillary was a development associate at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island for three years. Every year Hillary looks forward to observing as her students grow and change throughout the year. She also looks forward to finding out what she will learn from each and every student.
In her free time, Hillary is a musician and she is a skilled beatbox-er! She participated in collegiate a capella and honed her beatboxing skills there.
Hillary GuttinJudaic Studies - 4th and 5th Grade; T'fillah (Prayer) Coordinator
Meet Rina Holtzman!
Rina is excited to return to JCDSRI for her third year as a Hebrew teacher though she has been part of the broader JCDSRI community for many years. She holds a B.A. in Hebrew and Judaica from Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew University in Israel. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Rina taught Hebrew, Bible studies, Siddur (prayer skills) and weekly Torah stories at Providence Hebrew Day School, Striar Academy, and Temple Emanu-El in Providence. Every year, Rina looks forward to getting to know her students and speaking conversational Hebrew with them. Rina really loves getting to connect with the neshama (soul) of each child as she teaches and learns from them.
In her free time, Rina loves baking, singing t’filot (prayers) and Israeli songs, and needlepoint.
Rina HoltzmanHebrew - 3rd and 5th Grade
Meet Andrea Katzman!
Andrea is excited to return to JCDSRI for her fifteenth year, and her fourth as Head of School. Andrea earned both her BA and MA from the University of Kansas and immediately after finishing graduate school, lived in Jerusalem for a year where she coordinated a Jewish feminist project and directed an English Language learning program for Ethiopian immigrants.
In 1999, Andrea and her family moved to Providence and a few years later, she began teaching Pre-K at JCDSRI. Andrea has also served as a private educational consultant and taught in the Education Department of Rhode Island College and in the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College. In 2009-10, Andrea and her family lived in Rishon LeZion, Israel, during which time she co-wrote and published her first book, Purple Leaves, Red Cherries: Short Stories on Motherhood.
Andrea is grateful to be Head of School at JCDSRI and – together with her students and colleagues at JCDSRI – spends her days building community and practicing kavod (respect), hesed (kindness), and shalom (peace). She has an extensive snow-globe collection and regularly perpetrates acts of “guerilla gardening”. Andrea and her husband, Steve Jacobson, have two college-age daughters, both of whom are proud graduates of JCDSRI!
Andrea KatzmanHead of School
Meet Harshita Lakhiani!
Harshita is excited to return to JCDSRI for her twenty-third year, first as the Business Manager and now as the Chief Financial Officer. She holds a Bachelors in Economics and Accounting from H.R. College of Commerce in India. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Harshita worked with a stockbroker in India. Every year, she looks forward to the fifth-grade graduation as she sees students, whom she has known since pre – kindergarten, all grown up and ready for middle school!
In her free time, Harshita loves gardening and cooking.
Harshita LakhianiChief Financial Officer
Born and raised in Warwick, RI, Lauren (Coletta) Louth loves being a nurse. She graduated RIC in 2000 after receiving a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree and then again in 2007 with a Master’s degree in Health Education. During this time, she also obtained her license as a Certified School Nurse Teacher. She began her career in the medical field in 1997 at Rhode Island Hospital as an X-Ray Tech Associate, working her way up to becoming a Registered Nurse. After graduating college she worked in a trauma/burn unit for 5 years. She then continued to follow her dream to become a Level 1 Trauma Nurse in the Emergency Department. She also practiced as a Certified School Nurse Teacher, beginning in 2002 for the Providence School Department, and has been enjoying every day since. When Lauren is not at work, she is busy caring for her 6-year-old daughter Julia and 3-year-old son James. Lauren, her husband Jim and their children reside in Warwick.
Lauren LouthSchool Nurse
Meet Heidi Mace!
Heidi is in her first year as the Nitzanim (3-year-old) teacher here at JCDSRI! She has a degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Johnson and Wales University, and is also a Certified Preschool Teacher. Heidi is also certified in CPR and First Aid. In the past, Heidi has worked as a Travel Agent, Corporate Travel Consultant, Payroll Account Manager, and as a Sales and Design Associate at The Container Store, and she finally found her passion in teaching preschool 13 years ago. She has really enjoyed meeting all the wonderful families that come through our doors and can’t wait to be part of such a positive and loving environment here at JCDSRI!
Heidi has always had a passion for travel. She truly enjoys drawing and being creative, a gift passed down from her grandmother. Most importantly, Heidi enjoys spending quality time with her four children and husband.
Heidi MaceAssistant Teacher - Nitzanim (3s)
Rhonda MillsJudaic Studies - 2nd and 3rd Grade; Director of Judaic Studies
Meet Laurie Noorparvar!
Laurie is excited to return to JCDSRI for her fourteenth year as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. She holds a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Laurie has taught since 1989 in different school settings. Every year, Laurie looks forward to the first day of school! She can’t wait to see the children in the classroom and watch them navigate their new and exciting environment.
In her free time, Laurie loves exploring new areas of interest for her pre-k students. She enjoys reading, taking walks, cooking/baking, finding new craft projects and recipes on Pinterest, and seeing her neighborhood’s landscaping.
Laurie NoorparvarJudaic Studies - Pre-Kindergarten
Meet Ben Rome!
Ben is excited to return to JCDSRI for his second year as the 3rd grade General Studies teacher and art teacher for the upper grades. Ben studied Elementary and Exceptional Students Education at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Ben worked as an experiential educator on a sailboat, served for Commonwealth Corps in New Bedford, Massachusetts and worked at a science research reserve with protected sea turtles. Every year, Ben loves seeing how much his students’ faces change from day to day as they mature (or lose teeth!).
In his free time, Ben likes to keep moving: biking, sailing, cooking, hiking, drinking coffee–all the typical millennial stuff!
Ben RomeGeneral Studies - 3rd Grade; Gym Teacher
Meet Erika Rusley!
Erika is excited to return to JCDSRI for her third year as the 4th-grade General Studies teacher. She will also be taking on a new role as Technology Coordinator this year. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Colby College and an M.A.T. from Boston University in English Education. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Erika has held several different positions in the field of education. She taught English-Language Arts in a variety of school settings (public, independent, charter, online), served as elementary school special education support staff and was part of the Teach for America Teacher Development Partnership. Erika was also the Co-Director of Breakthrough Providence. She continues to work as an Instructor and Coach for new teachers at Johns Hopkins University. Every year, Erika looks forward to spending every day with amazing students and wonderful colleagues.
In her free time, Erika loves to jog, especially when she sees friends from the JCDSRI community enjoying the great outdoors on her running route!
Erika RusleyGeneral Studies - 4th Grade; Tzedek (Justice) and Educational Technology Coordinator
Meet Marissa Salvas!
Marissa is excited to return to JCDSRI for her second year as the 5th grade General Studies teacher. This year she will also serve as the school librarian. Marissa studied wildlife biology in the Blue Ridge Mountains and took care of injured wildlife including hawks, owls, squirrels, and songbirds. She then came home to study elementary education to combine her love of science and education. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Lees McRae College in North Carolina and an M.A.T. in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Marissa was a librarian, taught at an Audubon summer camp and worked at the Rhode Island STEAM Center helping science educators across Rhode Island and promoting women in STEM fields. Every year Marissa enjoys getting to know her students and learning about the Jewish traditions.
In her free time, Marissa is writing a book!
Marissa SalvasGeneral Studies - 5th Grade; Librarian
Tiferet Sassona Rose
Meet Tiferet Rose!
Tiferet is excited to return to JCDSRI for her fourth year as Director of TikkunXDesign – JCDSRI’s Design Lab. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Barnard College, an M.P.S. in Environmental Interpretation from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Masters in Science Education from Syracuse University. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Tiferet taught middle school science at a charter school in Syracuse, N.Y. Every year, Tiferet looks forward to putting together and executing JCDSRI’s STEAM Splash: our annual week-long school-wide science festival.
In her free time, Tiferet loves making soap and growing lots of vegetables (especially garlic)!
Tiferet Sassona RoseDirector of TikkunXDesign
Meet Sarah Shay-Davidson!
Sarah is excited to return to JCDSRI for her seventh year. She is the 1st grade Judaic Studies teacher as well as the art teacher for the lower grades. Additionally, Sarah serves as the Haggim (Jewish holiday) Coordinator. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design as well as a certificate for teaching students with special needs from Hebrew College. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Sarah taught Hebrew for 7 years at Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood, Massachusetts (formally known as South Area Solomon Schechter). Every year Sarah looks forward to the moment when the whole community comes together on the first day of school. She cannot wait to see everyone again!
In her free time, Sarah loves to swim and her superpower is re-purposing furniture with her husband.
Sarah Shay-DavidsonJudaic Studies - 1st Grade; Hebrew and Judaic Studies Support Provider
Meet Chris Southiere!
Chris is excited to return to JCDSRI for his fourth year! He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Chris worked as a professional musician, an occupation he continues when he is not at school. He is the drummer for a band called Soulsha that tours around the country. Every year, Chris looks forward observing each student’s growth throughout the school year and he loves getting to see each student’s personality come through in different ways during recess and lunch.
In his free time, when he is not playing music, Chris loves to play soccer.
Chris SouthiereMusic Teacher; Literacy Support Provider
Meet Sue Sugerman!
Sue is excited to return to JCDSRI for her seventeenth year at JCDSRI! She has played many important roles at school including classroom teacher, AISNE coordinator, scheduler, yearbook coordinator and physical education teacher. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Rhode Island and an M.A. in Counseling from Rhode Island College. Prior to working at JCDSRI, she taught, and continues to teach Physical Education at Providence Hebrew Day School. Every year, Sue looks forward to creating new games and activities for her classes. She also kvells when students work hard at a new skill and improve throughout the year.
In her free time, she loves playing Scrabble, doing word games and puzzles and spending as much time as possible with her family. During the summer, she enjoys listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore in Narragansett.
Susan SugermanAssistant Teacher - Ilanot (4s); Early Childhood Gym Teacher
Meet Alison Walter!
Alison is excited to return to JCDSRI for her seventh year as Director of Development. She is also the proud parent of a 5th grader and two JCDSRI graduates. Alison holds a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland as well as a Masters of Jewish Studies and Certificate of Jewish Communal Work from Hebrew University. Prior to working at JCDSRI, Alison was the Director of Development at MetroWest Jewish Day School and Women’s Philanthropy at CJP Boston. Every year Alison looks forward to watching the students mature into amazing leaders. She also loved having morning assembly right outside of her office.
In her free time, Alison loves taking people to Israel. For the past few summers she has helped facilitate a trip of 10 moms from Rhode Island to visit Israel for 10 days!