Our Staff


Ms. Kristin Ziegler serves as CJDS principal. Kristin has 14 years of educational experience including serving as a classroom teacher and for the past nine years as an administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science, master’s degree in education, and an advanced educational specialist certification in principalship. Kristin found and led the School of Zoological and Botanical Studies known as ZooBot for nine years. She was the Magnet Schools of America Teacher of the Year Representative for Richland School District Two 2018/2019, Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District State Teacher of the Year 2017, and Teacher of the Year, Longleaf Middle School 2015-2016. Kristin also has expertise in Project Based Learning which aligns well with our school’s educational approach. She is also Nationally Board Certified and has a Gifted and Talented Endorsement.

Ms. Billie Green Smith serves as the early childhood curriculum specialist. Ms. Billie began her journey at CJDS approximately 15 years ago when her grandson enrolled here in kindergarten. In 2016, she began substituting at CJDS after retiring from her career at South Carolina Department of Social Services. Ms. Billie has served as a teacher at our school (and others as well as being the director of a large preschool in Chicago). We are thrilled that Ms. Billie will take a school wide leadership role.

Infant Class – Hebrew Name – T’Nokeya (Colloquialism for young child)

Ms. UD will be teaching her 8th year at CJDS and has over 25 years of experience teaching! She has a master’s degree in counseling and is now working on her doctoral degree in early childhood. Over the past years, Ms. UD has cared for infants and toddlers in private preschool programs and for five years at USC Children’s Center. Ms. UD is known for her vast knowledge of infant development and her meticulous care for each child.

Ms. Sonfya Avsyukhas a degree in psychology. She has worked with young children for the past four years. Like last year, she will once again team with Ms. Ud to serve our youngest children. Sonya known for her nurturing disposition and interactions with the infants.

One-Year-Old Class – Hebrew Name – Zereh – Seeds

Ms. Hannah Hite will start her 4thyear teaching the one-year-olds. Ms. Hannah had a great two years at CJDS where she loved and educated the children in her class. We look forward to another great year in the one-year-old class.

Ms. Joy Cameron holds a four year degree in education. She has taught at many preschools including USC Children’s Center. She has subbed with us for four years and we are excited to welcome her as a full time staff member.

Two-Year-Old Class – Hebrew Class Name – Shoresh – Roots

Ms. Sharny Barhydt holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She started her career by teaching at Burton Pack Elementary School and at the Main Street UMC Child Development Center. Ms. Sharny has taught at CJDS for the past 11 years. In these years Ms. Sharny has gained the reputation of being a great educator and is known for her loving manner.

Ms. Maggie Cornely will start her 4thyear teaching the one-year-olds and fourth year at CJDS. Ms. Maggie has served as a first-grade teacher, has worked at Hammond School with international students and has interned at the USC Children’s Center. The families of her students love Ms. Maggie.

Three-Year-Old Class – Hebrew Name – Nevet – Sprouts

Ms. Shalome Mangan (who goes by Ms. Sha’) has a four year degree in early childhood education and is working on her master’s degree. Ms. Sha’ has 23 years of experience in the early childhood field. Ms. Sha’ has worked as a lead teacher, assistant teacher, and at Edventure Museum. We look forward to another great year in Ms. Sha’s class.

Ms. Aubrey Sizemore will work with Ms. Sha’. Ms. Aubrey will start her 3rdyear at CJDS. She holds an AA degree in early childhood education. Ms. Aubrey is a loving teacher who goes the extra mile to communicate with each family and care for each child.

Three-Year-Old Class – Hebrew Name – Giv’all – Stems

Ms. Claire Beacraft will return for her 3rdyear at CJDSMs. Claire has a degree in education and is a registered nurse. Claire taught for three years as lead kindergarten teacher in Harmony School. She also has informal education experience working at the Jewish Community Center, Beth Shalom synagogue, and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Her medical career had her working at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, Palmetto Health Baptist and as an emergency medical technician in Brevard County.

Ms. Deborah Glass holds a bachelor’s degree from USC in early childhood education with a gifted and talented certificate. Ms. Deborah is a military veteran and fluent speaker of Mandarin. Deborah will start her third year at CJDS. We are excited for Ms. Deborah and Ms. Tiffayne to team together to bring the best for each child.

Three-Year-Old Class – Hebrew Name – Alva – Leaves

Ms. Brianna Jenkins holds a degree in early childhood from the University of South Carolina and was named the early childhood senior of the year. Brianna spent the past semester as a student intern with Ms. Becky. Becky was so impressed with her engagement with children, nurturing manner and her philosophy matched CJDS. We are excited that MS. Brianna will team with Ms. Tiffayne.

Ms. Tiffayne Morris holds an AA degree in early childhood education and has thirteen years of teaching experience. For the past eight Ms. Tiffayne has worked at CJDS. Ms. Tiffayne is a highly requested teacher, as she is known for her warmth towards each child and family.

Four-Year-Old Class- Hebrew Name – Tzemach – Plants

Sarah Banks Tapp holds a degree in early childhood from the University of South Carolina. Sarah Banks graduated Summa Cum Laude and appeared on the President’s and Dean’s multiple semesters. She has worked with young children in camp settings and in her internships in Irmo Elementary School and Rosewood Elementary School. We are excited for Sarah Banks to start her second year at CJDS.

Lindsey Fedder holds a four year degree from USC. She has worked at CJDS for three years and has experience working as a shadow for children with special needs. Families have commented on Lindsey’s loving nature, calm disposition, and work ethic. We are thrilled that Lindsey will join us full time at CJDS and look forward to her teaming with Ms. Sara Banks.

Preschool Torah Teachers

Morah Devorah and Morah Sarit will again be working with the children in the areas of Judaism and Hebrew. Morah Devorah leads the preschool Torah team and has been with the school for twelve years.

Hamorah Sarit is from Israel and has a teaching certificate from Amal Technical College in Petach-Tikva, Israel. For four years Sarit taught at a preschool in Florida. Sarit is an amazing preschool teacher and also does a great job working with some of Morah Vered’s classes. Both of these Judaic and Hebrew experts not only do a great job in their classrooms but add to the Jewish ethos of the entire school.


Ms. Becky Lourie will be teaching her 19th year at CJDS and has about 30 years of experience teaching! She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood from USC. Becky taught 2nd grade for 14 years before coming to our school and at CJDS has taught K3, K4, and is now teaching kindergarten for her 10thyear. Ms. Becky is known for her knowledge of kindergarten standards and her relaxed, nurturing disposition. Ms. Becky assistant will be announced in a future letter.

Ms. Vernetta Fogle will assist Ms. Becky. Ms. Vernetta will begin her 11thyear at CJDS. She holds a master’s degree in physical education and has a wealth of experiences working with young children in many different settings. Ms. Vernetta is known as a brilliant educator! Her nurturing disposition and organization is a blessing to CJDS.

First Grade

Ms. Jill Allawos will start her second year at CJDS. Jill has spent 35 years teaching in the public-school system of South Carolina. During those years, she has experience teaching grades 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and adults. She has a BA in elementary education from the University of South Carolina, and a MED from Southern Wesleyan University. She holds teaching certifications in elementary and middle school, in addition to an endorsement in gifted and talented education.  Jill also enjoys spending time with her family and her Shih Tzu mix rescue dog, Fred.

Second Grade

Ms. Karen will start her 3rdyear teaching second grade. She holds a degree in elementary education and is certified in early childhood along with “gifted and talented” certification. Karen has 12 years of teaching experience in second through fourth grade. Karen served as a mentor teacher in RSD1 and has expertise in classroom technology. Karen’s past principal stated, “Without a doubt the most caring and nurturing teacher I ever worked with.”

Third Grade

Ms. Valerie Hoyt has been at CJDS for 12 years. She has a doctorate from USC. Ms. Valerie brings her passion for environmentalism, her love for children, and her wonderful creativity to her classroom.  Ms. Valerie has developed and led many school wide projects, including the Star Store recycling project, a school wide mail service and most recently led a mock trial.

Fourth and Fifth Grade

Ms. Robin Lourie will start her third year as the fourth and fifth grade social studies and language arts teacher. Robin holds a degree from University of Georgia. She has 15 years teaching experience and has been a national board-certified teacher for the past 10 years. Ms. Robin had a great first year at CJDS and we are excited for this upcoming school year.

Ms. Melanie Pace will start her third year as the math and science teacher. Melanie holds a degree in elementary education with a love for mathematics. Ms. Melanie did a wonderful job in her first year and we look forward to another great year.


Hamorah Vered has been teaching Hebrew to CJDS students (K-5) for 16years.  She was born and raised in Israel, has Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Computer Science, and is currently working on her a Master’s degree in Contemporary Jewish Studies.  Hamorah Vered uses the Tal-Am curriculum which is based on the notion that the best learning environment for children is one in which knowledge is acquired through immersion and a variety of multi-sensory activities.  Students are encouraged to develop independent learning skills as well as a lifelong love of Jewish study.


Rabbi Hershel and HaMorah Pesha begin their fourth year teaching the elementary school Torah (Judaic subjects). Morah Pesha grew up in Toronto and Rabbi Hershel is from Wisconsin. Prior to teaching at CJDS they served as co-directors of Teen and Young Adult programming in Dayton, Ohio. Morah Pesha has taught in locations including New York, Ontario, and Finland.

The Caring Team

Ms. Sinkler is in her 15thyear at CJDS. Ms. Sinkler cares for the preschool children in after care till late in the afternoon. She has a love for gardening which is shared with the children.

Ms. Linda Jacobs is in her 6thyear at CJDS. Ms. Linda cares for children in pre-care and helps with preschool classes. She is known for her love and organizational skills.

Ms. Ashley will care for preschool children in the afternoon. Ashley returns for her second year at CJDS. We look forward to her continued good work.

Ms. Lisa Aiken will join our school as a full time floater working with preschool children.

Ms. Lynn Cassidy returns for her 2ndyear at CJDS working with elementary after care.

Ms. Lilly Coveney returns as a preschool after care provider. Lilly holds the distinction of being a CJDS graduate!

USC students that will help care for children in the late afternoon include Ms. Avery, Kaitlyn and Tori.

Ms. Tracy Moore and Ms. Evelyn Gaton will serve as regular substitutes.