Mandi Warner Youth & Family Director
This is Mandi’s seventh school year as the Director of Early Childhood Education at Beth El. She began her career in early childhood education back in 2003 when she graduated with her undergrad in Elementary Education and a minor in Social Studies from Fredonia State University. Mandi worked at a Preschool in Victor, and then moved on to the JCC of Greater Rochester when she received her Masters’ Degree in Literacy Education (birth-6th grade certification). Mandi fell in love with teaching early childhood Jewish Education while at the JCC, she realized that that was her passion. While she was there, back in 2011, Mandi had her son, Brayden. When Brayden went to kindergarten, and after ten years there, Mandi realized that she wanted to do more with her career. Temple Beth El has been the absolute perfect fit. Keshet is by far the warmest preschool Mandi could have ever imagined. She has always believed that children learn best when they feel good about themselves, and she bring that philosophy to Keshet every day.
Lori Donnelly Youth & Family Assistant Director
Lori Donnelly is a lifelong resident of Rochester. She attended St. John Fisher College for her undergraduate work, and then earned a Master’s degree from Nazareth College in Elementary and Special Education. Lori has two amazing daughters, ages 18 and 23, who are the light of her life! She has loved being in the early education field for the last 13 years, both as a Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten educator.
Elise is starting her 6th year at Keshet. She has 17 years experience in early child care. She has a 12 year old daughter and a son who would have turned 7 this year. She enjoys cooking and crafts, and spending time with her family. She loves working with young kids and watching their faces light up with each new experience. She’s so excited for this new school year!
Melinda has been teaching in the Rochester area since 1989. Before coming to Keshet she taught in Elementary Schools in the Rochester area and spent 8 years teaching Preschool at the JCC. She has worked at TBE for 21 years and at Keshet for 11. Along with Gan Gadol she teaches 1st grade in our Limmud Youth Education Program and was the youth group leader for Halutzim for five years. Melinda has a B.A. in Political Science and Law and Society from SUNY Binghamton. She holds an M.S. in Elementary Education with Permanent Certification for Preschool through sixth grade from Nazareth College of Rochester. She has spent her summers working at the RMSC, Sisol and Camp Keshet.
Marcy Worden has been teaching in Rochester in an integrated preschool setting for many, many years. She has a Masters in Special Education from Nazareth College. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids. She enjoys musicals, traveling, and walking her dog. She loves teaching kids and showing them the world around them.
This is Kelly’s 2nd year teaching at Keshet. She has 2 kids, Hayden, her daughter is 9yr and Christopher is 5 both attend Fairport. Kelly enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, movies and the outdoors. Kelly is excited to have such a fun year filled with lots of learning and new adventures. She can’t wait to see/ meet you all!!
This is Olivia’s first year teaching at Keshet! She graduated in 2021 from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in psychology. She has had many years of both professional and personal experience working with young children. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, listening to music, and spending time we her French Bulldog, Milo. She is looking forward to watching her students grow and learn new things throughout the school year!
Jodi began her career back in 1985 when she took an assistant teaching position downstate at Lederle’s Little Lads ‘n Lassies. This motivated her to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration at Wheelock College in Massachusetts. Stopping along the way to get married, complete her BS degree and gain teaching experience at The Harvard Medical Area Children’s Center, SUNY Health Science Day Care Center and Nurturing World Child Care Center.
Her husband’s training brought them to Rochester where she started as the infant teacher at The Growing Place Child Care Center and shortly after moved into the directorship.
Jodi chose to leave the work force with the birth of her first child. During her time at home, she took an active role in Pittsford’s PTSA serving as a kindergarten and 1st grade Art Ambassador liaison as well as the Middle School Book Fair chair. She ran the Cub Scout Popcorn sale, coached Odyssey of the Mind, and in between, served as St. Luke’s Hill Nursery School’s lead teacher and director.
Missing teaching, Jodi joined the Keshet Gan Katan staff in 2014. Recruited away by PUNS, she went on to teach primarily their 2 year old and enrichment (literature and science) programs. Unfortunately, these programs were put on hold during the pandemic.
So, Jodi chose to market herself as a travelling teacher/nanny where she had had the honor of working with 2 wonderful families, a total of 7 children, over the past 2 years. Missing Keshet and eager to return to the classroom, she contacted Mandi.
Jodi is married with 2 adult children. Greg is a medical student and Sami is completing her Art Education degree at Nazareth College.
Beth is originally from Syracuse NY. She has been living in Rochester for 22 years. Beth currently lives in Fairport with her 2 boys Jarryd (18) and Danyiel (14) who both attend Fairport Schools. Beth taught in the public school system for 30 years. Her roles included Elementary Classroom Teacher, Special Ed Teacher & Literacy Specialist. She serves on a parent committee for the school of Jewish Life & Learning (SJLL). Beth’s interest include tennis, theater, golf, scrapbooking & Pilates. She enjoys spending quality time with her boys and attending their extra-curricular activities. Beth loves working with young children, and this is her second year teaching at Keshet!
This year will be Jamie’s first year as one of Keshet’s Morahs, but she is familiar with many of the children through subbing and camp since 2021! She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in May of 2022 with a BS in Sociology and two minors: American History and Museum Studies. Jamie found her love of teaching and childcare through her work study job at Pitt in the University Child Development Center working with children from 4 months to 4 years old. She can’t wait to meet this year’s Keshet friends and is looking forward to exploring and learning together!
Naomi is a certified school psychologist, parent of two boys and former Keshet parent who is thrilled to be working at Keshet this fall. She is eager to bring her experience in language/child/social emotional development, behavior to your kiddos. Naomi loves to play, sing, be creative and have fun. She has a song for every activity! Her particular passion is reading with kids. There’s so much to learn through picture books!