Early Childhood Center Staff

The warm and nurturing staff at the GHC Early Childhood Center is well educated, with extensive experience working with young children.  Each head teacher has years of teaching in the field of early childhood education.  The primary concern of every staff member is to meet the needs of each individual child. Frequent communication between school and home is crucial to your child’s success in nursery school and formal conferences with parents are scheduled twice during the school year as well.  The staff stays current with new developments in education by attending Early Childhood workshops every year.  All teachers are certified by the American Heart Association in Adult, Child and Infant CPR and First Aid.


Amy Kessler:  Amy Kessler has joined the Greenburgh Hebrew Center Early Childhood Center team in the capacity of Director in 2015.  Amy is a licensed social worker and educator with an M.S.W. from Hunter College and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Purchase. She has taught young children in a synagogue religious school setting for 14 years and has served as a Director and Assistant Director of a day care center in Scarsdale. She lives in Dobbs Ferry with her husband and two children.

Laurie Leibowitz:  This is Laurie's seventeenth year at GHC ECC.  Laurie has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and is certified in both Early Childhood and Special Education.  She has always loved working with children.  She especially enjoys teaching preschoolers because of their enthusiasm, curiosity, and eagerness to learn.

Helene Stahl:  This is Helene's twenty-first year at GHC ECC.  Helene has a BA in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Education.  She substitute taught in the Dobbs Ferry school district before joining the staff at GHC ECC, where she enjoys working with the children.

Tara Rubeo:
  This is Tara's 7th year at GHC ECC.  Tara has a BS in Child  Psychology with a minor in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Tara's extensive teaching experience and Teaching Certification is invaluable to our Early Education program. Tara enjoys working with preschoolers the most, and finds it extremely rewarding.  For Tara, watching the 4 year olds grow and learn throughout the year is a joy!

Debra Neustadter:  Debi has been teaching three year olds for the past 28 years, including 18 years at a local Jewish nursery school.  This is her second year at Greenburgh Hebrew Center as Head Teacher of our Threes. 

Debi grew up in Manhattan and is the oldest of four children. Debi attended Syracuse University for her Bachelor of Arts, and then worked as a dress designer.  Debi and her husband Steven have been married for 36 years and have 2 grown daughters.  When her own girls left nursery school, Debi returned to work.  She began as an assistant teacher, found she loved it and returned to school for her Masters degree in Education at Iona College. 

Besides spending time with her family, Debi loves playing mah jongg, going to theater, movies and museums, and being part of book groups.


Ethie Steinfeld: A native New Yorker, Ethie grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, attending PS.6 and Barnard School for Girls. She has been living in the Rivertowns for the past thirty years, where she has raised her two daughters, both of whom are elementary school teachers. Ethie has fourteen years of teaching experience, primarily in prestigious Manhattan temple nursery schools, teaching four and five year olds. She earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Hunter College and her undergraduate degree from Boston University’s School of Education, cum laude. Ethie holds permanent certification in Pre-K through 6th grade as well as in School Counseling.

Ethie believes that early childhood is an important time in a child’s life, when he/she develops self esteem, and explores and discovers the world in which the child lives. It sets the foundation for life-long learning - socially, intellectually and cognitively. Ethie understands that children learn by using their senses, interacting with their peers, asking questions, engaging with their immediate environment and expressing themselves in a variety of ways. She has a passion for teaching young children and believes that it is of upmost importance to support and facilitate the learning styles of all children. As a teacher, Ethie begins with an assessment of each student, to sense the strengths and the kinds of methods most appropriate for that student. She believes that finding the right approach is key to a child’s success.

In addition to teaching children, Ethie enjoys working with children as a camp counselor in a private camp in Manhattan, planning and supervising activities and projects relating to the theme of the week, working as apart of a team with an Assistant and CIT, guiding the campers during special activities, and communicating regularly with families in order to work in partnership with them. Ethie loves creating art projects, going to museums, listening to music, and going dancing. In her spare time, Ethie enjoys spending time with her fifteen month old grandson. Ethie is very excited to be teaching at the GHC ECC, in the community in which she lives.