// bjd added @ prefix to references to ID to suppress php warnings spamming error log


Gan Avraham Director

Meet Rachel

Rachel is happy to be part of the TBA family. She has been working in Jewish Early Childhood Education for 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in ECE from American Jewish University. Rachel has a passion for community building starting with our youngest community members and their families. She feels at home here as a lifelong learner and enjoys learning alongside the children. Rachel lives in San Leandro with her husband and two teenagers. In her spare time enjoys adventures with her family, art, and hiking.

Gan Avraham Teaching Faculty

Meet Amanda

Amanda has worked at Gan Avraham since Fall 2017. She has a B.A. in Child Development from Mills College and loves teaching preschool. Amanda also has a graduate certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education from Gratz College in PA. Amanda’s main goals in the classroom are relationship building and helping children and families develop a positive Jewish identity. Amanda lives in Vallejo, CA with her husband, Chuck. They have two tripod dogs, Mort & Felix, and a kitty cat, Popo.  On her weekends and time off, Amanda enjoys traveling, the beach, photography, and visiting old cemeteries.

Meet Ann

Ann is a Bay Area native. She is a proud Cal alum (Go Bears!). This is her 13th year teaching at Gan Avraham. In that time, she has seen lots of changes at TBA, but has always felt warmly welcomed into the community. This summer, she and her husband, John, completed a remodel project on their house in Temescal. They are loving cooking in their new kitchen and spending time with their dog, Gracie, out in the backyard. 

Meet Chrissy

Christina Darden has worked with children for the past 10 years. She particularly loves working with 2-year-olds because their minds are fresh and full of wonder.  She believes that every child has the ability to learn and as a teacher it is her responsibility to encourage and foster curiosity and critical thinking. Her favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It is a book she read to her daughter when she was little. 

Meet Josh

Josh has been a Jewish early childhood educator since 2000. He has been a teacher most of his adult life in one form or another including working as a sailing instructor, outdoor educator, team building instructor, and music teacher. He has worked with all preschool ages and is also the Gan’s music teacher. He lives in Kensington where he teaches guitar and ukulele lessons. Josh enjoys woodworking and carpentry, sailing, baking, and playing music. 

Meet Lauren

Lauren has worked at Gan Avraham for almost 5 years and one summer in 1988! She has a BA in Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development from UC Santa Cruz. She has also studied early childhood education at Merritt College. She especially loves sharing children’s literature with kids. She lives in Alameda with her husband and two cats. During her time off she likes long walks, playing mahjong and doing yoga.

Meet Tristan

Tristan has worked at Gan Avraham since February 2019. Prior to that she taught at Yellow House Play School in Oakland for 5 years. Tristan earned her units in early childhood education from Merritt College. She worked as a parent-teacher for two years while her son attended preschool at Montclair Community Play Center. She continued facilitating the Toddler Time class there for an additional two years. Tristan’s focus in the classroom is to explore and celebrate the Jewish faith, and to provide her students with the social emotional tools needed to navigate relationships and academia. Tristan lives in Oakland with her husband and their son, Elias.  Some of her favorite things to do are reading books, listening to music and going on adventures!

Meet Molly

Molly is in her third year teaching in the Kitah Alef class at Gan. Before this, she spent years working with children in the Gan in various capacities. Marta, her mom, was a teacher for 18 years and later the co-director of the Gan: she has deep roots in the community and TBA has been her beloved community for a large portion of her life. She received her early childhood education credits from Merritt and Chabot college after realizing studying political science at American University in D.C. wasn’t her jam. She believes early childhood development work is her calling and approaches each day as full of possibilities for learning and growth. She treasures the relationships she has the opportunity to build with children and families through this work. She speaks English and Spanish. She has a nephew named James in the third grade (Gan alum), who she co-parents alongside her parents. They all live in Oakland with their little white dog, Luna.

Meet Tina

Tina Shaffer has taught children for sixteen years, and this is her second year at the Gan. She received her early childhood education at Cuesta College of San Luis Obispo. Native to California, she enjoys bringing nature into the curriculum with art and exploration. She is also a certified yoga teacher. It brings her such happiness to see children move and breathe with intention and a cultivating awareness. Through the play of children is where the learning begins!

Meet Chandelle

Chandelle has been a preschool teacher in Oakland for over 20 years. She has a BFA in art and loves to make art with the children. She lives in Oakland with her husband and their son. In her spare time, Chandelle loves hiking up in Redwood park with her dogs, working in her garden, and working with clay. She studied Early Childhood Education at Merritt College and has also been trained as a Montessori Teacher.