Ganon Gil – Teacher Bios

Meet Our Staff!

Kowit Lori120Lori Kowit
Director of Early Childhood Education

Lori earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati. Since graduating, Lori has earned a Childcare Administrative Award and an Early Childhood Literacy Mentoring Award from Cuyahoga County Community College. Before becoming the Director of Ganon Gil Preschool, Lori worked as a preschool teacher, director of a corporate childcare program, and consultant to several local childcare programs. Lori currently serves as the First Vice-President on the National Board of ECE-RJ (Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism) and she was past Vice-President of Membership and the local Conference Chair for the ECE-RJ 2009 conference “ECE-RJ Rocks the Arts with Ruach Cleveland, Ohio”.

Lori believes that: “We, as Early Childhood Educators, need to create a learning environment that is developmentally age-appropriate and stimulates the growing minds of young children.”

Lori is married to David (a Ganon Gil graduate) and has two daughters who are Ganon Gil graduates.




Wilkov Erica120Erica Wilkov
Assistant Director of Early Childhood

Erica Wilkov holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Exceptional Educational Needs and Learning Disabilities. She has taught preschool-aged children on and off for the past 25 years. Her experience spans both private preschools and the public school system, having taught for six years in the Clark County, Nevada, school system. Erica is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Erica is married and has two school-aged children Abigail (14) and Madelyn (12), both whom graduated from Ganon Gil Preschool.



Kusner Debbie120Debbie Kusner
School & Educational Coordinator

Debbie (a Ganon Gil graduate) has worked in Early Childhood Education since graduating from The Ohio State University in 1987, with a degree in Human Ecology. Debbie was a Pre-K teacher for 5 years at Ganon Gil before leaving in 2011 to help open and run The Creative Learning Academy Preschool for Autism at The Galvin Therapy Center. Prior to that, she also put together her own program for Pre-schoolers called PHD (Physical Health Development), a music and movement program for preschool aged children, she taught at True Sisters Childcare and Park Nursery School. Debbie believes in early intervention to assure that each child has the best beginning to education and learning as possible.


Our Morot (Hebrew for “Teacher”)

Jones Shelia120

Sheila Jones- (Infant Room)

Sheila has been working in the early childhood field since 1998. In 2005, She was awarded a Child Development Associates (CDA), a certificate in Infant Care Excellence from KinderCare. She has also received a certification of completion in Teaching Technique from the Leadership Institute. Sheila is currently enrolled in the University of Cincinnati’s Early Childhood Distance Learning program. Sheila was named Ganon Gil Teacher of the Year in 2015. Sheila is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Sheila and her Husband Greg have 3 children and 6 Grandchildren! She grew up in a large family, and is the 4th oldest of 8. Sheila likes to meditate, read books, and write children’s stories and poetry in her spare time. She is a seamstress, wedding dress designer, wedding coordinator and caters!

Sheila believes that she creates a loving, caring and wonderful environment where children learn, laugh, play and grow.



dwilaDwila McAdams – (Infant Room)

Dwila holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Cuyahoga Community College. She has taught preschool aged children for the past 26 years. She was awarded a Child Development Associates Certificate (CDA) in 1993. She became a CDA Adviser/Trainer in 1995. Her experience spans both public and private preschool programs. Dwila is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ) and the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAYEC).



Patpatricerice Culpepper-Wilson – (Infant Room)

Patrice has been working with children since 1998. She began her career in the Cleveland Public Schools working with children of different ages for 12 years. She worked for an agency as a Pre-school assistant before starting with Ganon Gil in August 2016. Patrice received her CDA in 2014 and she is currently continuing her education. Patrice is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Patrice is a newlywed she was married in 2014. Patrice and her husband Brian live in Bedford Heights.


Cala Shana120Shana Cala- (Infant Room)

Shana has been working with children since 2007, both as a child care provider and in the behavioral health field. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University. Shana loves working with children and enjoys being a part of their growth and development. Shana is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Shana and her husband, Jim, live in South Euclid with their 2 children, Anna and William, and their dog, Harry. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, doing outdoor activities and visiting with extended family.


Baskind Hayley120Hayley Baskind – (Toddler 1 Room)

Hayley has been working in early childhood since 2002. She joined the Ganon Gil team in December 2014 and joined the infant room staff for a 1 year. She left Ganon Gil for a short time and in September 2016 she re-joined the staff at as teacher in the Toddler 1 Room. Hayley is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

She and her husband Scott were married in 1996, they have 3 children; Josh, Jason and Hannah (a Ganon Gil Graduate), and a Dachshund named, Buckeye. Hayley is an avid reader and a big sports fan.


Binkofsky Wendy120Wendy Binkofsky- (Toddler 1 Room)

Wendy has been working in the early childhood field since 1986! She was a Toddler teacher at True Sisters Early Childhood Center for 23 years. Wendy was awarded a Child Developments Associates (CDA) – Infant & Toddler Certificate in January 2015 and she is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Wendy and her son Seth live in Beachwood.



Rachel Linda – (Toddler 2 Room)

Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Millersville University. Millersville is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where Rachel has lived the past 5 years. Rachel lived in New Jersey while growing up but has come to visit Cleveland every summer since she was 7 to see her Grandmother as well as other family here. While Rachel was in New Jersey Rachel spent most of her free time volunteering with children whom have disabilities. Since then it has become a passion of hers to work with children of all abilities. Before working at Ganon Gil Rachel was a Special Education Teacher in PA for 6 months while a teacher was on leave. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Rachel loves to see all of the progress children make throughout a year or even throughout a week. She loves being a part of the learning process for children and seeing the difference she, not only makes in their lives, but the difference they make in hers.


Bess Gatanas- (Toddler 2 Room)

Bess graduated from the Early Childhood EXCELL TECC program from Beachwood High School in 2017 and in August 2017 she earned a CDA (Child Development Associates) in Infant and Toddlers.

Bess has been working for The Temple – Tifereth Israel as a Learning Center Madrichim and as an assistant in the Early Learning Center since 2012. She enjoys working with toddler age children, her dogs and shopping. In her free time Bess loves to travel and paint. She lives in Solon with her dog Arthur. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).


Ornstein Mariah120Mariah Ornstein- Family Programs/Administration (Preschool 1 Room)

Mariah has been an educator in the early childhood field since 1998. She was awarded the National Child Development Associates (CDA) credential in 2014. Mariah creates and implements engaging programs for families with young children, both at Ganon Gil and The Temple-Tifereth Israel. Her dedication for working with young children encourages her to learn new practices to be implemented in the classroom. Mariah’s passion for butterflies was the driving force in creating the school’s butterfly garden. She worked closely with a Temple youth member to create a raised vegetable garden, adding yet another opportunity for learning and engagement on the playground. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Mariah enjoys reading and spending time outside with her two boys. She and her family are members of the Temple Tifereth Israel.


Frumker Emily120Emily Frumker- (Preshool 1 Room)

Emily received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from The University of Toledo. Emily has been working at Ganon Gil since 2013. She loves working with the children and watching them grow, become independent thinkers and individuals. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

Emily is a big Cleveland and Ohio State sports fan and loves watching and cheering them on. In her spare time, she likes to listen to music, go to concerts, see movies and travel. Emily also likes to be with her friends and family and she is very passionate about playing softball.



Goldman Debbie120Debbie Goldman- (Preschool 2 Room)

Debbie Goldman has been working with children of all ages since 1998. In 2008, she earned a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies and she is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ). Debbie has been working at The Early Learning Center-Ganon Gil since 2013 and also teaches Kindergarten in The Learning Center at Tifereth Israel. Debbie was recently named the ROZZY STEAM Coordinator and the 2017 Teacher of the Year. Debbie has been married to her husband Mitch since 2001 and they have 2 children -Ben and Mikayla.

Debbie enjoys scrapbooking and going to Rick Springfield concerts where she is able to spend time with her friends and relax.


Karas Kori120Kori Karas – (Preschool 2 Room)

Kori graduated from Notre Dame College of Ohio with a Bachelor of arts degree and holds an early childhood teaching license through the state of Ohio. Kori has been teaching since 2004 and working with children of all ages. She is married to her husband Jonathan and they have been married since 2005. They have two children, Michael and Maya. Kori is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

In her free time Kori enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, walking, and reading.


Gorsky Laura120Laura Gorsky- (Preschool 2 Room)

Laura has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. She has been working in the early childhood field since 1998. Laura is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ). Laura is a Ganon Gil graduate, she and her husband David live in Euclid with their dog; Finn. She is an avid reader.



Feldman Stefani120Stefani Feldman- (Preschool 3 Room)

Stefani Feldman has been educating pre-school children within the Cleveland Jewish community for more than 10 years. She is thrilled to be at The Temple Tifereth Israel since it is where her father was confirmed and her parents were married. Stefani has worked with children from 18 months to 18 years teaching toddlers through high school. “Helping children feel prepared for the next phase of their lives is a passion and a privilege. I feel very lucky to be working with the Pre-K children here at such a wonderful school.” Stefani is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ),

Stefani lives in Solon with her husband, 3 sons, dogs, cats, and chickens.


Paige Schiller- (Preschool 3 Room)

After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Signed Language Interpreting from The University of Cincinnati, Paige moved to upstate New York to work as an apprentice interpreter at Rochester Institute of Technology, National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She spent a year working as an interpreter; however while working fulltime she felt she was needed elsewhere. Paige moved to Istanbul, Turkey to be an Au Pair with a family for three months, followed by a year in Stockholm, Sweden where she worked for another family.

Paige has been working with children for many years. Her favorite memories come from living and working in Sweden. She was fortunate enough to work with a wonderful family and had the opportunity to travel. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ).

In her spare time Paige can be found onstage performing with local community theatres throughout the Greater Cleveland area. She is an avid reader, huge Indians fan, and loves any excuse to travel.