Our Teachers

our-teachers

Sarah Hessler

Early Childhood Director

Phone: 651-255-4758

Sarah has worked at the JCC for the past 12 years as Camp Butwin Program Director, Early Childhood Program Administrator and a preschool teacher.

Barb Brihn

Administrative Assistant for Early Childhood

Phone: 651-255-4760

Barb has been with the JCC for over 20 years. Previous to her role in Child Care, she taught land and a water class, supervised the Pro Shop and Massage department and was the Administrative Assistant for Health & Fitness.

Amanda Betz

Philosophy

"The soul is healed by being with children." - English Proverb

Bio

I am currently studying Early Childhood Education at Rasmussen College. I have over five years of experience in the field and have been working at the JCC since August 2013. I currently live with my fiance Jason, our dog Angel, and cat Shogun. In my free time I enjoy training to run a 10K, playing softball, and spending time with close friends.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Children's Book: Pete the Cat

Amy Hope

Philosophy

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not to join their chaos.”

Bio

I was a stay at home mom of three kids for many years; Kevin 23, Katelynn, 22, and Kayla, 21. I volunteered at church and ECFE throughout this time. I also attended Aveda Institute for massage therapy, and worked as a massage therapist. When I had Madalynn, now almost 5, I stayed home again, until starting here at the JCC. I absolutely love time with my kids, healing others, painting, reading, and as much time in the great outdoors as I can get.

Favorite Things

Favorite Colors: Yellow and Red Favorite
Season: Summer
Favorite Children’s Book: Anything by Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle

Hannah Gosselin

Philosophy

Albert Einstein once said that “play is the highest form of research.” In all the years that I’ve worked with children, I have learned more from them through play and observation than any textbook!

Bio

I have my BA in psychology with an emphasis in Health and Child Development. I have over 10 years of experience working with children newborn to age 18, and with a variety of abilities. My time at the JCC ECC has been primarily spent in infant rooms, I currently live in Richfield with my boyfriend, Dan and our year and a half old bloodhound, Shambles. When I’m not at the J, you can find me walking the dog, reading, doing anything outdoors, and spending time with the family and friends.

Favorite Things

Favorite color: Purple
Favorite Children's Books : So many! The Giving Tree, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lorax, Little Blue Truck, Red Ripe Strawberry and Napping House
Favorite Season: Summer

Jamie Reid

Philosophy

Children learn by doing. As parents, childcare providers and teachers, it is our obligation to provide them with play so they can see, hear, taste, touch and smell their world. They are meant to wiggle, wander and explore. Let them play!

Bio

I have an A.A. degree from Inver Hills Community College. I started as an aide over 10 years ago, working at a center, at Teaching Temps, and as a nanny. I have been at the JCC since 2005. I live with my husband Seth and our two children, Leila and Oliver, who both attend the JCC. We love going to the zoo, Children's Museum, the beach, and the Mall of America. In my spare time I like to relax with a good book and work in my husband's vineyard.

Favorite Things

Favorite color: Green
Favorite season: Summer
Favorite children's book: Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth

Jolene McNaughton

Philosophy

It is my job to establish a safe, warm and welcoming classroom that invites friendship, independence and curiosity. My goal is to make all children feel welcome and special. Every child is unique and shines in their own way. With support, they will learn to be proud of themselves and respectful of others.

Bio

I have been at the JCC since 2001, working in the school age program and preschool. I graduated from UMD. I live in Hugo with my husband Jason. We have been occupying our time with DIY projects.

Favorite Things

Favorite color: Green
Favorite season: Spring
Favorite children's book: Double Pink

Patricia Rivard

Philosophy

"Free the child's potential and you will transform him into the world." -Maria Montessori

Bio

I have been working at the JCC since 1998 and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1996 with a B.A. in Secondary Health Education. I found out fast how incredible and truly amazing preschoolers can be when I came to the JCC. When I am not at the JCC, I enjoy anything outdoors, going to Twins games, music, being with family and friends, eating ice cream and anything with chocolate.

Favorite Things

Favorite color: Royal purple
Favorite season: Summer
Favorite children's book: The Giving Tree

Raelyn Rassett

Philosophy

“Every child has a story to tell, and within that story is the secret to reaching them as a learner. Children’s stories are windows into their uniqueness and clues on how to connect with them” -Herb Kohl

Bio

I am currently studying Early Childhood Development at Saint Paul College. I've lived in North Saint Paul my whole life. When I'm not working at the J or doing homework, I like to spend time outdoors biking, hiking, and disc golfing!

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Children’s Book: Red: A Crayon’s Story
Favorite Season: Autumn

Rebecca Linkert-Yurkovich

Philosophy

Children learn as they grow; Children grow as they learn.

Bio

Rebecca Linkert-Yurkovich

Philosophy
Children learn as they grow; Children grow as they learn.

Bio
I live on the East side of St. Paul with my daughter, Ashley, and my son, Devin. I graduated from St. Paul College and an A.A. degree in Child Development. I have been with the JCC full time since September of 2016. Prior to that, I subbed here on a regular basis. I enjoy spending quality time with my children, and playing tennis, pickleball and badminton.

Hobbies & Interests

Favorite colors: red and black / favorite seasons: late summer and early fall

Shari Lowenthal

Philosphy

"Here you leave today and enter world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy" - Walt Di

Experience

I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Child Psychology. I have worked as a toddler/preschool teacher when I wasn’t a stay-at-home mom, including three amazing summers here at the JCC with Camp Centerland. I have also taught for 20+ years at Temple of Aaron. Besides work, I enjoy spending time with my two children, Marc and Rachel. In my spare time I am an avid scrapbooker and a Disney fanatic.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: pink and purple
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Children’s Book: Dr. Seuss’s Old Hat, New Hat

Wendy Finnegan

Philosophy

'A person's a person, no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss

Bio

I worked at the JCC in 1995 and 1996 and I have been back since November 2010. I have been married for over 20 years and I have three great kids (Samantha, Nicholas and Natalie). I love shopping, cooking, bonfires, camping, gardening and spending time with my family

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Children's Book: A Ghost Named Fred

Ann Tschida

Philosophy

Allow children to be children. I believe the "Golden Rules" are essential to a solid foundation. Play and have fun! Enjoy the moment and see through a child's eye.

Bio

I went to high school at Derham Hall and I have a license in Cosmetology. I have worked at a recreation center, as a private nanny, at a home daycare, and ran my own daycare for over 16 years. I have been at the JCC since 2008. I am the proud mother of two adult boys, and proud grandma of one grandson. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, sports and home decorating.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Aqua Blue
Favorite Season: All of them - Minnesota is great!
Favorite Children's Book: David Gets in Trouble

Claudia Spencer

Philosophy

It is very important for a child to be on a path in life for positive experiences at the earliest age, that will set the tone for building a solid foundation in growth and learning in the future. Since I was a JCC kid myself, I know that I can speak from direct knowledge that the programs at the JCC were very instrumental in inspiring me to go into my career as a caregiver.

Bio

I graduated from Highland Park Senior High and confirmation class at Mount Zion Temple, and loved playing soccer for school and the Blackhawks teams in St. Paul. I have a son and a daughter, and my husband and I enjoy spending time with our family and like going on long bike rides.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Children's Book: The Three Little Pigs

Coryanne Sennett

Philosophy

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose!” –Dr. Seuss

Bio

I’m originally from Southern California, where I worked as a paraprofessional educator for children with special needs. I have been at the JCC since 2014. I live in Minneapolis and spend my free time seeing live music, sewing and doing anything crafty or creative.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Season: Summer
Favorite Children’s Book: Baby Beluga

Ellie-Sue Shpayher

Philosophy

Each child learns differently. I want to help them be the best they can be.

Bio

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been working in the field for over 15 years, and have been at the JCC since March 2013. In high school and college I worked at the JCC in Omaha, at their summer camp and in school age care. I currently live in Burnsville with my husband Dan and our son Parker. I enjoy watching movies and hanging out with friends and family.

Favorite Things

Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Children's Book: The Little Red Hen

Lynn Schuleman

Philosophy

Children learn what they live. If children receive respect, they will learn to give respect.

Bio

I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Child Psychology and a minor in Speech and Hearing Science. I continued on for my ASL interpreting certificate from St. Paul College. I worked at the JCC from 1992-1999 and left to pursue my interest in Audiology. I then had my own children Tovah and Anna. I returned to work with toddlers and preschool, but found my heart lies with infants. I have been back at the JCC since the summer of 2010. I live in Minneapolis with my partner Ali, her two kids, and my girls, where we love to bike the lakes, have dance parties and watch movies.

Favorite Things

Favorite color: Yellow and orange
Favorite season: Summer
Favorite children's book: The Family Book