Shira Bezie, Pre-K3
My name is Shira Bezie. I was born in Ethiopia, but moved to Israel when I was 8 years old. After finishing high school in Israel, I started teaching Hebrew to 4 year-old Ethiopian kids in my community. This experience matured me a lot and helped me grow as a person in many ways. After about 2 years of teaching, I started working in the police force. While working for the police, I Studied and got my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and gave birth to my first son. After about 10 years, I moved to USA and started working for the Embassy of Israel, and as a result I moved to Rockville, Maryland. After finishing my contract with the Embassy, I had given birth to my beautiful daughter, who not too long ago turned 1 year old! When I heard of this great opportunity to start teaching again, I could not have been more excited. I believe that with the right education, anyone can have a bright exciting future. Seeing the kids develop and grow each day as I teach them new things about the rich and beautiful Hebrew language was a delight for me to observe back then, as I’m sure it will continue to be this year and in the years to come.
My name is Laura Gevarter, and I could not be more excited to join the team at Sela for the 2016-2017 school year. A native of Baltimore (go Ravens!), I started learning Hebrew at a young age because my parents loved the idea of bilingualism's cognitive benefits and exposing me to a different culture. I now speak Hebrew fluently, and I look forward to being part of your children's similar success, fostered by Sela's amazing immersion environment! My language 'bug' has been strong all my life, and I went on to study Linguistics at Georgetown University here in DC, focusing especially on bilingualism and bilingual education. One core aspect of my teaching philosophy is that developing a love of learning from a young age is one of the most important sparks an early childhood education can provide. I hope that our classroom will be a place of fun and discovery, and that students will love to read, create, and explore. I firmly believe that families are the cornerstones of this process, and I am greatly looking forward to partnering with you. I am the type of teacher that calls home a lot, but for positive reports!
In my spare time, I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, playing with my dog, learning different languages, and traveling. My goal for this year is to be more physically active and to learn not use too much glue when making crafts.
Gan Ramat Gan
Ms. Anna Brunner Bayer, Pre-K3
I joined Sela Public Charter School in August 2016. Prior to Sela, I spent more than 20 years in the telecommunications and IT industries working with databases, websites, social media and events. I hold a Master's Degree in Economics from the Budapest University of Economics. I moved to Israel in 1991, where I followed my children’s education in the Israeli school system. In 2000, my family was relocated to the Washington, D.C. area, where I spent two years volunteering at Burning Tree Elementary School while my daughters, Lili and Julie, attended the school. Over the past two years, we became foster parents and I have been tutoring my daughter, Ifeoma. My daughter, Lili, is working in Europe, Julie is studying in Israel, and Ifeoma will attend college in Pennsylvania. I am so excited and cannot wait to teach your children at Sela.
Ms. Franque Alexander
My name is Franque Alexander, and I have been an Instructional Assistant and Educator since 2013, and I am currently enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia. Some people want to save lives in the Emergency Room or win cases in a courtroom, while I prefer educating the world's youth and helping them to reach their highest potential. "A teacher affects eternity. They can never tell where their influence stops."
Ms. Ronit Blivis, Pre-K4
I have been working for 7 years with preschool children. My philosophy towards working with kids, and life in general, is to give and to care. A warm environment and love is the key to opening children's minds toward learning and to help them to develop their social skills. I teach children to never be afraid to express themselves and to be able to think "out of the box." I enjoy working with children and helping them reach for their dreams through their education. Every child has his or her own world, and I am glad that I can take part in shaping their future.
My husband and I have a beautiful family. I like spending my free time with my three boys and my husband, hiking and exploring this magnificent country, cooking and reading. I love camping, even though I am terrified of spiders!
Ms. Orit Janco-Golan, Pre-K4
I grew up in Montreal, Canada in a Hebrew-speaking home. In school, I had the opportunity to also learn French and Yiddish! Later in life I studied Spanish. My next language will be sign language! I love traveling and meeting people from different cultures. I bring this love and curiosity of learning from others to my work at Sela!
Along the way, I completed my BA in Liberal Arts at McGill University, an MA at Antioch Graduate School in Dance/Movement Therapy with a Minor in Counseling, and a Yoga Teacher Training at Thrive Yoga studio in Rockville, MD.
I have been teaching Creative Movement and Yoga to preschoolers for over 20 years. I not only inspire children to dance, exercise and express themselves nonverbally, but also love singing with and reading stories to them.
Liran Buchris, Pre-K4
Hello, I am Ms. Liran Buchris. I grew up in Masad, Israel, while being the oldest of my four siblings. I was very fortunate to receive a basketball scholarship to Pace University in 2003. I graduated from Pace University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and International Marketing. After graduating, I returned to Israel to peruse a career as a professional basketball player, which lasted for 8 years. I decided to retire two years ago and establish my life permanently in the United States. Since retiring, I decided to dedicate my time and focus on what makes me happy... children and education. I am a very enthusiastic teacher, and I am extremely excited to start my first year with the Sela family as a Pre-K4 teacher.
I intend to provide my students with new adventures, experiences and resources to use their creative instincts, which will inspire their long love for learning! I'm excited to guide each student while they discover their own confidence that comes from learning, making new friends, and developing the great potential within themselves.
One of my favorite quotes by Benjamin Franklin is “tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn!” I am looking forward to starting a wonderful school year with a unique group of amazing students.
Ms. Hana Baruch, Pre-K4
Hello! My name is Hana. I have been working in early childhood education since 2007. My goal is to make sure that each and every child in my classroom is given the proper care and attention needed in a safe, nurturing learning environment. I teach with a creative and energetic style and love seeing the growth and development of the children in my class. This will be my first year at the Sela Public Charter School, and I am looking forward to being a part of the Sela family. I will be working in Pre-K 4 Gan Hermon and will do everything in my power to ensure that the children will be given love and support to ensure a healthy environment.
Ms. LaTasha Williams, Pre-K4
I grew up in DC and went to college at UDC, where I am currently obtaining my Masters in Education. I have taught reading, creative writing , and theater arts over the last few years. Here at Sela, I believe that treating students equally is critical in creating a comfortable learning environment. When I am not teaching, I am a full time mother, graduate student, and interior designer.
Ms. Maya Baum, Kindergarten
I believe that all children are creative beings. My role as a teacher is to help students foster their creativity for learning purposes as they grow and develop. One important way that I nurture students’ creativity is by creating a classroom environment that helps develop students as independent learners; not solely dependent on the teacher for information. To accomplish this I strive to always make learning authentic by having students learn like experts. Just as scientists, researchers, mathematicians, and authors come to know in their field, I want my students to go through that same process. I design instruction to support students asking questions, making mistakes, coming up with creative solutions to problems, working collaboratively, etc. When students are given such structures to explore content material and find their way to develop meaning their creativity is nurtured.
Aside from teaching, I love finding my own creative outlets whether through dancing, singing off-key or knitting. I am not a fan of winter and the cold which is why I am so happy to be back in the DC area after living in Massachusetts for five years.
Ms. Brittany Simmons, Kindergarten
My name is Brittany Simmons. I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, and have lived in the DC/Maryland area my entire life. My career in education began six years ago, and has been a journey nothing short of amazing. I genuinely enjoy interacting and educating children, and find equal enjoyment in stepping out of my role as an educator and becoming a student, learning from the children. I am super excited to build a relationship with you all for the remainder of the year, to help our students as a team.
Gan Be'er Sheva
Ms. Dominique (Dodi) Exume, Kindergarten
Mr. Conor Murphy, Kindergarten
Hello! My name is Mr. Conor, and I am utterly dedicated to providing an amazing education to children of all backgrounds, personalities, and orientations. I spent my whole life involved with the special needs community, and I have spent the last three years teaching at Sela. I believe every classroom must be founded on principles of equity as well as care and respect – to embrace different people from different backgrounds.
In my spare time, I have a huge passion for stories, and you will never find me without a book. I write, read, and enjoy playing games of all sorts with my family and close friends.
Ms. Quaneesha Bey, 1st Grade
My name is Ms. Bey, and I am originally from New York. After I earned my B.A in Psychology from Spelman College, I then completed a 1-year teaching residency in Washington, D.C. During this year, I taught in a 1st grade classroom alongside of my highly effective mentor teacher. This is where I made a commitment to close the achievement gap by striving to become the best educator that I could possibly be. Throughout my residency I received extensive coaching, and professional development which supplemented my passion for working with youth. I have since earned my certification in Early Childhood and plan to inspire and encourage the youth through education and leadership. I love the family atmosphere that Sela PCS provides for its students and staff, as well as the small class sizes. I believe that this type of school and classroom environment allows me as the teacher to help nurture each child into his/her fullest potential. I also believe that all children can and will learn, and as a teacher my mission is to make sure that my students receive the best education possible. In my free time I love to travel, read, and spend time with my family.
Ms. Willette (Sharne) McClaine, 1st Grade
My name is Sharne McClaine, and I have lived in DC Metro area all of my life. I started my career in education as an extended learning teacher, and I have been working with children for over 5 years. I am so glad that I found my calling because I have a passion for educating and supporting young children. I am currently earning my Bachelors of Arts degree in early childhood education. As an instructional assistant, I am especially committed to each child’s social emotional development as well as encouraging children toward empathy by teaching them to embrace the diverse perspectives of each other. I am a patient educator who collaborates with peers and believes in teamwork. I know this school year will be a successful one!
Ms. Stephanie Goldberg, 2nd Grade
Hello! My name is Stephanie and I am so excited to start my third year of teaching at Sela. What a joy to be able to teach second grade and have the privilege to loop with so many amazing friends from last year. I am so excited to see what this year has in store for us.
I am a South FL native, an avid reader and football enthusiast. I moved to DC for college in 2007 and after graduating from American University, I decided to stay in the area. Although I majored in Journalism, I quickly realized teaching is my calling and passion. In my free time I enjoy spoiling my dog, Bella, cooking and I am eager to start my Masters in Education Leadership this spring.
Ms. Anne Price, 2nd Grade
The most important goal I have for my second grade class is to help build a community of life-long learners who are strong thinkers and strong problem-solvers. I want to foster the independence and maturity the 2nd graders are beginning to develop naturally.
I wanted to work at a school small class sizes to make sure that I can reach and push every student. I love that Sela brings in dual language and culture, so students become part of a global community.
I am a very athletic and active person playing sports all my life. For the last 10 years, I have played Ultimate Frisbee competitively, both college and club. I currently play Ultimate Frisbee for the DC Women's Club Team (DC Scandal) who are the reigning Women's National Champions. We recently won the regionals tournament this year, and will be played in Nationals again the first weekend of October (2015).
Princess Agha, 3rd Grade
Hello! My name is Ms. Princess Agha, and I am teaching third grade at Sela PCS. I really enjoy teaching elementary students because I believe that having a strong foundation is invaluable. I am from Baltimore, Maryland. I received my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!!). So, I am familiar with the DC metropolitan area. I spent the last few years teaching at an elementary school in South Carolina. During this time, I obtained my Master of Education degree from Francis Marion University. Though I enjoyed my time living and teaching in the south, I wanted to move closer to home.
Marian Wright Edelman once said, "If we don’t stand for children, then we don’t stand for much." This is the quote that guides everything that I do in my classroom and for my students, and I look forward to working together with you to stand for and do what’s best for children. I am thankful to have this opportunity to play such an important role in the life of your child!
Ms. Yaira Dupon, Hebrew K-3
My name is Yaira DuPon, and I am originally from Israel. I spent most of my adult life in Maryland. I have a B.A. and M. A. from Baltimore Hebrew University. Since earning my degrees, I have held positions as a Hebrew Instructor for over two decades, both as an adult educator and child educator. Most recently, I served as a Hebrew Instructor for Towson University. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my two children and travelling. I am excited for the new school year and being a part of the Sela community.
Ms. Inna Levit, Hebrew K-3
Hello! My name is Ms. Inna Levit, and I am pleased to be your child’s Hebrew teacher at Sela. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work here with such a remarkable and highly skilled teaching staff!
Originally from Russia, I was 16 years old when I moved to Israel with my parents, and we started a new life in this unique, fascinating country. I graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Bachelors degree in Middle East Studies and General History. I also learned Arabic. Then, I came back to the Hebrew University, where I graduated from the School of Social Work and became a licensed Social Worker. Hebrew has always been my favorite language, and I really enjoy teaching Hebrew, while inspiring and motivating students from all cultures and levels of learning.
My objective is to create an excellent learning environment and to help each student study this beautiful language. Living in different countries and learning their languages have given me a better understanding of the process of teaching a foreign language. I love to incorporate plays, art, and music in my curriculum. I know we will see great academic growth because we are meeting each student’s needs through small group instruction in the classroom.
I live in Bethesda with my husband and two kids. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, playing piano, and going to concerts, lectures, shows, and exhibitions. I wish you all an excellent, happy and productive school year!
Ms. Maya Faiman, Art Teacher
I was born in the US and raised mostly in Israel. Throughout my life I have always been drawn to the creative fields of art and design. I worked with children in a variety of settings including two summer camps as an art instructor in Jewish communities in Las Vegas, NV and Portland, OR. I graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel with a B.Des in Industrial Design. Along with the arts and design I have always felt an interest in the medical world, mostly the contact with people and the research of different health issues in the medical arena. My professional experience revolved around these two fields of interest, with five years of involvement in both industry and research on a variety of projects, including web-based user-interface projects, and in the hospital surgery room on several scientific research projects. I later completed a masters degree in Public Health at the Hebrew university Hadassah medical school in Jerusalem. In 2013 we moved to the US to pursue my husband’s training fellowship in biological research.
We are very happy to be here!
Ms. Tajuana Queen, Physical Education Teacher
Greetings everyone! I am so happy to be a part of the Sela family. I am Ms. Queen, and I am from a family of 10 and have 5 sisters and 4 brothers. I was born in Washington, DC, and I believe I have a gift of making children smile and making them feel comfortable about themselves. I started off my career in education as a teacher for a daycare. As a Physical Education teacher, I love educating children about the benefits of healthy eating and staying active. I don’t allow my students to say the word “can’t.” I know that our children can to anything and everything they put their minds to. I am known for having a lot of energy, and I use positive energy in everything that I do. So, get ready, because our PE classes will be filled with lots of fun, learning, and enjoyment!
Specialist and Resource Staff
Eboni Farmer, Special Education/ELL
Ms. Farmer holds a M.A. in Special Education from George Washington University. She has been living in the Washington, DC area for 10 years and now considers it home. After returning from serving as an English Language Teacher in Ukraine, Ms. Farmer found her passion in special education. Her philosophy on education is closely aligned with the social constructivist theories of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget. Both Vygotsky and Piaget believed that children learn by doing. It is her belief that education is not only what happens inside the classroom and on the whiteboard, but it is also what is happening outside the window at this very moment. Ms. Farmer plans to use every opportunity to make learning meaningful for the students. This school year, Ms. Farmer is looking forward to helping families, students, and teachers reach their goals together. She believes that all goals are attainable when they are met with enthusiasm and teamwork.
Ms. Sharrone Brawner, Culture Specialist
Greetings All! I am Sharrone Brawner, and I am from Raleigh, NC. I relocated to this area four years ago, and now call Takoma Park home. Since relocating to this area, I have had the opportunity to work in various roles within education. I recently obtained my Masters in Special Education and Human Development from George Washington University, and I am thrilled about working with students, staff, and families here at Sela Public Charter School. I believe that the environment of our school building is essential to our students' learning and development. This year, I am excited about supporting our students and teachers in their classrooms and supporting our growing Sela community!