Camp Director Roni Kurtz and Assistant Camp Director Laurie Berger
As the Principal of Early Childhood at Brauser Maimonides Academy, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guide a wonderful faculty as they encourage our young students to develop their skills in gross and fine motor, language development, socialization, and cognitive areas. In my role as Principal, I guide my Early Childhood staff as they continue to develop a child-centered, developmentally appropriate approach to learning within the framework of viewing the world through Torah lenses. This year we are focusing on implementing new strategies for language development in general and specifically for our Hebrew immersion program.
I am a native Floridian, and product of a Jewish Day School education. I received my BA from Brandeis University in Psychology and Education, and had the opportunity to learn in Israel, both at a Yeshiva and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I received my Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Florida International University while teaching at Brauser Maimonides Academy.
My teaching career includes working in Early Childhood Education at Jewish Day Schools in New York City and in Pittsburgh prior to settling in Florida with my husband and our family. I also taught first and third grades in New Jersey and South Florida prior to my appointment as Early Childhood Director at BMA over 10 years ago. My husband, Steve, and I have 4 wonderful sons. It’s hard to believe that our youngest son Yoni is already a 7th grader at BMA. Aaron is a sophomore at Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Isaac is spending the year learning at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel while our oldest son Ezra is starting his second year at the University of Pennsylvania.
I have enjoyed all the challenges and successes that are a part of working and learning with children and look forward to a fabulous year of fun and learning with our wonderful staff, parents and children. I am proud to be a part of the BMA administration, linking Early Childhood with the goals and mission of the unique philosophy of our school.
I am a proud native Floridian, born and raised in Miami Beach. I began my education at the Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy and my journey continued through completing my MS at Nova University. During graduate school I met my mentor/professor of child psychology and I knew that working with children had to be in my future. I graduated with an MS in Psychology in 1987 and I began my work at Douglas Gardens Community Mental Health Center. I knew this was an excellent learning experience and just the beginning for me.
I have two wonderful children; my daughter Melissa, who is 26 and my son Kyle, who is 16. When my daughter was born I knew for sure that I wanted to go back to my plans to work with children. Those plans led me to Early Childhood Education and I knew I found my calling.
I began at Nova Family Center by facilitating Parent/Child groups. I gained a reputation in the community, particularly in the Jewish educational community. With this reputation and research I was hired to teach Mommy/Daddy & Me programs at four different Jewish educational programs. The Judaic component created a new, more important goal for me. While teaching these classes I met families from Lehrman Community Day school, which led me to my employment there as an Early Childhood Director for 8 years. During my directorship, my enthusiasm for Early Childhood Education grew, yet I needed to be closer to my family. When I was offered the Director position at Beth Ahm Israel (3 minutes from my home) I knew it was bashert.
I worked closely with my Beth Ahm Israel team to help rebuild their program including opening a much needed infant room. I was there for 11 years. When Beth Ahm Israel’s synagogue closed it was like losing a family.
A new educational journey was headed my way when I went to the JCC in Coral Springs. I was the Early Childhood Director there for the last 6 years. I opened an infant room at the JCC and was proud to watch the entire program grow and flourish.
I hold an Advanced Director’s Credential. I am a graduate of the Melton Program. I enjoyed a 3-year term as the President of JECP (Jewish Early Childhood of Broward County). I am honored to be in this rewarding field for 26 years and counting. I will never grow tired of the efforts to bring children and teachers a meaningful and successful Jewish educational, experience.