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Marissa Guarino – Lead Two-Year-Old Teacher
Marissa comes to The Chai Center eager to continue her teaching career. She has her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Nassau Community College and bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Molloy College. For the past year, she has been working online towards her master’s degree in Emerging Technologies from SUNY Empire. Right out of college, Marissa obtained her first teaching position at a private Jewish preschool in Port Washington. There, she taught a STEM class, afterschool enrichments, and led the 2’s program. Her greatest joy is watching children grow and seeing the delight on their faces when they learn something new or as they have fun playing with their friends. In her spare time, Marissa enjoys trying new restaurants with her longtime boyfriend and spending time with their friends and families.

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Katie Grasso - Assistant Two-Year-Old Teacher
Katie comes to The Chai Center after working as a preschool-wide assistant teacher at Temple Israel in Albany, NY. She has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies. Shortly after graduation, she found her passion for working with children while serving as a nanny, which progressed to a full-time position at the preschool. She plans to further her education and pursue a master’s degree in education. Outside of The Chai Center, Katie enjoys traveling, seeing movies, and spending time with friends and family.

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Melissa Torre – Lead Three-Year-Old Teacher
Melissa graduated from The University of Tampa with a degree in Journalism, and is currently completing a master’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education at Molloy College. She worked throughout her undergraduate years as an assistant teacher, and following that, as a lead three-year-old teacher at Shalom Day Care Center in Plainview, NY. Melissa is excited to continue working with children and believes in creating an environment in which students feel comfortable taking risks both academically and socially. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga at the studio where she works, Medwell Spa, and spending time with her dog Ranger.

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Jessica Schaffer – Assistant Three-Year-Old Teacher
Jessica has been assisting at The Chai Center Preschool for the past four years and is so excited to officially be here full-time after graduating from The University of Tampa this past spring. She received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Dance with a minor in Sociology, and plans to further her education to become a dance/movement therapist for kids with special needs as well as cancer patients. During the summer, she teaches dance at Usdan, a specialized performing arts camp, and has worked with children since before she can remember. In her spare time, Jessica loves choreographing, dancing, and learning about fashion and home design.

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Becky Clarke – Pre-K Teacher
Becky Clarke has been working with preschool age children for the last 16 years, first in a daycare, then as an assistant teacher and eventually working as a lead teacher. This is Becky’s second year as a Pre-K teacher with The Chai Center. Prior to joining us, she was the program director at Kids in Sports, where she oversaw a preschool athletic program and was the lead on multi-sports classes for ages 1-7.  Becky loves to see the joy on a child’s face as they learn something new, create something fun or as they enjoy playing with their friends.  Becky has an associate’s degree from Nassau Community College and bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Ashford University. As a mom of two young children, Becky enjoys trying out new ideas and lessons on her own kids before bringing them into the classroom.  When not working she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and remains ever optimistic that this will be the year the Jets put it all together. Becky has been married to her husband Ira for 12 years.

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Camille Lynch – Assistant Pre-K Teacher 
Camille came to The Chai Center with over 18 years of classroom experience working as a paraprofessional and teaching assistant at both the elementary and preschool level. This will be Camille’s second year with us. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology from Hofstra University, an associate’s degree in Child Care from Nassau Community College, and a New York State Public School Teacher’s Assistant Certificate. Camille has been married for 29 years, is a mom to two grown children, and in her free time loves to sing, dance draw and play with her two dogs Chase and Cooper.

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Bina Omidi – Preschool-wide Assistant/Before-After Care Supervisor
Bina is an integral part of our Preschool family and has a hand in everything from teaching, to organizing special events to whipping up treats in the kitchen. In fact, from making sure something is Kosher to blessing the Challah dough to coordinating special celebrations, we count on Bina for her foodie expertise. Bina has been with The Chai Center for seven years and has worked with every age group in numerous capacities in our camp and preschool. As our preschool-wide assistant, Bina is a part of every facet of our day-to-day operations, including helping with separation issues, classroom projects, the art curriculum, holiday preparations, Judaic studies, Shabbat parties, gardening, and regularly working with your children to ensure the curriculum for the day is completed. Bina is married with two boys, who attended The Chai Center Preschool. In her spare time, you can find her at a basketball game watching her boys playing on the court, or with her kids outside at the park.