Director of Early Childhood Engagement
In July 2015, United Hebrew welcomed Lauren Lourie to the staff of United Hebrew Congregation. Lauren comes to UH with a strong background in education, wonderful teaching experience and a commitment to Judaism from her involvement in informal and formal Jewish educational programs. She also brings her incredible enthusiasm and warm personality to our congregation. Since moving to St. Louis in 2013, Lauren has taught kindergarten and third grade at Hanna Woods Elementary School in the Parkway School District, following her three years of teaching at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago and four years in the Houston Independent School District. She is a team leader and has a broad range of experience leading many aspects of school programming, from designing and implementing curriculum in the gifted and talented program to coordinating after-school tutorial programs.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Lauren graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and student-taught at the early childhood and elementary levels. Lauren’s husband, Jason, originally from St. Louis, moved the family back home to raise their own family among other family and friends. The couple have two sons, Bryce and Max in our Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center.
Barb joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center in 1999 as a preschool teacher and temple member. She earned her Master’s in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at SUNY Queens. This is Barb’s 18th year at SSECC. Her two daughter’s Sarah (22) and Jessica (20) are both graduates of the center.
Debbie joined Camp Saul Spielberg in Jun 2012 as an adult counselor. In September 2012 she helped open the Infant room and became the first Infant care teacher for the SSECC. In February 2013 she became a preschool teacher. The past three summers, Debbie served as the Director of Camp Saul Spielberg. She studied Public Communications at Webster University. After several years in the corporate world, Debbie decided to become a preschool teacher in 1999. She is in her 18th year of teaching and 5th year at SSECC. Debbie has been married to Mike for 29 ½ years and has three sons, Brian (22), Bradley (20) and Brendan (18).
Cindy joined the SSECC in May of 2013. She taught Chalutzim (two and three year olds) her first year, and then joined the Shalom (Pre K) team in August of 2014. Prior to teaching in early childhood, Cindy taught middle school language arts and social studies at Solomon Schechter Day School. She holds a BS in Education from UMSL and has certifications in elementary and middle school education, with an emphasis in language arts and social studies.
Mary has been the Garin teacher at United Hebrew since January 2013. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Missouri St Louis. Mary has worked with at risk kids and this families at Youth-In-Need, and Crider Center for Health. She has over 30 years of volunteer experience working with children.
Paula joined the SSECC in 2012 and is in her fifth year of teaching. It is fun to be with the children in Tov that she first met as babies. Paula enjoys working with UH families and helping children learn through play each day. She graduated from Kansas University with a degree in Human Development and Pre Physical Therapy. She worked several years in medical sales, taught at St. John Lutheran in Ellisville and toddler gym classes at the YMCA and was a stay at home mom to her two daughters Kristen and Jordan.
Science and Yoga
Renee is a retired Early Childhood Center and Camp Director and former preschool teacher at Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center where she currently teaches yoga and science. She is a RYT 200 and is certified with Yoga to Grow and Yoga Ed. to teach children ages 3 – 11 yoga. Renee has practiced yoga herself since 2008. Her enthusiasm for teaching allows her to help young children build body awareness, direct the mind to focus, and enjoy yoga poses. Renee’s other passion is teaching science to children on a developmentally age appropriate level. She has been a part of SSECC since 1987 starting with her own three children.
Marilyn joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center in 2010 teaching the Shalom class. She studied Elementary Education at the University of Kansas and earned her Masters of Arts in Education at Webster University. She continued on and received an additional 30 credits. Marilyn taught as a reading specialist for K-6 for 3 years. Her passion was teaching young children (K) in Parkway for 32 years and pre-K at SSECC for 5 years. She has 3 children who are SSECC alumni and 8 grandchildren, 1 who is currently at SSECC.
Louise joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center Staff in 2011. She has enjoyed a career in education for over thirty-five years. Louise has taught children in 2nd grade, English Language Learners in K-2 and now preschoolers that are 3-4 years and pre-kindergartners who are 4-5 years old. Her career has enriched her life and provided her with work that she loves. She adores her three wonderful children and son-in-law. Her 2 granddaughters are “the apple of her eye!” When she is not at UH, Louise enjoys spending time with her friends and family, attending Broadway musicals, concerts, and Jewish community events. She also enjoys volunteering and helping others.
Stacey joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center in 2006 as a preschool teacher. She studied psychology at the University of Illinois and then went on to earn her Master of Health Administration from Washington University. After several years in the corporate world, Stacey decided to follow her true passion – working with children. This is Stacey’s 10th year at SSECC and her 7th in Chalutzim. She has two sons, Zach and Noah, who are both SSECC alumni.
Dana joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center in October of 2012 as an infant room teacher. She is currently in school working on her Associates and hoping to transfer to Webster or UMSL in the near future to pursue a Bachelor’s in Child Psychology/Counseling. Dana has worked as a Kee Tov, Chalutzim and Chai/Garin teacher.
Laura is in her third year of teaching at UH. She teaches our Chaverim Aleph class. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Reading at UMSL. She enjoys shopping, hanging out with friends, and going on vacation.
Debbie joined the Saul Spielberg Early Childhood Center in 2012 as the co-teacher for the new Chai classroom. “I have a real passion for my role at SSECC. Watching the kids literally grow up & thrive has been such a great and rewarding experience.” Prior to joining SSECC she studied, Business and Psychology at Central Connecticut State University. After several years of working as an Executive Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator, she chose to stay home & raise her 3 daughters, Sam and Katie & Jessie.
This is Efi’s second year teaching at SSECC. She was born and raised in Israel. Efi has her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education for children aged birth – 6 years. Before moving to the United States, she taught kindergarten for 7 years for children ages 5-6 with emotional/behavior problems and learning disabilities. As an Israeli educator, Efi has the unique privilege of bringing the Jewish tradition to the children in St. Louis. She loves to contribute her Hebrew knowledge and share her Jewish culture and the way of life as an Israeli native.
Movement Specialist, Tov and Temple Tots
Lauren Spielberg has been the PE/movement specialist here at SSEC for the past three years. Lauren obtained her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001 and specialized in outpatient orthopedics for 12 years. She has a wonderful husband named Tony and three children, Jackson, Brody and Landon. Prior to children she trained for marathons in her spare time. Lauren’s passions besides her family include running, swimming, weight lifting, reading, and spending time outdoors. Her knowledge of human anatomy paired with her high-energy personality and love of children make her the perfect fit for the Movement class at SSECC.
Suzy Weber has served as SSECC music and Hebrew specialist since 2004. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, she attended University of Iowa and University of Missouri-KC, earning Bachelor degrees in Elementary Education and Judaic Studies. Suzy earned Master’s degrees in Social Work and Educational Counseling from Washington University. She worked as a social worker and director of volunteer services and activities at Jewish Center for Aged for eighteen years and also provided social work services to temple/synagogue preschools, Epstein Hebrew Academy and the JCC preschools/camps while on staff at Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Along with teaching at SSECC, Suzy is the music specialist for Kol Rinah Early Childhood Center, teaches the sixth grade b’nai mitzvah Hebrew class at United Hebrew and tutors Hebrew. Suzy and husband, Mark Weber are the proud parents of daughter, Bari. The Webers have loved being members of United Hebrew since joining in 2004.