Meet the BEECC Faculty

Robin Cohen
BEECC Director

See "Meet the BEECC Director" for Robin's Welcome Message and Bio.

Karen Fangio
Dalet Class

Karen Fangio is a former Jersey girl who has been teaching at BEECC for 15 years. She has been married to her husband, Fred, for 37 years and they have 3 adult children. Karen has taught in both the Dalet and Gimel classes, and directed and taught at Camp Kaitana, our summer program.

When Karen isn't busy hugging children and wiping noses at BEECC, she enjoys art, sewing and long walks in Frying Pan Park with her golden retriever, Charlie.

Rabbi Mina at her desk

Rabbi Michelle "Mina" Goldsmith
BEECC Music Teacher

See "Rabbi Mina's Corner" for the Rabbi's Welcome Message, Bio and Blog "Mina's Musings."

Gayle Gropper
Gimel Class

Gayle grew up on Long Island, NY where she earned a B.A in psychology from C.W. Post University in 1982. In 1983 Gayle got married to Dan Gropper and moved to northern Virginia after he graduated from George Washington Law School.

Gayle brings over 23 years of Early Childhood Education to BEECC. She began her career at the JCC of Northern Virginia in Annandale teaching 3 and 4 year olds for 13 years. She loves watching the children grow and express themselves in their own ways.

Gayle came to BEECC 10 years ago and continues to find it rewarding as the young children become independent thinkers and self-reliant in their daily lives. She believes that a major key to a successful classroom is when a teacher is supportive, warm and caring to all of her students.

Gayle and Dan have two children. Richard is 28 and lives in Richmond and Allison is 25 and is a nurse in Clemson, SC. Gayle and Dan have a very energetic and smart Welsh springer spaniel named Sophie who enjoys advanced doggy training classes. They can sometimes find her on the kitchen table looking out the front window waiting for them to return home.

Katherine Klein
Budding BEECCers

Kat has been working with children for well over half her life. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She says, "experiencing the joy & enthusiasm for life & learning that young children possess, always fills me up with joy!"

Kat graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland with a BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in both Psychology and Studio Art and earned an M.Ed. in Special Education from Towson University, also in Baltimore. She has three school-aged children (ages 9, 8, and 6 years old) and is married to an Air Force Lt. Colonel. Kat and her husband Dave have called many places home since 2002 due to their military moves, and therefore she has taught in many different schools all over the country and even abroad when she ran a preschool program for the Department of Defense.

Kat and her family moved to Virginia in 2014 from San Antonio, Texas where she was an art educator for a non-profit contemporary art organization called Artpace. She taught lessons and led gallery tours for students of all ages--preschool, elementary, middle, high school and even university students. In addition, Kat thoroughly enjoyed her time as both an elementary art teacher and as a docent and Art Strolls program director at the McNay Art Museum, where she implemented and led programming for young children (ages 1-4 years old & their caregivers). These programs included sensory play, themed art activities connected to works/exhibits seen, and a story time with music and movement as well. Here in Virginia, Kat has worked as an early childhood music teacher and she substitute teaches in many Fairfax County Public Schools.  

Lorri Strachman
Gimel Class

Lorri was raised in White Plains NY and earned her BS in Special Education, with a minor in Psychology from Ohio University. She brings to BEECC years of experience as a preschool teacher, director, mentor, staff trainer, CDA instructor and a student advisor for NAEYC.

Lorri was a Florida State trainer for Early Childhood in the 1980’s-1990’s. While raising her son and daughter, she completed a Master’s degree from St. Thomas University in Florida. Before moving to NOVA 5 years ago, she was an adjunct professor of Early Childhood at Purdue University, and taught preschool at Jewish Federation K’ton Ton in Munster Indiana. Her most recent teaching position was in Reston Va.

Returning to the classroom environment affords Lorri the opportunity to do what she is most passionate about- teaching! She brings a love of children and compassion for all people. She believes children need both support and challenge to grow. Giving a lot of unconditional support to help our little big people get started is what she does best.

Lorri and her husband have five children scattered all across the country, with two of six grandchildren living close by in MD. In her spare time you can find her baking, hiking with family, and listening to rock and roll, jazz and folk music. She looks forward to a thriving school year and pledges to create an environment of healthy community learners.

Neta Litvin
Bet Class Teacher

Neta has been involved with children's education across Reston’s Jewish congregations for over a decade. She works at NVHC religious school, teaching Hebrew (3-6 grade) as well as cooking, art, and photography (7-12 grade). Neta is also involved with Shoreshim chavurah, teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies in addition to her role as the Educational Director at the religious school.

As a native Israeli Sabra, Neta brings an extensive knowledge of Hebrew and Israeli culture.  She has a degree in Applied Art, Communication Design, and a wide range of hobbies and interests, including playing classical guitar, photography, painting, cooking, nature, spirituality, hiking, and swimming. Neta lives in Reston, and has 2 children, Alison and Daniel, both in their 20s. 

Neta states, "I love being around young children. I love their pure energy, and natural curiosity and zest for life. I love watching their beautiful process of exploration, the thinking, the figuring out, trying out, keeping at it, adjusting, until satisfied. My role in the classroom is to allow and support the flow of their natural process to learn, and to give them a conscious understanding of how capable, powerful, important, worthy, and invincible they are. I believe self-empowerment is the greatest gift I can give to a child. I am completely in sync with Reggio’s approach about children and their learning. I see myself as their inspiring learning partner; we are all in this together! I will stand back as their most avid cheerleader, allowing and encouraging the children to shine. I’m excited to join the BEECC family!"

Jameela Nalukandy
Gimel Class

Jameela has a degree in Psychology and has worked as a School Counselor in India for several years. This experience provided her with the opportunity to work with children of different age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. Jameela has been working as an Assistant Teacher in Montessori schools since she moved to Northern Virginia.

Jameela believes that each stage in a child's development comes with its unique set of challenges and understanding these challenges is critical to help them reach their potential. She is passionate about working with children--everything is new and filled with wonder from a child's perspective, and this is the reward of being a part of their world. 

Yoga and cooking  are things that she loves to do in her spare time; she a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher. She is married and has two boys and a dog called Whiskey. 

Anna Nurmi
Music Specialist

Anna has been teaching music in private schools in Fairfax County for 17 years. She also teaches piano lessons in her home and uses movement and instruments to share the joy of music with my students. Anna has a piano pedagogy certificate from George Mason University and a communication studies degree from Virginia Tech, where she met her husband, Scott. 

Anna and Scott have raised two daughters: Taylor, an event and marketing specialist in San Antonio, TX, and Amanda, a communications assistant with the Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, DC.

Jamie Paul
Dalet Class

Jamie and Martin and their three children, Gillian, Jacob and Madeline, moved to Northern Virginia in June of 2001. The whole family quickly became very active at Beth Emeth. Jamie began working at the religious school immediately and joined the BEECC family the following year. Jamie has now taught Alef, Bet, Gimel, and Dalet classes. 

The family grew when Gillian married Aaron at CBE in 2011, and they now have Jamie and Martin's first grandchild, Daniel. Jacob and Sara will wed in August of 2018. Madeline and Alex are married now and living in Richmond.

Renée Williams

Renée has been with BEECC for 13 years. Originally from a small town in Western Maryland, she now lives in Sterling, VA, with her husband, Greg.

Renée and Greg have two adult children. When she's not at BEECC, most of her free time is spent spoiling her grandsons.