Ilana Friedman, Head of Early Childhood Education.
Ilana Friedman is thrilled to be the Head of Early Childhood Education for our three Kings Bay Y North Brooklyn Locations. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ilana holds a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and a Master’s in Education from NYU. She has been teaching, coaching and developing curriculum for the past 20 years, including her first 15 years at PS 321 in Park Slope, followed by two years at CBE in Park Slope, where she served as the Associate Director of its pre-school. In addition to her teaching, Ilana spent several summers as theater director at Piper Theater Camps/Puck’s Playground, introducing Brooklyn’s youngest thespians to the works of Shakespeare. She has a passion for project-based learning in addition to creating and implementing rich, original and inspiring educational activities. Ilana lives in Kensington with her husband, Dave, and her son Noah, who will be entering second grade in the fall of 2017.
Milana Shabekova, Preschool Director.
Milana Shabekova is excited to join the Kings Bay Y family at North Williamsburg! Raised in Queens, Milana received her Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Touro College and a Bachelor's degree in Speech Language Pathology from St. John's University. She has been part of the educational environment in New York City for over 10 years, having worked as a preschool teacher, a SEIT (special education itinerant teacher) and a 1 on 1 therapist in Early Intervention. In addition, she has worked as an early childhood education director in a semi-private preschool on the Lower East Side for the past 3 years. Milana's goal is to provide an inviting environment where children feel safe and supported, develop a love of learning, and gain self confidence as learners and valued members of our community. In her spare time, Milana enjoys designing jewelry, the outdoors, yoga and spending time with her friends and family.
Annie Dizon, Office Manager
Annie Dizon came to New York from the Philippines at the age of three. She comes from Westchester County, but has been living in Brooklyn since 2016. An aspiring writer, she studied English Literature at Lehman College and her work has been featured in publications such as Joonbug, The Collateral View, the Angel Orensanz Foundation, and Thought Catalog. Annie plans to move forward & grow with her writing and is excited to expand to other creative media. She hopes to explore possibilities of being a teacher...or perhaps a children's book author! She is thrilled to return to the North Williamsburg Y and continue helping the preschool community grow & thrive! Annie enjoys musical theater, reading, food adventures, hiking, and karaoke.
Robyn Siegel, Associate UPK teacher
Robyn Siegel is thrilled to be a part of the NWY community. A midwest gal-at-heart, Robyn was born and raised in Cleveland and holds a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has been working with young children for the past decade, including children with special needs, which led her to pursue coursework in child development and early literacy at Bank Street College of Education, here at New York. Robyn feels honored to witness and to support her students' growth and development, from September to June, through providing an enriching and fun environment.
Yesenia Morales, Head 2's Teacher
Yesenia Morales is beyond excited to welcome the 2’s into the NWY community as their lead teacher! Yesenia started off as an After Care teacher in 2014, followed by a year as Assistant 3’s teacher 2015. The following year, she led our new Parents as Partners class as well as revisited After Care in last year! As a New York native, born and raised on Roosevelt Island, Yesenia earned her B.A. in Child Development: Perspectives on Social Identities in Geneva, NY. Yesenia utilized most of her college time by student teaching in infant/toddler and elementary classrooms. She looks forward to continuing her Masters degree through online and summer courses.Yesenia’s passion for working with young children and their families have continued to grow here at NWY. She believes that exposure to early education and creating a strong bond with families is a critical factor in a child’s educational & social development. On her free time, she enjoys exploring new places, photography, playing with her Yorkshire (Bella) and her absolute favorite—spending time with her nieces and nephews.
Jonathan Fifer, Assistant 2's Teacher
Jonathan Fifer is excited to be starting his first year at the Kings Bay Y. Raised in Great Falls, Virginia, right outside of Washington DC, Jonathan went on to study Political Science at the University of Chicago. He has worked with young children since high school, and no matter where he was he had a great time playing with them and helping them as they learned and developed. Realizing that this was the perfect career for him, he went on to study at Teachers College, Columbia University, and finished his masters in Early Childhood Education in 2017. When not working with children, Jonathan enjoys playing board games and video games with his friends, and is passionate about superheroes. Jonathan is looking forward to a great year with the Orange Room and is looking forward to the many wonderful experiences he will have with his 2-year-old friends!
Dana Kornfeld, Head 3's Teacher
Dana Kornfeld is an award-winning graduate of Queens College where she earned her B.A in Early Childhood Education. A native New Yorker and natural nurturer attuned to the needs of the individual, Dana has over 20 years experience educating, cultivating, counseling, advocating, caring for, and inspiring development in people of all ages. Dana has been teaching 2s & 3s in her Brooklyn community for 6 years. She is known for aiding displaced/struggling students and their families. She is passionate about being a catalyst for growth and exposing children to a hands on world of opportunity. Outside of teaching Dana is excited about being a memory keeper through her photography and video. She is a lover of music and art, gardening, hiking and cooking. She is a long time volunteer for local communities as well as artisan groups in Guatemala.
Oneyda Aguilar, Assistant 3's Teacher
Oneyda Aguilar was born and raised in Queens. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood & Special Education from Brooklyn College. She has always had a passion working with kids ever since she was little and has wanted to become a teacher for as long as she can remember. This dream of hers never changed as she was growing up and showcased it by working with kids for the past six years, all different ages. Oneyda's favorite child's book is "Chika Chika Boom". She believes the loveliest aspect of being a teacher is seeing children grow, develop, and change in such a short amount of time! She is also currently working on her Masters in the same field as well as working on an extension of Early Intervention
Cheryl Daniels, Head UPK Teacher
Cheryl is a proud born & bred Upper West Sider. She has lived in Jerusalem, Israel where she attended David Yellin Teacher's College & began her teaching career. Upon her return to New York, she earned her Masters Degree in Early Childhood & Elementary Education at Bank Street College of Education while simultaneously teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten in both private & public schools. Cheryl has spent the past 5 years teaching Pre-K at Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center & is excited to join the North Williamsburg y as the UPK teacher. She has a deep belief in forming deep & meaningful relationships with families in order to create the optimal learning environment for the children. Cheryl enjoys reading, long walks, the beach, practicing yoga & meditation, animals & spending time with friends & her cats, Bugsy & Miss Esme.
Katherine Sackman, Music Teacher
Singer & songwriter Katherine, from Tkiya, is thrilled to join Kings Bay Y again this year for more singing & grooving. She is a classical pianist and is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in Music Education at CUNY.