Meet Our Teachers


Our staff inspires children to question their world and to appreciate multiple perspectives. When children are agents of their own learning, they build life-long critical thinking skills and are more deeply invested in the process. We believe that learning is a social process, and as a community of learners, staff, parents, and children partner together in a welcoming environment which promotes growth.


Kim Garra

Mandel ECE Director


Kim has devoted her career to Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her background includes earning her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Malone College with significant post-grad work in Special Education with a concentration in Autism. She has worked over 25 years in an early childhood education setting, directing and teaching, and with children of all ages. Kim enjoys being involved in the lives of young children and treasures the opportunity to share in these years with their families while at the ECE.

Lori Ziss

Mandel ECE Assistant Director


After earning her bachelor’s degree in Education at Grove City College, Lori has devoted more than 20 years to working in education with young children and their families. She comes from a background of a preschool teacher, faculty administrator, and special needs assistant. She is committed to creating a strong, quality educational program in the Early Childhood Center that is also fun! Lori will be assisting Kim and is excited to have the opportunity to spend time with the children and meet their families.




MaryAnn Beach

MaryAnn is still excited to be in the classroom and help our little ones develop and learn after her many years as a teacher. She received her B.A. in Education from the University of Akron. She also knows American Sign Language, has taught Irish Step Dancing and teaches music lessons. MaryAnn is trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse and regularly attends continuing education classes.


Michelle Benvie

Michelle is always eager to come to school and see what new discoveries the children will make. She has primarily worked with children who are 3 years old. Michelle earned her Early Childhood Education and Family and Childhood Development from the University of Akron. 


Sue Brady

Sue always finds it amazing to see the children's eyes light up when they learn something new and appreciates when children come back to say "hi" years later. Sue has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse and regularly attends continuing education classes.


Khori Hart

Khori loves how family oriented the ECE is and that parents are always informed on what their children are learning. She attended the University of Akron and has earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​


Joyce Williams

Joyce loves the campus, her coworkers and watching families grow. She has worked primarily with the 2 to 3 year olds. Joyce attended the University of Akron where she earned an Associate's in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Family and Child Development.


Lisa Pesantez

Lisa always enjoys seeing children have those Aha! moments and seeing them discover new things. She brings over 30 years of teaching to each classroom she teaches. Lisa has been trained in CPR, First Aid, handling communicable diseases, and how to handle cases of child abuse and earned her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.​


Stephanie Pesantez

​​Stephanie enjoys seeing children’s eyes light up when a concept clicks for them. She works with infant and Pre-K children. Stephanie graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Communication. She is certified in CPR, First Aid, and Communicable Disease.



Mellissa Redman

Mellissa's favorite part of working in the ECE is teaching young children about the world around them and watching them absorb the info and thrive. She has experience working with children ranging from 2 to 18 years old. Mellissa attended the University of Akron and Ferris State University.​

Kelly Rienas

Kelly has been working with children from birth through 5 years old for about 10 years. Kelly is currently working with children 2-3 years of age. This age group has become her passion! She loves to see the excitement in their faces when they realize they can do something they have been working hard to achieve. Kelly is finishing up her CDA and has just started her BA in Early Childhood Education coursework. In her free time, Kelly enjoys family time and reading mystery novels.

Susan Borchert

Susan has devoted herself to early childhood and elementary education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Edinboro Univeristy of Pennsylvania. Susan has taught kindergarten and third grade but has spent the last 15 years in a Pre-K classroom.

Camille Williams

Camille has been with early childhood kids for 8 years. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Her favorite part about being a teacher is watching children light up when they accomplish something for the first time and watching them mold into the people they are meant to be! Her family moves around often, but she is always happy to come home to the Shaw JCC.

  • Mandel ECE Director

    Have questions? Need information? Want to take a tour? Contact Kim Garra for more information on The Lisa and Thom Mandel Early Childhood Center at the Shaw JCC.

    330-835-0044 or email