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An egalitarian Conservative congregation serving the diverse Orange County Jewish Community

Message from Lisa Heller, Preschool Director

As many of you know, I have been the Child Development Center Preschool Director for 20 years. Those years have been filled with amazing memories and experiences with the children, staff and synagogue. During those years, I have developed lifetime relationships with other Jewish early childhood community leaders and I have applied my skills to growing and developing a preschool enriched with Jewish values and strong foundations for successful early childhood development. I will cherish those memories and experiences forever. The preschool will always hold a very special place in my heart. The time has come, however, for me to start a new chapter in my life: Retirement! Toward that end, I have begun transitioning the Preschool Director position to Sharon Alkin, who is currently serving as the Preschool’s Assistant Director and Pre-K Teacher. My last day as the Preschool Director will be on June 30, 2016.

I have been part of the Jewish Community since arriving in Orange County in 1980, with my husband Jonathan and baby boy, Jesse. I began as a preschool teacher at Temple Beth Sholom (TBS) and quickly became the Director. After 17 years at TBS, two more children, Jacob and Samuel, Jonathan and I were thrilled to become part of the CBI Community. The preschool was small in those days, only three classrooms and a half dozen staff. With the support of Rabbi Spitz, the CBI board, some very generous donations and amazing teachers and families, we were able to become the beautiful, boutique preschool that we are today.

I have grown and learned a lot about myself these past 20 years. I savor my experiences and will miss the everyday excitement of the children, families and staff. I am grateful for my supporters and ready to enter the next stage of my life. I look forward to the opportunity and getting to know myself a little better. My retirement will give me a chance to spend more time with my family and to re-invent myself.

For the remainder of the school year, Sharon Alkin will shadow me and transition to becoming the new director beginning, July 1, 2016. Sharon has worked at the preschool for the past seven years and has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She was formerly the Preschool Director for the Susan Sims Bodenstein Preschool/Mishkon Tephilo in Venice, CA. Sharon has a keen eye for business and excellent skills when working with parents, children and staff. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I am thrilled and honored to have Sharon lead the preschool going forward.

In honor of my retirement and Sharon’s new role as the Director, mark your calendar for Sunday, June 5, 2016 for a celebratory family picnic. It will be fun to celebrate with families new and old. More details to follow. Sharon and I will also be honored by CBI, on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the Shabbat Service and luncheon.

In closing, I would like to thank my family, close friends, preschool and CBI family for their support and love they have given me these past 20 years. With Sharon’s leadership, and the continuation of our unique philosophy, the preschool will continue to grow and flourish.

With warm regards,

Lisa Heller, Preschool Director