Havdallah and Kallah Reflection with Shira Kline, Shelly Sender, Yolanda Savage-Narva, and Zoë Miller
Shelly Sender (she/her)Early Childhood Education Director, Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, TX
Shelly Sender has been dedicated to the field of early childhood education for 40 years. Shelly Sender graduated from the Southern Methodist University, where she received her degree in psychology followed by a master’s degree in education administration. She has served as the Early Childhood Education Director at Temple Emanu-El Dallas for the past 15 years, where she has led 336 children and 100 staff members. Shelly has guided the school using the Reggio Emilia philosophy, has overseen the third cycle of accreditation though the National Association for the Education of Young Children; and brought back the kindergarten classes over the past seven years. The school is in the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate preschool. Shelly lives in Dallas, has three amazing children, ages 35, 33, and 27. Shelly has pioneered the establishment and growth of several educational institutes creating a strong school community. Strong relationships and inquiry-based learning, in addition to a strong academic foundation, are truly relevant in her work with children. Shelly has served on several child advocacy boards and served as the VP of learning on the board of a national organization. Shelly is originally from South Africa and has always been inspired by Nelson Mandela’s famous words “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Shira Kline (she/her)Performance and Queer Ritual Artist, Educator and Musician
Shira Kline is an internationally acclaimed performance and queer ritual artist, recognized as a revolutionary educator and named one of the new re-engineers of Jewish life today. She is a weaver of sacred story and song, known on the kiddie-rock stage as ShirLaLa and in the sanctuary as a spiritual adventurist. Shira tours extensively locally and globally with a vibrant invitation to audiences of all ages to connect, bringing ritual and art together for a new and realized conscious world. A co-founder and Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC, she grew up right here in the ECE-RJ.
Yolanda Savage-Narva has twenty years’ experience working with public agencies and non-profit organizations to promote equity and inclusion. She is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-trained public health specialist who has led community-based efforts in community health assessments for Indian Health Service, public education for the Alzheimer’s Association, pedestrian safety and advocacy for America Walks, and health equity for the National Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Yolanda was also the Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding, cooperation, and respect while fighting to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.
In Yolanda’s current role she is leading the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) work for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). She is also a member of the JewVNation cohort, a fellowship sponsored by the URJ, a 2019 Schusterman Senior Fellow, a member of the Board of Directors for the Federation of Greater Washington and the Capital Jewish Museum. Yolanda is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; an international Black sorority dedicated to community service and education.
Yolanda is a graduate of Tougaloo College (Sociology) and has a master’s degree in education from Jackson State University.
In her spare time Yolanda loves being outdoors, reading, birdwatching, playing sports and traveling with her family.
Zoë Miller (she/her)Director of cdc@cbi
Zoë Miller is the Director of cdc@cbi, a child development center and preschool at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Texas.
Zoë grew up in Los Angeles and has many years of experience in Jewish Education, starting as a preschool teacher in both Los Angeles and New York City. She earned her BA at The New School University and her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota. She holds an Early Childhood Teaching Certification from UCLA and a National Director Credential from McCormick University. After moving to Austin in 2014, Zoë was awarded a Fellowship through the Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals, providing her the opportunity to travel, explore, and study with a variety of Early Childhood programs across North America and Israel.
She is excited to be pursuing a second graduate degree in Innovative Early Childhood Education, with a strong emphasis on the Reggio Emilia approach at the University of Denver in collaboration with the Boulder Journey School.