Our Staff

Allison Weil — Director

I am thrilled to be the Director of Early Childhood Education at Temple Isaiah Preschool. My family and I have been members of Temple Isaiah since 2019 and we were thrilled that our daughters were able to attend TIPS. They are now continuing their Jewish education through Kulanu. Originally from outside of Philadelphia, I attended Penn State and received a B.S. in Elementary and Kindergarten Education in 2005. After college, I attended the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC as a student in the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, receiving my MA in Jewish Education in 2008.

Throughout my career, I have worked as both a Jewish and secular educator. While in college and graduate school, I worked in several religious schools, staffed youth group events, and worked as a counselor and unit head at Camp Ramah in the Poconos and Camp Ramah in New England. After moving to DC in 2008, I taught for four years at JPDS, now known as the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School. While teaching Kindergarten and 1st Grade, I learned about the Reggio Emilia philosophy and implemented components of it in my classroom. After meeting my (now) husband, Matt, we moved to Howard County in 2011 where I worked at Bet Yeladim with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I also taught Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grades for several years in Baltimore County. After welcoming our daughters, Abigail and Isabel, I began working at the Jewish Federation of Howard County as a Program Associate. My focus was PJ Library and engaging families with young children. I also worked as their Marketing and Communications Associate. I am thrilled to bring my career to Temple Isaiah and have the honor of working at this incredible preschool. I look forward to meeting all of our families and working closely with this amazing team of educators.

Contact Allison if you have any questions about our Preschool classes, TIPS for Tots, or enrollment.

Eileen Densel — Assistant Director

I have been a teacher at TIPS since 2017 and most recently became the Assistant Director in 2023. As a teacher, I have worked in the 3s and 4s classrooms. The first year I worked with 3-year-olds, and have been with the 4-year-olds ever since. I absolutely love teaching and nurturing your children. I graduated from the University of Delaware in 1990 with a degree in English and journalism. I spent 25 years working for The Humane Society of the United States. During that time, I began taking Early Childhood Education classes, because it knew it was something I would want to pursue. I worked as a substitute teacher for the Howard County Public School system for six years before starting at Temple Isaiah. My husband and I were married in 1996 and have three children (who aren’t really children anymore!) — Zack, Ashley, and Samantha. I love watching children learn and grow, and am humbled to think that I am responsible for a small part of that. In my spare time, I love to walk my amazing dog, Brody, as well as read and bake.

Laurie Avrunin — 3's Teacher

Working at Temple Isaiah Preschool has been such a fun and rewarding experience! My number one goal is to make every child in my care feel happy, safe, comfortable, and loved. Before coming to Temple Isaiah, I taught elementary school for 10 years! Then I became a proud and loving mommy and was lucky to be home with my two amazing boys…my greatest gifts of all! Both boys attended Temple Isaiah Preschool and had an incredible experience with extremely loving and nurturing teachers. I began subbing in the classrooms and, soon after, teaching the Tips for Tots “grown-up and me” class. Since being at TIPS, I’ve worked with the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s. Watching the children grow (especially in the 3’s) brings me so much joy! It’s amazing to see their physical, social, and emotional skills blossom from the beginning of the year to the end. They have the sweetest personalities, give the best hugs, and tell the funniest stories! They make me smile and laugh and we always have fun together!

When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my husband, Brian, and my boys, Brayden and Logan, watching my boys play sports, going to Orioles games, and traveling to new places! It’s always an adventure whether at work or at home and these adventures turn into special, lifelong memories!

Wendy Balentine — 2's Teacher

Hello families, I am Morah Wendy Balentine and have been a member of the TIPS faculty since 2017. Thank you for sending your wonderful children to us; it’s my privilege to engage with them, learning and playing together. Before joining the dedicated staff in our preschool, I worked at Chabad in their daycare/preschool, and before working at Chabad, I provided childcare in my home for ten years in my native New York state. I love being around children and have two of my own. In my free time, I enjoy making sunshine cards for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore and dog walking. My family and I are also members of Temple Isaiah.

Kelly Benton-Klein – 3’s Teacher

I have been teaching at TIPS since 2022. While I am newer on staff, I have a long history with the preschool. My three children all attended preschool here and now they are in 12th, 10th, and 7th Grade (so it’s been a while since I had small children at home). I love working with children and most of my jobs have been child related. I was a mommy’s helper, a babysitter, and did childcare when families were away. I began teaching at my religious school as a senior in high school and have continued since then to teach Sunday School! I have a Psy.D. in Psychology, with a focus on children. I look forward to a wonderful year in the 3s on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! 

Linda Blandford — 4's Teacher

I have been teaching at Temple Isaiah Preschool since 2005! I have taught the 4’s class the whole time, except for the first year when I taught the 3’s. I have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. My true passion has been working with young children, and watching them progress during the school year in all areas of development.  I find it to be incredibly rewarding.

The 4–5 age group is particularly fun to work with because they are developing a greater sense of self and can be sustained for a longer period of time. They approach the world with curiosity, and use their imaginations to help comprehend it.  It’s fun to watch the delight in their faces when they grasp an understanding of a particular concept.

When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with  my awesome daughters, Julie and Ashley, their significant others, my longtime partner Steve, and my adorable “grand-dogters.”  I happen to love dogs too! Any chance I can go to my happy place, the beach, I am there!

Jenny Carchman — Behavior & Learning Specialist

I am thrilled to bring the new role of Behavior & Learning Specialist to the Temple Isaiah Preschool Team. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) with eight years of experience working under the umbrella of mental health. I earned my Master’s degree from the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. I am very passionate about what I do. Working with children and families has been my niche for as long as I can remember. Prior to joining the TIPS team, I spent time as a child, adolescent, and family therapist, as well as an early childhood behavior consultant with TIME Organization, a nonprofit servicing Baltimore City and surrounding counties. 

I grew up in Germantown, Maryland. After earning my Bachelor’s from University of Maryland, College Park, I spent time in Baltimore City where I ended up meeting my now-husband, Max. We currently live in Columbia, Maryland with our son, Anthony and doggo, Otto. We are also members of Temple Isaiah, joining in 2020. 

I am excited to join the awesome TIPS team and am looking forward to getting to know all of our families! 

Jennifer Hendrick — 3's Teacher

I started teaching preschool in DC in 1995 while completing my Masters degree in early childhood education. I then moved to the public schools to teach kindergarten until I had my four boys (Devin, Ryan, Adam, and Sam). While raising them, I had a private tutoring business and taught preschool fitness classes called Jumpbunch in the public schools in Howard County.

I have been teaching preschool at TIPS since 2014. I began in the 2’s class and have since moved into the 3’s. I also taught a few TIPS for Tots classes as well during this time. I truly love working with young children and watching them grow and learn throughout the year. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know the children, watching them learn the classroom routines, and form friendships over the years that I have been at TIPS. It has been amazing working with this staff and I look forward to many more years to come.

I enjoy spending my free time with my long-time partner Evan and my four boys. We love taking trips together, taking our dog Murphy for walks and runs, and going to / watching football games.

Rachel Jacobs — 2's Teacher

Wendy Lake — 3's Teacher

I have worked at Temple Isaiah since 2006 in the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s classes. I love working with every age and seeing how they grow and learn. I started working when my oldest started college and now he is a dad himself. I have been married to my husband Jeff for more than 35 wonderful years. We have three children, Justin who is a lawyer in Howard County is married to Rachele and they have two children. My daughter Danielle teaches Kindergarten in Montgomery County is married to Ethan, and they have two children. And my third daughter is a social worker and works in Alaska!! My favorite time of the day is listening to the kids in my class talk at the lunch table. They amaze me every day and keep a smile on my face. I am also an avid sports fan supporting my Washington Football Team and the Nationals and Caps.

Deanna Putterman — 4's Teacher

I am excited to join the amazing staff at Temple Isaiah Preschool this year. As a long-time member of the Temple Isaiah community, my oldest attended TIPS many years ago and it was such a positive experience. Since then, TIPS has been near and dear to my heart. 

I’ve always enjoyed working with children, especially the preschool age group. Before joining TIPS, I ran my own private preschool in Anne Arundel County, and taught ages 2 to 5 for more ten years. Children are such a delight and I love meeting them where they are in their development, and helping them grow. It’s a joy getting to know each of them as the individuals they are, and seeing their physical, social, and emotional skills flourish throughout the school year.

When I am not teaching, you can find me in my kitchen trying new recipes, or outside playing with my two large dogs. I also enjoy spending time with my husband of 22 years, Josh, and my teens Evan (17) and Shayna (15). Together we enjoy  hiking, beaching, and family game nights.  

Susan Sandler — 3's Teacher

I have been an assistant teacher at Temple Isaiah Preschool since 2008. I started out as a volunteer in the 4’s class, when my son was attending. When he went to kindergarten, I was asked to stay on as an assistant teacher. I was fortunate to be able to work in the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s class over the years. I truly enjoy being with the children and love when they learn and discover new things.

I am married, and my husband Paul and I have two children. Sarah is an RN at John Hopkins Hospital in the Neurology Unit, and Zach just graduated from Reservoir High School.

Debbie Wofsey — 2's Teacher

I’m happy to be at TIPS as an Assistant Teacher. I am a graduate from The University of Maryland where I majored in Family and Community Development, with an emphasis on young children. My husband Avrom and I have one son, Stephen, who is married to Alexandra. We have an almost nine-year-old British Golden Retriever, named Simba. I retired in 2019 after teaching preschool for 33 years! When I retired, I was teaching the children of students I had years ago! Last year I realized I’m not quite ready to retire; I missed being with the children. I love their innocence and how they are always changing and learning new things. I signed up to be a Bubbie for the Friendly Frogs, happy to be back in the classroom. Soon after that, I also started subbing at TIPS and loved it! My hobbies are baking and reading, and I also love sports, especially the Nationals, Capitals, and the Washington Commanders. I’m looking forward to a fun-filled year!

Stephanie Youngworth — 2's Teacher

I love teaching preschool at Temple Isaiah and being around all of the wonderful children each day. It amazes me how eager the children are to learn and how much they teach me as well. I first studied Psychology at the University of Maryland then I went on to receive my MSW at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. For seven years, I worked as a clinical social worker at a private school for children with behavioral and emotional challenges. After my career as a therapist, I took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom for my two sons, Jacob and Joshua. Both my boys attended Temple Isaiah Preschool and had an incredible experience with extremely loving and nurturing teachers. I began subbing in the classrooms and, soon after, began teaching in 2013. Every year I look forward to watching how much the children in my class grow physically and emotionally, as well as socially.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband Philip and my boys, as well as walking my dog Boots, being with family and friends, exercising, and reading.