Temple Sinai of Bergen County named Carissa Sachs as the new director of its Early Childhood Center (ECC). A highly accomplished nursery school director, early childhood educator and social worker, Ms. Sachs is integrally connected to the Temple Sinai community.
Growing up in Bergen County, she attended the ECC and Religious School at Temple Sinai, and served as President of the Youth Group. When she returned to Tenafly as an adult after living in New York City, her family joined Temple Sinai, and she enrolled her son and daughter at the ECC. In 2018, she joined the Temple’s board of directors, a role she stepped down from upon deciding to apply for the ECC position.
“Sometimes, you look far and wide for what you seek, and you find that treasure right under your nose,” said Temple Sinai’s Senior Rabbi Jordan Millstein. “We’re so fortunate that Carissa is bringing her many talents, and deep knowledge of early childhood and development, to the school she attended as a little girl and where she chose to enroll her own children. How extraordinary that we found someone with such a rich past at Temple Sinai to lead us into the future.”
She began her career as an educational therapist at JCC on the Palisades in its Therapeutic Nursery, working with children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. She then became head pre-kindergarten teacher at the Imagine Early Learning Center, before joining the Children’s Safety Project as a social worker. She was early childhood director at the Barrow Street Nursery School, followed by program director at the Marie Pense Center, an early intervention agency providing services to children in schools, homes, and daycare centers.
Most recently, Ms. Sachs served as executive director of Ivy Prep Ed, the boutique agency she founded in 2011 to offer educational services for special needs children and group tutoring for neurotypical children.
As director of the ECC, Sachs is responsible for the oversight of daily school operations; hiring, training, and guiding a staff of as many as 25 teachers; and curriculum development and implementation. She replaces ECC Director Risa Tannenbaum, who retired after 13 years in this position, and reports to Temple Sinai Rabbi-Educator Beth Kramer-Mazer.
“There is so much I love about our ECC, and so much more I hope to contribute,” said Ms. Sachs. “I want to deepen our emergent, exciting approach to education, where children don’t even realize they’re learning. I want to work with every teacher individually to help them become the best they can be. I want to foster stronger connections between our cherished ECC families and the larger Temple community. And I want to weave Temple Sinai’s beautiful tikkun olam (acts of kindness to repair the world) program throughout our preschool, beginning at the earliest age to shape our kiddos into people who will leave here ready to help and actively make the world a more caring place.”