Toddler Teachers

Sonia Avny, commonly known as Morah Sonia, is blessed with two very special children and the most beautiful granddaughter, in her own words. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working at Gan Yeladim for 19 years. Sonia also works for the Friendship Circle at Chabad of Stamford. Her first job in Stamford was at Sara Walker preschool for three years and after that at Bi-Cultural Day School. She has also taught Hebrew school at Temple Sinai for many years and led Groups Saturday mornings at Agudath Shalom. Originally Sonia was born in Romania and at the age of 10 moved with her family to Israel, where she lived for 17 years before coming to Stamford.

Rena Gelb is a Fairfield, CT native who is thrilled to join the Gan as a morah in the infant classroom. Rena has been a proud Gan Yeladim parent for the past four years, during which time she also substituted at the Gan on a regular basis.  Rena's teaching experience began post college, and includes three years in elementary schools as a teacher in grades K-5.  Rena began teaching due to a love of working with children and helping them thrive. Rena then went on to earn an MBA from Columbia Business School, following which she served as Principal and Vice President of a clean energy consulting firm for eight years. Rena's other interests include playing the cello and skiing. Rena is happy to return to teaching at the Gan due to its strong educational philosophy that is carried out in the classrooms. Rena holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education from Barnard College, where she obtained certification as a K-6 teacher. Rena lives in Stamford with her husband and two children, Joshua and Jennifer.   

Margarita Kunin has been teaching at Gan since 1992 and anticipates meeting the new families and children in her classroom each year.  For many years prior to Gan, Margarita worked as a preschool teacher and and as a teacher of gifted children.  She has a BA in Teaching and Music Education from the Pedagogical Institute in Russia.  Known for her affection and attention to the details of caring for children, Margarita tells the story of why she ultimately became a teacher.  At five years of age her parents bought a baby piano.  She would put her dolls around the piano and sing songs to them. She was so happy that she could teach the dolls to play piano, and that they would listen to her as she taught them and that they would always be with her.

Lieba Lander joined the Gan family in 1995 as an Assistant Teacher.  Four years ago Lieba assumed a new position when she became the Resource Coordinator, incorporating many roles in the day to day operations of the Gan.  But her love continues to be her involvement with the children in the classroom, providing them with an environment that makes them feel loved, protected and excited to be at Gan every day.  Lieba was born in Schenectady, N.Y., grew up in New Haven, CT, and graduated from Stone College.  She is proud that her youngest daughter Karen was in the first graduating class of the Gan and two of her grandsons are also alumni.  Lieba has worked in the fields of Infection Control and Retail Management.  She is past President of the Ct. Region of Hadassah and currently serves on the National Board of Hadassah.




Belana Warmflash has been working as a teacher on and off for eight years.  She is from Georgia (the country) and moved to the California when she was 6 years old.  Morah Belana has three children, 2 currently in Gan and 1 that graduated from Gan and now at BCHA.  She enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her family.  Morah Belana has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in social work.