Staff

  • Certified Jewish Parent Educators

    All of our staff members work hard to ensure that every parent gets the most of out of their JPAT experience.

    Leslie Wolf – Founder/Executive Director

    Leslie has her Bachelors degree from Maryville University and received her Masters from Washington University. She taught five years in the St. Louis Public School system and eight years at Ladue Early Childhood.

    She has been the Director of Deutsch Early Childhood Center of Congregation Temple Israel, in St. Louis Missouri, since July 2009. In that time, she has grown the school from 38 students to 197 students. Leslie wanted to make a difference in Jewish households so she took the initiative to get funding for Jewish Parents as Teachers (JPAT). Following the results of the 2014 St. Louis Jewish Community Study, which found that only 16% of children in Jewish households attend or have attended Jewish preschools, Leslie feels it is even more important to bring Jewish engagement into the home.

    Leslie is a part of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute where she helps create and provide Jewish learning, leadership development and community building to grow St. Louis Early Childhood education programs.

    In her free time, Leslie loves to cook and spend time with her husband Harvey (who is a tremendous support), her daughter Taylor, a senior education major at Tulane, and her son Cameron, a senior at Ladue High School.

    Debi Porfidio – Education Director

    A native St. Louisan, Debi graduated from Clayton High School and obtained an education and dance degree from Stephens College. After college, Debi pursed her dream of a dance career by moving to Las Vegas and dancing in the Folies Bergere Show at the Tropicana hotel. She moved back to St. Louis to raise her two children, Molly, who is a sophomore english major at Missouri State, and Michael, who is a senior at Parkway Central.

    Debi has been a parent educator for over 19 years, spending two years in the Ritenour School District and 17 years in the Ladue School District. She currently works with families who have children ranging in ages from birth to five years old. She has also worked with teen moms from Ladue and The Collaborative School. Along with being active in JPAT, Debi teaches full-time in the 3/4-year-old classroom at Deutsch Early Childhood Center and coaches at Team Gymnastics. She has a love of learning and Jewish traditions that she bring to JPAT.

    In her free time, she loves to visit Molly at college and watch Michael play rugby.

    Mindy Woolf – Marketing/Outreach Director

    Born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas, Mindy moved to St. Louis in August 2002 with her husband Richard. Since residing in St. Louis, Mindy has been very active in the Jewish community, engaging in a variety of activities ranging from volunteering at a number of Jewish Organizations to teaching challah classes to helping develop a children’s program at their synagogue NHBZ. She has a passion for the Jewish community and engaging others in the importance of building a Jewish foundation for their children.

    During her free time she likes to run half marathons, workout, read, bake, travel and spend time with her family. Her oldest son Corey is a first grader at Saul Mirowitz Community Day School and Evan is in Pre-K at Deutsch Early Childhood Center. Mindy received a Bachelors in communications from Indiana University, Bloomington.

    Shayna Warner – Parent Educator

    Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Shayna received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bradley University and began her teaching career at Solomon Schecter Day School in Phoenix Arizona. Through her teen years and early ’20s, Shayna was involved in multiple informal Jewish activities as a song leader and programmer through URJ summer camps, synagogues and programs such as NFTY. Ultimately, this led her to be the director of a NFTY region for the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Council region of the URJ for four years.

    After marrying her husband, Cantor Seth Werner, she worked at Tulane University while simultaneously working toward completing her Masters in Social Work. Her field of training focused predominantly on children, adolescent and family issues, as well as in-patient counseling in the filed of substance abuse.

    Her best on-the-job training came when her children were born. She has been fortunate to be the executive director of her household since her first child’s arrival in 2005. Her family moved to St. Louis in 2007. She has two sons, Simon, 8, and Issac, 5. Shayna has been apart of JPAT since the beginning, sharing her wealth of knowledge about Jewish teachings.

    Jenn Cohen – Parent Educator

    Jenn Cohen is a native of New York and a SUNY Binghamton graduate. She holds a masters degree in Guidance Counseling, a bachelors in Human Development and has a vast amount of experience in human relations. As a military wife and the mother of two rambunctious boys, she is always up for a good challenge. Aside from working as a school counselor for young children, she also served as a Vice Chairperson on a college campus committee in an Israel advocacy organization where she planned events for college students. Most recently she worked as an events coordinator in St Louis for undergraduates returning from Israel on a Birthright trip. Jenn has volunteered for Jewish family programming throughout St Louis and loves organizing children’s events and educational activities. Her love for Israel, and passion for keeping Jewish people connected, is the driving force that motivates her work.

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