Paula Sayag, Director
Paula joined Temple Beth Ami as the Early Childhood Director in July 2009. Paula earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in “Human Development in Education” and a BS from Cornell University in “Human Development and Family Studies”. She previously worked as the Early Childhood Specialist and Parenting Educator at the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning. Before that, some of her favorite jobs were teaching “Mommy and Me” classes, supervising university student teachers, teaching undergraduate courses in human development, and working for 9 years at a sleep-away camp. Paula was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has spent most of her life in Montgomery County, Maryland. Paula lives in Brookeville with her husband, Danny. They have three sons, Jonathan, Eitan, and Eric.
Ellen Bortz, Special Projects Coordinator
Ellen has been on staff at the preschool since 1993, but actually has been part of the Gan Ami family, as a parent of sons Adam and Marc, since the day it opened it’s doors in 1989. A native of Great Neck, NY, Ellen and her husband Jon, met at University of Pennsylvania and after several years in Chicago, moved back to the east coast and to Montgomery County in 1986. Ellen’s first career was in account management with several large Advertising Agencies. After a few years as a stay at home mom Ellen returned to the work force, but this time she wanted to be close to her children! First as an assistant for 2 years, and then lead teacher in the Bets for 7 years, Ellen ‘graduated’ to the Dalets as an assistant from 2002 to 2013. Ellen enjoys her role as Special Projects Coordinator assisting the teachers and the school with all communications and documentation, as well as assorted other projects that come her way!
Judi Lapidus, OTR/L, Kesher Coordinator
Judi has been a pediatric occupational therapist since 2004. She graduated from Columbia University’s Programs in Occupational Therapy with a specialization in pediatrics, and developed her foundational skills working with children in a hospital setting and in a sensory integration gym. There she found her true calling to improve the lives of children who suffer from sensory modulation disorder, developmental delay and handwriting issues. Prior to occupational therapy, Judi was the director of a preschool and a preschool teacher for ten years. The blending of education and occupational therapy has afforded Judi the unique ability to understand the complexity of academic needs and the importance of strong sensory processing skills to create the building blocks for success.
Morgan was born and raised in the Washingtonian area and loved it so much she stayed! She now resides in Rockville with her husband and two children. She joined the Gan Ami staff in 2023 when her daughter had just graduated from our program and her son was entering the Dalets. Since enrolling her children in Gan Ami, Morgan has been extremely involved in the Parent Committee and gets pleasure from building our community and bringing everyone together. She graduated from the University of Hartford with a BS in Psychology focused on early childhood development. Her strengths are connecting people, working with children to reach their potential, and supporting everyone in her presence.
Greg has lived in Montgomery county his entire life. His two children, Sara and Matthew, are Gan Ami alumni. As a stay-at-home dad, Greg began with volunteering at school events, then helped with the afternoon enrichment classes, and eventually began substituting in almost all the classes. This inspired him to pursue additional education in the field of Early Childhood Education. Greg completed the Early Childhood Certificate through Montgomery College. After a few years on the Beth Ami staff, Greg was ‘on loan’ for the 2020-2021 school year to Ohr Kodesh ECC. He is very excited to be back as a part of the Gan Ami staff! Greg lives in Germantown with his children and his super awesome, amazing, spectacular wife, Stacy.