This month longtime Jewish educator Kathy Klein starts as Director of Early Childhood Education at the Shaw JCC. Klein has been a teacher in the JCC for over 25 years.
In 2008, she was selected as one of five Jewish educators nationwide to receive an Ethical Start Achievement Award from the JCCs of North America. In 2010, she was awarded The Libbie Braverman Award by the JECC. The award recognizes a teacher who has demonstrated “dedication and devotion to teaching and has significantly contributed to developing methods or materials to the Jewish teaching profession.” That same year, she also received the Marcia Siegal Memorial Scholarship award from Siegal College of Jewish Studies, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education, focusing on the use of Talmud in early education. She has written two children’s books with this as a theme.
"I am excited to become a member of the Shaw JCC community," says Klein. "The JCC is a place where my own four children, now adults, had many formative and enriching experiences when young. I look forward to having the opportunity to build warm and lasting relationships with parents, students, and staff.
She continues: "As we approach the beginning of another school year, I am reminded of the words of Rabbi Chanina, one of the sages of the Talmud, who said: 'I have learned much from my teachers, and from my colleagues more than from my teachers, but from my students more than from them all.' (Taanit 7a3) Getting to know our families and sharing their aspirations for their children as we partner in the definition, development, and achievement of their own unique educational journeys, is a particularly rewarding aspect of this job."
Klein also has a degree in Sociology from Cleveland State University. Her research project, “How Young Children Develop Racial Schematicity,” was one of three chosen by a panel of civic leaders and faculty to be presented at Ingenuity Fest, the festival of art and technology, in July of 2007.
As a gardening instructor, Klein is certified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a teacher of their Project Aquatic, Project Wild and “Growing Up Wild” outdoor curricula. She has participated in the Nevatim “Sprouts” Conference at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Maryland, and studied plant biology through Tel Aviv University, with Professor Daniel Chamovitz. To incorporate those themes and enhance our CATCH Program, Klein recently took a course in Childhood Health and Nutrition through Stanford University.
Klein is also an artist and incorporates her passion and knowledge in teaching. For many years, she taught “From Pointillism to Pop” at the former Mayfield JCC, introducing young artists to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection. She has also been a presenter at the local CAJE conference, demonstrating creative ways to utilize art in a Jewish context.
As a member of Suburban Temple, Klein directs the “Parents’ Nite Out” program for children from age 2-13 and occasionally substitutes in its school. She is a former Board member of Siegal College of Jewish Studies and is a frequent participant in classes of the Jewish Learning Institute, sponsored by Chabad and CWRU’s Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.
Klein was born in New York City and grew up in Bronxville, NY. She and her husband, Peter, reside in Cleveland Heights. Despite which she remains an unrepentant NY Yankees and Giants fan, although is a Browns season ticket holder (Hope springs eternal!)