1st & 2nd Grade

This collaborative group of teachers helps students build on skills gained in kindergarten and extend their mastery of core subjects and specialties.

Learn More About Lower School

Jenny Palmer, K, 1-2 Team Coordinator and Kindergarten General Studies Teacher, earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University and her M.A. in Classroom Instruction and a K-12 Reading Endorsement from Concordia University. Jenny joined the Heilicher faculty in 2004. She enjoys attending workshops and observing in other schools to gather new ideas to apply in her own classroom. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, baking, playing games, traveling, being crafty, and practicing sign language when she can. Jenny is also happily embracing married life with her husband, Mark.



Jodi Danovsky, Grade 1 General Studies Teacher, joined Heilicher in 2016. She holds an undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation and a master's degree in K-12 special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities from the University of Minnesota, as well as a teaching license from Concordia University. She is also trained in Orton-Gillingham and Responsive Classroom. Previously, she taught kindergarten through fourth grade at Talmud Torah St. Paul for 15 years, worked in inclusion at Mt. Zion Temple, and currently serves as an inclusion facilitator at Yachad. Jodi enjoys running, reading, and watching her children in various sports and theater endeavors.


Sheree Goldblatt, M.A., ED.S., Grade 2 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.S. with Distinction in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota and her M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction and ED.S. in Educational Administration from the University of St. Thomas. Sheree joined the Heilicher faculty in 1998. Prior to joining the team at Heilicher, Sheree taught for four years in the public schools and at West Suburban Summer School for Gifted and Talented. She enjoys blending her exciting experiences of 18 years in corporate and non-profit marketing and communications into her classroom teaching, including her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sheree loves bringing to life her curiosity about other cultures, and sharing with students her amazing adventures on all of the seven continents. With the hope of better serving her students, Sheree recently attended the Writing Institute at Columbia University Teachers College and continued her studies in brain-based related research.


Karen Malka, M.A., Grade 2 Hebrew and Judaic Studies Teacher, earned her bachelor's in Hebrew and Semitic Studies from the University of Wisconsin and her M.A. in Elementary Education from the University of St. Thomas. Prior to joining the Heilicher faculty in 1996, Karen taught at Meadowbrook Elementary, Park Valley Catholic, and Hale School in Minneapolis. She has also taught at Adath’s Jeshurun’s Gan Shelanu and Talmud Torah. During her time at Heilicher, Karen has taught both first and second grade Hebrew and General Studies. Karen is fluent in Hebrew and she has a strong connection to Israel. She studied for a year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and she taught English to Israeli children through a cultural ambassador program in Givat Olga. In addition to teaching, Karen is also a strong community advocate for families raising children with mental health struggles. Karen sits on the Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative, Karen received national certification as a Parent support provider and she facilitates a monthly parent support group. Karen enjoys cooking, music, and spending time with her family.

Crystal Reese, Grade 2 General Studies Teacher, joined Heilicher in 2016 after four years teaching second grade at The Community School of Excellence in St. Paul. Crystal has a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and a Masters in Education, both from the University of Minnesota. She brings a varied skill set, pedagogical knowledge, passion for teaching the whole child, and palpable enthusiasm for her work with children.





Nechamit Yaari, Grade 1 Hebrew and Judaic Studies Teacher, earned her B.S. in Education from the University of Wisconsin and is a graduate of the Levinsky Teachers Seminar in Tel Aviv and has completed coursework in Bible and Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. An Israeli native, Nechamit served in the Israeli army for 2 years and then taught 7th and 8th grade in the Harvah School, before moving to the United States. Nechamit joined the Heilicher faculty in 1997. She has an enthusiastic approach, incorporating dance and music into Hebrew and Limudei Kodesh lessons. In addition to her work at Heilicher, Nechamit has spent more than 40 years teaching at the Minneapolis Talmud Torah and serves on their Educational Board and Ethics Committee. She has completed courses for the Tal Am Hebrew/Judaics Program. Nechamit is a recipient of the Vivian Mann Jewish Educator of the Year Award and the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She is the proud mother of three daughters who all graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin.