Our kindergarten teachers open the gates to the excitement of learning. Through hands-on, experiential activities, teachers lead our children to more independence and self-confidence while providing foundational skills in an environment that promotes a love of learning.

Learn More About the Kindergarten Program

Amanda Awend, M.A., Kindergarten Plus Teacher, joined Heilicher in 2021. She holds a degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Amanda comes to Heilicher with many years of teaching experience and also serves as the Director of Young Families Engagement at Beth El Synagogue. Amanda has a love for process-based curriculum and music and often incorporates these into her teaching style and the classroom's daily routines. Amanda and her husband, Berek, share a love of music and created two albums of original Jewish music called "Jewish Americana" and "Peace & Harmony." They have two wonderful children who are students at Heilicher, Mila and Ezra.



Jodi Danovsky, M.A., Kindergarten General Studies Teacher and Extension Specialist, 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 of St. Paul for 15 years and worked in inclusion at Mt. Zion Temple and Yachad. Jodi enjoys running, reading, and watching her children in various sports and theater endeavors.



Jenny Palmer, M.A., 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. 



Barbara Taragan, M.A., Kindergarten and Grade 2 Hebrew and Jewish Studies Teacher, earned a B.A. in child psychology and elementary education from the University of Minnesota and her B.A. in English literature from the Ben Gurion University as well as an M.A. in Jewish studies from Gratz College. Barbara joined the Heilicher faculty in 1991 and spent a sabbatical in 2005-06 participating in the Senior Educators Program at the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University. Barbara lived in Israel for twenty-five years where she taught English at the Eshel Hanasi High School. Since returning to the United States, Barbara has been teaching at both Heilicher and the Minneapolis Talmud Torah. She is the proud parent of three children—Maayan, Afek, and Yamit—and proud grandma/savta/סבתא to Gal, Elah, Einav, Almog, Noa, and Orly.