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STaRS Director & Director of Teen Engagement

For the past year, Brandon Binder was filling in as our Interim STaRS Director.  We are happy to announce that Brandon started his new role as the Director of STaRS and Teen Engagement. In this newly created position, Brandon oversees all aspects of youth education/engagement and leads teen programming. Brandon is excited to start in this new role and continue working to create meaningful Jewish experiences for our youth. 

Brandon received his bachelor's degree and teaching credential from Sonoma State University and recently earned his master's degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his dogs and wife, Lauren. 

Assistant STaRS Director & Youth Coordinator

Sophie Gittleman has joined the STaRS team as the Assistant STaRS Director and Youth Coordinator. Sophie has grown up at Shomrei Torah and is very excited to step into this role. 

Previously, Sophie taught the k/1/2 STaRS class. Sophie will lead our popular Sunday and Wednesday chuggim program, design holiday programming, and assist teachers with curriculum.

Additionally, Sophie will lead youth engagement programs for our elementary and middle school age youth. 

Family Outreach Coordinator

Nicole Novach has been an educator and tutor for both children and adults since 2002. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from The American University in Washington, D.C., where she studied both Elementary and Special Education with a focus on Learning Disabilities and individualizing educational programs.
Since moving to Santa Rosa in 2012, she has worked inside and outside of schools developing innovative curriculum for children of all ages. Nicole is a board member at CST and is the PJ Library Parent Connector for Sonoma County where she helps Jewish Families form friendships and connect to the larger Jewish community. 
As the Family Outreach Coordinator at CST, Nicole will oversee the KIDdish program and help to build community with young families through Chavurot and other family engagement programming! Nicole is a mama to Hazel (age 4) who will also be in the Kiddish Program and to baby Tallulah.  


Cantorial Soloist & B'Mitzvah Coordinator 

Erica Wisner serves as Cantorial Soloist, B'nei Mitzvah coordinator, tutor, and choir director at Congregation Shomrei Torah. She loves to create musically themed Shabbatot. 

As a young child, Erica grew up going to services and fell in love with Jewish musical liturgy when her parents started a synagogue in Sacramento County. Erica has recently begun cantorial school at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California. 

Erica holds a master’s degree from The Boston Conservatory and a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. 

Erica and her husband, Chris, moved to Santa Rosa in 2008, after marrying here in 2007.  They are the proud parents of Noah and Lael.


Marcia Gladstone - 5th, 6th & Hebrew Teacher

My name is Marcia Gladstone and I will be your child’s teacher this year.  I have been teaching since I was 20 years old. I began teaching 2nd grade but realized that my passion was adolescents.

I have a Bachelor's Degrees in Comparative Religion and Education and Master’s Degrees in Child Psychology and Special Education. I have been teaching religious school education for 43 years. I guess you can say that it is my passion. I have won the Helen Diller Education Award for outstanding educator in the North Bay and was nominated for the Covenant Award. 

My goal for this year is simple.  I want your child to learn, have fun and make Jewish friends.  I believe in experiential learning and lots of hands on activities.  

Sofia Fichera - 3rd & 4th Grade Teacher

Hi! I am Sofia Fichera. I am a freshman at Sonoma State University. I am majoring in music education and am so excited to gain some teaching experience through STaRS.

I have worked in STaRS for five years now and am so happy to be returning. I cannot wait to start this journey in the teaching world. 


Alex Saslow - Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher

Alex Saslow is pumped to be on the STaRS team this year.  He grew up in Marin County, and attended the religious school at Congregation Rodef Shalom. He earned his Bachelor's of Science in Oceanography, with an emphasis in Geology, from Humboldt State University, and then started teaching high school Chemistry and Physics in 2009. He later earned his Masters of Education from Touro University California. Alex also has a background in music, an interest in social justice, and is an avid reader. His Jewishness has been an important cornerstone to his identity all of his life, and he is honored to be able to help introduce children (his own two among them!) to the lessons our heritage has to offer. Alex is married to Adriann, and they have two children: Miriam and Derek.

Danielle Justin - KIDdish Teacher

Danielle Justin (a.k.a. Morah Danielle) is excited to be back for her 2nd year as a KIDdish teacher.  She grew up in Michigan, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Special Education from Michigan State University. 

After graduation, Danielle moved to Los Angeles. She taught middle school special education in Beverly Hills for 10 years, and now teaches in Santa Rosa since moving to the area in 2018.  Danielle is very involved in the Jewish community and is the co-organizer of the Sonoma Jewish Women’s Circle.

Danielle met her husband, Jason, on a trip to Israel when they were both in college.  Since then, she has continued to learn and explore her Jewish observance by regularly attending synagogue and religious classes.  Danielle and Jason are blessed with two beautiful children, Esther and Eliyahu. 

Danielle is very grateful to have the opportunity to pass on her knowledge and passion for Judaism to the Shomrei Torah families through stories, songs, and crafts.

Thu, January 26 2023 4 Sh'vat 5783