All things Jewish ECE, all in one place

Inspired by Design – Career Pathways Mentor Program

Building on the transformative design thinking work Efshar did with Boosh from an innovation grant from Rose Community Foundation, we immersed ourselves in the experience of our educators to understand what motivates and inspires them to stay working in Jewish ECE. As a result, we are thrilled to expand the successful Career Pathways Mentorship prototype from last year.  We are bringing high-level training to design leadership pathways for four Jewish ECE Mentors who will mentor nine mid-career educators to assist them in thinking deeply about their values, impact and opportunities to stay and grow in our network of Jewish ECEs. Congratulations to the 2023 mentors: Click here to read more about the Career Pathways Mentor Program.

Josh Rifkin
Josh Rifkin

This month the Network Spotlight is on the Career Pathways Mentor Program, launching this week on February 15th, 2023. It is no secret that the field of ECE is struggling to retain high-quality educators. In response to this crisis, we are offering professional mentoring for mid-career educators to assist them in thinking deeply about their impact on the field of Jewish ECE. Last year, we launched a pilot program with one mentor and three mentees. The mentee teachers reported feeling new inspiration for staying in the field. Josh Rifkin, Technology and Nature Specialist at the Denver JCC as well as Efshar Project Board Member, was a lead thought partner and head mentor teacher last year and will continue in that role this year. Josh brings a wealth of classroom experience and an unrivaled passion for supporting classroom teachers through inspiration and high-quality mentoring.

We believe inspired and passionate teachers are the driving force of high-quality early childhood education. We have learned that many teachers leave the profession after 5-7 years, reporting not feeling inspired and possibly unsure of what their own career goals are. This program is rooted in the belief that teachers are more likely to continue their careers in the field of ECE when they are partnered with a qualified mentor who can help them navigate possible career pathways, or even to deepen their existing classroom practice. The mentors serve as a compassionate listening ear to help mentees articulate the direction they want to move within the field.

Emily Vigneaux
Emily Vigneaux

This year we are expanding the program to include 9 mentees and 4 mentors. We are proud to welcome Josh Rifkin back to the program as lead mentor. He will be joined by Emily Vigneaux, Licensing Manager and Educator at The Boulder JCC, Talia Zall, Educator at The Hebrew Educational Alliance and Jen Brehmer, Educator and Outdoor Coordinator at Temple Sinai Preschool. All mentors will receive professional mentor training from Rebecca Zarrett Grant, Ed. D in Adult Development from Harvard, who will support each mentor to offer high-level support for the mentees as they explore what it means to have a career in early childhood education.

We are thrilled to be able to expand this opportunity this year with continued support from Rebecca and Josh. We hope to see the fruits of this mentoring blossom in the field with more committed and inspired career educators.