This month we are shining the spotlight on Coco Umuhoza, a teacher at the Rabbi Steven Foster Early Learning Center at Temple Emanuel. Coco is a teacher in the 3-year-old classroom and has been teaching at Temple Emanuel since 2018.
Coco is a respected member of her school community. The Foster ELC Director, Laura Krautheim, speaks fondly of Coco stating “She is a wonderful educator who has an innate way of connecting with everyone and seeing each child individually. She is kind, thoughtful and passionate about what she does and a true pleasure to work with.”
Coco grew up in Rwanda until she was 14 when she left as a refugee. She lived in Congo, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania before she moved to the United States at 15. Soon after relocating to the U.S., she got a job working at an early childhood center as a teaching assistant. Coco spoke fondly about her first supervisor/mentor and said the warmth, care and dedication to mentoring her is what fostered Coco’s own passion for working with young children.
Coco cares deeply about being a voice for teachers. She recently was selected to sit on The Efshar Teacher Council where she has committed to speaking on behalf of the teachers in her school, as well as the field of ECE through the advocacy efforts that the council will take on.
Coco said she is most excited to be working with her co-teacher again this year. She stated “We have been working together for a year and a half, and I really appreciate her. I am also excited for my students! It is always fun to learn and grow with my students.”
Given her unique background growing up in Kenya and moving to the United States at 15, Coco has a unique perspective on working in the Jewish Community. She said, “What I love about working and being a part of the Jewish community is the sense of belonging. There is a welcoming feeling that I can’t really put into words”. Thank you, Coco, for everything you do: from caring for the children in your classroom to being a teacher leader who is dedicated to representing the voices of all the teachers in our community!