Meet Our Team

Gan Shalom’s professional team consists of teachers and resource specialists who are dedicated to your child’s learning. Lead teachers have certifications and endorsements in early childhood development and participate in at least 10 hours of training per year.

“Teachers and staff are very caring. They are very attentive to the needs of the entire family as well as the needs of the individual child. The teachers are most competent, professional, and compassionate.”
— Gan Shalom Parent

Area clergy are also an integral part of our team, providing guidance on subjects of Judaism and engaging with our children for story-time, sports, play-n-pray, and Shabbat activities.

  • Sophie Homonoff

  • Sophie grew up in Des Moines and moved to Washington, DC for college in 1995. In November 2012, she moved back to Des Moines with her husband Matt, daughter Hailey, and son Lester. Formerly a Family Care Coordinator at Early Stages with DC Public Schools, Sophie supported families of children ages 0-5 from time of referral through the child’s placement into special education.Sophie received a MEd in School Counseling from George Mason University and a BA in Elementary Education from American University. Sophie taught elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia for 9 years. Sophie’s primary goal is to support and foster children’s growth and inquiry into Judaism.

  • Position:
    Director of Education
  • Morah Anissa Deay

  • Prior to joining the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines in 2014, Anissa was the Education Coordinator at Mercy Child Development Center. She is a Doula and taught Childbirth Education at Mercy Medical Center. Anissa taught Pre-Kindergarten in Germany, Massachusetts, Colorado and Des Moines, Iowa over the past 30 years.Anissa attended the University of Maryland, the Institute of American Indian Art and earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education with DMACC. She earned her National Administrator Credential for early childhood programs. Currently, Anissa is the Secretary for the Mid-Iowa Chapter Leadership Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. She enjoys being a life-long learner and sharing that passion with others.

  • Position:
    Pre-School Director
  • Morah Juli

  • Juli has over 30 years of teaching experience. She taught junior high in Illinois and k-6th grade in a resource room at Fairmeadows Elementary in West Des Moines. She was a pre-K teacher at the Science Center and St. Timothy’s in West Des Moines. Juli also taught first grade at Beit Sefer Shalom Sunday school for 12 years. She earned her MA degree in Special Education through Iowa State University and her Early Childhood endorsement through Drake University. Her pre-K class has a strong focus on literacy, math, and hands-on science activities.

  • Position:
  • Morah Lisa

  • Lisa has over 28 years of early childhood education experience. She taught preschool taught at Mercy Child Development Center for 23 years. Lisa was an Education Coordinator in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Lisa earned her BA in Early Childhood Development with Grandview University. She has a strong focus on supporting positive social development in preschoolers.

  • Position:
  • Morah Raizel

  • Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Raizel graduated from Drake University where she earned her BA in Psychology, minor in Sociology, and concentrations in Behavior Analysis of Development Disabilities, and Leadership Education and Development.  Raizel has taught various classes at Beit Sefer Shalom since 2012. She also serves as the volunteer Day Camp Director at Camp Rainbow, a camp for kids with cancer. In addition, Raizel works part-time as an autism behavioral youth therapist. Raizel enjoys fostering an environment that supports every child’s development.

  • Position:
  • Mr. Zak

  • Zak has been with Engman Camp Shalom and Gan Shalom since 2013.  He has supported his family’s in-home child care business. Zak is a member of the Des Moines Rugby Club. He has also coached Rugby with Valley High School.

  • Position:
    Assistant Teacher
  • Morah Aline

  • Aline just joined Gan Shalom in 2018. She previously worked at the Full Circle Child Development Center in Waukee.  Aline moved from Brazil in 2011. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration at the Universidade Presidente Antônio Carlos - UNIPAC in Brazil. She lives in West Des Moines with her husband David and two daughters.

  • Position:
    Assistant Teacher
  • Morah Marty

  • Marty has been teaching over 38 years. Most of that time was with Mercy Child Development Center. She studied Creative Dramatics and Early Childhood Education at  John F. Kennedy College in Nebraska. She has lived in Germany, Japan, Spain and England. Marty is a mother of three and a grandmother of two girls, 5 years and 2 years. She enjoys restoring her century historical home in the Drake Neighborhood and gardening.

  • Position:
    Assistant Teacher

Contact Us

If you have questions about our team or would like to get to know us in person, contact Anissa Deay at 515-987-0899 ex. 233 or at to get more information.