Janet Weiss, who has taught at the East Valley JCC for more than 25 years, will step out of her current role as a pre-K teacher to become the Early Childhood Learning Center’s enrichment educator.
In this new role, which starts this summer, Weiss will share her expertise in science, music, art and Conscious Discipline.
“For more than 25 years, Janet has been an integral part of our program,” said ECLC Director Pam Morris. “We are so thankful for her years of service and are pleased that she has agreed to continue on in this new role.”
The ECLC will honor Weiss’s career at the EVJCC at the school’s Masquerade dinner, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. The community is invited to the event, which will include a meal prepared by Chef Melinda McNeil and a basket raffle. Submit photos or memories for the tribute to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 18.
Weiss’s first role at the JCC was as the parent of a preschooler. “Jewish education has always been important to me, so when my son turned 2 I brought him to the JCC,” she said. “That was 30 years ago! I began working at the JCC two years later as a teaching assistant. I took a year off to take care of my elder parents and then came back in 1995 as a lead pre-kindergarten teacher.”
Since then, she has also served as a director of activities for camp, a camp counselor and a “fixer of broken things.”
When asked about some of her favorite memories from the past three decades, she said that “there are too many wonderful memories to list,” but that Mustache Day and Messy Day are two that stand out in her mind.
When she thinks back, it is the times that the children took the lead that leaves the biggest impression on her. For example, when a child wanted to be called by a different name and created a name tag with the new chosen name. “It is when the learning that we encourage and scaffold comes together and they plan something that is so much better than anything I could create,” Weiss said. “Those are the times that are the most special to me. These are the times that I can see how much they have grown in their knowledge, independence, courage and delight. What could be better?!”
Weiss has a bachelor’s of arts in art education and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education, which she recently received through the Quality First scholarship program. “This is a plug for all new teachers or teacher-wanna-bes,” she notes. “Go get your degree! It is free!”
She is also the “the proud mom of two amazing sons and a new mom to a wonderful daughter-in-law.” She shares a love of education with her husband, Mark; his passion is with motorcycle safety and she joins him in that whenever she can.
Weiss doesn’t mind leaving the pre-K classroom because her new role will allow her to continue instilling a sense of wonder in all the children at the EVJCC.
“From being able to encourage communication between peers at all levels, working with children to solve their own problems in a socially acceptable manner to creating scientific experiments with the kids – what is there to miss? I will get to do it each and every day with way more kids!”