Gates of Discovery Preschool


Teachers, of course, are the heart of every school. They have the greatest impact on a child’s daily experience. A great preschool teacher will set up an environment that stimulates each child’s natural curiosity. They will see the entire child and love and nurture the best of each child in their care. Teachers work tirelessly to continually develop their own skills so that they can provide their students with the finest education. This commitment to excellence describes the teachers at Gates of Discovery: The Rose and George Teller Preschool of Shaare Tefila. Read about our teachers here and then come meet us by taking a tour of our school.

Beth Adler


I am the founding director of Gates of Discovery. This school is my vision of a community where children can learn and explore, where relationships are foundational to the learning that transpires and where teachers are inspired to provide a dynamic environment in which children thrive. I have a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. I also attended The Art and Craft of the Principalship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I live in Silver Spring with my husband, but my children keep growing up and moving away, so luckily I am surrounded by the wonderful children each day at school. As a life-long learner, continuing education is very important to me and I regularly attend workshops, conferences, study groups and read on my own. I have been fortunate to attend two study groups to Reggio Emilia, Italy, observing the schools there and learning directly from their educators. In addition, I am inspired each day by our teachers, through our conversations and watching them interact with the children at school.

Karen Bakalis

I received an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1979.  I worked in the field for a couple of years before going back to college.  I met my husband and raised three children.  While raising our youngest daughter, I opened a home daycare.  Later I worked in several Head Start programs as a certified teacher/site supervisor.  Recently I have been employed by Maryland Child Care Association as a co-teacher in the preschool classroom.  I love to see children succeed, and reach new plateaus.  I count myself blessed to be able to work in this field that I love for over twenty years.  I love working in a Reggio-inspired school which allows me to continue learning myself and facilitate the learning of my students.

Alex Band


“Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountain. No one can do more.” – Loris Malaguzzi

In my role as Pedagogista at Gates of Discovery, I have the privilege of working with our team of educators to help the children in our program reach their fullest potential. I began my early childhood education career at the Edlavitch DCJCC where I held a variety of roles including classroom teacher, Judaics Specialist, Assistant Director, Pedagogista, and Director. I have participated is many national early childhood conferences and in two Jewish Early Childhood Seminars in Reggio Emilia. As a lifelong learner, I am always seeking new opportunities to enhance my education. I live in Potomac with my husband, our daughter, and our dog, Astro! When I’m not at school, you can find me on adventures with my family around the DC area or cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles and UMD Terrapins!

Coral Bell

Exploration. Discovery. Joy, These words describe my love of teaching young children, I have a Masters in Education and have taught for over 20 years. Every day is new, there is always something to learn and share with the children. Along with my teaching at Gates of Discovery, I also enjoy restoring antiques, spinning wool and working with textiles. And occasionally, I enjoy a quiet afternoon to read a book.

Dilini Ediriweera

I started my career as a primary school teacher in a leading international school in Sri Lanka after I earned my diploma in Primary & Preschool Education by the International Teacher Training Institute of Sri Lanka. After relocating to the United States, I earned my Child Development Associates (CDA), and joined the World Bank Children’s Center in Washington, D.C. (a Reggio-inspired school) where I worked as a teacher for over six years. I am a mom of two kids.  During my free time, I love to read, listen to music, and explore new places. I am very excited to be a part of Gates of Discovery!

Priya Ghosh

As an educator, my exposure to the principles and practices of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education urged the desire to learn more about this philosophy of teaching. My journey began through reading, dialogue, attending seminars and reflections. But, it always left me wondering what it would be like to observe and listen to the educators in Reggio Emilia describe and explain their approach. I was privileged to go on a study tour to Reggio Emilia last fall. It expanded my idea as to what my role as a teacher should be. Now I see myself as an active player in the classroom. I’m a collaborator (with children, parents and teachers), provocateur and a scaffolder. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with children every day. They inspire me to read, think and talk and practice the essence of the Reggio Emilia approach.

Dawn Gladstone

I have been a preschool teacher in Montgomery County for over 10 years and have experience working with children 2-4 years of age. Children have amazing potential and when I am asked what I enjoy most about working with preschool children, the answer is simple: helping students find their own interest and encouraging them to think and wonder. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a child’s smiling face expressing enthusiasm and showing a sense of accomplishment.  In my spare time, I volunteer at our son’s Boy Scout chapter and high school booster club. I enjoy walking with family and friends and spending time with my husband, teenage son and Cooper, our Cavalier King Charles.

Amanda Mendez

I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in Theatre Performance. My passion for Early Childhood education began while interning at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD. After my internship I began a life- long love for teaching early childhood music, dance and drama. At Imagination Stage I taught classes for ages 1-5 years and had the wonderful opportunity to assist in creating and developing new classes for the early childhood program. I received my 90 hour certification in early childhood and have also taught as a 2 and 3 year old teacher at a child care center. Here is where I also learned of Reggio and immediately began exploring the philosophy within my classroom environment. In my free time, I enjoy performing, spending time with my husband and 2 boys (who also attended Gates!), and playing with my dog, Piper!  I feel so lucky to have found Gates of Discovery and look forward to exploring with the children.

Karin Metrey

I have worked with children since 1990 and have been with Gates of Discovery since 2014. I have experience with teaching students from ages two to ten and have raised two of my own. I believe that every child deserves to be loved and is unique. Since every is different, my job is to learn how to best connect with each child. I also love to share my connection to nature and animals with children. I was born and raised in The Netherlands and first arrived in the United States in 1986. I have been in this country ever since and got married here in 1991. My interests are varied and include reading, running, hiking, and taking care of our family’s many pets. I love my job and am very excited to work with the students at Gates of Discovery.

Nadine Zucker

I am originally from New Jersey and graduated Syracuse University with a major in Psychology and minor in Elementary Education, so of course I started my career in retail management…. Where I met Michael, my soulmate and husband.  We moved to Maryland, had 2 beautiful boys, Ari and Max, and I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom for 10 years with them.   I re-entered the work force as a preschool teacher.  Embracing the Reggio philosophy, I joined Gates of Discovery in 2012.  In my spare time, I love to read, create jewelry, play mahjong, and spend time with my family.