Who Is STK?

Allison Colker

Director of Early Childhood Education and Engagement

Allison Colker

Allison joined the Shaare Torah community in June of 2015. She has worked in the fields of early childhood education and Jewish education since 1992. Allison’s role at Shaare Torah is two-fold:  she directs our Early Childhood Center, private Kindergarten, and ECC Summer Program; and she leads our family engagement, special events, and Shabbat and holiday experiences for families with children 5 and under. Allison’s passion as an early childhood educator is to help young children develop a love of learning and learn how to learn. Understanding the process of learning and constructing knowledge provides a foundation for the children’s future academic careers and their entire lives. Allison herself is a lifelong learner and a co-learner with the children. She believes that the most important part of early childhood education is social-emotional learning, which fosters in the children independence, self regulation, social skills, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Allison partners with parents and teachers to raise good humans who are citizens of the world. She can always tell when she encounters an adult who did not go to a good preschool (ha ha!).

Allison is excited to lay the first foundation of Jewish identity and community by instilling a joy for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, a connection to Israel, and a set of Jewish values that are truly universal human values. In addition to her work directly with the children, Allison spends much of her time mentoring teachers and coaching parents. She is committed to developing a strong early childhood educator workforce within STECC/STK and in the broader community. Allison provides partnership, resources, and support for parents on a variety of topics, such as morning and nighttime routines, potty training, welcoming new babies, and moving to a new home.

Outside of Shaare Torah, Allison is an active participant in the Greater Washington Jewish Early Childhood Education Directors’ Council. Allison and her husband Ryan both grew up in active synagogue families, spending summers at Jewish sleepover camp, were actively involved in Jewish youth group and later in Jewish life on campus, and started teaching religious school as teenagers.

Kindergarten Teacher

Morah Nicole Martin

Morah Nicole Martin joined the STECC/STK faculty in August 2017.  Morah Nicole teaches rising kindergarteners in the STECC summer program and teaches Kindergarten at Shaare Torah Kindergarten (STK) during the school year. She previously taught Pre-K at STECC. Morah Nicole has a bachelors in Early Childhood Multicultural Education, that spans birth to 3rd grade, with a focus in prekindergarten through 2nd grade and a specialization in reading instruction. In addition, she worked in a 1st and 2nd grade public school classroom which means that not only does she have experience where many of our kindergarteners have come from (prekindergarten), but she also has intimate knowledge of where they will be going in the next two years. Because of this, she can take what they currently have, and prepare them not only for the standards of 1st grade, but to make sure they have the foundations that will become necessary for second grade and beyond.  Morah Nicole and her husband, Josh, have a daughter, Teddy, who is an STECC alumna and a rising 1st grader at The Banner School. Morah Nicole loves being a part of the STECC/STK community and her favorite things are having students for multiple years and having her former students’ younger siblings!