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Our Staff

Bonni Pomush, Executive Director

Originally from the East Valley suburbs of Phoenix, AZ, Bonni moved to Orange County and joined the TBESOC team in January 2010. Before finding the joys of working for “her people” she had administered programs for 15 years in government agencies (the Kyrene School District, Arizona State University, and the City of Chandler). With a masters degree in family studies and bachelors degree in psychology, she led large departments with hundreds of employees and multi-million dollar budgets to nationally accredit childcare centers, turn budgets with deficits into revenue generators, and create performance based pay systems with multi-class employees. At Temple Beth El, Bonni has held a variety of positions supporting our marketing and communications, b’nai mitzvah, teen leadership, and religious school programs. Since 2015 she has served the congregation she proudly calls her spiritual home as our Executive Director. That same year, Bonni and her wife Patti celebrated their 10th anniversary with a Jewish wedding at TBESOC. (They adore children, but do not plan to have any of their own.) Each has committed their career to being of service to the community…with much joy!

 

Johannah Sohn, Director of Congregational Learning

Johannah has spent the entirety of her career working in the field of Jewish education; “it is my passion and I believe it is my calling,” she says. Johannah has had the opportunity to work with every age group from newborns to adults and loves helping to make Judaism come alive for everyone! She worked in many Jewish educational settings from religious schools, to camp, to Hillel and even a Jewish day school.

Johannah is a nationally recognized visionary and educational leader known for redefining elementary education through the conception of the Zebrack Design Lab (an innovative classroom environment based on Design Thinking principles). She has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, curriculum development, and facilitation. As a flexible and adaptable professional with a proven history of working with diverse constituencies, her work includes coordinating, organizing, and inspiring both lay and professional leadership.

Committed to lifelong learning, Johannah has a master’s degree in education from American Jewish University, a doctorate in education from Northeastern University and is a proud alumna of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

 

Myka Thompson, Assistant Director

Myka is a Southern California native and the proud mother of two sons, Bryson and Preston. In 2011, she found Temple Beth El as a parent looking for an exceptional preschool to place her youngest son. Both the Judaic curriculum and full inclusion program were big draws for Myka. In 2013, an opportunity to join the Early Childhood Center staff arose, and Myka became the face of the temple’s preschool, greeting families, helping teachers, and working closely with the director to support the needs of the ECC program in its entirety. Starting in 2015, Myka moved into a full-time position with the temple and now supports our wide variety of programs, services and members. She is the go-to person at the temple for everything, and meets every challenge with a bright smile and can-do attitude. When Myka isn’t at the temple, she is enjoying her boys’ many baseball practices and games, or spending quality time with friends and family at the beach.

 

Wendy Yesharim, Program Director/B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator

Wendy Yesharim wears many hats at Temple Beth El. She is the Program Director and B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator at Temple Beth El. She has been dedicated to the field of Jewish education for more than 20 years. Starting out as an assistant pre-school teacher on the east coast, she quickly learned that she has a love for supporting children and families. She also takes great pride in creating and developing, an educational consulting business focusing on the emotional and physical developmental needs of adolescents. Wendy earned an Early Childhood teaching and administrative certification from Saddleback College.  She is passionate about insuring that children have a positive and loving school experience. Wendy cherishes her time in and outside of the classroom. Temple Beth El has been her home since the opening of the ECC in 2001. Playing an active role in the Orange County Jewish community has allowed her the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of countless families. Fostering strong connections between parents, children and communities is her greatest passion.

 

Kellie Herrick, Coordinator

Born and raised in Southern California, Kellie currently resides in Huntington Beach. She is the proud mother of two sons, Jonathan and Kyle. Jonathan is currently serving in the U.S. Navy and Kyle just started high school. Kellie received an Associates of Science Degree in Accounting from Irvine Valley College and an Associates of Art Degree in Paralegal Studies from Western College. Outside of work Kellie enjoys spending time with her son supporting his activities in his Filmmaking Club. She enjoys musical theater, reading, the beach, camping, baseball and hockey. Kellie is very excited to continue her career at Temple Beth El after working for Disneyland Resort in Anaheim the last 18 years where she was even awarded Cast Member of the Year in 2015!

 

Karol Johnson, Communications Coordinator

 

Daphna Danesh-McCoy, Administrative Assistant

Daphna started with Temple Beth El of South Orange County as a temp in September 2020. She was hired as a full time employee in April 2021. Daphna was born in Newport Beach, CA and resides in Lake Forest with her husband of five years. She attended Irvine Valley College and received a certificate in Word Process and Administrative Management in 2006. In her spare time she enjoys event planning, baking, cooking, and spending time with her husband and family.

 

 

Juan Rodriguez, Maintenance Lieutenant
In 2003,Temple Beth El of South Orange County hired Facility Services Partners Inc. to provide the custodial support for our facility. At that time, Juan was working at SOKA University as Facility Services’ Facilities Engineer, and ever since has been leading the custodial team here at the temple. Juan loves that no two days are the same at Temple Beth El! He does everything from  fixing, repairing, and maintaining equipment to set ups and clean-ups. Juan and his wife have four amazing children.

Fri, July 30 2021 21 Av 5781