Educational Alliance Preschool
Michelle Waldman Sarna, PhD., Preschool Director
Michelle comes to the Educational Alliance with an extensive background in early childhood education and child psychology. She holds an M.A. in Education and a Ph.D. in School Psychology with a focus on early childhood development from Fordham University, and she recently finished a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at New York University School of Law.
Michelle has worked with children and their families in public and private schools, mental health clinics, college campuses, communities and synagogues. Michelle was also recently featured in the NY Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” which profiles prominent young professionals in the Jewish community. As the mother of five young children in Manhattan, she embraces the challenges, blessings, and opportunities of nurturing young spirits in the most stimulating city in the world. Michelle’s children have attended the Educational Alliance Preschool, and participate in a variety of programs at the Educational Alliance’s 14th Street Y. She is passionate about collaborating with families, children, and educators to build a vibrant community around shared meaning.
Alexsandra Harkness, JD, Preschool Coordinator
Alex’s parents are originally from Bolivia and immigrated to Texas when she was a child. She completed her BA in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and ventured to the east coast to receive a law degree from Boston University School of Law. After moving to New York in 2001, she began working at law firms as a translator and later as a staff attorney, supporting a very busy litigation practice. Alex joined the Educational Alliance community when her son Monty enrolled in the preschool two years ago. Watching him grow and become more independent in this nurturing and always stimulating environment, she fell in love with the preschool, its teachers and the families who are a part of it. This experience also redirected her career interests toward early childhood education. She is dedicated to respectful, regular, and efficient communication with families and is very excited to bridge the fantastic families with their children’s preschool experience.