Youngstown JCC names 2 new program directors

Staff report


The Youngstown Jewish Community Center has named Ben Katz director of its Early Learning Center and Laura Weymer director of JCC’s new Health and Wellness Department.

In her position, Weymer oversees activities that include aquatics, fitness, wellness, the Logan campus and the school of dance.

Katz is a “seasoned educator with a passion for engaging children in experiential learning,” said Mike Rawl, Jewish Community Center executive director.

The Health and Wellness director position is a new investment that will provide additional oversight over JCC’s largest revenue-producing department and will create excellence in member service, greater operational efficiency and development of new and diverse revenue sources, said Rawl.

Katz, who has a master of education degree in environmental education from Florida Atlantic University, spent the past two years as a middle-school science teacher at Akiva Academy. Before that, he was an educator for FAU’s Center for Environmental Studies and had worked at the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development.

Katz is one of 31 JCC early learning center directors and teachers from the United States and Canada accepted to participate in the JCCA (formerly known as Jewish Child Care Association) Leadership Institute of the Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals. It is a three-year initiative that includes six weeklong retreats and two international study tours, each of which will incorporate aspects of the Sheva framework – a toolbox for creating excellence in early childhood Jewish education, said Rawl.

As director of the Early Learning Center, Katz works with educators to develop and provide new and effective learning opportunities to students; and further connect the JCC program with the greater Youngstown community. Katz replaced Kathy Mioni who continues as principal of Akiva Academy.

Weymer, who previously worked at the Youngstown YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown, said she is looking forward to working with other staff members and collaborating with community partners.

Also, she said she would like to see more youth sports programming at JCC.

“I love sports and the way that it brings people together; and it’s the same with fitness and health. It’s a community that you don’t get everywhere,” Weymer said.

As an agency of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, JCC offers social, cultural, educational and recreational programs in a Jewish environment. Everyone is welcome. For information, go to

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.