- Meet the Coaches
Meet the Coaches
Nora is the head of school at Temple Beth Am Day School in Miami, Florida, after serving as head of Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut for 17 years. Raised in Lima, Peru, Nora came to the United States for studies. In 1984, Nora started her career in the public schools, first as a mathematics teacher, then as a middle school guidance counselor, finally as an assistant principal. She holds an advanced degree from Columbia University Business School Executive Education’s Institute for Day School Management. Nora has been a mentor to newly appointed heads of schools for RAVSAK’s SuLaM Program as well as DSLTI. She has also served on the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Board of Trustees.
Rabbi Dr. Michael S. Berger is associate professor of Jewish law and ethics in Emory University’s Department of Religion, where he has taught since 1994. The author of books and articles on Jewish thought and history, Michael also served as a program officer for the AVI CHAI Foundation from 2000-2019, with a focus on leadership development and teacher mentorship. In 2004, he served for two years as head of school of Yeshiva Atlanta High School. He has been coaching Jewish school leaders since 2015.
Ilisa believes that inspired, informed, and supported Jewish day school leaders are the key to healthy schools. As the Senior Vice President, Engagement at Prizmah, Ilisa works to help sustain and advance Jewish day school leadership through coaching and through serving as the director of YOU Lead, Prizmah’s signature leadership development program. Ilisa is a former head of school, an alumna of Cohort 4 of DSLTI (Day School Leadership Training Institute), and a sought after leadership coach with over 18 years of experience in Jewish education. She is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and holds a master’s in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ilisa earned her certificate of nonprofit board consulting from BoardSource and consults regularly with schools on governance. She is certified in The Leadership Circle Profile™ and earned a certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University. Ilisa is also an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Ilisa is deeply committed to developing strong lay-head partnerships and creating conditions in schools where leaders can thrive.
Rabbi Dr. Rafi Cashman is the head of school at Netivot HaTorah Day School in Toronto. He has a doctorate in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. During his studies he also was a Wexner/Davidson Graduate Fellow, and has private semichah. He is also a graduate of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI).
Gavi has spent nearly a decade of her career working for the vitality of Jewish day schools, and is deeply committed to the future of the field. She is thrilled to support the growth and development of day school leaders as part of the Deepening Talent team at Prizmah. She is a proud Jewish day school alumna, and a graduate of the DeLeT (Day School Leadership Through Teaching) program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Prizmah team, Gavi worked in enrollment management, fundraising, and community engagement for schools and nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and Boston. Most recently, she served as the Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School. Gavi's portfolio at Prizmah includes supporting leaders and schools through coaching, mentoring in the YOU Lead program, and facilitating strategic planning. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University and a Certificate in Jewish Day School Teaching from HUC-JIR.
Rabbi Adam Englander is head of school at the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB) in Woodmere, New York. He previously served at the Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton for 12 years as a principal and head of school, and as a rebbe and student activities director at HAFTR High School. His areas of expertise include student and teacher motivation and coaching others to achieve their personal best. Adam received a master’s degree from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, where he also took all his courses towards his doctorate. He received semichah from YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
Shira Heller, director of teaching and learning at Manhattan Day School, is a sought-after teacher, mentor, and coach with an ability to build relationships with and among a variety of audiences. Previously Shira was the director of teaching and learning at Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, the assistant director for professional development at YU School Partnership, a classroom teacher, a campus Jewish educator at Boston University, and an adult educator at the Manhattan Jewish Experience. Shira received her BA from Boston University, has done graduate work in teaching English at Florida Atlantic University, and earned her MSW from Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work
Suzy has served as the elementary school principal at Berman Hebrew Academy since 2014. Prior to becoming a principal, she worked as a classroom teacher, special educator, and director of special education. Drawing upon these experiences, Suzy strives to enrich and expand the capacity of school leaders as they develop their own leadership skills and confront the challenges that are present both internally and in the school environment. Suzy is excited about continuing to coach school leaders in the areas of transition to the role, navigating parent relationships, curriculum oversight and development, and new teacher supervision. Suzy received her BA in education from York University in Toronto and her MA from the State University of NY.
Dr. Josh Levisohn began his second tenure as a head of school at Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield, Michigan, in 2020. Prior to that, Josh spent two years as an educational consultant for EduCannon Consulting, after completing a dozen years as head of school of Berman Hebrew Academy in Greater Washington. Josh earned his PhD in Jewish studies from Harvard University and spent eight years in a variety of teaching and leadership roles at Akiba (now Barrack) Hebrew Academy in suburban Philadelphia.
Rabbi Menachem Linzer is the head of school/principal at the Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School in Skokie, Illinois. Previously, he served as associate principal at the SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York, and as a rebbe, advisor and Israel programs coordinator at the Ramaz High School. Menachem graduated with a BA in physics from Yeshiva College and an MS in secondary education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. He studied for a number of years in yeshivot in Israel including Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshivat Sha’alvim and the Gruss Kollel, and he received his semichah from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
Dr. Peg Sandel
Dr. Sandel is the Head of School at Brandeis Marin, a K-8 Jewish day school located in San Rafael, CA. Peg is honored to serve on the faculty of Prizmah’s YOU Lead program, where she enjoys working with school leaders to develop their leadership practice. She is particularly passionate about building and sustaining healthy school cultures, giving effective feedback, building strong teams, and bringing a coaching stance into supervision. Peg has been working in Jewish education for 30 years in a variety of settings. Prior to arriving at Brandeis Marin in 2014, Peg served as the Dean of Jewish Studies and Hebrew at the Jewish Community High School where she also taught Jewish Thought and Philosophy for 10 years. Peg earned her PhD in Jewish Studies from U.C. Berkeley in 2002. In her free time, Peg loves hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Dr. Susie Tanchel is the vice president at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. Prior that that she served as head of school at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School for close to a decade. Shehe served as the associate head of school at Gann Academy and taught Tanakh there for 14 years. Susie earned her doctorate from Brandeis University’s Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department. She has been an instructor in the DeLeT (Day School Leadership Through Teaching) program at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and the Masters of Teaching Program in Secondary Education at Brandeis University. She was on the writing team of the JTS and the Avi Chai Foundation’s Standards and Benchmark project for the teaching of Tanakh. Most recently, she received the 2017 Hachmat Lev Award from Keshet and was a recipient of the 2018 Covenant Award for Jewish Educators.
Amy is the senior director of Prizmah School Services. As a BoardSource certified governance consultant, Amy works with schools on leading practices of governance in independent schools. She is an executive coach, leads Prizmah’s school accreditation work, engages with communities in strengthening their day schools and oversees our field advancement work. She is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Akiba (now Barrack) Hebrew Academy, which inspired her dedication to Jewish day schools. Amy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at JTS and Columbia, respectively. Her career began at United Synagogue, where she was director of USY on Wheels and National Assistant Director of USY. Amy served at Hillel Academy in Tampa for 20 years, 13 years as head of school. She was active in the accreditation process of the Florida Council of Independent Schools.