Associate Director of Atidenu
email@example.com | (646)975-2815
Elana is Prizmah's associate director for Atidenu. Previously she worked at PEJE with a primary focus on supporting day school recruitment and retention efforts. Elana started her career as a program coordinator for the NY Region Workmen's Circle. Next, she moved to Chicago to participate in AmeriCorps working at an inner-city public elementary school. She then went on to St. Malachy Elementary School, where she assisted eighth graders and parents applying for scholarships and high school. Elana has her BA in Sociology from Muhlenberg College and an MPA from Northeastern University.
Favorite Book: The Little Engine that Could (Watty Piper)
Rabbi Maccabee Avishur
Director of Leadership Services
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2810
Rabbi Maccabee Avishur, Director of Leadership Services at Prizmah, consults with schools on leadership development, governance, placement, faculty compensation, curriculum, and 21st century learning. Maccabee has worked extensively with Jewish day school boards advising them on strategic planning, board composition, governance best practices, head of school support and evaluation, and the board-head relationship. Previously, Maccabee served as both a senior school leader and classroom teacher in California, Texas, and Michigan. Maccabee is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of Cambridge as well as a Musmach of Dayan Ephraim Greenblatt, zt”l. He did postgraduate work in Near Eastern languages and cultures at UCLA, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Yeshiva University. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiMacc.
Chief Executive Officer
Paul Bernstein joins Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools as Chief Executive Officer—a position to which he brings his lifelong connection with Jewish day school education, and wide-ranging management experience in the fields of education, philanthropy, social impact, government and new media. Prior to joining Prizmah, Paul served as CEO of The Pershing Square Foundation and as the Global Managing Director of Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), a nonprofit focused on global health, education, and child protection. Paul co-founded ARK South Africa in 2003 and he returned to London in 2004 to lead ARK globally through its growth across multiple geographies. The preceding years of Paul’s career focused on government, telecoms, and new media.
Favorite Book: Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela)
email@example.com | (646)975-2835
Ilisa is excited to continue working closely with school leaders as a mentor in YOU Lead and is thrilled to be thinking about ways to inspire, challenge, and strengthen our leaders at Prizmah’s inaugural conference in 2017. She has more than 15 years of experience in the field of Jewish day school education. Ilisa was the associate executive director at the Schechter Network, focusing on professional leadership development and coaching, Jewish studies and program development, and fieldwide convenings. She is passionate about cultivating joyful learning. Prior to her work with Schechter, Ilisa served as the head of school at the El Paso Jewish Academy, and she is a strong advocate for Jewish day schools in small communities.
Favorite Book: The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other (Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot)
VP of School Services
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2827
Jane is the VP of School Services at Prizmah. Previously, she was the executive director at YU School Partnership, and before that, she served as head of school at the South Area Solomon Schechter outside Boston for 22 years. Jane is also the senior mentor for DSLTI, the Day School Leadership Training Institute. She has been a leadership coach for many years and is continuing that work at Prizmah.
Favorite Book: Daring Greatly (Brené Brown)
Interim VP Finance & Operations
email@example.com | (646)975-2816
Annette is a CPA and has been working in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. She has been married 28 years (and counting) and has four children, all of whom are currently in college.
Favorite Book: The Outlander Series (Diana Galbadon)
Associate Director of Professional Development
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2836
Melanie partners with school teachers and leaders to plan and implement professional development programming that is dynamic, motivating, and relevant, and honors the experience of our teachers. Melanie began her teaching career more than 20 years ago as a classroom teacher in a Jewish day school in Northern Virginia. While teaching, Melanie was always on the lookout for meaningful PD and quickly began to provide it to others, both in her school and beyond. A native Montrealer, Melanie received a BA and MA from McGill and an MEd from George Washington University. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband and two sons.
Favorite Book: The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
Associate Director of Business Development
email@example.com | (646)975-2828
With close to a decade of experience in the nonprofit world, Odelia has worked in various organizations including social service agencies, the JCC Association and the YU School Partnership. Thanks to her involvement in benchmarking projects for both JCCs and Jewish day schools, Odelia has a strong sense of operations and finance at Jewish institutions. As the assistant director of business development and advancement at YUSP, she stewarded the business development and fundraising efforts. Odelia has an MPA from Baruch College.
Favorite Book: Fear No Evil (Natan Sharansky)
Director of Membership & Events
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2803
Robin has a passion for working with Jewish youth in the formal and informal worlds of Jewish education, and has been doing so for more than 20 years. In the formal education sector, Robin worked as the director of membership and events at RAVSAK for 13 years. Previously, she worked as a team teacher for the El Paso Hebrew Day School and as the coordinator of student life for the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island. In the world of informal education, Robin has worked on the local and regional levels as director of youth for United Synagogue and Young Judaea, and currently serves as youth director for one of the largest chapters in the Long Island Region of USY.
Favorite Book: To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
VP Field Advancement & Advocacy
email@example.com | (646)975-2805
Idana is Prizmah’s vice president in Field Advancement and Advocacy. Previously, Idana was co-executive director at RAVSAK. Before joining the field of Jewish education, Idana was the director of strategic grantmaking for a private foundation and the director of the matching grants program, both at the Jewish Funders Network. She received her BA from Barnard College and her PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in modern Jewish history, American religion, and gender and feminist theory. She is the author of Crafting a Class: College Admissions and Financial Aid, 1955-1994. Idana serves on the board of directors for JOFA: the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She is an alumna of Jewish day schools and a parent of three children in Jewish day school.
Favorite Book: Moon Tiger (Penelope Lively)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2809
Alisha served as the development and finance director of the Schechter Day School Network. Her prior experience includes executive director of The Jewish Lens, a national Jewish experiential education program, and director of operations for Jewish Community Services, a division of JBFCS. Alisha is also an advisor for second-year social work students at Columbia University School of Social Work. She is a board member of JPRO Network and the founder of Advancing Jewish Professionals of NYC, a group for emerging Jewish communal professionals. She earned a master’s in social work with a focus in social administration from Columbia University and a master’s in Jewish studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Favorite Book: Dragonriders of Pern (Anne McCaffrey)
Director of Teacher & Student Learning; School Advocate
email@example.com | (646)975-2811
Shira designs learning opportunities for Jewish day school teachers and leaders, connecting them to valuable resources and to each other. A dynamic presenter with an ability to build relationships with and among a variety of audiences, Shira is a sought-after teacher, consultant, and coach. Before joining Prizmah, Shira worked in diverse educational settings. She was the assistant director for professional development at YU School Partnership, served as a classroom teacher, a campus Jewish educator at Boston University, and an adult educator at the Manhattan Jewish Experience. Shira has done postgraduate work in teaching English at Florida Atlantic University and received her MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
Favorite Book: Daring Greatly (Brené Brown)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2830
Andrea is a strong advocate for the thoughtful use of technology to make education more relevant for today’s students. She is a passionate believer in student choice and voice. As part of her work at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, she co-created edJEWcon, a conference on 21st-century learning for Jewish day school educators. Currently, she serves as edJEWcon’s co-director at Prizmah, where she coaches teachers and administrators to transform teaching and learning “one blog at a time.” To learn more, follow her on Twitter @edtechworkshop.
Favorite Book: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin)
email@example.com | (646)975-2840
Jill works with Prizmah’s Leadership Placement Team. After a successful career as a professional dancer, Jill earned master’s degrees in child development and in education. She taught at the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence before moving to Phoenix. Jill was the early childhood director at Tesseract School in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and then head of school there for seven years. She has been the proud head of school at Pardes Jewish Day School since 2003, doubling the enrollment and moving the school three times to its final and beautiful location on The Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale. Jill has served as a facilitator for the seminar “Leadership: An Evolving Vision” at the Harvard University Principal’s Center for the past three summers.
Favorite Book: Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading (Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2834
Cooki served as head of school at the Akiva School in Montreal for 23 years. During her tenure, Akiva doubled in size and became the first Jewish day school to be accredited by the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools. She spent many years on the faculty of education of McGill University and has frequently served on evaluation teams for independent schools in Canada seeking accreditation. Cooki was also a mentor in DSLTI. She is the recipient of two prestigious awards: the first Manual Lazar Memorial Prize, recognizing her outstanding professional leadership and contributions to Montreal’s Jewish day school system, and the Gewurz Prize for Excellence in Jewish Education. Cooki currently lives in Toronto with her husband, a professor of Jewish studies at McGill.
Favorite Book: A Letter in the Scroll (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks)
Program Director for Teacher and Leadership Development
email@example.com | (646)975-2822
Shira works with schools to develop systems of support for new teachers, support school leaders, and improve classroom instruction. Shira is particularly interested in pedagogical practices of all teachers, thinking about how kids think, and helping teachers grow as leaders. She spent 10 years as a classroom teacher, in first to eighth grade, specializing in math, science, Mishnah, and Tanakh. Prior to joining Prizmah, Shira worked at YUSP as the associate director of teaching and learning, and also was part of the Delet program, where she worked to educate and mentor pre-service teachers at Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College. She has a master’s from Brandeis and is finishing her dissertation from Yeshiva University’s doctoral program for Jewish education and administration.
Favorite Book: Junkyard Wonders (Patricia Polacco)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2826
Helen is the director of Generations and GFA. Helen’s career has focused mainly in the nonprofit sector in development and executive administration. For 13 years, she was the executive director of an educational organization providing scholarship and loan aid to college and graduate students. She tripled the public support of the organization through a major gifts initiative and developed a planned giving program that provides major support for the organization. Helen was PEJE’s senior manager for the Generations Day School Endowment Project, which she continues at Prizmah.
Favorite Book: The Rent Collector (Camron Wright)
email@example.com | (646)975-2829
Jon is Vice President of Innovation at Prizmah. Previously, he was the executive director of the Schechter Day School Network. He is the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School (a K-8 Schechter), located in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. Jon is cofounder of edJEWcon and has worked in all aspects of Jewish education from camping to congregations. He has an EdD in Jewish education from JTS, a master’s in education and business administration from the University of Judaism, and a bachelor’s in psychology from UC Berkeley. He lives with his wife, Jaimee, a public school teacher, and daughters Eliana (age 11) and Maytal (age 8).
Favorite Book: The Aleph (Jose Luis Borges)
Director of Finacial Vitality
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2812
Elliott Rabin, PhD
Project & Content Development Director
email@example.com | (646)975-2807
Elliott works to promote thought leadership in the field of Jewish day schools, in particular as editor of Prizmah’s magazine, HaYidion. At RAVSAK’s director of project and content development, he initiated programs such as Project ROPE: Roots of Philanthropy Education, Moot Beit Din, JCAT, the Hebrew Poetry Contest, and Judaic Art Contest. Previously, he was the director of education at Makor, a program of the 92nd Street Y. He has taught classes in Jewish studies, Hebrew language and literature, and world literature in universities, JCCs, and synagogues. Elliott holds a PhD in comparative literature, with a specialty in Hebrew, from Indiana University. He is the author of Understanding the Hebrew Bible: A Reader’s Guide and is completing a second book on biblical heroes.
Favorite Book: The Bridal Canopy (Shai Agnon)
Project Coordinator for YOU Lead
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2813
Shelly is the project coordinator for YOULead at Prizmah. Additionally, she manages the website JEDjobs.com. Before Prizmah, Shelly worked at a bartender’s school, doing administration and recruiting. She lives in Queens, New York, and loves to travel, especially to Israel to visit family.
Favorite Book: The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
Debra Shaffer Seeman
email@example.com | (646)975-2831
Debra brings a depth of experience in nurturing learning communities, building institutions, and network weaving throughout the Jewish community. Before moving to Atlanta in 2003, Debra lived in Jerusalem, where she was a founding administrator of Tal Torah, a center for intergenerational Torah learning. As an avid teacher of classical Jewish texts and an educational entrepreneur, she has served in a variety of educational settings in Israel and North America including Dror Elementary School, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Florence Melton Adult Mini School, Rambam Atlanta Day School, Yeshiva Atlanta High School, and RAVSAK. She is a proud graduate of both Mandel Jerusalem Fellows and Harvard University. A mother of four, Debra is married to Rabbi Dr. Don Seeman.
Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2842
email@example.com | (646)975-2838
Lauren is the convening coordinator for the Prizmah Jewish Day School Conference. She served seven years in the United States Air Force, where she was assigned to duty in several locations in the U.S. and Great Britain. Lauren studied at Texas Tech University, where she earned a bachelor’s of business administration in marketing, and a bachelor’s and master’s in communication disorders specializing in audiology. Lauren is originally from Michigan, grew up in Texas, and now lives with her husband, Marc, and son, Liam, in Massachusetts. She is looking forward to beginning this latest chapter of her life and is excited about being part of the Prizmah team.
Favorite Book: The Other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Gregory)
Student Programs Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2808
Yael manages Prizmah’s student programs, which blend Jewish learning and creativity, and link students, teachers and schools. Previously, she taught Jewish studies at SAR Academy and served as the Jewish studies coordinator at Beit Rabban Day School. Yael earned a BA from the University of Michigan, a certificate in experiential Jewish education from Yeshiva University, and a dual MA in education and Jewish studies from NYU, where she studied as a Jim Joseph and Wexner-Davidson graduate fellow. She lives in New York City with her husband, Sammy, and their son, Henry.
Favorite Book: East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
Financial Vitality Program Manager and Reform Day School Advocate
email@example.com | (646)975-2821
Traci is the program manager for Prizmah’s GFA and Generations financial vitality programs. She is also the Reform Day School Advocate and manager of L’Dor V’Dor, the national endowment and legacy donor recognition society. Before joining Prizmah, she worked in Jewish camping, youth engagement, and congregational education in the Deep South and in Boston. Traci is passionate about building strong relationships and communities. Her work has focused on experiential education, leadership, and curriculum development. Traci has a master’s in organizational leadership from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, degrees in Jewish studies and nonprofit management from Indiana University and a certificate in fund development for nonprofit organizations from the IU School of Philanthropy.
Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2837
Silvia is a Third Culture Kid. Her multilingual and multicultural upbringing fueled her passion for languages, travel, global awareness, and global competencies. Silvia holds a bachelor's in Spanish with a minor in international studies and a master's in education with an emphasis in instructional technology. Her passions include globally connected learning, technology integration, contemporary upgrades and amplification of the curriculum, documenting for learning (from digital portfolios, digital storytelling, new forms of teacher observations, to building institutional memory), blogging as pedagogy, visualize learning and developing, and maintaining a PLN (personal learning network). Silvia is known in the international bloggersphere under the name of "Langwitches."
Favorite Book: Stones in the River (Ursula Hegi)
email@example.com | (646)975-2800
Donna Von Samek
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2823
From a young age, Donna was fascinated by the power of storytelling, and that is what has driven her passion for marketing. Over the past decade, Donna’s marketing career has spanned the entertainment, retail, and nonprofit industries. She considers herself a “collector” of inspiration from sources far and wide and seeks to apply the things that inspire her towards creating fresh and trailblazing ways of telling the story of Jewish education.
Favorite Book: The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)
email@example.com | (646)975-2839
Amy is the school advocate for RAVSAK schools. She is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Akiba Hebrew Academy, the impetus for her dedication to Jewish day schools. Amy earned her BA and MA 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. For the past 20 years, Amy has been at Hillel Academy, 13 years as head of school. She was active in the accreditation process of the Florida Council of Independent Schools. Amy devoted more than 20 summers serving on the staff of Ramah camps, and her three adult children are all day school and Ramah alumni. Amy resides in Tampa, Florida.
Favorite Book: The Invisible Bridge (Julie Orringer)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646)975-2833
email@example.com | (646)975-2832
Adele is passionate about her work with independent and Jewish day schools admission professionals as they strive to build their school communities with mission-appropriate students. She has been involved in independent school education for more than 30 years. She taught in lower and middle schools and then moved into administration. She served as director of admission and financial aid at Miami Country Day School, and later in the same role at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Northeast Georgia. Following her work in schools, Adele worked as a project manager and school liaison coordinator at Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Adele is a founding board member of AISAP. She has served as an admission consultant and coach, and presented at various local, regional, and national conferences and workshops.
Favorite Book: A Land Remembered (Patrick D. Smith)