The Transparency Files: MJGDS 2014-2015 Faculty

It is hard to believe that the school year (for students!) ended today at noon!  It is hard to believe that my time as a head of school (with students!) ended along with it…

Next week, I will likely write my last blog post as Head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and Galinksy Academy before taking a week or two off to reimagine and relaunch this blog as the Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  But for today there is, indeed, one last critical piece of business to attend to – to announce who will be leading this remarkable school into the 2014-2015 school year!

I went back to read last year’s posts on this same topic and realized that there were a LOT of big changes heading into this year (BYOiPad, Community of Kindness, a reshuffling of the 21st Century Learning Team, as well as other faculty moves); so many that I needed two blog posts just to explain them all!

The good news is that we have already spent plenty of time discussing the major change at the top, but outside that we will go into next year with remarkable stability and strength. However, before officially announcing the staff, I do want to highlight what few changes there will be.

Mrs. Shelly Zavon, our 4th-5th Grade Mathematics and Social Studies Teacher and longtime 5th Grade General Studies Teacher, will be leaving us to join her husband in their family business.  Mrs. Zavon is a consummate professional who was a big part of our successful move to Singapore Math, departmentalization of Grades 4 & 5, and the launch of BYOiPad.  She had the confidence of her parents, the respect of her colleagues and the love of her students.  She will be missed.

We are very fortunate, however, to be able to promote from within our very own Ms. Michelle Lewis who spent this year as our 5th Grade General Studies Assistant Teacher.  A recent graduate from Northern Illinois University, Ms. Lewis impressed all the faculty she worked with this year with her work ethic and her talent.  She is familiar with our curriculum and our program.  We are excited to see her grow into a lead role!

We are saying good-bye as well to Talie Zaifert, our outstanding Admissions & Marketing Director.  Her warm smile was the first step in many a MJGDS family’s journey through Jewish day school.  After many years of excellence, including developing a national reputation for use of social media, Mrs. Zaifert is ready for new challenges and we wish her all the best in her new ventures.

We are lucky to be welcoming Mrs. Claudia Margolis into the position!  Mrs. Margolis has a professional marketing background and with three children in our schools next year, she will be in a terrific position to pick up the baton and keep running.  We look forward to her joining the team this July.

In addition, we will be bidding farewell to our beloved “Mrs. B.”, Carla Bernard, who after a long and distinguished teaching career – mostly as a lead teacher for Grade Two – will be moving on to new experiences.  Generations of students have counted Mrs. B. amongst their favorites on their journey through our school.  Hers is a career worthy of celebration. Her daily smiling presence will be missed…hopefully she will join the sub list and grace us with that smile for many more years to come!

We are also saying farewell to Ms. Emma Boette who after a successful year as an Assistant Teacher in Grade 3 will be moving into a lead position of her own at a local charter school. We wish her all the luck in the world as she assumes her new, well-deserved, responsibilities.

Finally, we are very pleased to announce the hiring of Mrs. Marci Rogozen as our new Middle School Jewish Studies Tanakh Teacher!  Mrs. Rogozen has her Master’s from the American Jewish University and her Bachelor’s from the University of Washington and has had a distinguished career in the teaching of Jewish Studies – most recently at Golda Och Academy (a large Schechter K-12 in New Jersey) and at Gross Schechter Day School (a K-8 in Cleveland).  Although our clergy will still have meaningful teaching roles in our school, this addition ensures continuity and consistency on our Middle School Jewish Studies Faculty.

With all the announcements and explanations out of the way, it is my pleasure to introduce the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School 2014-2015 Faculty & Staff:

Lower School General Studies Faculty

  • Kindergarten: Mrs. Arlene Yegelwel & (A Second Teacher to be hired soon!)
  • First Grade: Ms. Pamela Lewis & Mrs. Shannon McVearry
  • Second Grade: Ms. Amy Stein & (A Second Teacher to be hired soon!)
  • Third Grade: Mr. Seth Carpenter & (A Second Teacher to be hired soon!)
  • Fourth Grade/Fifth Grade Language Arts: Mrs. Andrea Hernandez & Mrs. Dee Ann Wulbern
  • Fourth Grade/Fifth Grade Mathematics & Social Studies: Ms. Michelle Lewis & Mrs. Joni Shmunes

Lower School Jewish Studies Faculty

  • Kitah Gan: Morah Edith (Ita) Horovitz
  • Kitah Alef: Morah Robin (Rachel) Morris & Morah Hannah Bendit
  • Kitah Bet: Morah Rivka Cohen
  • Kitah Gimmel: Morah Liat Walker
  • Kitah Dalet: Morah Rivka Cohen
  • Kitah Hay: Morah Liat Walker
  • Kitah Bet-Gimmel Resource Teacher: Morah Rivkah Ohayon
  • Kitah Dalet-Hay Resource Teacher: Morah Mazal Spalter
  • JS Assistant Teacher: Morah Shosh Orgad
  • JS Assistant Teacher: Morah Ilana Manasse

Middle School Faculty

  • Science: Mrs. Karianne Jaffa
  • Social Studies: Mrs. Judy Reppert
  • Language Arts: Mrs. Stephanie Teitelbaum
  • Middle School Mathematics: Mrs. Lauren Resnick & Mrs. Amy McClure
  • Hebrew: Morah Rivka Ohayon
  • Rabbinics: Morah Edith (Ita) Horovitz
  • Bible: Morah Marci Rogozen
  • Clergy: Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner, Rabbi Howard Tilman, & Hazzan Holzer

Resource Teachers

  • K-5 Science: Mrs. Karianne Jaffa
  • Music: Mr. Evan Susman
  • Art: Mrs. Shana Gutterman
  • PE: Coach Jared Goldman
  • Jewish Music & Tefillah: Hazzan Jesse Holzer

21st Century Learning Team

  • Library & Media Specialist: Mrs. Karin Hallett
  • Visual Literacy Specialist: Mrs. Shana Gutterman
  • Community of Kindness Coordinator: Mrs. Stephanie Teitelbaum
  • Technology Coordinator: Mrs. Kim Glasgal

MJGDS Administrative Team

Administrative Assistant: Mrs. Jessie Roman
Executive Assistant: Mrs. Robyn Waring
Admissions & Marketing Director: Mrs. Claudia Margolis
Middle School Vice-Principal: Mrs. Edith Horovitz
Head of School: Rabbi Jim Rogozen


I will be doing my best to clean up the remaining assistant positions over the next couple of weeks.  We have already interviewed some great candidates and, once confirmed, I hope to have it complete before I officially turn the reigns over on July 1.

I am looking forward to my final days with teachers next week and sharing some closing thoughts after four of the most important, special, and extraordinary years of my life.

Author: Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Jon is studying to be a rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is on the faculty of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) as a mentor. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.  He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas.  Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.