Jewish Theological Seminary- BA, MA
Adi Alouf is the Director of Jewish and Student Life and teaches classes in the Jewish Studies department. A proud JCHS alumna (Class of 2013) and San Franciscan, Adi moved to New York City after high school, where she earned a BA in Religion from Columbia University, a BA in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), as well as an MA in Jewish Ethics from JTS. Adi tutored students in Hebrew, Judaic Studies, and Bnei Mitzvah preparation throughout college. After completing her studies, Adi taught middle school Jewish Studies at the Rodeph Sholom School in Manhattan for four years. In her capacity as the Service Learning Coordinator and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator, Adi created meaningful programs for students and worked to build a community of belonging at her previous school. In 2020, Adi completed the 14-month Jewish Studies In-Service Teacher Training Program at the Pardes Institute. In her spare time, Adi enjoys reading a good novel at a local coffee shop, traveling, hosting Shabbat dinners, and watching the Warriors win championships.
School of Visual Arts, NY – BFA
San Francisco Art Institute – MFA
Marisa Aragona has worked extensively in the Bay Area arts community as an artist, activist, curator and educator for over 10 years. In addition to her work as an arts educator, Marisa is a professional photographer specializing dance and stage visuals, Her recent work includes Bay Area companies and choreographers such as Mix’d Ingrdnts, David Herrera Performance Group, Joe Goode, PUSH Dance, and Rosemary Hannon among others. Her photo-based work and installations have been exhibited in Zurich, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Seattle and Vilnius Lithuania. Her photographs have been published and received awards from the Photo Review Journal, the Association of Women Photographers and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.
Marisa grew up outside of Washington DC and received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2005 and BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2000. Marisa lives and works in San Francisco.
New Mexico Highlands University – MSW
St. John’s College – MA
University of Rochester – BA
Julie Beck, School Counselor, Director of Advising, and member of the Student Support Team and Freshmen Seminar Team, joined the JCHS community in 2006. Julie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her MSW at New Mexico Highlands University. She also holds a MA in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM and a teaching certificate from the University of New Mexico. Julie’s undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester focused on a dual major of psychology and religion. Prior to working at JCHS, Julie worked for a number of years at an adult inpatient mental health rehabilitation center in San Leandro, CA. Julie grew up just outside Boston in Newton, MA, where her family still resides. She currently lives in San Francisco with her two children and their dog. She is passionate about fitness and music and in her free time she enjoys taking long walks on Ocean Beach, doing yoga, teaching dance classes and seeing live bands whenever possible.
Northwestern University – BA
Roni Ben-David has been at JCHS since 2006.
After graduating with Honors from Northwestern University, she participated in a year-long service program in Israel. Roni received a Master’s Certificate in Jewish Service Learning and became passionate about socially conscious service learning after leading a trip for North American teens in Bangladesh. Prior to joining JCHS, she worked for the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a research center that brings together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian students to foster collaboration around shared environmental concerns.
Outside of JCHS, she loves to dance, write poetry, and cook with her 5-year-old daughter.
Dr. Henri-Simon Blanc-Hoang
University of Kansas – BA, MA
University of Florida – PhD
Dr. Blanc-Hoang received his Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Florida, where he studied Latin American literature with a focus on the Jewish contemporary cultural production from the Southern Cone countries -especially film, graphic novels, and science fiction narratives.
Before joining JCHS in 2022, he served as a Spanish and Latin American Studies instructor for the US Army Defense Language Institute.
When Henri is not teaching, he enjoys adapting the classics of Latin American and Spanish literature to the graphic novel genre.
Rabbi Shua Brick
Yeshiva University – BA
Originally from West Hempstead New York, Rabbi Shua Brick is a Wexner Graduate Fellow who received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva University, where he attended high school and undergrad, as well as pursued a dual masters in Jewish Philosophy (MA) and Jewish Education (MS). In love with experiential education and summer camp, he has been on the educational staff at Camps Dora Golding, Ya’alozu, I.O., Stone, Wildrose, and Nageela, always looking for new and exciting challenges. In high school he trained as a hospital clown and served missions to Germany and Israel, a hobby he kept during his two and a half years studying in the Old City of Jerusalem at Yeshivat Hakotel.
Previously the Rabbinic Intern at the Jewish Center of Manhattan and Executive Communications Manager for the Office of the President of Yeshiva University, Shua moved to the Bay Area in 2020. Shua joins the Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland as Director of Family Learning in addition to his work with the JCHS community.
Stanford University – MA
Wharton School – BS
University of Pennsylvania – BA
Michael has worked in California independent schools since 1992. In that time, he has taught US History, AP US History and AP Economics, helped run outdoor education programs, coached varsity sports, chaired a History Department and worked for 10 years as a College Counselor.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Michael earned a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Urban Studies through the College of Arts and Sciences. Michael earned an M.A. in Educational Administration from Stanford University School of Education and he is a National Board Certified Teacher in Social Studies-History as well as a Klingenstein Summer Institute alum. From 2000-2015, Michael was a consultant for the College Board and ETS on the AP Economics program. In addition to overseeing the scoring of AP Exams, Michael served a five-year term as the co-Chair of the AP Microeconomics Test Development Committee, presented at AP Annual Conferences, and taught professional development workshops for teachers in the western US, China and the Middle East. The co-author of two blended learning Economics textbooks, Essential Micro and Essential Macro, Michael is also a featured educator in Davidson Next’s AP Macroeconomics MOOC.
He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and two sons where he tries to spend as much time as possible outside, hiking, climbing and working on his beach glass collection. He aspires to be a better guitarist.
Rabbi Joshua Buchin
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University – MA
Gratz College – BA
Rabbi Joshua Buchin has worked in Jewish Education for over fifteen years in a variety of settings. Before coming to JCHS he was the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellow at Romemu in New York. Previously he served as a spiritual counselor at Beit T’Shuvah (a Jewish residential treatment center in Los Angeles), as the Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Netivot Shalom, in Berkeley, CA, and worked as a teacher in numerous supplementary, summer, and informal education settings. He is also the author of a children’s book, Tefilat HaDerech: The Traveler’s Prayer (EKS Publishing, 2012).
A Berkeley native, he is thrilled to be back once again serving the greater Bay Area Jewish community. He loves exercise, backgammon, eighties movies, and Bay Area sports teams.
Dr. Cecily Burrill
University of California, San Francisco – PhD
University of Oxford – MBioch
Dr. Cecily Burrill has been teaching chemistry and biology at JCHS since 2013. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), a lab instructor at the University of San Francisco, and tutored students at a number of local independent high schools. She earned her Ph.D. in Genetics from UCSF in 2012 and her undergraduate M. Bioch. in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford in 2004. Between her stints in higher education, she spent a year living in Washington, DC and doing research in human genetics at the National Institutes of Health. As a researcher, in addition to human samples and cell lines, she studied a variety of model organisms (including fruit flies and thale cress) and pathogens (including the virus that causes poliomyelitis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, and the fungus that causes histoplasmosis).
Dr. Burrill was born and raised in San Francisco (except for a two-year sojourn in Melbourne, Australia). She is an active member of the alumni associations at San Francisco University High School and the Hamlin School. In her free time, she enjoys knitting and playing contract bridge. She is also proficient in French.
University of Albany – BA/BS
Touro College – MEd
Ariel Cohen is thrilled to be joining the learning support team at JCHS. Born and raised in NYC, he attended the State University of New York at Albany, where he received a dual bachelor’s degree in Art and Biology. Ariel started his teaching career as a teaching assistant at a school for students with speech and language needs, where he discovered his passion for special education. He went back to school to receive his master’s degree in general and special education from Touro College in New York City. Since then, Ariel has over ten years of special education teaching experience, consisting of positions at the School for Language and Communication Development in Queens, NY, The Gateway Middle School in San Francisco, and Fusion Academy Marin in San Rafael.
Born to Israeli parents, Ariel is fluent in both Hebrew and English. He grew up visiting Israel in the summer months and loves to visit Tel Aviv as often as he can. Ariel moved to San Francisco from New York City two years ago to be closer to his brother, sister in law and their children and he has come to love the city for all of the amazing things that it has to offer.
In his free time, Ariel loves to take day trips to explore the beautiful nature around the Bay Area and find new places to golf. During the colder months you can find him in Lake Tahoe enjoying a challenging blue slope on his snowboard. Ariel lives in the inner Richmond district of SF with his fiancée, Dana.
Mount Holyoke College – BA
Northeastern University – MEd
Lauren has over two decades of experience in college admission counseling developing relationships with colleges, universities, and individual families engaged in the college admission process. Prior to her role at JCHS, Lauren served as an Associate Dean of Admission at Mount Holyoke College, a selective residential liberal arts college for women in Western Massachusetts.
Lauren is an active member of the National and Western Associations for College Admission Counseling (NACAC, WACAC), the Bay Area Independent School College Counselor (BAISCC) consortium, and the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS). She served as WACAC President in 2019-2020, is a member of the Fiske Guide to Colleges Counselor Advisory Group, a frequent contributor to NACAC publications, and an occasional commentator on college admission for ABC7 News Bay Area. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in Education from Northeastern University, and is an alumna of the Social Justice Training Institute.
University of Alabama – BA
The University of Pennsylvania – MEd
Marissa Cornelius joined the JCHS faculty in 2020 after a two-year teaching fellowship at Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Western Massachusetts. There, she taught U.S. History and philosophy courses while pursuing her Masters. She received her Masters of Education from The University of Pennsylvania in May, 2020, and before that, she received her undergraduate degree in 2018 from the University of Alabama, where she double-majored in history and education and minored in political science. Originally from Los Angeles, Marissa is thrilled to be back in California and to join the humanities department at JCHS.
Boston College – BS
San Francisco State University – MA
Amy Dean has spent the past 20 years managing science education programs in the San Francisco Bay area. Across her career, her aim has been to work towards transforming the environmental values, interests and the scientific know-how of youth so that they are better prepared to tackle the complex issues that face our planet.
Amy received a BS in Biology from Boston College and a MA in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University. She is fascinated by the wonderful and bizarre world of marine invertebrates and spent ten years teaching high school students to monitor invertebrates along the coast of California as part of a National Marine Sanctuary Program called LiMPETS. Amy also worked as an adjunct professor of Environmental Science at Dominican University and, most recently, has provided curriculum development and program coordination services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
San Francisco State University – BA
Haley Fauth is a Bay Area native who has lived in San Francisco for the past 13 years. She attended San Francisco State University where she received a degree in English education and earned a credential for teaching English. For the past seven years, she has taught at public high schools in Half Moon Bay, Fremont, and most recently, San Mateo.
Haley is so excited to bring her passion for reading and learning to the JCHS community, and can’t wait to see what she will learn from her new students. When not working, Haley can often be found re-watching the Harry Potter movies, trying a new restaurant, or lounging in the park.
Dr. Joshua Feltman
Tufts University – BA
New England Conservatory of Music – BM
Stony Brook University – MA
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York – PhD
Joshua Feltman has educated music students in the Bay Area, in New York City, and abroad. He specializes in incorporating creative pursuits such as digital music and composition into a more traditional instrumental and vocal program. In New York, he served on the faculty of Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Conservatory. Previously, he served as music director at TASIS (Lugano, Switzerland) and Hyde (Woodstock, Connecticut). In both cases, he led the construction of and oversaw a comprehensive program including several ensembles, concert trips, musical theater productions and general music classes.
Joshua Feltman’s other musical activities are numerous and varied. He is a published composer with a PhD in composition and a long list of performed works. His music for orchestra has been performed at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals, and he regularly arranges for groups, large and small in both pedagogical and professional contexts. He is an experienced conductor specializing in world premieres and contemporary music. He has also served as music director at four churches and is an accomplished collaborative pianist and vocal coach with over sixty musical theater productions to his credit.
Arizona State University – BSE
Rio Salado College – Teaching Credential
Michael Fitch graduated from Arizona State University in 2004 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. After graduating Michael began working full time as a math and science tutor as well as a chess coach. Before long he was also substituting classes and found his true passion working in the classroom.
In 2007 he became a full time classroom chemistry teacher in Arizona and in 2009 he finished his post-bacc in secondary education. Later that year he moved to Boston to work at an urban charter and two years later he moved to Oakland to work at another urban charter. In 2014 Michael arrived at JCHS and has loved every minute since.
Ateneo de Davao University – BA
ATLIS – ECATD Program
Chubasco Gaite joins the JCHS staff as the Director of Technology after working in several East Bay independent schools in various technology roles. He immigrated to the United States after earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Ateneo de Davao University in his home country of the Philippines. He has extensive travel experience – a little over 90 countries and counting – and enjoys devouring as much street food wherever he possibly can. He continues to search for that perfect beach.
Weslyan University – BA
Brandeis University – MA
UNC, Chapel Hill – MA
Joseph Gindi teaches Modern Jewish History at JCHS. He is a pluralistic Jewish educator and scholar of modern Jewish studies with over fifteen years of experience teaching Jews of diverse ages and backgrounds. He has a Bachelors in Anthropology from Wesleyan University, Masters in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University, and a Masters in Religious Studies from UNC, Chapel Hill, where he wrote a thesis entitled Greening the Torah: The Use of Classical Texts in Jewish Environmentalist Literature. Joseph has also studied in batei midrash at the Pardes Institute, Mechon Hadar, and The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Most recently Joseph taught Jewish Studies at the Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, CA. Before moving to the Bay Area, Joseph was the Senior Program Officer for International Education and Jewish Engagement at American Jewish World Service (AJWS), where he ran a human rights education fellowship for rabbis and cantors. Prior to AJWS, he taught at Prozdor at Hebrew College, the Slifka Center at Yale University, and a variety of synagogues across the denominational spectrum.
Joseph’s scholarly interests focus on the transformations of American Judaism in the 20th and 21st centuries, including the Jewish environmental and social justice movements, Jewish feminism, changing Jewish relationships to the nation-state, and the evolution of Syrian Jewish Orthodoxy. In his teaching, Joseph uses historical, anthropological, and religious studies frameworks to help students understand how Jewish culture operates and inspire them to craft lives of meaning.
Joseph grew up in the Syrian Jewish community in Deal, New Jersey, and now lives with his wife and son in Oakland, CA. Though he loves life in the Bay Area, he deeply misses lachmagine and east coast bagels.
San Jose State University – MLIS
University of California at Santa Barbara – MA
University of California at San Diego – BA
Robin Gluck joined the JCHS faculty as librarian in 2014. Before coming to JCHS Robin was K-8 school librarian at Oakland Hebrew Day School in the East Bay. Prior to that, Robin taught adjunct writing workshops and managed the campus writing and study skills center at University of California, Santa Barbara. Robin also taught high school English and ESL in Ojai and Santa Barbara.
Robin holds a B.A in English and American Literature from UC San Diego, a Master’s in Education from UC Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Robin is a California native and with the exception of two years in New Jersey, Robin has lived all her life in California.
Outside of JCHS Robin enjoys embroidery, fancy hats, volleyball and basketball.
Webster University – BA
Before joining JCHS, Keena was with Camp Tawonga as the Annual Fund Manager and also worked as the Fund for LWHS Manager at Lick-Wilmerding High School. She served as the Development Coordinator at EARN, which offers matched savings accounts to low income families, helping them break the cycle of poverty by saving and investing in their futures. Prior to her career in fundraising and event planning, Keena was a professional costume designer and project manager for over 15 years, and her work could be seen at various theatre companies including The San Francisco Opera, Opera San Jose and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Keena holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Costume Design from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts as Webster University in St. Louis. She enjoys hand weaving and hand spinning, is an avid cook and will always take an opportunity to head to the mountains. Keena lives in San Francisco with her husband David, their two children and their black Labrador Retriever, Monty.
Dr. Alex Grigoryan
University of Tampa – BS
The Graduate Center, City University of New York – PhD
Emigrating from Russia in 2000, Dr. Grigoryan went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Tampa in 2007. Upon graduating, he moved to New York City to join a Ph. D. Program in Chemistry at the City University of New York. There he served as a graduate teaching assistant in general and organic chemistry and fell in love with teaching. In the research lab, Dr. Grigoryan worked in the sub-discipline of molecular biophysics, with projects focused on developing drugs from venomous marine snails, high throughput microarray drug screening development, and bio-compatible fluorescent sensor development. Throughout his research career, he continued to nurture his passion for education by teaching college classes, developing a research-based undergraduate course in organic synthesis, and teaching an after school program in genetics through the New York Academy of Sciences. He began teaching at the secondary level at Northside Charter High School in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught aerospace engineering, chemistry and AP Biology. He also taught Chemistry and Physics, and advised a robotics club at Campbell Hall School before joining the faculty at JCHS in 2018.
John Hagen, Jr.
National University, San Jose – MSW
University of Virginia – BS
After growing up in Northern New Jersey, John Hagen earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1989. John moved out to California in 1990, and worked for several Silicon Valley startups for the next fifteen years. John’s longest tenure was with a startup company called BroadVision in 1996, which he helped become a Fortune 500 company only five years later. John worked extensively in Europe and Asia as a technical manager with BroadVision, including an eighteen month assignment in London leading a 150 person E-Finance project with Lloyds Bank.
Upon the completion of his high tech career in 2004, John became a high school math teacher at Foothill High School in San Jose and earned a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics in 2006 as well as a Masters in Education in 2007. In his first full year of teaching in 2006, John implemented a Fantasy Football curriculum that was featured on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and KTVU’s “Mornings on Two.” For the next two years, John moved to Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills and became an on-air host of “Math Mentor,” a live homework assistance television show serving the San Francisco Bay Area on the local PBS station, KQED.
In addition to currently coaching the JCHS baseball team and robotics team, John has mentored his son’s First Lego League robotics team for the past several years. John has also coached Little League baseball and performed in several musicals with his two children. John runs a robotics camp in San Mateo during the summer, and also assists the Math League Summer Camp at Stanford and the College of New Jersey. He is an active runner and cycler, and has recently qualified to run in the Boston Marathon in 2017.
University of New England – MTeach(Sec)
Queensland University of Technology – LLB
Liam Harding started his career as a criminal defense lawyer working in remote communities in outback Australia. Before moving to San Francisco in 2015, Liam spent a decade involved in negotiating land rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a senior lawyer with the National Native Title Tribunal.
Liam joined the JCHS faculty in 2019 and teaches both The Past and the Present, and AP European History. He holds a master’s degree in Secondary Teaching from the University of New England. In addition, Liam holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology.
Georgetown University – BS
Stanford University – MA
Michael Holper loves the maths. He has taught math in San Francisco for the past several years and before that worked as a college counselor in Nanjing, China. He developed a strong love of math during his master’s program at Stanford, exploring the many aspects of problem-solving through growth mindset, group work, and student-centered explanation. Prior to working in China, he attended Georgetown University where he studied economics and Chinese, and taught recent Chinese immigrants for three years.
If you would like a logic puzzle to chew on, please don’t hesitate to reach out to him. He dreams for his students to grasp the relevance of math in the myriad of challenges and opportunities they face. In his own life, he loves translating Imperial and SI units while baking, (weight is a better measure than volume), counting the leaves on the trees as he walks through the forest, and optimizing time usage by listening to audio books while trying to get 10,000 steps a day. Raised by a Catholic and a Jew, he is drawn to JCHS’ accepting but grounded approach to Judaism.
Mary Ellen Hunt
Bryn Mawr College – AB
Mary Ellen has been a part of the professional community at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay since 2003. She has worked in the Admissions office, consulted on the report for JCHS’ initial WASC accreditation, and served as Development Associate in the fundraising office, before taking the helm of the Marketing Department. She is constantly inspired by the creativity, warmth, and authenticity of JCHS students and colleagues, who make working at the school a joy.
A native New Yorker, Mary Ellen Hunt has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1997. Mary Ellen trained as a classical dancer, later going on to work professionally with Feld Ballets/NY and Dance Theatre of Harlem. She earned her undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics from Bryn Mawr College before entering the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Arizona.
Avidly interested in science and science education, Mary Ellen was a research associate for Sheila Tobias on the revised edition of her landmark book Overcoming Math Anxiety, and worked for several years in the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Center for Teaching and Learning, Tactile Dome and later in the Public Relations office. She has also taught physics, math and astronomy for the Summer Science Program, an intensive course of study for gifted teenagers sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Her extensive background in the arts has served her well as a freelance writer and arts critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Studio Life, South Bay Accent, and Diablo Magazine.
Dr. Camilo Jaramillo
University of California, Berkeley – PhD
Dr. Camilo Jaramillo was born and raised in Colombia. After coming to the Bay Area in 2008 to pursue graduate school, he fell in love with northern California. In 2016, Dr. Jaramillo received his PhD in Hispanic Language and Literature from UC Berkeley, where he studied Latin American literature and film with a focus on critical theory and environmental studies.
Before joining the JCHS in 2019 as a Spanish and English teacher, he served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wyoming teaching language and culture.
When he is not teaching, reading, or watching a movie, Camilo enjoys the incredible outdoors of the Bay Area and the rich city life of San Francisco.
University of San Francisco – BS
Malkah joined JCHS after working at Deloitte for two years, her first job after college. She joined JCHS with the vision to work somewhere that serves her community with values that are aligned with her own.
Malkah earned her B.S. in accounting and finance from the University of San Francisco. While in college she fell in love with the city and never plans to leave. She loves walking and hiking with her puppy, exploring San Francisco and its gorgeous surroundings, yoga, and eating good food.
Arizona State University – BA Elementary Education
Rio Salado Community College – Certification as a reading specialist
Vanderbilt University – M.Ed. Special Education
Crysti Jones is a learning specialist who started her teaching journey in 2003 and has since worked in private, public, charter, and international Pre-K through College classrooms in multiple states and countries as a teacher, learning specialist, and director of curriculum and instruction. Outside of the classroom, Crysti has served as a Japan Club advisor, high school swim coach, and girls’ volleyball coach. She’s excited to join the JCHS community and add parochial school to her list!
During graduate school, she worked in the Education and Brain Science Research Lab and conducted her own research study in Nashville Public Schools looking at reading program implementation in secondary schools. This experience drove her passion for research and neuroscience, which she regularly weaves into her 1:1 sessions with students as a way to help them better understand how their brain works. When she’s not supporting students at JCHS, Crysti works as an Educational Therapist with The Integrated Clinic .
Crysti has hopped from Arizona to Tokyo, to Nashville, to LA, before landing in the East Bay with her partner and son, Ari. If she finds time to do something other than work, she’s most likely cross-stitching ridiculously detailed photos, swimming with the local Master’s club, trekking her son in a bike trailer along the Bay bike path, attempting to keep her collection of cacti alive, or rolling die in a game of DnD.
Facilities & Events
University of Colorado, Boulder, Metropolitan State College – BS
David Joseph began working at JCHS in 2006 shortly after moving to San Francisco. Originally from Denver, he came to California looking for adventure and to start a new chapter in his life.
David went to public schools in Denver while attending after school Community Talmud Torah Hebrew classes twice a week from kindergarten all the way through high school. After graduation he attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and finished his degree in Behavioral Science at Metropolitan State College in Downtown Denver.
Before moving to San Francisco David worked as an office clerk and courier at a law firm while attending school. After graduation he began working for Great West Healthcare in their finance department as a cash coordinator. He’s had a passion for music most his life and has worked at various clubs in Denver and San Francisco as a DJ
Stern College – BA
Teachers College, Columbia University – MA
Michelle Kushnir (’10) is a proud JCHS alumna and was a member of the Admissions team from 2015-2018. Michelle is thrilled to return to JCHS to teach in the Jewish Studies department and to be part of the Admissions team. She earned a BA in English from Yeshiva University and an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
In her free time, Michelle is usually reading, writing, or taking long walks around the city with her dog, Dreidel.
Dr. Rose-Ellen Lessy
Cornell University – PhD
Cornell University – MA
Brown University – BA
Rose-Ellen Lessy taught English and writing courses at New York University, The New School, and the Columbia University Summer Program for High Schools from 2005 until she moved to Berkeley with her family in 2015. Rose-Ellen received her PhD from the English department at Cornell University, when she studied American literature and feminist theory. For the past two years, Rose-Ellen taught writing and American literature classes at Mills College and San Jose State University. She is delighted to join the humanities faculty at JCHS.
When not chasing her 4-year old (Avi) and her 2-year old (Alice), Rose-Ellen loves to watch film, read about politics, and eat whatever her husband cooks.
SUNY Empire State – BA
Hebrew University – MA
Raizy Lichtenstein has taught in a wide variety of Jewish educational settings, including Be’er Hagolah High School, Ateret Torah High School, and Mazel Day School (New York); Midreshet Tehillah, Be’er Miriam, and other gap-year programs (Jerusalem); Hamaqom, Kevah, and Edah (California). She was a professor of English and a participant in admissions assessment at Touro College in New York.
Raizy loves learning and teaching Jewish texts. She is passionate about creating structure and space for attentive reading and meaningful learning interactions, thereby enabling students to develop thoughtful and resilient approaches to Judaism and self. In her free time, Raizy enjoys making art, most recently as a Senior Fellow at the Atiq Maker Kollel. She also loves hiking the Bay Area’s beautiful trails.
Claremont McKenna College – BS
Terry joined JCHS in 2022 after 22 years of working in finance, startups, and even his own Korean restaurant in SF. He most recently worked at a staffing and production startup focused on the gig economy. Terry earned his B.S. in Economics and Accounting from Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles. He lives in North Beach with his college sweetheart and enjoys hikes, golf, trivia, eating, cooking, and making people smile!
Mills College – MFA
Stanford University – MA
Wesleyan University – BA
Michelle Matz earned a B.A. in Psychology from Wesleyan University, an M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Mills College.
Michelle has worked at JCHS since 2008. Prior to JCHS, she worked with WritersCorps, a program of the San Francisco Arts Commission, teaching poetry to underserved youth. She was also director of a program for homeless youth living in transitional housing.
Michelle has published poetry in numerous journals. Her chapbook Atilt was published in 2006. She is currently working on a full-length manuscript.
Michelle lives in San Francisco with her daughter and two rambunctious dogs.
University of California, Davis – BS
Joe McDonald has been teaching stage craft and served as technical theater director at JCHS since 2000 and is also the varsity tennis coach for JCHS. Prior to coming to JCHS, Joe directed his own event management company for over 20 years. He received his Bachelor of Science from UC Davis where he studied engineering and technical theater.
One of the few San Francisco natives at the school, Joe is excited to be expanding his role at JCHS to include filmmaking. He also mentors the club that produces JTV, a student-led JCHS news team that creates online video segments reporting on JCHS life. When not at JCHS, you can usually find him on a local tennis court or on the slopes in Tahoe.
University of San Francisco – MS
University of Colorado, Boulder – BS
Coach Sean Moler comes to JCHS with an extensive background in athletic administration, having served seven years as Athletic Director in the Bay Area Conference at Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory Academy. While at OMI, Coach Moler led the Grizzly Varsity Boys Basketball program to two league championships in four seasons, and four consecutive trips to NCS playoffs. Prior to his tenure at OMI, he managed corporate sponsorships with Learfield Sports at Stanford and started his educational career as a history teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District.
A Santa Cruz County native, Sean attended Aptos High before earning his B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He earned his teaching credential from Cal Poly in 2002, a M.A. in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco in 2009, and an administrative credential from Cal State East Bay in 2016. He is a Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) with the NIAAA, and in 2014 was the recipient of the CSADA Norm MacKenzie Award for distinguished leadership in Athletic Administration.
A Bay Area resident of 20 years, Coach Moler currently resides in Berkeley and enjoys travel, surfing, guitar, swimming, and getting into the wild as much as possible.
Dr. David Neufeld
University of California, Berkeley – BA
University of California, Berkeley – PhD
Dr. David Neufeld grew up in the Los Angeles area, came to the Bay Area to attend college at UC Berkeley, and never left. After a five-year stint as a professional actor, he enrolled in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education with UC Berkeley and SF State, earning his PhD in 2012.
He has worked in the field of Special Education and learning support since the early 2000s, and prior to joining JCHS in 2020 he served for 10 years as the Director of Inclusion at Jewish LearningWorks in San Francisco, supporting Jewish educators, schools, and families across the Bay Area around special needs inclusion. In addition to his role at JCHS, he has a private practice as an inclusion coach and consultant for families, schools, and organizations (www.drdavidneufeld.com). David lives in Berkeley with his wife Suzannah and daughters Noa and Ayelet.
California State University, Chico – BA
University of Phoenix – MA
Kim is a Human Resources Consultant with over 18 years of experience. The majority of her work focuses on consulting with nonprofits, hospitality, and independent schools but she has also worked with many different types of industries. Prior to starting TruckeeHR, Kim held several corporate HR leadership roles in companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Vail Resorts. She has also worked in large healthcare organizations. She started her own consulting firm in 2015. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Business from California State University, Chico. She likes to spend her free time with her two boys and her Saint Bernard Stella in their hometown of Truckee, CA.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – MA
Cornell University – BA
Aaron has been teaching AP/at-level American History, AP Comparative Government, Media/Advertising and coaching soccer at JCHS since 2005 – and loving every minute of it!
After graduating cum laude in history from Cornell University in 1988 he worked on a congressional campaign in his hometown of Ann Arbor while earning a secondary teaching certificate. He completed a Masters Degree in American History from the University of Michigan in 1995 and spent 14 years teaching and coaching diving at his old high school. In addition to creating a senior project program, co-founding the philosophy club, and developing a “Current History” curriculum there, he was also a three-time Michigan High School Diving Coach of the Year. In 2003 Aaron earned the prestigious Bruce Harlan Award for continued leadership, contributions, and service to Michigan High School diving. He coached five individual state champions and 13 All-Americans. He also coached at the Stanford age group program in 2005 and at Gunn High School in Palo Alto from 2005-2009.
In 2005 his wife started her medical residency at UCSF so they moved out to San Francisco where they have happily settled and started a family. When not spending time with his wife and kids (Lucas is 11 and Hannah is 7), Aaron enjoys reading, musical theater, cooking, and not-quite-obsessively following Michigan sports teams.
Hebrew University – MA
Hebrew University – BA
Tamar Rabinowitz is currently the Dean of Jewish Studies and Hebrew at JCHS. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, she moved to Israel after high school and attended Hebrew University where she earned her B.A. in Jewish History while studying Tanach at Matan. She earned an M.A. in Jewish education from Hebrew University and a diploma in Jewish Studies from Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.
She has taught her favorite subject, Tanach and its interpretations, for 19 years in various locations, schools and institutions. She taught middle and high-schoolers for seven years at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and adults in the Florence Melton program in Rockville, MD. Since moving to San Francisco, Tamar has taught Tanach for Kevah and in the Yesod program at Emmanuel. At JCHS, she teaches Tanach to all grades. In 2017, she completed MTEI, a two year program aimed at nurturing Jewish leadership.
Tamar lives in San Francisco with her partner and three young children, Judah, Noa and Avital. She loves running when she gets the chance and can be found every weekend hiking the trails of Marin.
Dr. Yosef Rosen
University of California, Berkeley – PhD
Yeshiva University – BA
Yosef Rosen joined JCHS in 2018 as a teacher of Jewish Studies. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres—Bible, Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry—and invite students to discover their own genres of intellectual creativity. He has been engaged in immersive adult Jewish-education in the Bay since 2012, as a teacher with Lehrhaus Judaica, Kevah, and Moishe House. He earned a PhD in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley in 2017, where he completed a dissertation on representations of spiritual community in the Zohar. He lives with his wife, Amy, in the Berkeley hills. In Yosef’s spare time he enjoys playing jazz guitar, biking the hills of the Bay, and designing new Jewish rituals.
Bar-Ilan University – PGD
Bar-Ilan University – MA
Hebrew University – BA
Merav Rozenblum has taught Hebrew at JCHS since 2007. Fluent in Hebrew, English, Spanish, Italian, she has also studied French and Yiddish and has long been fascinated by languages. As the Hebrew Coordinator, Merav aims to keep the Hebrew classroom exciting and innovative.
During the second year of her Bachelors’ Degree in Spanish and English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Merav took a semester-long training to become a teacher of Hebrew as a second language. Her idea was a land a nice summer job, but instead, teaching Hebrew has become her career. Merav holds a Masters in English Literature and a graduate degree in Translation and Interpretation from the Bar Ilan University in Israel. Merav has taught Hebrew for adults at the Hebrew University’s Summer Ulpanim and Mechina, at various other Ulpanim, religious communities, and Jewish Community Centers in Jerusalem, Moscow, Madrid and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to her teaching career, she works as a free-lance translator and interpreter from Spanish and English into Hebrew. Merav finds the lively dynamics of the classroom to be a good balance to the long, lone hours she sometimes needs to spend in front of her computer
Rabbi Howard Jacoby Ruben
Hebrew Union College – Rabbinic Ordination and MAHL
University of California Hastings College of Law – JD
University of California, Berkeley – BA
Howard Ruben joined JCHS in 2008 after having served as the senior rabbi for nearly a decade at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio, an 1,800-family Reform congregation in a suburb of Cleveland. He previously served as the executive director of Cincinnati’s Bureau of Jewish Education. In these roles, Rabbi Ruben particularly enjoyed helping Jewish teens find their path to spiritual and ethical learning as well as their love of Judaism and growth as adults.
Rabbi Ruben has deep roots in the Bay Area Jewish and secular communities. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he served as a partner in the law firm of Severson & Werson in San Francisco, and held lay leader positions on the boards of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. He also held several leadership positions at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. His work with Jewish teens dates to his time as the assistant director of UAHC (now URJ) Camp Swig Institute in Saratoga.
Rabbi Ruben graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with honors; the University of California, Hastings College of Law, in San Francisco; and Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati and Jerusalem, where he studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He also was in the inaugural class of Rabbinic Fellows of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
San Francisco State University – MA
Washington University – BA
Karie has been teaching English at JCHS since 2003, which means she has had the honor of seeing each class graduate since the inception of the school. During her tenure here, she has taught all 4 levels of English, and has also served as Dean of the Seniors during the ’06-’07 school year, and Dean of the Freshmen during the ’07-’08 school year. After getting her Masters degree in Education, but before coming to JCHS, she taught both English and reading development in Bay Area public schools, and writing at a college in Chicago.
Though originally hailing from Chicago, for over 25 years Karie has lived in San Francisco, where she is raising her two children. They don’t seem to find her as funny as she knows she is, so she has to get her accolades from audiences when she performs stand-up story telling.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – BA
Michael Shapero, Director of Food Services, is a native San Franciscan who has been interested in food from a young age. He studied Hotel/Restaurant Management at Cal Poly- Pomona and has worked in various aspects of the Food and Hospitality Industries. In addition to managing restaurants, Michael has worked in hotel operations, retail grocery, been a wholesale food buyer as well as in sales of wholesale food imports. He enjoys cooking and learning about new foods and their production.
Michael and his wife, Joanne, are also parents of Talia, a JCHS Alum who was a member of the Class of 2019! Her brother, Avi, is currently in the 11th grade at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts High School. Michael’s favorite experience from recent years was traveling to the Dominican Republic with his family where, in addition to relaxing, they performed some community service projects in areas of need. When Michael is not working or cooking at home he enjoys rock climbing, tennis, SF Giants baseball, playing guitar, and listening to live music
California Polytechnic State University – BA
University of California, Santa Barbara – MA
Tiffany Siegel attended college in San Luis Obispo, graduating from California Polytechnic State University in 2017 where she received her Bachelors in Mathematics with a concentration in Teaching. She then returned to her hometown, Santa Barbara, and attended the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2019 Tiffany completed the credential and masters program getting her Single Subject Teaching credential in Math and her Masters in Education.
Tiffany began her teaching career at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara teaching Math I. She then moved to San Francisco in 2020 to join JCHS’s team and teach Algebra I and Geometry.
Loyola University – BA
Claudio Andres Silva Restrepo is a director, actor, stage manager and designer originally from Santiago, Chile. He studied at Loyola University, Maryland. While at Loyola, Claudio won numerous honors for acting, design, and direction. He spent three years teaching and working at StarStruck Theatre & Academy in Stuart, Florida before moving to San Francisco. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2017 Claudio has become Technical Director/ Production Manager for SFBATCO (San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company). As an independent design artist and technician he works with many professional companies including the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Those Women Productions, 42nd Street Moon, Brava For Women in the Arts. He enjoys creating works that represent the diverse community of the Bay Area and addressing social issues relevant to his community. He also works as a designer and educator with children companies like SF Arts Education Project, Throckmorton Theatre, Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company, and other Educational Programs. Claudio joined the JCHS community as their new Theatre Technical Director in the summer of 2020.
University of Iowa – MFA
Sonoma State University – BFA
Jen Sturgill has been teaching visual art and AP Art History at JCHS since 2006. She earned her B.F.A. in Printmaking and Drawing from Sonoma State University, and her M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Iowa where she received the Iowa Fellowship.
She was a masterprinter at an invitational fine art press in San Francisco, collaborating with American and International artists. She has been included in several exhibitions, including Mapping Madness, an International drawing show at the Inside Out Museum in Beijing, China. See more of her work on her website: www.jensturgill.com.
She grew up in Round Valley, a remote area in Mendocino County, home of Round Valley Indian Reservation. She had the unique experience of living without electricity or indoor plumbing until she was in her mid-teens, and so developed a deep love of nature, and a keen sense of improvisation which she brings to her passion for art and teaching.
Arizona State University – BA
Arizona State University – MA
Leslie and her husband, Stephen, moved to San Francisco from Scottsdale, Arizona in 2004. She attended Arizona State University where she earned a degree in Family Studies and Child Development and she also has a Masters Degree in Community Counseling. Her three children; Ethan (JCHS ‘21), Chloe (JCHS ‘19) and Jared (LWHS ‘17) attended Brandeis in SF where Leslie volunteered in many capacities before she began working there; first in Development, and then for many years in Admissions. She received the Brandeis Or Hadash Award for her volunteerism in 2012 after chairing the Annual Fund and participating on numerous committees.
Prior to working in day schools, Leslie was the Family Programs Coordinator at Congregation EmanuEl where she led many programs for new parents and families with young children as well as facilitated classes for engaged and newly married couples. Leslie has always supported Jewish education and enjoys working in Jewish environments. She taught Pre-Kindergarten at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley and was a NFTY-SW youth group advisor for over 10 years. Leslie and Stephen also have four nieces and nephews who are JCHS alumni. Leslie brings to JCHS her experience in the Jewish community as well as her enthusiasm and creative ideas for helping our school continue to thrive. She enjoys engaging with prospective families and talking together about the high school admission process. In her free time she likes to bake, travel with friends or family and explore San Francisco!
San Francisco State University – BME
Julie Vlcek-Burke began working in the development office in 2003, and has literally grown with JCHS. She knows the School’s history, is personally connected to many of our 400+ alumni and enjoys working with many of the same community leaders today who helped make JCHS a reality. While directing the Annual Fund, grants program, and Spring Celebration gala, Julie looks for every opportunity to creatively engage members of our community to share what she knows first-hand is unique and valuable about our school and our students. Julie is an active member of the Association of Bay Area Development Officers (ABADO), and the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and serves on the Advancement Committee at the Katherine Delmar Burke School.
Julie obtained her Bachelors degree in Music Education/Tuba from San Francisco State University. She lives in the Outer Richmond with her wife and two young daughters, and still uses her classical music degree – most recently while performing trumpet in a live drag rock musical.
Oberlin College – BA
Alex White is originally from the Washington, DC area. He attended Oberlin College, graduated in 2007, majored in Computer Science and minored in Classics, with a Latin focus. Nearly every job he’s held has been in education, such as teaching programming at a summer camp, staffing a campus helpdesk, and running the servers at his former high school. He’s taught computer science, geometry, science fiction, Elvish (Quenya dialect), art, and more.
At JCHS, Mr. White teaches ninth grade Foundations of Computer Science, AP Computer Science Principles, geometry, and is an advisor for EVERlab and Keystone. He used to be the Director of Educational Technology as well, but pivoted to teaching full time. His academic interests include science, technology, math, foreign languages, literature, the arts, history, and more. Mr. White strives to bring an interdisciplinary, big-picture approach to his classes, and to take computer science offline whenever possible.
In his spare time, Alex is a runner, reads paper books, cooks, loves nature and taking advantage of the many cultural opportunities in the Bay Area. His younger brother lives nearby and works as a print journalist. Mr. White also has a spoiled tuxedo cat named Zoë. His favorite programming language is Ruby, he’s curated a joke book written by the artificial intelligence GPT-2, and he still feels nostalgic about the sound of dialup modems.
Hebrew University – MA
University of Wisconsin – BA
Evan holds a masters degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University and a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Study from the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. He has a passion for baroque lute, for the sublime short story, and seeks to learn how to brew the perfect cup. Evan is the author of two blogs: magnetiCClassroom.com – about Creativity, Compassion, Connection and teCh in the classroom, and StyleForDorks.com – pretty much like it sounds. He is currently working on a young-adult novel, and owns the world’s largest collection of cardigan sweaters.
Theater Director and Acting Teacher
Visual and Performing Arts
Stanford University – BS
Stanford University – MA
Jamie Yuen-Shore was born and raised in San Francisco. She was trained by Bay Area ETC, the San Francisco Arts Education Project (SFArtsEd), and Young People’s Teen Musical Theater Company (YPTMTC). She attended Stanford University where she received BA in Urban Studies and MA in Sociology. She has taught musical theater and theater education with SFArtsEd, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre; the Fulbright Program in Montevideo, Uruguay; Aim High; and San Francisco Day School, where she also taught 6th grade Social Studies. She is a founding company member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO – Marcelo Javier Periera & Rodney Earl Jackson Jr.). For SFBATCO, she has choreographed projects including Ragtime and West Side Story (partnered with SFArtsED and YPTMTC). She also co-created and directed I, Too, Sing America (Othello Jefferson) which was nominated for the 2017 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Choreography and won the 2018 Theater Bay Area (TBA) Award for Outstanding Performance of a Musical, and for which she won the 2019 Theater Bay Area Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. In addition to theater, she enjoys comedy TV shows and backpacking.