Administrative Staff Bios

Jerry Isaak-Shapiro
Head of School

Jerry D. Isaak-Shapiro is a graduate of the prestigious two-year Mandel Jerusalem Fellowship (2001-03), which offers senior Jewish educators an opportunity to learn with colleagues from North America, Latin America, Europe and Israel, while conducting post-doctoral level research in Jewish education in Jerusalem, Israel.

Prior to moving to Jerusalem, Jerry served as Jewish Education Director at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center; as Northern California Regional Director for Hillel, supervising fifteen Northern California campuses; and as Associate Director for the Jewish Community Relations Committee for the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, during which time he was the community’s media spokesperson and Middle East specialist. During this time he was also the Executive Producer and Host/Moderator of A Jewish Perspective, a talk show seen on San Francisco’s NBC-affiliate channel four.

Jerry received his Masters in International Affairs from The George Washington University and specialized in Middle East history and foreign policy. While in Washington, he also served as Program Director for the U.S.-Japan Economic Agenda, a D.C.-based think tank, and as Chief Researcher for the Washington Bureau of The Chicago Tribune on Israel and the Middle East.

Jerry has been a teacher, prominent lecturer and scholar-in-residence for over twenty years, specializing in the areas of non-formal education, learning differentiation, Zionist thought and history and Jewish identity. He was one of five national mentor/master teachers in SuLaM, a program of Study, Leadership and Mentoring for current Heads of School, sponsored by RAVSAK (the national community day school organization) and has served as a mentor in the JTS-sponsored DSLTI (Day School Leadership Training Institute). He is currently on the editorial board of HaYidion, RAVSAK’s highly respected educational journal. Jerry has been Head of School of Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2003.

Leah Spector
Judaics and Hebrew Department Head

Born in Israel, Leah Spector earned her undergraduate degree in Hearing Impaired Studies from Tel Aviv University in 1991. After moving to Cleveland that same year, she continued her education at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies, earning a Masters Degree in Judaic Studies Education. Her mission became teaching young children about Israel, Hebrew, Tanach and their Jewish identity.

Leah joined Mandel JDS in 1992, and is now responsible for overseeing the development of the General and Judaic educational program and curricula. Along with the Head of School, she oversees the implementation of the Strategic Plan. Leah also directly manages and supports the senior educational leadership team, including its professional development. Leah also develops and manages all class and event schedules as well as the master school calendar.

Leah utilizes her love and passion for her heritage, country and religion as an educator and administrator at Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. Her goals are to develop educated Jewish students who are proud of their identity and will become lifelong active members of the Jewish community.

Jenny Emery
Administrative Assistant

Jenny Emery has worked in the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School office for over 11 years as an Administrative Assistant. Previously, she was a stay-at-home mom. Jenny graduated from Bowling Green State in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.

Ron Hale
Building Manager

Ron Hale has worked at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School as the Building and Operations Manager for the past 22 years.  Ron graduated from Cleveland State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences.

Ellen Joseph
Student Services Coordinator

Ellen Joseph has worked in the Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School office for over 25 years, the last 12 years as Student Services Coordinator. She graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology.

Janet Keane
Chief Financial Officer

Janet Keane has worked at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School as the Chief Financial Officer for the last 14 years. Previously, she was a Regional Controller for McDonald’s Corporation. Janet graduated from Siena College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and has lived in the Cleveland area since 1994.

Laura Leventhal
Director of Capital & Board Advancement

Laura Edelman Leventhal has been with the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for 19 years, starting as a parent volunteer, co-chairing The Agnon School's Art Show for three years, and then the school’s auction.  After five years on the Board of Trustees, she joined the staff as a part-time Annual Fund Director. In 2002, Laura assumed the role of Development Director; in 2014, she assumed the position of Director of Institutional Advancement, moving to her current position in 2018. A graduate from the University Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, prior to Mandel JDS, Laura spent several years in political advertising and nearly 20 years working with architects, designers and builders through her work in the wholesale plumbing industry.  

Laura currently serves as the lead contact for the Prizmah monthly Senior Development Directors’ phone conferences. At Mandel JDS, in addition to overseeing the Capital Campaign and Board Advancement, Laura is the staff liaison for Mandel JDS’s construction.  She’s passionate about Jewish day school education and that passion has increased after seeing her children grow and blossom with the foundation established at Agnon. In her free time, Laura enjoys photography, travel, her maj group of 16 years and being a Grandma.

Laura Loebl
Director of Development & Grants

Laura Loebl is the Director of Development and Grants Coordinator at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. She career began in the Houston Jewish community where she served as the Director of Development and then Project Manager for Holocaust Museum Houston. Laura spent many years working in corporate public relations for Fortune 500 companies including Enron and Halliburton. For almost a decade she was a commodities trader for clients in Europe and Asia. Prior to her tenure at Mandel JDS she was the Director of Advancement at The Shlenker School, a Jewish Day School in Houston, Texas. She enjoys reading, playing Maj, traveling and laughing with her husband Bryan and teenage twins.

Marcy Scolnick

Marcy Scolnick is in her 20th year as a Mandel JDS receptionist. Previously, she was a secretary at a synagogue office. She graduated from Cuyahoga Community College. In her free time, she enjoys doing crafts and playing with her cat.

Abigail Silverman
Director of Marketing & Communications

Abigail Silverman has over fifteen years of combined work experience in both Jewish Communal Service and Brand Marketing. Prior to joining the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, she most recently worked at Nestle doing brand marketing and consumer product innovation.  Abigail has also worked for Jewish National Fund, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and founded a program called JET (Jewish Experiences for Teens) in Columbus, Ohio. Abigail has an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Michigan.  Abigail and her husband live in Shaker Heights and have two children, Rafi and Sasha, who are proud Mandel JDS students. In her spare time, Abigail enjoys obstacle course racing, running, traveling, and spending time with her family.  

Laura Simon
Director of Admissions

Laura Simon has been the Director of Admission at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2005. Previously, she was a stay at home mom. Prior to her role as a mom, she was the Women’s Division Director at the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation and the Religious School Principal at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA. Laura graduated from The Ohio State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies. Afterwards, she went to Hebrew Union College and received a joint Master’s Degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service. In her free time, Laura enjoys being with her family (including 2 dogs) traveling, fiber arts, walking, gardening and reading.

Jodi Stewart
Accountant & Human Resources

Jodi Stewart is in her 13th year as an Accountant and Human Resources Coordinator at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. Previously, she was an accountant for A.J. Sunny Entertainment, Inc. and an Accounting Manager for Spirit Rental Car. Jodi graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Minor in Political Science.  Jodi enjoys life with her three daughters, husband, and black lab discovering the small towns of Ohio.

Ali Tannenbaum
Marketing & Development Associate

Ali Tannenbaum is in her 5th year as the Mandel JDS Marketing and Development Associate. Previously, she was the Director of Young Rembrandts, an after school art enrichment program. Before that, Ali was the Marketing and Communications Director at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. She graduated from Ithaca College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. In her free time, she enjoys taking care of her family and volunteering in the community.