Lower School Bios
Halle Dubin has taught at Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 1995 and since 2005 has served as a lead teacher for grades 1-5. Halle has a Masters degree in Education from John Carroll University and a Masters of Educational Administration from Ursuline College. She has also served as the lead mentor for the Masters Apprentice Program at Ursuline College and Mandel JDS, coordinating masters degree students’ placements as student teachers; and as a Praxis III Assessor for the State of Ohio’s Department of Education. In this latter capacity she is responsible for interviewing and evaluating first year teachers.
Halle has been a member of Mandel JDS’s Educational Leadership Team since 2005, and has played a significant role in developing the Lower School’s team of teachers. She’s assumed these responsibilities – and the added duties of the Lower School Coordinator going forward – while she remains committed to and excited by her role as a classroom educator.
Shlomit Avisar has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2013. In 2005, she started as a substitute teacher and a volunteer tutor. In 2013, Shlomit began teaching Hebrew in the Ma’ayan program. Since 2014, Shlomit has taught Hebrew and Judaics for 1st through 3rd grades. Shlomit has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Ben Gurion University in Israel.
Nurit Barnard has taught at Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2014. She served as a Judaics teacher for 1st through 5th grades. Nurit graduated from Siegal College and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies. Nurit is a proud recipient of the following awards: Ratner – Goldberg Israel Fellowship Award in 2006, The Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education in 2006, The Gross Award for Excellence in Teaching at Solomon Schechter Day School in 2001, and The Libby Braverman Award for Outstanding Teaching at Fairmount Temple in 1994. Nurit is currently serving as the school T’fillah and Spirit Coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys creating Hebrew games and learning aids for her students.
Mitch Borrow has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past 12 years. Originally from Montreal, Canada, he graduated from Babson College in Boston with an MBA and recently went back to school for a Masters in Education from John Carroll University. Prior to changing his career to Education, Mitch was a Director of Marketing for various consumer product companies. He is currently a 3rd grade homeroom teacher as well as a math specialist for grades 1st through 5th. In his free time, Mitch enjoys running, biking, swimming and hiking with his family in Boulder, Colorado.
Altina Nudelman Buchris recently came to the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School as a Shlicha from Israel. She teaches Hebrew, Tanach and Parashat Hashavua in the 5th grade and she teaches Hebrew in the 7th grade. Altina holds a Master’s degree in mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben Gurion University of Beer Sheva. While in Israel, Altina taught high school students mathematics.
Jessica Dorner has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past four years. She has previous experience teaching Pre-Kindergarten in Chagrin Falls. Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education (Prek-3rd grade) and an Early Childhood Generalist Endorsement in grades 4-5 from John Carroll University. She also has a Master’s degree in Education with a K-12 Reading Endorsement from John Carroll University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. Jessica also enjoys cooking, exercising, traveling and spending time outdoors, especially by the water.
Steve Karl has been a teacher for 16 years and has worked at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past 11 years. He teaches math and science to Lower School students. He earned a Master’s degree in Education from Baldwin Wallace College in 2002. His goal is to instill in his students a life-long love of learning and to persevere through difficult situations. He enjoys working with children, watching sports, and playing golf. He is married and has two children; Hannah is a sophomore at the University of Arizona and Sophie is a Junior at Beachwood High School.
Mary Jo Murino is a Third Grade General Studies teacher at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. This is her first year teaching at Mandel JDS. She recently graduated from John Carroll University in May of 2018 receiving a Bachelor’s degree in both Early Childhood Education and Italian Studies. At John Carroll University, she was also a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team. Teaching is something Mary Jo is very passionate about and she is so grateful to have the opportunity to work with children who will learn, grow, explore, and create each and every day in her classroom. In her free time she enjoys cooking, living an active lifestyle, spending time with family and friends, and playing the guitar.
Kayla Musso is a Third and Fourth Grade Math and Enrichment teacher at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. Having graduated from John Carroll University in May 2018 with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education, this is her first year teaching at Mandel JDS. While at John Carroll, she was a member of the Varsity Volleyball team and also participated in multiple service opportunities. Kayla has always had a passion for working with children and helping them grow. She is so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful and welcoming community. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys baking, coaching, living actively, and spending time with her family.
Rachel Patena recently joined the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School community as a mathematics teacher. She attended John Carroll University and earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. While in her undergraduate program, she discovered a deep love of working with and teaching children. After finishing her degree, she stayed at John Carroll to earn her Masters in Education concentrating in middle school science and mathematics. During her graduate program, she had the opportunity to observe and shadow in a variety of school districts including Shaker, Solon, and Cleveland Heights/University Heights. Outside of the classroom, Rachel enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and cooking.
Dina Rock is in her 31st year of teaching and is passionate about education in our country. She has a Master’s in Education and has taught grades first through sixth throughout her career and is passionate about honing her craft each year. For the last eight years, she has been working with the Washington based education organization, Hope Street Group. HSG was one of the first organizations to recognize the important role teacher voice and engagement need to play in order for there to be thoughtful change and elevation of the education profession. Since then, along with teaching, Dina has been active as a national team leader, fellow and consultant, training new state and national HSG teaching fellows in their work to elevate the profession.
Dina also served on the Teacher Advisory Council for the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), an organization dedicated to studying the world of education in our country. "My passion for teaching and my love for my students drive me to maintain a commitment to thoughtful and sustained education reform.” In her own classroom, Dina strives to maximize the individual potential of the whole child by creating a nurturing and engaging environment. “It is my goal to educate children to think critically, care deeply, question unendingly, feel intensely, and communicate clearly and openly. I strive to help each student maximize their unique and promising character.”
Michele Sudow has been teaching for over 40 years, 37 of which were at Agnon/Mandel JDS. She graduated from Kent State University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. In 1980, she completed a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. At Mandel JDS, Michele has taught Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and recently First Grade along with Second Grade math. She is the recipient of the 2009-2010 Plain Dealer Crystal Apple award for educators and the 2013 recipient of the Ratner Goldberg Teaching Award from the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. She is the proud mother of three Agnon/Mandel JDS school graduates. Michele enjoys walking, working out at the JCC, reading, and playing with her grandchildren.
Malka Weil has taught at Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for 22 years as a Judaics and Hebrew Teacher. Previously, she has taught at Solomon Schechter Day School of Cleveland, the Cleveland Hebrew School, Siegal College of Jewish Studies, Kent State University, Akiva High School, and local Hebrew / Sunday schools. Malka graduated from The College of Jewish Studies in 1978 with a Master’s in Hebrew Literature and exceeded the required number of credits hours by 36. She has been the proud recipient of the following awards: Distinguished Teaching Award from the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies in 1988; the Solomon Schechter Gary L. Gross Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1994; The Steiger Family Education Grant in recognition of the dedication and devotion of teachers in Cleveland Jewish Day Schools, Exceptional Teacher, Mentor and Leader in 2008; and the Grinspoon Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for exceptional teaching, mentoring and leadership in 2008. Malka truly loves and enjoys teaching. She also has worked in summer camps in Cleveland and Wisconsin. In her free time, Malka enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, other family members and friends. She also enjoys dancing, traveling and learning.