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Specialists Bios

 
Gussie Singer
Director of Intervention Services

Gussie Singer joined the faculty at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in 2012 as the Director of Intervention Services. Previously, she was the Principal of the Edgewood Community School in San Francisco, CA, a school for students with learning disabilities. Before Gussie was an administrator, she enjoyed being a classroom teacher and a reading specialist, at different grade levels, second grade through high school, at the Edgewood Community School, where she worked for 12 years.

Although Gussie is originally from New York, her family relocated from San Francisco to Northeast Ohio, six years ago, because her husband, David joined the faculty at Kent State University.  He is a professor of Geology, where he teaches and does research studying contaminants in the environment. David has enjoyed participating as a judge in the Mandel JDS Middle School Science Fair for several years. Gussie has two children who are proud Mandel JDS students.  Asa, 3, who is in Gan Shoresh and Hannah, 5, who started Kindergarten this year.

Gussie graduated from San Francisco State University with a Masters Degree in Special Education and from Bates College with a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and Education. In her free time, Gussie enjoys baking, playing scrabble, making art work and playing in the yard with her kids. Gussie also has a very vibrant lay leadership life at her family’s synagogue, Congregation Shaarey Tikvah.

BatSheva Atkin
Intervention Specialist

BatSheva Atkin is in her 5th year at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School as a member of the Learning Enhancement Team. She has a M.S.Ed. from NOVA Southeastern University, and holds an Ohio License as Intervention Specialist, Mild to Moderate, K -21. BatSheva is trained in the Lindamood-Bell Visualizing Verbalizing techniques, in addition to Orton Gillingham Reading and Language methods. Prior to joining Mandel JDS, she taught kindergarten for 11 years at a private day school. Previously, BatSheva was a software programmer for 22 years, and is adept in the use of assistive technology in an educational setting. BatSheva is also involved in Therapeutic Horsemanship and its benefits for students.  

 
 
Etti Berkman
Judaics Teacher

Etti Berkman has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2001 and since 2012 has been the Maayan program lead teacher for 1st through 8th grades. Etti has her Bachelor’s in Hebrew Language and Education from Bar Ilan University and a Master’s in Bible Studies from Siegal College in Cleveland, Ohio. Etti also earned a Family Educator certificate from Siegal College and a certificate in Biblical Philosophical Inquiry from the JECC in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not teaching, Etti enjoys cooking, designing jewelry, knitting, crocheting and reading.

 
 
 
Johannah Cross
Reading Intervention Specialist

Johannah Cross has taught at the Joseph & Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2006 and is currently an Intervention Specialist for grades K-8.  Johannah holds a Master’s degree in School Psychology from John Carroll University and certifications from the Wilson Foundations Program, the Wilson Reading System, and the Lindamood Bell Phoneme Sequencing for Reading, Spelling, and Speech Program.  She serves as a Resident Educator Mentor for the Ohio Department of Education. In addition to teaching at the elementary level, she has taught as an adjunct professor at John Carroll University in the Education Department and worked at Cuyahoga Community College as an assistant to the Director of the Early Childhood Education Department on an Early Childhood Literacy Grant. In 2011, she received the Steiger Family Education Award, a grant that recognizes an outstanding local Jewish day school teacher who demonstrates a dedication to teaching and a devotion to students. The Sun Press News selected her as their “Person of the Week.”  As an educator, she identifies and supports both individual strengths and areas of need. Her teaching approach implements a wide range of hands-on activities and varied techniques to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles.

Kim Farkas
Judaics Teacher

Kim Farkas has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past 21 years as a Judaics Teacher from Early Childhood through fourth grade. Kim attended the University of Arizona and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Judaic Studies. She graduated from John Carroll University with a Master’s Degree in Education in 1998.  Kim spent a year studying at Niveh Yerushalayim.  She is a past recipient of the Libby Braverman Award which recognizes significant contributions to Jewish education in Cleveland. Over the past 3 years, Kim has created a mini-Mussar (character development) program for children ages ten through high school. She started the program with six students and now have grown to four classes with more than 100 children. In her free time, Kim enjoys running.

 
 
Linda Feinberg
Kitchen Assistant

Linda Feinberg has been with the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School as the Kitchen Assistant for the past six years. In addition to this position, she has worked in other capacities on an interim basis over the past eighteen years. Previous to her work at Mandel JDS, Linda was a server in a number of restaurants.  Prior to that, she worked for a group of doctors. Linda graduated from Collinwood High School in 1971 and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Sales in 1989. She also completed a beginner’s Computer Course from Bryant and Stratton College.

 
 
 
Amy Fishbach
Art Teacher

Amy Fishbach has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for over twenty five years as an art teacher. She went to the College of Wooster and Ursuline for her Bachelor of Art in Fine Arts and received her Masters of Education from Cleveland State. In 2003, Amy was honored as the “Elementary Art Teacher of the Year” by Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. Amy’s passion for the visual arts is expressed by the fact that she can never take enough art classes. Every year, Amy takes a week-long art workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Locally, Amy takes classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Morgan Papermaking Conservatory. In her free time, Amy sings, plays ukulele and travels to music festivals with her partner, Laszlo.

Anna Fredman
Speech Language Pathologist

Anna Fredman joined the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in 2015 as the school’s speech language pathologist. Previously, she worked for A+ Solutions, providing intervention for students in numerous Cleveland area schools, and she continues to be a part of A+ Solutions. She also served as the interim SLP at Mandel JDS in the winter of 2014. Before that, she was a speech language pathologist at Monarch Center for Autism at Bellefaire JCB, where she worked with high functioning high school students, early learners in the preschool, and students everywhere in between. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Hebrew Language and Literature from Brandeis University in 2008. For her graduate studies in communication sciences and disorders, she earned a Master of Science from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA in 2010. Anna enjoys getting to work with Mandel JDS students from preschool through middle school on a wide variety of speech and language skills, in order to help them become stronger and more effective communicators.

Moshe Glauber
Senior Technology Specialist

Moshe Glauber has been with the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2001. His nineteen year tenure at Mandel JDS began as a Computer Coordinator and he is now a Senior Technology Specialist.  Moshe also taught Bible Studies at Mandel JDS and Hebrew at Fuchs Mizrachi School and Cleveland Hebrew School. Prior to teaching in the United States, Moshe lived in Israel. In 1980, he graduated from Haifa University with a Bachelor's degree in Bible Studies and Jewish History. In addition, Moshe has earned special credentials in Education Technology, including a Certificate in Educational Technology from the University-School Partnership Institute of the Yeshiva University in New York City. In his free time, Moshe enjoys using different computer programs such as Photoshop and I-movie.  He also enjoys learning new computer technology skills to implement in the classroom at Mandel JDS.

 
Amy Groedel
Middle School Intervention Specialist

Amy Groedel has taught at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past ten years.  Previously, she was a private tutor and a third grade teacher at Hawken School. Amy graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In 1989, she completed a Master of Science Degree in Education from John Carroll University. In her free time, Amy enjoys her family, theater and working out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Seth Guren
Technology & Stem Coordinator

Seth Guren has been a teacher at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past three years.  Seth teaches technology/engineering, entrepreneurship, health, and creative minds. This year he has expanded his role and is the school’s Stem Coordinator.  Seth graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in History in 2003 and received his M.Ed. from John Carroll University in 2005. Seth’s teaching career began in the Beachwood school system as a substitute and a Special Education Assistant.  During this time, Seth received his license in technology from Notre Dame College. After that, he went to Lorain City Schools and taught history. He then taught Social Studies for Ohio Virtual Academy and technology at Parma Community High School. Seth left Parma to help run a property management software company and go back to school to pursue his special education license.  Seth has also coached numerous sports for Beachwood schools and taken various courses to continue his education. If Seth is not at school or coaching, he is playing or watching sports (with Caleb). Go Bucks, Go Browns, Go Cavs and Go Tribe.

 
David Ianiro
Physical Education Teacher & Athletic Director

David Ianiro has been teaching Physical Education at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2017. He graduated from Bluffton University in 2014 while majoring in Early Childhood Education and Child Development. During his tenure at Bluffton University, David was also a member of the baseball team for four years where he broke two school records as a pitcher.  David has been a Sports Director at Beechmont Country Club’s Day Camp for the last eight years. In his free time, David enjoys watching sports, weight training, and watching movies.

 
 
 
Alice Kessler
Art Teacher
Alice Kessler has been teaching art at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2014. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 with a Master’s degree in Art Education. She passed the four year Ohio licensure assessment in 2017, advancing to the five year license in 2018. Before deciding to pursue art education, she was employed for five years as a Web Designer, and continues to work as a Freelance Graphic Designer in her spare time. In 2007, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Alice has also served as Early Childhood Aftercare staff at Mandel JDS since 2014. As an art educator, she enjoys fostering creativity and critical thinking skills, as well as inspiring young minds about the power of visual art in its many forms.
 
Rachel Lefkovitz
Judaics Intervention Specialist

Rachel Lefkovitz has been teaching Judaic Studies at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for twenty five years. She previously taught at the Ratner Day School. Rachel graduated from Lesley College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in special education. She has also completed many graduate level courses in Jewish Education at Siegal College. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, crocheting and playing with her grandchildren.

 
 
 
 
Heather Lenson
Librarian

Heather Lenson has been the librarian at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Day School since 2016. Heather has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. She previously worked as the media specialist at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland's (JECC) Ratner Media & Technology Center (RMC) from the years 2006-2015. She served on the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee from 2014-2017. The Committee recognizes excellence in Jewish children's literature. Heather is the editor of the Jewish Valuesfinder, a selective database that identifies the Jewish values found in books written for Jewish children and teens.  

 
 
 
Chana Lerman
Judaics Intervention Specialist

Chana Lerman has taught at Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2012 as a Hebrew language and Judaics teacher for grades 2nd through 8th. She previously taught general education at Beth HaTorah and Judaic studies at Shalom Torah Academy, both in New Jersey. Chana graduated with a certificate in Teachers Methodology from Ateret Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel and later graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a Bachelors in Computer Science. In her free time, Chana enjoys spending time with her family.

 
 
 
Tara Locher
Band Teacher

Tara Locher has been the band director at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2009. Previously, she was a band director at St. Mary of the Falls and St. Mark. Before that, she held a year-long substitute teaching position at the Parma City Schools as a band director and general music teacher of three elementary schools. Tara graduated from Kent State University in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a minor in Secondary Education. In 2009, Tara completed a Master’s degree in Music Theory from Kent State University. In her free time, she enjoys composing jazz albums, learning about trains with her son, traveling with her family, and playing instruments.

 
 
Stuart Meyer
Israeli Dance Teacher
Stuart Meyer is always excited to bring Israeli dance to the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School and has been teaching since 2013. Stuart also directs the all new Mandel JDS Israeli Dance Festival each year at Yom Ha'atzmaut. Stuart has been teaching and leading Israeli dance throughout the Northeast Ohio area for over 25 years, including weekly classes at the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland. Stuart has danced professionally with the Shalhevet International Folk Ensemble (’81-’93), Csárdás Dance Company (’94-’04), and Dance Israeli! ('06-'18). Appearances include Cleveland Opera, Playhouse Square, Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland Convention Center, Beck Center for the Arts, WJW Morning Exchange, Fox Morning Show, Cleveland Museum of Art, Budapest Hungary, and the Karmiel Festival (Karmiel, Israel). In 2006 he founded Dance Israeli! and serves as its’ Artistic Director. When not dancing, Stuart is an engineer and holds degrees in Engineering & Applied Science (B.S) from Caltech and in Biomedical Engineering (M.S.) from C.W.R.U.
Annie Perusek
Drama Teacher

Annie Perusek is an actor and teaching artist and is delighted to be teaching Drama at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School. A graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts. Annie worked as an Actor Teacher for Great Lakes Theater’s acclaimed School Residency Program for two years and performed in the company’s Outreach Tours of, Double Heart (2013) and Seven Ages (2014). The production of Double Heart also enjoyed a great run as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in 2013. Annie has also taught young actors at Olmsted Performing Arts and through various workshops and special residencies in the Cleveland area, most recently with Great Lakes Theater at The STEPS Academy. She has enjoyed performing with Cleveland Public Theatre, Talespinner Children’s Theatre, and Mercury Summer Stock. Annie is passionate about helping young people engage their imaginations, making connections between art and their own lives through the study and creation of theatre.

 
Allison Ritley
Music Teacher

Allison Ritley has taught Music at Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2012 and has also taught Entrepreneurship in the Middle School since 2017. Allison holds degrees in Piano Performance from Miami University and The University of Toledo and earned a Masters degree in Music Education from The University of Akron. She has been a private lesson teacher since 1995 and has been active with community theaters and community orchestras throughout the Cleveland area.

 
 
 
 
 
Beth Robbins
Intervention Specialist

Beth Robbins has been an Intervention Specialist at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for the past seven years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Early Intervention from Wheelock College. Previously, Beth was an Intervention Specialist at Hanna Perkins, a Segula Aide at The Agnon School, and a preschool teacher at Park Preschool. Beth learned ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy when working privately with a family and has one more course to take for an Autism certificate from Cleveland State University.

 
 
Toni Scalabrino
Kitchen Director

Toni Scalabrino began her career at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School thirty one years ago. She is responsible for planning kosher lunches, purchasing food, cooking and overseeing all kitchen activities. Toni enjoys teaching cooking classes to Mandel JDS students after school as well as cooking for grade-level family Shabbat dinners. She believes in serving food that promotes good health. Toni came to Mandel JDS with numerous years of catering experience. In addition to working for a caterer, Toni owned her own catering company for 22 years. Prior to entering the catering business, she worked for a stockbroker as a secretary. Toni has also taken business courses at Cuyahoga Community College and health and nutrition classes at Lakeland Community College. In her free time, Toni enjoys gardening and taking care of rescue birds. Her involvement with the community includes supporting autism charities and fundraisers. In the summer, Toni also runs the concession stand at the Mayfield Village Pool.

 
Devorah Shiffman
Substitute Coordinator & Community Service Coordinator

Devorah Shiffman has been working at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2017. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Ohio University in 2013. Devorah is currently working on a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Prior to working at Mandel, Devorah taught at Gross Schechter Day School and served as the Regional Director of Jewish Enrichment for BBYO. Devorah is a proud Agnon alumna.  

 
 
 
 
David Steinweg
Consulting Psychologist

David Steinweg has served as consulting psychologist at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for 20 years. His work at Mandel JDS is made possible through the Jewish Day School Counselor program of Bellefaire/JCB. David is also the consulting psychologist for several other independent schools in the area and has a private practice. Previously, he was Clinical Director at the Children’s Aid Society and Director of Training at Applewood Centers. He graduated from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1992 with a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, hiking, photography, spicy food and time with family.

 
 
Barbara Taub
Occupational Therapist

Barbara Taub earned her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto. Prior to that, she studied psychology at Bar Ilan University. Barb has 20 years of experience working in the field of pediatric occupational therapy. She has worked in schools and private clinics in Toronto, New York and Cleveland. Having pioneered the role of occupational therapist at Mandel JDS three years ago,  she enjoys working with students, teachers and parents to optimize student learning and engagement. In her free time, Barb loves to spend time with her family.

 
 
 
 
Whitney Ison Weisenberg
English Language Learner Teacher

Whitney Ison Weisenberg has worked at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School since 2014 teaching English Language Learners. She has a Bachelors of Science from University of Arizona, a Masters of Education from John Carroll University and a reading endorsement from Ursuline College. Whitney is known for her hard work and creativity. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family, draw and write.

 
 
 
 
 
Barbara Weiss
Art Teacher

Barbara Weiss has been at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School (formerly Agnon) since 1977.  Prior to that, she taught art at Brentwood West Junior High on Long Island, N.Y. She graduated from The New York State University at New Paltz in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art Education, and completed graduate courses at Adelphi University and Cleveland State University.  She took science education classes at Kent State and at Shaker Lakes Science Center through Cleveland State when she taught 5th - 8th grade science (in addition to K-8 art) at Agnon for four years (1987-1991). Barbara also previously taught technology to Agnon middle school students. In addition, she was part of the team that planned for and developed the eighth grade Israel trip, and served as a chaperone on the first eight trips the eighth graders took to Israel.  In the 1990’s, Barbara was instrumental in developing the Integrated Project, now called Integrated Project Based Learning (IPBL). Currently, Barbara is teaching middle school art and works on IPBL with the 8th grade team.

 
Marcie Zeiger
Intervention Specialist

Marcie Zeiger has worked at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School for over 25 years as a Learning Specialist. Previously, she was a Learning Disability teacher in the Mayfield City School district. Marcie graduated from The Ohio State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with certification in grades 1st through 8th.  She also earned special credentials in Education of the Handicapped, (1st through 12th), and Education of Specific Learning Disabled students (1st through 12th) at Cleveland State University. In her free time, Marcie enjoys cooking, baking, reading, watching sports and spending time with her family and friends.