DSLTI Staff  

Staff and Mentor Bios

Dr. Ray Levi
Director, Day School Leadership Training Institute

Dr. Ray Levi has been a mentor at the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) since the program's launch in 1998. Previously, he served as head of school at the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School in Minnesota and the Agnon School in Cleveland, Ohio. During his 15-year term at Heilicher, Dr. Levi was responsible for many accomplishments: developing programs and services to support diverse learners, integrating technology, implementing the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks project for teaching TaNaKH, adding two grade levels, and growing enrollment by 70 percent.

Dr. Levi also served as a consultant in the field at organizations such as PEJE and the Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership. He has held several lay leadership positions in organizations ranging from RAVSAK to the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools. Dr. Levi holds a PhD in Music Education from Case Western Reserve University and an MA in Education from Claremont Graduate University. He also studied Jewish education at the Melton Centre of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Jane Taubenfeld Cohen
Senior Mentor

 Jane Taubenfeld Cohen has served as a mentor for DSLTI Cohorts 4 through 7 and, most recently, as the alumni network weaver, expanding outreach and engagement for DSLTI alumni and initiating the community of practice group for new Jewish day school heads. For the past three years, Ms. Taubenfeld Cohen has worked with day schools around North America as director of capacity-building for Yeshiva University's Institute for University-School Partnership. She will continue to be an active player in the development of day school support programming at Yeshiva University. Previously, Ms. Taubenfeld Cohen spent 22 years as head of school at the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School, where she established model professional development programs and pioneered work to serve diverse learners, enduring gifts to the Jewish day school world. She received her BA in Hebraic Studies from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and her MA in Hebrew Culture and Education from New York University.

Rabbi Harry Pell
Rabbinic Mentor

  Rabbi Harry Pell is a graduate of DSLTI Cohort 8 and the associate head of school for Jewish life and learning at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. Rabbi Pell's thoughtful approach to offering counsel and the breadth of his work, including experiential educational programming, earn him the trust of his colleagues and make him an ideal person to fill this new and important role. He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly and the US Navy Chaplain Corps. Rabbi Pell is professionally affiliated with the Westchester Board of Rabbis, USCJ, and the David Project. From 2005 to 2008, he served as a Schechter Residency in Education Leadership Fellow, and he is currently active in RAVSAK and the Solomon Schechter Day School Network. Rabbi Pell received a BA from MIT and an MA in Jewish Education from The Davidson School. He was ordained at The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005; he is currently pursuing his DHL at The Graduate School of JTS.


Nora Anderson

Nora Anderson has been the head of school at Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut, since July 2003. Raised in Lima, Peru, she came to the United States to pursue a BA in Psychology with minors in Education and Mathematics at Stern College, Yeshiva University. In 1984, She began her teaching career as a mathematics teacher in the Bronx. After three years of teaching, Ms. Anderson received an MS in School Guidance and Counseling from Lehman College, CUNY, and worked as a middle school guidance counselor for 12 years.

Ms. Anderson continued her education by pursuing a MEd in School Supervision and Administration from Bank Street College of Education and a certificate in the Reading and Writing Process from Teachers College, Columbia University. Upon completion, she became an assistant principal in the Bronx, and in July 2001, she was appointed middle school assistant principal at the Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District in Westchester, New York. She also holds an advanced professional degree from Columbia University Business School Executive Education's Institute for Day School Management. She has presented at RAVSAK and PEJE conferences.

Jerry Isaak-Shapiro

Jerry D. Isaak-Shapiro graduated from the prestigious two-year Mandel Jerusalem Fellowship (2001-2003), which offers senior Jewish educators an opportunity to learn with colleagues from North America, Latin America, Europe, and Israel, while conducting postdoctoral research in Jewish education in Jerusalem, Israel. 

Prior to moving to Jerusalem, Mr. Isaak-Shapiro served as Jewish education director at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center; Northern California regional director for Hillel, supervising 15 Northern California campuses; and associate director for the Jewish Community Relations Committee for San Francisco, the San Francisco Peninsula, and Marin and Sonoma Counties, during which time he was the community's media spokesperson and Middle East specialist. For 10 years, he was the executive producer and host/moderator of A Jewish Perspective, a talk show on San Francisco's NBC affiliate, Channel 4. Before moving to San Francisco, Mr. Isaak-Shapiro served as Young Judaea regional director in the Southwest, camp director for Camp Young Judaea West, and synagogue education director at Temple Ramat Zion in Los Angeles.

Mr. Isaak-Shapiro received his MA in International Affairs from the George Washington University, where he specialized in Middle East history and foreign policy. While in Washington DC, he also served as program director for the US-Japan Economic Agenda think tank, and as chief researcher for a series of articles on Israel and the Middle East for the Washington bureau of the Chicago Tribune.

Mr. Isaak-Shapiro has been a teacher, lecturer, and scholar-in-residence, specializing in the areas of non-formal education, Zionist thought and history, and Jewish identity. He served as head of school of the Agnon School, a community Jewish day school in Beachwood, Ohio. He was one of five national mentors in the initial two-year phase of SuLaM, a program of study, leadership, and mentoring for heads of school, and continued his work as a national mentor in SuLaM's third cohort.

Dr. Steven Lorch

Dr. Steven Lorch is the founding head of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, an award-winning K-8 coeducational Jewish day sch ool. He previously headed Jewish day schools on three continents: Akiba Hebrew Academy in Pennsylvania, Mount Scopus College in Australia, and Hartman High School in Israel. He was a founding mentor in the DSLTI program, and helped pioneer the use of protocols and critical-friend groups within the community of Jewish day school leaders. He is currently the president of the board of directors of the Schechter Day School Network. .

Naomi Reem

Naomi Reem is completing her 10th year as the head of school of the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation's Capital, a community day school in the heart of Washington DC. She served as the head of school at Sinai Academy of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts for seven years, prior to moving to the Washington DC area in 2005.

Ms. Reem started her career in Jewish education in her native Argentina more than 30 years ago, and worked as a teacher and administrator in diverse educational settings in Israel and the United States. She holds a BA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MAJEd from Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. She has an Early Childhood Teacher certification from the Agnon Institute in Buenos Aires.

Cheryl Maayan
Senior Experiential Educator

Cheryl MaayanCheryl Maayan is the head of school at the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School in St. Louis, Missouri. Her career has been propelled by her vision that our future needs a vibrant, socially responsible and inspired Jewish community led by educated, capable, energetic, joyous, compassionate, ethical, and inquisitive leaders. Since receiving her BA from Washington University and MAJEd from Hebrew Union College, she has worked as a Jewish day school educator and administrator in Boston and St. Louis. She was a teacher and then the head of school at Mirowitz's RJA legacy school for 10 years before she took on the task of leading the newly merged Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School. Ms. Maayan is a champion for children and their right to an education that incorporates the latest neurological research and technological advances, and she applies those new capabilities to the methodologies used in the classroom. She sees herself as the guardian of each student's childhood, and is committed to filling their days with meaning. Ms. Maayan was a recipient of the JPRO Visionary Award, Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, and the Stuart I. Raskas Outstanding Day School Teacher Award. She is an alumna of DSLTI Cohort 7.

Mitchell Gersten
Administrative Assistant

Mitchell GerstenMitchell Gersten currently serves as administrative assistant for The Davidson School's DSLTI and Standards and Benchmarks programs. His professional background includes program and office administration, education, organizational communications, and multimedia production. Mr. Gersten received his BA in Communications from New York University, and his MA in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.