Business class guru will head day school in Pa.

Talia Rotenberg, Staff Writer

He arrived as a fulltime administrator and leaves as a part-time teacher of a popular new elective – but in his new position he hopes to do both: Mr. Yossi Kastan, former Director of Student Life and most recently teacher of Business Entrepreneurship, is leaving to be head of school at the Jewish Day School of Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“His amazing energy, kindness and love for each one of his students is so obvious,” said new alumna Ariella Benji, who took the business class. “and he does everything in his power to help them, no matter what.”

Mr. Kastan was brought to Shalhevet by then head-of-school Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach, who had been his mentor at a previous teaching job in Florida. His administrative job included organizing trips, managing the building, overseeing security and helping with the school’s BJE and WASC re-accreditation.

He later helped out in various departments, including Admissions and Marketing, and was the liaison with the Los Angeles Fire Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But teaching, he says, is his passion, and as he got to know students, Mr. Kastan had ideas for classes that were not being offered. The first was business entrepreneurship. Mr. Kastan taught the ins and outs of starting and managing a business and even how to formulate business plans.

This year, he introduced a film production class which he taught once a week after school.  In the meantime, Mr. Kastan became Executive Director of LImmud L.A., an annual Jewish learning conference, and switched to teaching at Shalhevet part-time.

“He really helped me get a hold of filmmaking and we make a great team,” said junior Raquel Garshofsky .

In a related venture, Mr. Kastan is also the founder and president of a company called Student Impact Films, an online filmmaking class which tries to instill Jewish values.  The company shot a brief movie at school June 17.

He also has been working on a doctorate in education with a focus on technology. Mr. Kastan said he learned a lot at Shalhevet and he plans to take these new lessons with him wherever he goes.

“As I embark as being a head of school, I hope to be a teacher,” Mr. Kastan said.