BP Screenshot by Eli Weiss

COMPLETE: The Boiling Point has profiled all 18 of this year’s new teaching and administrative staff, some of whom are pictured above. Stories are linked at the bottom of this page.

18 new faces bring range of backgrounds to faculty and staff

Scroll down and click on a picture to read about each of this year's new faces.

Eighteen new staff members have joined Shalhevet this year as 10 departed, making it almost certainly the biggest single year of staff turnover in the school’s history.

Four departments grew – Judaic Studies, English, History and P.E., along with administration – and one department, Art and Performing arts, shrank. A few additions filled positions that had been vacant for one or more years.

Seven of the new staffers are teaching one class each. 

Head of School Rabbi David Block called it a sign of progress and strength for the school.

“At a time in which schools throughout the country are in dire need of educators, in which the Great Resignation is ravaging day schools and leaving many positions vacant (as we experienced last year), 18 phenomenal educators and administrators chose to join the Shalhevet family,” Rabbi Block wrote in an email response to Boiling Point questions.

He said the phrase “teacher turnover,” which The Boiling Point is calling its coverage of all 28 staff changes, implies a mindset of replacement that didn’t tell the whole story. 

New classes were also introduced this year, including Honors Art History for upperclassmen, and Will Power: An Introduction to Shakespeare, for juniors.

“While some hires are to fill previously held positions, many are not replacement hires (which is where our minds often go when we hear of new faculty),” Rabbi Block wrote. “We’re actually investing in creating more sections in order to decrease class sizes – to strengthen the impact of students’ educational experience and their connection with faculty.”

New positions include Chief Academic Officer, held by Ms. Malka Popper; Dean of the Ninth Grade, Rabbi Eli Broner; and 10th-grade Eim Bayit – or mother of the house – held by Ms. Natalie Ravanshenas.

In the Arts department, Ms. Samantha Garelick is now teaching all courses – including a new SAS Art History course – and former art teacher Meirav Finn is working as a substitute in various departments.

Calculating exact numbers this year is difficult, because there were departures during the school year last year. Also, some teachers have increased or decreased their number of classes.

This year, the English Department has added three new teachers – Mr. Dylan Ross, Ms. Anna Prager and Ms. Verity Weisz. Meanwhile, Ms. Michelle Crincoli, who taught film writing last year mostly on Zoom from Shalhevet Scottsdale, is now teaching only in Scottsdale and has no classes in Los Angeles.  

The History Department added two – Ms. Sarah Nissel, teaching Honors Law, Religion and the American Jewish Community, and Mr. Nicholas Simmons, who is mostly a math teacher but who also teaches SAS Economics. Also, Mr. David Barishman is now teaching more courses than before, and Mr. William Reusch is teaching fewer, having cut back to part-time to pursue other kinds of teaching opportunities. 

Judaic Studies added three and lost one. Rabbi Broner, Mrs. Popper and Ms. Tovah Goldman, all of whom have non-teaching responsibilities as well, are teaching one or two classes each. Meanwhile Ms. Natalie Honig left to work at Maimonides.

In simpler changes, the Hebrew Department added  Dr. Sariel Birnbaum, replacing Ms. Mickey Rabinov. 

College Counseling added Mr. Jordan Moss, replacing Mr. Eli Shavalian. 

The Math department added Mr. Simmons (also teaching Economics), replacing Mr. Andrew Sinajon. 

“While some hires are to fill previously held positions, many are not replacement hires (which is where our minds often go when we hear of new faculty).

— Email from Rabbi Block responding to Boiling Point questions

Ed Support added Ms. Connie Torres, replacing Mr. Fred Leach; and Ms. Mika Shalom, replacing Mr. Noah Rothman. 

The Spiritual-Religious Guidance department added Ms. Tovah Goldman in a new position as 11th-grade Mashgicha Ruchanit, Ms. Natalie Ravanshenas as 10th Grade Eim Bayit and Rabbi Broner in the new role of Ninth Grade Dean. (Ms. Goldman and Rabbi Broner are also teaching.)

In administration, Ms. Maya Cohen, new Director of Admissions, has replaced Ms. Natalie Weiss, who left at the end of the 2019-20 school year, and Ms. Molly Jalali holds a newly created position as Admissions and Development Associate.

Also, Ms. Sanaz Sazegar replaced Ms. Cheryl Wolf as Director of Institutional Advancement. Ms. Rachel Lin replaced Ms. Ariel Light as Communications Associate.

The P.E. Department increased by one  – Ms. Atara Joel replaces Ms. Raelyn Bieda, who left two years ago. Mr. Adam Plax has replaced Coach Ryan Coleman teaching P.E.   Both Coach Coleman and Coach Plax continue to coach Firehawk basketball. Ms. Joel and Mr. Plax are teaching one class each. 

New classes were also introduced this year, including Honors Art History for upperclassmen, taught by Ms. Samantha Garelick; and Will Power: An Introduction to Shakespeare, for juniors, two sections taught by Mr. Brian Forrester.

Ms. Sarah Nissel is teaching the newly restored Honors Law, Religion and the American Jewish Community social science course for upperclassmen.

Anna Prager, also new, is reaching the restored Jewish Literature English class for seniors. 

Seven of the new teachers this year are also only teaching one section of a class each. Mrs. Popper, Ms. Goldman, Ms. Nissel, Ms. Prager, Ms. Weisz, Ms. Joel and Mr. Plax.  Malka Popper is teaching one section of ninth grade Talmud and Ms. Tovah Goldman one section of 11th grade Tanach.

Roll cursor over a picture to see the headline, and click to read the story.


LaHav and Just Community not new to new Chief Academic Officer Malka Popper
A class for college counseling? New director says why not
Rabbi Eli Broner, new 9th-grade dean, adds a face familiar from Hillel
New English teacher is video game and comic book fan
New math and Econ teacher wants to get beyond the ‘rote, mechanical aspects’
New Tanach teacher follows sports – and a spiritual path
New admissions director plans dance nights and scavenger hunts to make process more ‘friendly’
New P.E. teachers turn to yoga, Zumba, weights and self-motivation
Pepperdine law professor teaching law and religion class
New Hebrew teacher Dr. Birnbaum sees the world through cinema and travel
New Jewish Lit. teacher gradually deepened her Jewish identity
New English teacher comes from England
New Shalhevet tech team
New ‘Eim Bayit’ aims for open conversations
New Ed Support teacher wants to create a safe space for digital learners
YULA grad is new Ed Support assistant for Judaic Studies
New assistants come from far and (very) near
Cheryl Wolf leaves for Chai Lifeline, replaced by YULA alum Sanaz Sazegar

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