Ora Nimni

Hebrew Studies, Kindergarten
Ora Nimni

Education & Training

  • BA, Touro College, Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • MA, Daemen College, Special Ed. and Early Childhood

I became a teacher because...

I love to help children learn and watch their excitement when they understand a lesson or create something new.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Because Hebrew is my first language, I can relate to the struggles of learning another language and having to learn in a new manner. While taking a child development course in my Master’s program, I learned the intricacies of teaching and learning multiple languages, which gave me the tools I need to help the children in my classroom.

I joined HLA because...

I believe that we can make a difference to each child. Being a part of the Hebrew immersion program is a exciting experience. I have teaching for 11 years and I feel  that I can give my best to each child in their own way, in an immersion setting.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My ideal vision would be one of community equality. I feel that everyone has the potential to learn and reach their highest potential. I hope that in being a part of the HLA family that I can encourage and assist our children to reach the stars.

Alan Cohen

General Studies, Kindergarten
Alan Cohen

Education & Training

  • BA, New York University
  • MA, Brooklyn College Graduate School of Education

I became a teacher because...

I have very strong, positive memories of my childhood. I always enjoyed playing with children, especially my nieces and nephews, as they were growing up, and some of my favorite experiences were when I was a counselor at day and sleepaway camps. I originally pursued a career in accounting and computers because I didn’t make the connection of translating my love for working with children into a career. After 8 years in royalty accounting, I finally made the connection, shifted my career goals and am now excited to bring my experiences to HLA!

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I don’t know that I have a particular favorite memory, however, all of my prior jobs, which were in early learning centers, involved the transformation of a barren or low performing classroom into one that is thriving and high functioning. I like the idea of building from scratch, of starting up, which is an important part of HLA this year.

I joined HLA because...

I am an early childhood teacher who is secular and has a strong knowledge and love of the Hebrew language and culture. I live in Sheepshead Bay, which is relatively close to the school. HLA seems to have been tailor-made for me! I also feel that it’s important to give back to the community in which I live by helping strengthen the learning institutions in the area.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I would like the children to develop a love and enthusiasm for learning, to not be shy to ask about and probe the world around them, to be open minded, to have the understanding that knowledge comes from everywhere, to “thrive,” and to have fun while doing it!

Ellada Konyukhov

General Studies, Kindergarten
Ellada Konyukhov

Education & Training

  • BA, CUNY Brooklyn College, Psychology
  • MS, Touro College, General and Special Education (Birth-2nd grade)

I became a teacher because...

I love to see children learn and grow. It’s exciting and an honor to make a significant and positive influence on a child’s life and future.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

When in high school I wrote a story about my late grandmother not knowing that my professor would find it so touching she would include it in our newsletter. Her confidence in my work inspired a great sense of accomplishment. As an educator I feel great joy and inspiration seeing my students understand and apply their new found knowledge. I believe every child should feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA to be part of a diverse, successful, and hardworking school. I think it’s wonderful that the children are learning a second language especially through an immersion program.

My vision for our children at HLA...

HLA is a new school that has made a big difference in its students’ education. HLA is an exciting and high performing school embracing a culturally diverse community. We look forward to having happy and healthy students who come to school ready to learn and push to be the best they can be in both languages – English and Hebrew.

Anu Antony

General Studies, First Grade
Anu Antony

Education & Training

  • BA, York University
  • MA, D'Youville College

I became a teacher because...

My tenth grade teacher played a key role in my life as she always challenged me to be a better learner. I knew someday, I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life just as she did with mine. Being a teacher is one of the most important professions there is, as you are not only changing the lives of students but the future of all humanity. I strive to become a part of that change.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

My favorite memory from teaching is during one of my days as a student teacher in a grade one class. During a math lesson, a caterpillar made its way to the carpet. The class immediately turned into chaos. Instead of adding to the mayhem, I decided to turn it into a teachable moment. Later that week, we had a mini-lesson on living things discussing the anatomy of a caterpillar. It has been my favorite memory thus far.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because I think it’s wonderful that there is an integration of two languages in a school.

 

My vision for our children at HLA...

My hope is to motivate students to reach their full potential. I want to create a standard for my student that is attainable, giving them the support they need to find themselves in a more skilled identity.

Michael Tramutolo

General Studies, First Grade
Michael Tramutolo

Education & Training

  • BA, Adelphi University
  • MA, St. Johns University

I became a teacher because...

I love working with children and watching them grow throughout the year. Having the ability to assist in each child’s academic growth is a special priveldge that a teacher is gifted with.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

One of my favorite memories from teaching is the first time I started working in a classroom. Immediately, I felt a sense of accomplishment and drive to help develop each and every child’s academic path.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because of the professional and hard working staff in place. This coupled with the high level of parent involvement makes it a great place to work.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My goal as a teacher is to give each child a growing desire to learn. To have them come to school each and every day with an appetite for education.

Maggie Ben-Zekry

Hebrew Studies, First Grade
Maggie Ben-Zekry

Education & Training

  • BA, Brooklyn College

I became a teacher because...

After working for many years in sales I decided to go back to college and get a degree in education. I wanted a career that was meaningful and rewarding. I wanted to experience the joy of making a difference in a student’s life. As a teacher you see the fruits of your efforts every day, as you provide students with the skills they need to reach their potential. A teacher not only teaches but is also a lifelong learner.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

The tremendous joy and sense of accomplishment you get after seeing the smile on the face of a child who just gained new insight.

I joined HLA because...

It is unique to teach in a school with such a diverse student population, that integrates Hebrew as part of their daily curriculum.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want to see my students speak the Hebrew language with confidence and joy.

Rinat Badash

Hebrew Studies, First Grade
Rinat Badash

Education & Training

  • BA, Brooklyn College, Early Childhood Education and Special Education
  • MA, Touro College, Early Childhood Education and Special Education

I became a teacher because...

Becoming a teacher was a goal of mine from a young age, and I remember vividly all the teachers who impacted me throughout my education.  Education is a fundamental tool in a person’s life, and being able to provide that to young learners is a passion of mine. Experiencing the moment where students are absorbing what is being taught is extremely rewarding.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

In second grade I wrote a story about a penny that earned me an award as “Writer of the Month”. Being able to experience that moment motivated me to try to accomplish anything I could and to the best of my ability. As a teacher, I want to motivate my students to accomplish anything they set their mind to by constantly uplifting them and providing them to the right tools to achieve it.

I joined HLA because...

I believe that HLA is a great school that offers students an excellent education.  Students as well as teachers work collaboratively to reach a common goal.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I envision the students of HLA growing and prospering by combining their knowledge of the Hebrew language along with their general knowledge.

Josephine Pennisi

General Studies, First Grade
Josephine Pennisi

Education & Training

  • MA, Adelphi University

I became a teacher because...

My first grade teacher is the person who inspired me to become a teacher. She had a huge impact on not just my education, but also my emotional and social development as a child. Till this day, I can remember her enthusiastic and kind personality that made every student in her class want to learn. She made learning fun and made every student feel special regardless of their weaknesses. I hope that I have the same impact on my students as she had on me.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

My favorite memory is when I helped a third grader finally learn how to read. He had been struggling for several years and teachers did not know how to reach him. After working with him for several months, we were able to take a different approach to reading that was much more suited for his needs. Teaching him how to read was one of the most satisfying moments that I’ve had so far in my teaching career.

I joined HLA because...

I love that HLA is a dual language public elementary school. Being bilingual myself, I find that it is very important for students to learn a second language. We live in a very diverse country made up of various races and cultures. I think that understanding another language puts students at an advantage and will lead to many new and exciting opportunities that they may not have had otherwise.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want all children at HLA to acquire the best education possible so that they can reach their full potential as a learner. I hope that by doing this, it will prepare students for the future so that they can become successful and productive individuals in our society.

Shirel Gidekel

Hebrew Studies, First Grade
Shirel Gidekel

Education & Training

  • BMus, Tel Aviv University
  • MMus, Brooklyn College

I became a teacher because...

Since I’m coming from a musical background, I always see my classroom as a small version of an orchestra. As the conductor of the orchestra, I aspire for a well-balanced and well-functioned classroom.

Listening to each other, accepting and appreciating the differences between us, is essential for a well inspired group. I always try to create a safe environment which will encourage creativity, self-expression, along with mutual respect. A well balanced group is where everybody feels belonged, responsible for their own learning and well-being, as well as their classmates’.

I love seeing my students grow and develop their love and joy for learning while cultivating their social skills and becoming responsible, self-confident and creative individuals.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

A few years ago, I used to teach music and voice in a home for students with special needs in Jerusalem, Israel. One of my students had Down syndrome and almost could not communicate. Yet he loved to sing.

In our annual concert his father came from Brooklyn NY, sat in the concert hall and had tears in his eyes. He told me later that he couldn’t believe that this child sang in front of an audience, expressing so vividly such a passionate message through the language of music.

I joined HLA because...

I loved the idea of teaching Hebrew in a very diverse group of students. I love cultivating the sense of accepting different backgrounds and learning from each other. As a teacher, I love the balance between the support and guidance that I get from the management, and the opportunity to be creative and try new ways to teach in my classroom.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is to grow and have the feeling they can learn and do anything they choose. Languages are the key for communication. With the power of knowledge and creativity they can change the world!

Stacy Modafferi

General Studies, Second Grade
Stacy Modafferi

Education & Training

  • , SUNY Old Westbury, Childhood Education, 1-6 & Students with Disabilities, 1-6

I became a teacher because...

I have always had a passion to make a difference in the life of a child. Growing up in New York City and attending the New York City Public School system, I understand firsthand the importance of using the diverse makeup of my classroom to provide students with the opportunity to interact and learn from each other’s backgrounds and unique experiences. I believe that learning needs to be student-centered, and that students should be equal partners in the learning process.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because it provides students with many opportunities to learn and explore with its Hebrew language immersion program. General and Hebrew Studies teachers collaborate on a daily basis to create lessons that provide exposure to the Hebrew language. As well as, provide students with the opportunity to expand and develop their thinking and language skills.

My vision for our children at HLA...

To create a supportive environment that provides students with the skills necessary to become successful, productive members of the community.

Mira Yusupov

Hebrew Studies, Second Grade
Mira Yusupov

Education & Training

  • B Ed., Oranim Academic College, Israel, Special Education and Sociology

I became a teacher because...

I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of children – our future generation.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I remember my 5th and 6th grade teacher, she was my role model. I was copying her language and behavior out of school. The impression she made on me has carried through the years. I know that a good teacher leaves her students much more than just knowledge, but a love and desire to learning.

I joined HLA because...

I love the idea of students learning a new language and specifically the Hebrew language, which is very close to my heart. I love the Hebrew language and love teaching in HLA’s special way that teaches the language, not just about the language.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is to not only learn the Hebrew language themselves, but to go home and share their findings with family and friends and feel proud that they can function in a different language.

Osnat Horav

Hebrew Studies, Second Grade
Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Education & Training

  • Bachelors, Bar-Ilan University, History of Israel and Israeli Studies
  • Masters, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hebrew Literature

I became a teacher because...

I care deeply about the children, our next generation of leaders.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Is the sound of Hebrew being spoken in a classroom in New York!

I joined HLA because...

HLA allows teachers and student to shine, to strive for personal excellence, and to develop a strong sense of self as human being.

My vision for our children at HLA...

To gain creative and critical thinking skills, and develop a passion for life-long learning. For the student to appreciate and affirm differences in society.

Samantha Goldstein

General Studies, Second Grade
Samantha Goldstein

Education & Training

  • B.S., University of Maryland, College Park, Elementary Education

I became a teacher because...

I remember always admiring and looking up to all of my teachers. They were so supportive, caring, and really helped me understand and reach my fullest potential. I knew that one day I wanted to work with children and help them reach their goals as students.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Is not one specific memory from teaching or learning, but my favorite part of teaching is watching that moment when students understand a topic and it clicks. When the students make the information connection, it is such a great feeling as a teacher knowing that you are impacting each student’s learning in a positive way and helping them become successful learners.

I joined HLA because...

I find it amazing that a school is able to provide such a diverse community with the opportunity to learn general studies as well as Hebrew. It is a unique and special opportunity for children. I look forward to watching my students grow as learners in all areas in school.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is to grow to become responsible, independent, and well-rounded students. They are lucky to have such a great, unique learning experience, which I hope they use with them in their future educational experiences.

Kaitlyn Newman

General Studies, Second Grade
Kaitlyn Newman

Education & Training

  • B.A., Suny College at Oneonta

I became a teacher because...

I truly believe that children are our future. The educational tools we provide for our children to help them to grow and develop academically can only positively influence their impacts on the future. I also have a passion for working with children and helping them see their academic potentials. I want our students to be in control of their successes as learners and I want to be a part of a world where our students are continuously intrinsically motivated to be life-long learners.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

One of my favorite memories from teaching and learning was watching my students make real life connections to what is being taught in the classroom. Seeing a child realize he or she can use the knowledge imparted to him outside of the classroom is one of the most amazing feelings as an educator.

I joined HLA because...

I believe that HLA is the perfect community for children to learn and grow. The co-teaching model provides unparalleled support for our learners as well as our teachers to explore the world of education.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My vision for our children at HLA is to encourage them to never stop questioning and to help them find their own intrinsic motivations for becoming lifelong learners.

Jackelyn Arnone

General Studies, Third Grade
Jackelyn Arnone

Education & Training

I became a teacher because...

I became a teacher because being able to impart knowledge is a rewarding experience. Children are our future. I feel that it is a responsibility of mine to provide children with an education that will allow them to lead successful lives.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

After a lot of hard work and determination, it is extremely rewarding to have a struggling student succeed. It takes time and dedication to make sure your students understand what you are teaching them and it is important to be persistent.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA so I could positively influence the lives of young children through education. Learning is a continuous phenomenon and everyday we experience and discover something new. Becoming a member of the HLA community has given me the opportunity to share those experiences and discoveries with my students.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My vision for our children at HLA is for them to grow into educated, contributing members of society that have a passion for learning.

Lerone Beroukhim

Hebrew Studies, Third Grade
Lerone Beroukhim

Education & Training

I became a teacher because...

So many of society’s problems and the world’s conflicts are caused by a lack od education. I believe that there is nothing more powerful than giving even one child the power to use the skills that you taught them to make a positive impact on society.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Last year, I taught at a school for students with severe learning disabilities. I had one student in particular who struggled greatly in mathematics, and had a really difficult time with fractions. For the first half of the unit, she barely put any effort into learning, and used her disabilities as an excuse for why she could not succeed, and therefore did not even want to try. Eventually, through the use of many different manipulatives and a fraction focused cooking lesson, she started participating, and was able to successfully complete the unit. If this is not amazing enough, I later saw her tutoring another student in our classroom who was struggling with fractions. This was one of the most rewarding experiences for me as a teacher, and I was really able to see the power of education first hand.

I joined HLA because...

I have a strong passion for Hebrew, which was my first language. My Masters in Special Education focused on creating multi-sensory lesson plans that reach all learners, especially those who struggled with language. Learning a second language is not an easy task, and I am eager to apply all that I have learned to create meaningful and enjoyable lessons so that all students can succeed in Hebrew.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want HLA students to be proud of the knowledge that they receive in our classrooms. I truly believe that if our children believe that they are capable of achieving success in the classroom, then they will be successful. It is thus our goal at HLA to teach to every student’s strength, and through that empower them to have faith in their abilities and succeed. I also believe that learning a foreign language and culture gives children the understanding that they are part of a community that is larger than themselves. It also promotes tolerance for people who come from different backgrounds, but share similar experiences.

Maria Surdo

General Studies, Third Grade
Maria Surdo

Education & Training

  • BA, Adelphi University
  • MA, Adelphi University

I became a teacher because...

During elementary school I was a struggling reader and had given up on myself, convinced that I was a “bad” student. None of my teachers bothered to say anything until I reached fourth grade. There my teacher worked with me as much as she could and even vouched for me to see the reading teacher a couple a times a week. In a few months I was reading better than I had ever before. I knew how much my fourth grade teacher loved the profession and truly cared for the growth of her students. She made such a difference not only in my education but in my life as well. From that young age I knew I wanted to join the profession and do the same for my students. I want to do my very best to make the same sort of impact on my students and help them on their way to success.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

While student teaching I worked with a student who was a struggling reader. She automatically caught my attention because of my prior difficulty with reading in elementary school. I worked alongside the reading teacher and resource room teacher to assist her in not only improving her reading skills but to build up her confidence to believe in herself as well. On my last day she came up to and thanked me for making learning fun. It was a great feeling knowing that I helped a student not only learn and grow but enjoy herself along the way.

I joined HLA because...

From the moment I entered through the front door I felt a comforting sense of community and knew I wanted to be a part of it. I believe the schools integration of the Hebrew language is a great asset to the community. The teaching of a foreign language contributes to a child’s overall education and fosters understandings of diverse cultures. I find the schools’ mission to be truly inspirational and am honored to be a part of it.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want to assist my students in acquiring the learning skills that will help them be successful in the real world. My vision for them is to become responsible and respectful citizens of the communities they are a part of. I would also like to help them become not only good learners but good people.

Kesem Simon

Hebrew Studies, Third Grade
Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Education & Training

  • B.A., Ben-Gurion University, Management, Government and Politics

I became a teacher because...

Since I was young I knew I want to be an educator. I was active in different youth movement, in my school and after my army service it was clear to me that my place in in school. I love being able to help a young people learn and develop. I find teaching meaningful and rewarding.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Seeing my 12th graders graduate.

I joined HLA because...

I strongly believe in the importance of knowing more than one language and Hebrew is a beautiful rich language. Israel is my favorite place in the world so exposing others to its beauty and teaching about Israel when I’m far away and to a diverse student population is a great experience for me.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Enjoying learning, discovering Hebrew and reaching the highest level they can.

Kelly Marocchi

General Studies, Third Grade
Kelly Marocchi

Education & Training

  • B.S., Molloy College, Childhood Education/Special Education 1-6

I became a teacher because...

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, education and being able to help others were two things that I always valued and as I grew older I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Being a teacher means helping each and every one of my students accomplish all of their goals and helping them to grow into strong, well rounded individuals. I believe that every child is a unique learner who has the potential to learn and accomplish great things.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

When I was teaching in a 3rd grade class, I had a student who was a struggling reader. I knew where this student needed to be by the end of the year. My co-teacher and I worked diligently with this student every day to ensure that he would be where he needed to be by June. By June, this student who was previously reading way below grade level was reading on grade level. It was so rewarding to see this child shine and to watch his confidence grow as a reader.

I joined HLA because...

HLA is filled with so many wonderful students and staff members. Here at HLA students are not only learning their basic subjects but, they are also learning another language! This school is so unique and different from any other school that I have ever worked at and that is why I was drawn to it.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My vision for the students at HLA is for them to receive the best education possible. All students have the potential to learn and reach their goals. I want my students to believe in themselves and understand that no goal is too far out of reach.

Annalisse Nelson

ICT, Third Grade
Annalisse Nelson

Education & Training

I became a teacher because...

After joining the corporate world after college, I quickly figured out that I was having trouble finding fulfillment in my work. The long hours I was putting in weren’t making a difference in the world. My mother has been a teacher for many years and I finally decided to follow in her footsteps. Teaching allows me to make a positive impact in the lives of my students and their families. I am making a difference now.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

While teaching in a 2nd grade classroom, I created a reader’s theater for Tacky the Penguin and gave everyone a role in the script. The role of Tacky went to a student who normally had difficulty being quiet and on task. When I gave him the lead role, not only was he on task the entire time, but he did such an amazing job that all his classmates clapped form him at the end of the lesson. He wrote me a thank you note that I still have.

I joined HLA because...

As transplant from Georgia, I moved to NYC to experience diversity at its finest. HLA adds a new level to Brooklyn’s already diverse culture by emerging our students in Hebrew.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My hope for our students is that they are well prepared academically and socially for their futures. One day, they will be role models for other children.

Aliza Rosenblum

ICT, Third Grade
Aliza Rosenblum

Education & Training

  • B.A., Barnard College of Columbia University
  • M.A., Brooklyn College

I became a teacher because...

As the child of educators, I have learned first- hand the difference teachers can make in the lives of their students. I also know that I would not be the person I am today were it not for the support, nurturing and nourishment that I have received from my teachers..

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I believe that education must open minds. When I was in elementary school, during and educational assessment to test readiness for first grade, my brother was asked to complete the following statement, “First is to second as third is to ______.” He replied, “Home.” According to the pre-established criteria, this was not the right answer but would be if you loved baseball as much as my brother. From this episode I learned the value of multiple truths and the importance of flexibility in understanding the learner.

I joined HLA because...

I found that at HLA, I will be able to apply my experiences in both special education and Hebrew day schools to help enrich the experiences of the students in a dynamic student-centered environment.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I aspire to foster and cultivate self-esteem while developing a supportive, success driven environment. I hope to be a part of a team that creates a learning community where people will run to get there in the morning and hate to leave at the end of the day, achieving all the personal and educational goals they set for themselves.

Leemor Schickman

Hebrew Studies, Fourth Grade
Leemor Schickman

Education & Training

  • BA, Brooklyn College, Art
  • MA, Hofstra University, Art Therapy
  • MS, Touro College, Education and Special Education

I became a teacher because...

I love working with children and watching them grow and achieve.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Watching a child learning to express himself using his words.

I joined HLA because...

Joining HLA is a unique opportunity for me to work with students and teach, while utilizing the Hebrew language within the curriculum.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I hope to see my students utilizing the Hebrew language in day to day life, and learn to enjoy learning.

Sarit Delouya

Hebrew Studies, Fourth Grade
Sarit Delouya

Education & Training

  • BA, Oranim College, Israel

I became a teacher because...

I became a teacher because I love children. When I was a child, I always taught other children and always wanted to be a teacher. It was my dream to help other children.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I had a great teacher who spoke to our class through the eyes of a child. She taught us Hebrew grammar and prepared us for the final exam.

I joined HLA because...

HLA has a great combination of Hebrew/English learning. This was a dream come true for me because I am able to teach and speak Hebrew in New York.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want my students to speak Hebrew naturally, in their environment, especially those without a Hebrew background.

Stacy Leckawicz

General Studies, Fourth Grade
Stacy Leckawicz

Education & Training

  • B.S., Molloy College, Childhood Education/Special Education 1-6

I became a teacher because...

Learning has always been a passion of mine.  I am a firm believer in the notion that knowledge is power and want to leave my mark on the world by passing knowledge down to our future generations.  It is because of great teachers that I have had over the years that I have made it to where I am now, and I want each child in my class to feel the same way after our time together has been completed.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

During my student teaching experience, I worked with a child who struggled a great deal with learning long division.  I spent numerous times at a small back table working one on one with her on various division problems throughout the unit.  At the end of the unit, she wrote me a letter that nearly moved me to tears describing how her grades and self-esteem had gone up due to our time together.

I joined HLA because...

I saw early on from my time at HLA that this school is truly a special place to be.  The type of learning environment and community culture that is fostered within the walls of HLA is unlike anything I have seen before.  With its unique co-teaching practices and second language program being offered to children of such young ages, I knew that a learning environment that truly nurtures growth would be a priority within this school.  This school is not just a place for students to learn, but a home away from home.  I believe that the staff also considers HLA to be so, as I have begun to as well.

My vision for our children at HLA...

To become knowledgeable, well-rounded, members of society with a strong educational background to take away from their primary school years.  I want each and every child to feel successful due to their time at HLA.

Kathleen O’Connor

General Studies, Fourth Grade
Kathleen O’Connor

Education & Training

  • B.A., Marist College, Childhood Education / Special Education (1-6)

I became a teacher because...

I remember being in elementary school and the feeling of excitement that came over me every day that I walked through the school doors. I became a teacher because my love for children, creativity and patience allows me to connect with all different ages. I knew that it was the perfect profession for me.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Cannot be narrowed down to one specific lesson. Instead, my fourth grade year, as a whole, was my most memorable. I had a truly inspiring teacher who made learning fun and accessible. Each day, I was thrilled to come to school, solely because my teacher was too. Her enthusiasm was beyond contagious.

I joined HLA because...

I truly admire the school’s commitment to being a part of the global community. Through the incorporation of Hebrew, we’re teaching our students another language as teaching them responsive to other cultures and differences. Also, the school’s high standards of learning were definitely another piece of the puzzle that enticed me to work here.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My vision for our children is to help them become well-rounded and thoughtful people. I want to help children find their strengths, and teach them to embrace their abilities.

Danielle Schneider

General Studies, Fourth Grade
Danielle Schneider

Education & Training

  • B.A., Towson University, Early Childhood Education
  • M.S., Queens College, Special Education - Elementary

I became a teacher because...

I have always had a passion for helping young children learn and accomplish their goals. It is an extremely rewarding experience to feel like you have aided children in being successful whether it is academically, socially or physically. I believe all children can learn anything it just has to be presented the right way. In the teaching profession, each day is different and presents itself with different challenges. The experience in solving these challenges is exciting and drives me to succeed as an educator.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Came from being in a first grade classroom. This was a co-teaching classroom where there were many students with behavioral and cognitive deficiencies. One student in particular was not meeting the writing goals and it became frustrating for him to write during journal time. I made it my goal for the year to improve his writing skills through differentiation, graphic organizers and one to one instructional time. The progress he made was extraordinary and so was the gratitude I received from his parents. The feelings of helping one student meet his goals are immeasurable. I will forever keep him and his family in my heart as it was a learning experience for all of us.

I joined HLA because...

Of the amazing opportunities students have at this school. This is a unique school that offers a dual language program in various content areas. There are many schools in NY State but none which offer the amazing integration of Hebrew and English learning.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is that they all become proficient learners in a dual language program and can integrate that in their daily lives and experiences. I want our children to reach their potential through various approaches that fit their learning styles.

Katie Wissman

ICT, Fourth Grade
Katie Wissman

Education & Training

  • B.A., Mount Saint Mary College, Childhood/Special Education

I became a teacher because...

I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher. There is nothing more fulfilling than working with children and watching them master a skill. I believe that every child has the ability to learn, and it is my goal to do everything possible to ensure that each child is reaching their full potential. My hope is that my students leave fourth grade knowing that they are capable of achieving greatness and that they believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

My favorite memory as a teacher took place while I was teaching in a first grade classroom. One of my students struggled tremendously with reading and writing. After a several weeks of working with him, he was able to write a few sentences without any assistance. Watching him proudly show off his writing to his classmates was the satisfying moment I’ve experienced as a teacher thus far.

I joined HLA because...

HLA is one of the only public elementary schools that offers such a dynamic dual language program. In today’s diverse society, it is imperative that students are exposed to a variety of different languages and cultures. HLA provides its students with a diverse education that prepares them to face the challenges of the real world.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My goal for all students at HLA is for them to receive an education that allows them to reach their full potential. My hope is that each student at HLA will leave feeling confident that they can achieve anything that they set their minds to.

Kerri Kelty

General Studies, Fifth Grade
Kerri Kelty

Education & Training

  • BS, SUNY New Paltz, Elementary Education
  • MS, Adelphi University, Literacy

I became a teacher because...

Ever since I can remember, my parents have always stressed to me the importance of education. As a child, I had always loved going to school and being involved in the school community. I had a perfect attendance record from first through twelfth grade because I never wanted to miss out on a day of school! It has been this drive for academic excellence which had led me into the profession of teaching. Being brought up to value education is something that I hope to pass on to all of my future students.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

There is not one moment in particular that I would consider a “favorite”, however there are many moments that have made teaching and learning such a rewarding experience. For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to be a reading teacher in various school districts. As a reading teacher, I had the responsibility of working with students who had literacy difficulties and often times were reluctant readers. My favorite moments were usually at the end of the year, when I could see the amazing progress and strides made by each of these students in reading!

I joined HLA because...

HLA offers a unique education through its dual language approach. HLA promotes a “global” community and teaches students the importance of diversity and tolerance.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I have always possessed a love for reading. Reading is the fundamental building block of all subjects in education. It is my vision for my students to share the same love that I have for books. I want them to become lifelong readers!

Paul Neenos

General Studies, Fifth Grade
Paul Neenos

Education & Training

  • BS, University of Buffalo, History and Political Science
  • MSed, Hunter Colelge, Childhood Education, Grades 1 – 6

I became a teacher because...

I love inspiring and watching children grow into civil, contributing members of their community. From my experience teaching in the classroom, overnight summer camp and after-school program settings I have had the opportunity to teach and learn with children from early elementary to college ages and witnessed the astounding ways they think, create and inspire themselves and others. Having the opportunity to be a part of a child’s growth is just one of many reasons I became a teacher.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

During my first year of co-teaching a gifted, second grade classroom we decided to create a unit on architecture. Working with an architect, our class created a cross-section of multiple city blocks that including both above and below ground elevations. The students took a huge ownership role and brought in many different types of materials to create the buildings, landscaping and below-grade piping, subway lines, etc. The experience provided my students with a wonderful opportunity to learn about the neighborhood they live in and experience the city in a new and creative way. Our class then celebrated with an exhibit showcasing our great work.

I joined HLA because...

Co-teaching and learning in a dual language environment provides both students and teachers with an educational experience that cannot be found elsewhere today. Creating curriculum where students can demonstrate their abilities in multiple ways in addition to inspiring learning about communities, cultures and languages different from what is traditionally focused upon in schools allows everyone to experience education in a more profound way.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My hope for all of our students at HLA is to expand their understandings and experiences beyond their own cultures and communities. Providing students with a wide breadth of opportunities to connect and learn with people, cultures and languages different from their own allows students to think and learn in more thoughtful and insightful ways.

Tehila Ioinovitch

Hebrew Studies, Fifth Grade
Tehila Ioinovitch

Education & Training

  • , Bar Ilan University, Israel
  • BA, Touro College
  • MA, Touro College

I became a teacher because...

I became a teacher because teaching students is a passion of mine and a profession in which you don’t stop learning. The students are my teachers as well as I am theirs, and it is an honor to be in such a profession. Seeing these children develop their potentials, utilizing the knowledge and learning experiences, and applying them while growing into successful adults is the most rewarding and exciting feeling for me.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because I find it exciting and stimulating to be part of a new school that offers a foundation in both the American and Israeli cultures. I believe the unique concept of teaching in an environment of dual languages can expand the opportunities for both teachers and students.

My vision for our children at HLA...

HLA is a new school that is building its curriculum from the bottom up. I hope to contribute to the students’ growth in academics as well as towards open-mindedness, tolerance and cultural diversity. I would also love to see our students fluent with the Hebrew language. I want my students to become fluent Hebrew speakers.

Laura Arcamone

ICT, Fifth Grade
Laura Arcamone

Education & Training

  • BS, Molloy College, Elementary Education

I became a teacher because...

I always knew I wanted to work with children. I believe every child has the potential to learn and do great things. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a child who reaches his or her goal. Knowing that you helped in the process makes it even better. I hope that I can positively impact my students’ lives the same way some of my old teachers did for me. I want my students to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

When working in a third grade classroom, I was always trying to come up with little tricks to help the students remember things. When teaching about deserts I noticed that many of the students were spelling the word ‘desert’ incorrectly. They were adding an extra ‘s’ and spelling ‘dessert’ instead. I told the class one way to remember the difference between ‘desert’ and ‘dessert’ is that ‘dessert’ has an extra ‘s’ because you always want more! After moving to a different grade, I saw one of my old third graders in the hall. She told me that she came in third place in the school spelling bee, and that one of her final words was ‘dessert’. She told me that when they asked her for the spelling, she got so excited because she remembered what I said about the extra ‘s’. She thanked me for helping her win the trophy.

I joined HLA because...

HLA is filled with such wonderful teachers and students. Through the teaching of Hebrew as well as English we don’t only teach our students another language, we teach respect, tolerance, and diversity. In my opinion, these values are just as important as academics.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want our children to grow up with the confidence of knowing that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to. Our students will achieve success at the highest level and become lifelong learners with a thirst for knowledge.

Rebecca Porciello

General Studies, Fifth Grade
Rebecca Porciello

Education & Training

  • B.A., CUNY Queens College

I became a teacher because...

I want to have an influential impact on my students’ educational, emotional and social growth. As a teacher I want to lead my students to discover their unique talents and attributes. Education is not just the learning of basic facts. It is about becoming a knowledgeable and responsible member of our society, building upon our experiences, and discovering the exceedingly high expectations we must all have for ourselves. I want to help my students reach their highest potentials!

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I don’t know if I can narrow it down to a single memory. However, the best days for me as an educator, are the days that I feel that I have learned something new through the eyes of a child. Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. I have learned to open my eyes to the world the way children do, and never be afraid to ask, “Why?”

I joined HLA because...

I want to be surrounded by a school community that is supportive, inspiring, and encouraging! Hebrew Language Academy offers a learning environment that lovingly supports and welcomes its students, teachers, parents and community. It is a great place to learn and grow for all who are a part of our school!

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is that all of our classrooms are filled with students communicating and learning in both Hebrew and English every day. That our students come to school ready to learn, and happy to be part of our school community!

Rachel Bennett-Sela

Hebrew Studies, Fifth Grade
Rachel Bennett-Sela

Education & Training

  • B.A., Tel Aviv University, English Literature & History
  • Teaching Certificate, Beit Berl College

I became a teacher because...

I go home every day with a feeling that I have accomplished something of significance in my life and someone else’s.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Throughout my elementary school years, my teacher held a morning circle. She played a harpsichord and we all sang together. The impact of those morning meetings was immeasurable.

I joined HLA because...

It is a school that provides the incredible opportunity to realize my passion for language teaching amongst a uniquely diverse group of students and teachers. HLA provides an environment of rich development, both professionally and personally.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is one of confident, happy children who learn to know and foster their own strengths, who love learning and love language.

Elena Canaras

Special Education, Special Areas
Elena Canaras

Education & Training

  • BA, SUNY Plattsburgh
  • MA, Bank Street College

I became a teacher because...

As a child, I had a rough time learning and felt that I wasn’t “as smart” as the rest of my peers. No child should ever feel that they aren’t “good enough.” Children should be inspired to make an impact and contribute to the society by building on their individual talents and skills. I trained in special education and became the teacher that I felt I never had in elementary school.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

In kindergarten, we were learning about dimes and were directed to color in two pictures of a dime. My kindergarten teacher told us that we had to color in the lines and then later cut out the dimes. I didn’t understand why we would have to color in the lines so perfectly if we were just going to end up cutting the pictures out and so I proceeded to color outside of the lines. The kindergarten teacher was not happy and made me start all over again. This was when I realized the importance of purpose.

I joined HLA because...

I like the fact that HLA is a brand new school that challenges the way people typically view a school and its success. I feel lucky and eager to be a part of this movement.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I envision the students embracing cultural diversity within their studies and interactions. I strive to help them develop inquisitive minds and work together as a community.

Bryan Rosen

Physical Education, Special Areas
Bryan Rosen

Education & Training

  • , SUNY Cortland

I became a teacher because...

From kindergarten through senior year of high school, my favorite teachers were always my Physical Education teachers. They constantly kept me active and smiling through their great activities and enthusiasm. They were my role models and I strive to be just like them.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

My favorite memory was watching my mom cry tears of joy the day I received my college diploma.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because of its warm, welcoming environment and commitment to teaching two languages.

My vision for our children at HLA...

I want all of my students to have an age appropriate, fun filled physical education class every time they enter the gymnasium.

Grace Kelly

General Studies SupportInformation Technology, Special Areas
Grace Kelly

Education & Training

  • BS, Dowling College
  • MA, SUNY Stony Brook

I became a teacher because...

I believe that education is the key that unlocks success in all professions and occupations.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I enjoy when learners recognize reading as a form of entertainment and practice reading everyday.

I joined HLA because...

HLA is a learner-centered academic community that reflects real-world diversity.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Is to inspire the students to achieve academic success both in Hebrew and in English.

Mitchell Hall

Physical Education, Special Areas
Mitchell Hall

Education & Training

  • B.S., SUNY Oneonta, Mass Communications
  • M.S., Florida State University, Physical Education

I became a teacher because...

Of my love for athletics and helping children gain an appreciation for sports. Watching children gain confidence in themselves, work as a team and learn sportsmanship is something I strive to teach.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

Coaching baseball in Tallahassee and finishing with a record of 22-2 and winning the city championship. I also loved helping children swim and feel comfortable in the water. Completing my Master’s Degree was my best learning memory.

I joined HLA because...

The culture and the emphasis put Physical Education. I also love the environment at HLA and the message being sent.

My vision for our children at HLA...

To gain a better understanding of the Israeli culture and Hebrew language, as well as to gain new friends in the athletic environment.

Jacqueline Rakib

Math Enrichment, Special Areas
Jacqueline Rakib

Education & Training

  • B.A., Long Island University, Childhood Education

I became a teacher because...

Every child has the potential for success. I want to help students find their strengths and utilize them in a way where they can reach their fullest potential.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

My favorite teaching memory was when I worked in a fourth grade classroom. The students had to dress like famous explorers and deliver a detailed speech about his/her accomplishments. The students worked so hard for the big day. They were so excited to show off their costumes and the speeches were a big hit with the audience.

I joined HLA because...

I joined HLA because I believe in the school’s mission. In this “global” society it is vital that students learn tolerance and diversity. HLA dual language program provides an environment where “tolerance and openness are emphasized throughout the curriculum and school life.”

My vision for our children at HLA...

I hope to create life-long learners that have the skills to succeed in their future endeavors.

Yishai Fisher

Music Education, Special Areas
Yishai Fisher

Education & Training

  • B.M.E.D, Levinsky College, Tel Aviv

I became a teacher because...

I love kids. I love Music. I love to teach. What a great way to combine those things.

I see the positive influence that music has on people, especially children. The music lesson in school is a great opportunity for a student to express himself and learn in a very different approach.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

To see my students listen to music with great enjoyment and react to it always moves me.

To hear my students sing songs with the right pitch and the accurate pronunciation always thrills me.

To experience a performance by the students creates wonderful memories to me and to them.

I joined HLA because...

I believe in a multicultural environment. This is what HLA is all about. I think that to learn a language through music is fun and most efficient.

My vision for our children at HLA...

Coming each day with a smile on their face, ready to do the most fun and exciting thing – to learn.

Franne Rosenthal

Reading Specialist, Special Areas
Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Education & Training

  • B.A., Hunter College
  • M.S.Ed, Hunter College, Elementary Education
  • Ed. M, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Ph.D Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education

I became a teacher because...

Because the ability of children to learn never ceases to amaze me.

My favorite memory from teaching and learning...

I’ll never forget a kindergarten unit I did on ancient Greece. The children couldn’t get enough stories about ancient Greek myths to support their pretend play. They also chose to build the Parthenon in the blocks corner, sing the Greek alphabet to the tune of the ABC song, and spell their names with Greek letters.

I joined HLA because...

Because of its strong educational approach and leadership. This is a school that will make a long-term positive difference in children’s lives.

My vision for our children at HLA...

My hope is that our children will develop their academic skills and talents—and the audacity to put them to good use.