On behalf of the Hebrew Academy Board of Directors and the Head of School Search Committee, I am writing with wonderful news: in response to overwhelming support, Dr. Kalman Stein has agreed to continue with the Hebrew Academy as our interim head of school for the 2023-2024 academic year.
During this school year, Dr. Stein has begun aligning the divisions of the school, improving communications and customer service, elevating academics, and improving all aspects of the school’s operations. Also during this year, the Board is focusing on governance to ensure that we can recruit and retain the best possible head of school following Dr. Stein’s departure.
The Search Committee has been working hard all year on the search process and vetted many candidates for the position. Committee members unanimously agree that Dr. Stein’s staying to continue making progress and working with the Board on its own efforts will allow us to set up our next head of school for success in the summer of 2024. We very much appreciate the work of the Search Committee to date, and we anticipate starting to advertise the position in the spring for a July 1, 2024 start date. Please email Lydia Musher, lydia@TraditionSearchPartners.com, with any questions you might have about the search process. She is delighted to speak with you at any time.
I know you will share in our excitement about Dr. Stein’s continued leadership of the school for a second year. Please reach out with any questions.
Mrs. Jean Kim-Lehmann is the current President of the Hebrew Academy Board of Directors and has actively served on the Board for the past seven years and at different times served on the Executive Committee, Nominating Committee, Development Committee, and the Governance Committee. Jean was also formerly the PTSA President. Prior to moving to South Florida and enrolling her children at Hebrew Academy 12 years ago, Jean was an Assistant Marketing Director for a Division of Sony, Marketing Director at an internet startup, and Vice President of Online Marketing at CitiCards, a Division of Citigroup. Jean, and her husband Marc, have three children who have attended Hebrew Academy.
Mr. Mauricio van Dam works in real estate development in the Caribbean in projects with steel structure components. He holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, a Masters of Engineering in Structural Engineering from U.C. Berkeley, and a Civil Engineering Degree from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. He has been involved on the board of the school Or Jabad in Venezuela, and joined the Hebrew Academy Board in 2022. Mauricio and his wife, Ylanit, have four children who attend Hebrew Academy.
Mr. Michael Budwick has 30 years of experience as a lawyer specializing in corporate insolvency and financial fraud. He attended the University of Florida undergraduate and law school programs. Michael has served on the Hebrew Academy Board of Directors for several years. His role has included participation in the Head of School Evaluation and Support Committee, and has chaired the Governance Committee. Michael, and his wife Sharon, have three children who have attended Hebrew Academy.
Dr. David J. De La Zerda, completed medical school at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia, holds a Master’s in Clinical Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, performed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and his completed his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. De La Zerda later joined University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital where he is an Associate Professor, the Medical Intensive Care Unit Director at Jackson Memorial, and serves as the Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship Program Director. He also conducts research related to pulmonary hypertension and COVID management in the ICU. Dr. De La Zerda is a two year member of the Hebrew Academy Board of Directors, served on the Hebrew Academy Medical Advisory Committee, and the Alumni Mentorship Program. Dr. De La Zerda, and his wife Dr. Sarah De La Zerda, have two children who attend Hebrew Academy.
Mrs. Yael Delgado has a Masters Degree in Education with a Minor in Special Education. She is actively involved as a school volunteer, is currently a Co-Chairperson for the Hebrew Academy PTSA, and serves on the school Board of Directors. Yael, and her husband John, have three children who attend Hebrew Academy. Yael has enjoyed watching how much her children have grown through their positive school experiences within a truly wonderful community.
Dr. Ami Eskanos has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, a Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a focus on Juvenile Justice. She worked at Hebrew Academy for 22 years until her retirement in 2021. She initially served as the Art Department Chair, ran the After School Activities Program, was the assistant to the principal of the elementary school, and oversaw summer camp. Later she created the Admissions Department wherein she acted as the Dean of Admission. Along with two other South Florida Admission Directors, Dr. Eskanos proudly founded the Coalition of Miami Admission Directors (CMAD), which now functions under the umbrella of CAJE at the Miami Jewish Federation, and provides Admission Directors a forum to collaborate and problem solve as a united community. Dr. Eskanos, and her husband Barry, have two sons who attended Hebrew Academy.
Mrs. Gaby Kopel has been part of the Hebrew Academy family since she attended our high school (Class of 2003). A graduate of Barnard College with a B.A. in Psychology and Economics, these days Gaby fancies herself a multitasking chef, outstanding chauffeur, unlicensed pediatrician, reader of all school emails, and proud parent to three Hebrew Academy Warriors in grades 8, 6 and 2, as well as a preschooler. She currently serves our PTSA as Class Parent Coordinator. Her attention to detail and thoughtfulness are a welcome addition to the Head of School Search Committee.
Mrs. Andrea Lucero has been in the field of education for sixteen years. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies for grades 6-12 at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. She began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at a private school and then later moved on to teaching tenth grade U.S. History at a public high school in New Jersey. In 2002, she moved to Miami and began teaching part time at the Hebrew Academy. She taught social studies, English, and math in the Middle School during her first year. The following year she began teaching the Middle School Social Studies classes along with an English course. Over the years, Mrs. Lucero has been the student council advisor, Ruach team coach, Community Service Coordinator, and assistant to the principal. In 2008, Mrs. Lucero graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. In 2011 she began her role in administration as the Middle School Principal.
Mrs. Tracy Spitz is a speech language pathologist who worked for several years in both public and private schools in Manhattan before moving to Miami. Thereafter, Tracy established a successful private practice that, for the last 18 years, has given her the chance to see many schools in action across the South Florida region. Tracy and her husband Dovie have three daughters who have attended Hebrew Academy.
Mrs. Reena Rabovsky joined Hebrew Academy as the elementary school psychologist nine years ago. This year, Reena expanded her role to the Director of Student Support, overseeing the academic, social, and emotional growth of Elementary School students. She enjoys collaborating with students, parents, community members, and school staff to create a positive learning environment. Reena received a B.A. in Psychology and Judaic Studies from Hebrew Theological College in Chicago, and an M.S.Ed. in School Psychology from Queens College in New York. Reena and her husband have four children.
Mr. Elchonon Shagalov is a practicing lawyer and serves as General Counsel and Chief Commercial Officer for Diamonds International, the Caribbean's largest diamond and jewelry duty-free retailer. He received a Juris Doctorate from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and an MBA from New York University. His family moved to South Florida and enrolled at Hebrew Academy six years ago. Last year Elchonon joined the school Board of Directors and now serves on the Executive Committee and is Chairperson of the Development Committee. Elchonon, and his wife Devorah, have five children who attend Hebrew Academy.