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Steve Freedman is the Head of School at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County. Previously, he served as Head of School at the Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills, Michigan for 16 years, and was a member of the board of the Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS). Known for his expertise in school leadership, and his commitment to academic rigor and professional development, Steve has taught new educational leaders at the New Director’s Institute, sponsored by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and is past president of the Jewish Educators Assembly. He regularly leads sessions on leadership and change at Jewish educational conferences and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS); he also mentors new heads of school, has served as team leader on independent school accreditation visits, and currently serves on the accreditation review committee for the Independent School Association of Central States (ISACS). Steve is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Arts in Jewish Education and Principal’s Certificate in Day School Education, and a Doctor of Pedagogy, h.c. Among his proudest accomplishments are his family; together with his wife Joan, he is the father of four: Eytan (and Andie), Elana, Yoni (and Naomi), Talia (and Corey), and grandparent to Noah.
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Ricky Stamler-Goldberg has more than 25 years of experience in Jewish education, almost all of them proudly in the Schechter system. Having begun her career working in the field of general studies, Ricky followed her passion of teaching Judaic Studies and Hebrew Language and, as such, served as a Judaic Studies classroom teacher in grades 1-5 for over a decade and was the recipient of the Gruss Award for Excellence in Teaching. “Morah Ricky” as she is known around school, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. She has taught across the “ages” including the Florence Melton Adult Mini School and supervising graduate students at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) Davidson School of Education. Under her guidance, her teachers have received training in numerous Hebrew Language curricula, and the Standards and Benchmarks Project in the Teaching of Tanakh, developed at JTS. Morah Ricky and her husband have three grown children and currently live in Englewood, N.J.
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Rabbi Reis received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2012, and graduated with a Master of Arts in Jewish Education focusing on experiential education. Following graduation, he served as a pulpit rabbi in South Florida for two years before moving to the Solomon Schechter School of Queens. During his six-year tenure, Rabbi Reis has held a number of roles, including School Rabbi, Mishnah and Talm
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Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Jen earned her Bachelors of Science Honors in Life Sciences with a minor in psychology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a BEd specializing in Junior-Intermediate Education from the University of Ottawa. She began her career at Schechter in 1998 after moving to New Jersey and marrying her high school sweetheart. Over the past 20 years at SSDS, Jen has taught Middle School, overseen the ever-popular annual science fair, developed and taught Schechter’s health education curriculum, implemented such technology as Google Classroom, and has become a fixture for the sixth-grade environmental experience at Stokes State Forest. She began her training three years as an International Baccalaureate (IB) science teacher, and in 2019, became Schechter’s IB coordinator and interim middle school principal. She and her husband, Charles have three amazing kids: Sean, Kirsten, and Ryan.
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Lauren Goldman-Brown has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and principal in both public school and Jewish day schools. Before coming to Schechter, Lauren served as the Principal of Reuben Gittelman Hebrew Day School in Rockland County. Prior to her tenure at Gittelman, Lauren spent 14 years in Hong Kong working at the Carmel School where she was an elementary school classroom teacher, middle school coordinator, and then principal for eight years. Lauren led the school through its second accreditation visit resulting in a second maximum six-year term of accreditation. Prior to working in Hong Kong, Lauren taught Grades 3, 4, and 5 in New York City public schools. She received her master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Oberlin College in Ohio. Lauren lives in Piermont, N.Y., with her husband and three sons.
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Ilana Kustanowitz, PhD, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Psychology and Jewish Studies. After conducting research at the NYU Child Study Center, she returned to academia to complete her doctorate in School Psychology at Fordham University. Dr. Kustanowitz has worked at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County since 2007, initially in the middle school, and now extending throughout the entire school from the “3’s (Gan Keshet)” through eighth grade. Her research interests include positive well-being, happiness, and the impact of community service participation on an individual’s overall life satisfaction. Dr. Kustanowitz is married to Simmy, a television executive producer, whom she met during their many years as staff members at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Together, they are raising three happy girls who are current Schechter students.
Leslie Teicher coordinates academic support in our classrooms and the school’s resource room, and serves as student liaison to county and state support services. Leslie began her career at SSDS as a learning specialist in the Middle School before taking on the role of Director of Special Services. She is a graduate of Barnard College and did her teacher training in Special Education at Hunter College. Leslie is currently a master’s degree candidate in educational leadership and supervision at Montclair State University. She and her husband Jeremy have three children: Abe, a college freshman, Zoe a high school student, and Jack, a rising 8th grader (Abe and Zoe are SSDS alumni and Jack is a current student at SSDS).
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Ronni Brenner has served on the SSDS Board of Trustees for seven years as the Vice President of Finance. In addition to being a Schechter parent, Ronni served as the Vice President of Finance for Morse Diesel since 1987 and is on the Sisterhood board at Temple Emanu-El. Ronni has a Bachelors of Science from the University of Maryland. She lives in Closter, N.J. with her children, Samantha and Asher (both SSDS alumni), and husband, Michael who is also very active at Temple Emanu-el.
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Over the past 15 years, Ms. Weinraub has served as a strategic leader in development and special-event planning for such organizations as the NYU Medical Center, American Red Cross, Westchester Medical Center, Table to Table, and most recently, Yavneh Academy. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, she is a proud Schechter parent of two boys, Avi and Asher.
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Charlotte brings with her 15+ years of professional experience in Jewish and Israel education. Most recently, she served as deputy director and coordinator for the United Kingdom’s flagship Israel Experience program, where she spearheaded recruitment and admissions initiatives. She also has designed, implemented, and managed Jewish educational fundraising and training programs. A graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Charlotte is a proud Schechter parent. She lives in Englewood with her husband, Joel, and three children, Maya, Sophia, and Rafi, all current SSDS students.