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 In Hashavua Article

We are excited to share good news. With your help and based on deep and thoughtful feedback and a rigorous process, the Board of Trustees has enthusiastically appointed the position of Head of School to Cindy Schlesinger beginning July 1, 2020.

Cindy has a deep commitment to Yavneh. Within our school, she has been a teacher, administrator, and educational innovator. As many of you know, she led the development of a successful middle school that is strong and growing. Her experience and academic knowledge drove childhood instruction and administration, middle school education, and social-emotional learning curriculum. She has a deep understanding of the diversity and uniqueness of the Yavneh community, from our classrooms to our families. She has demonstrated a professional commitment to faculty development and educating the “whole child.” Cindy has a proven long-term commitment to Jewish education and possesses a thorough understanding of what it takes to run all dimensions of a school including admissions, marketing and PR, developing and managing budgets, operational execution, and organizational and strategic leadership.

Cindy’s extensive professional experience includes a portfolio of talents and accomplishments in development and budgeting. She personally led door-to-door fundraising strategy for Hausner, meeting with donors and driving contributions for their capital campaign. She also served as the liaison with the San Francisco Federation in the annual allocation process, preparing and presenting requests for annual allocations, and wrote and submitted grant applications to several foundations (including Avichai and PEJE). She has been responsible for the fiscal management of Yavneh’s Middle School and the annual budget process at Hausner. Cindy managed camp budgets at Palo Alto JCC which included academic programs and organizational design and oversight of all camp staff.

Prior to Yavneh, Cindy served on the senior leadership team at Hausner including as Assistant Head of School/Middle School Head at Hausner for six years. She designed and founded the science department at Pressman Academy and completed two executive leadership programs at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She earned an MS in Science Education from USC and BA in Biology and Psychology from Occidental College.

Cindy went through a thorough evaluation process. Our search needed to find the best HOS for Yavneh, so we looked for qualified candidates both internal and external, and we talked with top recruiters, reviewed referrals, and engaged with PRIZMAH, the national organization for Jewish day schools. Through this effort, external candidates were reviewed relative to the criteria in the job posting. Our assessment of external talent was further validated by the external recruiters who explicitly stated that we are blessed to have had such a strong internal candidate!

The process of considering Cindy validated her strengths. The majority of the feedback we received from staff, faculty, the community at large, and the Board of Trustees was in support of Cindy as the new Head of School. We received over 60 feedback submissions, conducted hours of panel interviews, hours of one-on-one interviews, a Q&A session with the faculty and staff, and a forum with the community at large. Cindy prepared a comprehensive presentation on vision for the HOS search committee and the Board.

Cindy’s excellence as an educational leader is no secret. She was highly recommended for this role not just by our community but also by the leaders of Gideon Hausner Day School, her former colleagues at Hausner, her current colleagues at Yavneh, and many members of our local Jewish community organizations. In the end, Cindy stood out from the competition, and we are energized to move forward.

Over the course of getting to know Cindy, her experience and her work, we’ve come to the conclusion that she is absolutely the best person to lead Yavneh.

Thank you and next steps. We would like to thank Zvi for his dedication and vision over the last six years at Yavneh. Under his leadership and in partnership with Cindy, Yavneh became a nationally recognized school and built a new model of learning that has been showcased at independent school conferences across the U.S. We are excited that Yavneh was also recently nominated as one of 50 top private schools by the Council of American Private Education (CAPE) to the U.S. Department of Education for academic performance and will now be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education for the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools program .

During this leadership transition, Cindy will be working closely with Zvi to smoothly guide the school and make preparations for an outstanding upcoming academic year. Cindy will be making herself available for coffee talks and fireside chats with our parents and community. We hope in the weeks ahead that you will also take the opportunity to connect with Cindy in the halls and welcome her to her upcoming position as Head of School at Yavneh. The future of our school is in great hands and we are excited to partner with Cindy as Yavneh continues to go from strength to strength.