About six and a half years ago I got a phone call from Melbourne, Australia. It was Rabbi Hahn Tapper, who was on sabbatical with her family. As a preschool parent at the OFJCC where I was a director, she had been sent an email sharing that there was a likelihood that I was going to take a position heading a K-8 school. Laurie contacted me to make sure I considered the opportunity at Yavneh before committing to the other position. A few weeks later, I had a choice to make.
Why did I choose Yavneh? First, the school’s mission included: “where each child is celebrated and challenged” and “discovering how a child learns in order to maximize each child’s potential.” These were sentiments that resonated with my own educational philosophy of “putting the child at the center.” As I met Yavneh’s board, the teachers, the community leaders, and the parents I found a community that was warm and that genuinely cared about each and every child. I knew that I had found a home. There is a saying out in the world of educational administrators that “schools get the heads they deserve.” I don’t know about that, but I feel honored to have been found worthy of the Yavneh Day School community.
Over these past six years, I have grown so much, both personally and professionally, and have enjoyed the collegiality of the teachers and administrators as we have dared to create a unique model of education, aligned with our mission, that is centered around each and every student. I have so appreciated the warmth and support of our families, alumni, board, and community. And of course, I feel so blessed to have had the partnership and friendship of Yavneh’s one-of-a-kind chairman of the board, Arnnon Geshuri, whose leadership, support, and humor have really made each and every day a pleasure and an honor.
In the Talmud, Rabbi Hannina says: “I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students, I have learned more than from all of them.” Ta’anit 7A
I will greatly miss Yavneh’s students who made me smile each and every day – their greetings at morning drop off, petitions for gumball machines, their impressive debate skills, their knowledge of Torah, and their commitment to social justice. I feel comforted knowing that these will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Yavneh is fortunate to have Cindy Schlesinger taking the helm as it navigates the coming months and years. I wish her and the entire Yavneh family the very best. As I look to my next adventure, Yavneh will always have a special place in my heart. GO BLAZE! -Zvi