Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.







Personnel

Faculty & Staff

Laurel Akridge

Laurel Akridge

Two's Teacher
Steve Albert

Steve Albert

Executive Director
I am a school leader because our children are our future, and school is where they learn the skills, knowledge and values needed to make the world a better place.
Sandi Anslow

Sandi Anslow

Art Teacher (Early Childhood)
I teach because art is my passion! I want to give our children the opportunity to discover, create and share their own work and ideas, and learn how to work cooperatively with others to make even more exciting artwork!
Leslie Berman

Leslie Berman

2's and 3's Teacher
I teach because I love helping children develop a sense of self and a sense of community.
Christine Black

Christine Black

Toddler Teacher

Blair Borax

Cooking and Gardening Teacher
Richard Boyd

Richard Boyd

Registrar, Administrative Assistant
Kasey Breuier

Kasey Breuier

3rd Grade General Studies Teacher
I teach because of my second grade teacher. That year in school was a turning point for me--she made school (and learning) fun and I grew to love it because of her. I want to share that love of learning with my students.
Marcie Brewer

Marcie Brewer

Middle School Humanities and Drama Teacher

I teach because teaching is a gift. Middle schoolers are amazing. They are old enough to understand the true complexities of life, but young enough that they’re not yet jaded. They make me smile everyday, and I get to share all of my passions—literature, poetry, drama, history, social activism—with them.  

Alyson Broberg

Alyson Broberg

Middle School Spanish and Instructional Assistant

I teach because it is the best way to learn. I love learning from the students and staff at PJA.

Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown

Infant Teacher
Priscilla Caldwell

Priscilla Caldwell

Three's Teacher
Justin Carroll

Justin Carroll

Early Childhood Music Teacher

I teach because it is the best way to help young people know from the beginning of their lives that they are part of a community, part of the fabric of human life, and part of a storied and ancient Jewish tradition. Because if I do it well they may never question their inherent worth and belonging. And because it is FUN!

Carla Caynon

Support Services
Elana Cohn-Rozansky

Elana Cohn-Rozansky

Service Learning Coordinator

I teach because I love learning and love to think of creative and meaningful ways to spark wonder and curiosity in young people. My hope is that my students will seek out and embrace opportunities to learn, grow, and expand their understanding of the world and their responsibility to it.

Sharee Conner

Sharee Conner

Two's Teacher

I teach because “We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.”
― Stephen King, 11/22/63

Garrett Couch

Older Infant Teacher

Jenny Crego

First Grade General Studies Teacher

Matthew Dalton

Maker and STEAM Educator
Brian Darnell

Brian Darnell

IT Specialist
I work in IT at PJA because I believe schools should be secure in the technology they use and get the best customer service!  

Nicholas Dysken

School Counselor
Shahar Eden

Shahar Eden

Middle School Hebrew, Jewish Studies and PE Teacher, Israel Trip Coordinator
Irit Elchaiani

Irit Elchaiani

2nd and 4th Grade Hebrew Teacher, Hebrew Support
Becky Ewer

Becky Ewer

Marketing and Creative Director

I market for PJA so people can learn about how our school makes mensches!

Benjamin Foote

Benjamin Foote

Middle School Jewish Studies Teacher

I teach because I can't not teach.

Jennifer Garrell

Jennifer Garrell

Pre-K Teacher
Beth Germain

Beth Germain

Chief Financial Officer
As CFO, I am grateful to be able to utilize my skills in a positive way and be part of a community that honors learning and community service (making mensches).
Sarah Glass

Sarah Glass

Admission Director

As Admission Director, I love sharing the powerful story of PJA with families.

Charlotte Gund

Charlotte Gund

Assistant Director of Afterschool Programs

Najwa H

Infant/Toddler Teacher

I teach because I want to help each child realize their unique purpose in the world.

Natalie Haskins

Natalie Haskins

Director of PJA Afterschool Programs

I teach because there is nothing I find more rewarding than supporting a child as they learn and grow.  

Merrill Hendin

Merrill Hendin

Principal
I am the principal at PJA because I believe it is important to build a strong foundation of Jewish life and learning for our future. Our students are links in a long chain of history and culture and they are our legacy. 
Holly Hennig

Holly Hennig

Infant Floater
Allison Hernandez

Allison Hernandez

Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education
I teach because children are capable, contributing citizens of this world; we can learn from them if only we listen!
Anna Hixon

Anna Hixon

Graphic Designer and Social Media Specialist
I design for PJA because I love to help highlight the programs and community that make our school so unique and wonderful. 
Jana Hopfinger

Jana Hopfinger

Hebrew Jewish Studies Teacher (Grades 3 and 5)
Megan Hughes

Megan Hughes

4th Grade General Studies Teacher

I teach because this is a job where I am surrounded by open minds, new ideas, and and our best hopes for the future. The learning and growth I see on a daily basis is inspiring!

Michael Hyde

Michael Hyde

Director of General Studies

I teach because teaching and learning are endlessly fascinating - we can improve our world through curiosity, creativity, understanding and growth. Being a part of a leadership team that supports children, teachers, and our community to "think for themselves and work for the world" is energizing and personally fulfilling work. I can’t imagine doing anything else!

Daravanh Insixiengmay

Daravanh Insixiengmay

Food Coordinator, Afterschool Program Teacher

l teach because it brings me joy and I am able to help shape the lives of my student.

Rhona Jacobs

Rhona Jacobs

Resource Manager
Lily Jones

Lily Jones

Pre-K Teacher
I teach because children are the most fun and inspiring people to be around. We make each other better. 
Lisa Katon

Lisa Katon

Donor Relations and Grants Specialist
I fundraise for PJA because I believe in the mission of the school and have seen first-hand the mensches we are helping to create.
Maya Katri

Maya Katri

Kindergarten Hebrew/Jewish Studies Teacher, 1st Grade Hebrew Teacher
Amy Katz

Amy Katz

Director of Jewish Life
I teach because, as it is said in the Talmud, "I have learned a lot from my teachers, even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned the most." 
Natalya Kerner

Natalya Kerner

Two's Teacher
Ellen Kipnis

Ellen Kipnis

Three's Teacher

I teach because it is who I am. It is my passion, my calling and my world. 

Saul Korin

Saul Korin

Director of Donor Engagement + Philanthropy
I fundraise because PJA students are the future of Portland.
Katie Kornberg

Katie Kornberg

3's Teacher
Kim Krikorian

Kim Krikorian

Pre-K Teacher

I teach because I know how important early childhood education is. Young children are not to be molded but people to be unfolded. I enjoy experiencing the wonder and awe of learning with small children. There are so many new things to learn from a group of citizens that are preparing for a future world. 

Gabriele Kruger

Gabriele Kruger

Infant Toddler Floater

I teach because I love nurturing and taking care of plants, animals, children and anybody else who needs some extra TLC.

Jennifer Landis

Jennifer Landis

Older Infant Teacher
Jade Lee

Jade Lee

Three's Teacher
Larisa Lerner

Larisa Lerner

Hebrew Support Teacher
Rosanne Levi

Rosanne Levi

Receptionist, Auction Manager

I work for PJA because it is not just a school, it's a community. Families and staff work together as one.

Denise Littlefield

Denise Littlefield

Finance Assistant
Celinda Llanez

Celinda Llanez

Kindergarten General Studies Teacher, Summer Discovery Director

I teach because I want to plant the seeds in my students to be kind, always wonder and ask questions, to leave things better than they found them, to trust themselves when they make mistakes, and to try to do the right thing, even when nobody is looking.

Debbie Matulef

Debbie Matulef

Preschool Floater
Jake McCoy

Jake McCoy

Support Services Instructional Assistant
Lynne Meyerowitz

Lynne Meyerowitz

Support Services Educator
Bekkah Morgan

Bekkah Morgan

Toddler Teacher
Sara Morton

Sara Morton

Middle School Science Teacher, Science Club Coordinator
I teach because I want to inspire awe and raise awareness about our planet and its intricacies - how beautiful, amazing, and connected everything is. Even in what seems like the most minute thing, the workings of the universe can be revealed.
Nicole Moylan

Nicole Moylan

Two's Teacher

I teach because I want to create an environment where each individual child feels welcomed and special. Everyday is a new adventure with my two year olds! I’m so grateful to have the privilege of witnessing important milestones.

Fabiola Munoz

Toddler Floater

Bess Nation

Instructional Assistant
Han Ngo

Han Ngo

IT Manager

Alex Perrin

Instructional Assistant
Susanna Perrin

Susanna Perrin

Jewish Studies Teacher (Grades 1, 2 and 4)
I teach because I love working with children and I find it rewarding to share my passion for Judaism and learning with them.
Liz Phillips

Liz Phillips

Middle School Math Teacher, 5th grade Health, and Student Leadership, Middle School Admissions Liaison

Stephanie Rankin

Pre-K - 6th Grade PE Teacher
Rand Raynor

Rand Raynor

5th Grade General Studies Teacher

I am a teacher for the same reason that Michael Corleone is a gangster: it's the family business. Mother, father, three older brothers. It must be in the blood (or the Long Island water).

Maryjane Rocker

Maryjane Rocker

Executive Assistant
Matt Rosenberg

Matt Rosenberg

Technology Integration Specialist

I teach to help students gain the ability to be critical thinkers, who can solve real-world problems both inside and outside the classroom.

Erika Saiers

Erika Saiers

Director of Early Childhood Education
I teach because I am inspired by learners and honored to support and guide young people.
Cheryl Salgado

Cheryl Salgado

Older Infant Teacher
Karen Sapoznikow

Karen Sapoznikow

Development Administrative Assistant
Kim Schneiderman

Kim Schneiderman

Music Teacher K-8
Renee Schwartz

Renee Schwartz

Infant Toddler Floater
Lucy Schwimmer

Lucy Schwimmer

2nd Grade General Studies Teaacher

I teach to provide a strong social, emotional, and academic foundation for every child.

Alisa Scudamore

Alisa Scudamore

Art Teacher Grades 1-8

I teach because my students show me how to remain creative and open while making art. Their ideas and energy renew my optimism for our world.

Adrianne  Sharrock

Adrianne Sharrock

Pre-K Teacher
Ela Shusterman

Ela Shusterman

Early Childhood Hebrew Teacher
Heather Simpson

Heather Simpson

1st Grade Instructional Assistant
I teach because I love to learn, and learning with children is the best way to teach. 
Linda Singer

Linda Singer

Auction Sponsor Coordinator, Chai Baby Coordinator
Molly Sloan

Molly Sloan

Library Media Specialist

I teach because I am a ready collaborator who loves all things library.  Connecting kids, teachers and parents to the right resource at the right time is what makes me tick!

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Registrar/Administrative Assistant

As PJA's Early Childhood Registrar, I enjoy helping families enroll their children in a safe and caring environment where children can feel comfortable and happy to explore and learn each day.

Remy Steckel

Instructional Assistant

Mary Steinberg

Auction Assistant
Crysie Stichler

Crysie Stichler

Payroll Manager & Accounts Receivable
Miriam Stroud

Miriam Stroud

Human Resources Director
Debbie Sweeney

Debbie Sweeney

3 Day 3's Teacher, Preschool Floater
Harriet Wingard

Harriet Wingard

6th Grade Middle School Humanities Teacher, Lower School Math Enrichment
I teach because: I grew up with parents who were educators; I often adored and was inspired by my teachers; I am a life-long learner.  I can't imagine any other job to which I would choose to dedicate so much of my life.
Rachael Yarbrough

Rachael Yarbrough

Infant Teacher
Tatiana Zawadzki

Tatiana Zawadzki

Two's Teacher

Administration

Steve Albert, Executive Director
B.S. Haverford College. Ed. M. Harvard University. M.S. Portland State University. Steve is passionate about music and theater, and he enjoys singing as well as attending concerts and plays. He also enjoys hiking, kayaking, and skiing, and he likes to travel – especially to visit his grown children who are scattered around the country. He spends more time than he should caring for his saltwater reef tank at his home, which he shares with his wife, Janie, and dog, Lola. Steve’s favorite thing about PJA is the strong sense of community and the genuine care expressed by individuals for one another. This mirrors the collaboration that exists at all levels – from students to teachers to parents to school leadership – and creates a foundation that fosters learning and service on campus and off.


Becky Ewer, Marketing and Creative Director
Becky is the Marketing and Creative Director for the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and Portland Jewish Academy. She started working here in 2005 and loves the family feeling of the MJCC and PJA. Becky grew up in Seattle. She graduated with a B.S. in Business from Skidmore College and a Masters of Science in Arts Administration from Boston University. Becky is passionate about music as she has played the violin since the age of seven and is married to a professional violinist! She and her husband Greg Ewer founded the local nonprofit, 45th Parallel. Becky enjoys playing with her two children, cooking, knitting, and travelling. As a breast cancer survivor, Becky serves as a mentor to other women who are newly diagnosed.


Beth Germain, Chief Financial Officer
B.S. Finance - University of Illinois, MM (MBA) Accounting from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
Beth is responsible for all aspects of financial management and budgeting. Beth has held CFO positions in real estate development companies in both Chicago and Portland from 1989-2002. Beth joined the PJA Finance Committee in 1999, became Treasurer of PJA in 2000 and was hired as Controller in 2002. Beth is married to John and they have two sons, Payton and Louie, who are both PJA graduates. "PJA has been my strongest connection to the Jewish Community and I am grateful to have it be such as large part of my life." Beth enjoys living in the Pacific Northwest and being outdoors skiing, walking and boating as well as being indoors doing yoga and puzzles.


Sarah Glass, Director of Admission
Sarah grew up in Portland. At the age of 18, she moved to New York City where she earned her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. After college, she taught in a public school in Brooklyn for three years before returning to graduate school to earn a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU. All three of Sarah's children attended PJA. "I love sharing the story of PJA with families. This is a school that truly lives by its core values. Our students learn to think critically, work together to build community, and know that they can make a positive impact in our world."

 


Charlotte Gund, Assistant Director of the Afterschool Department
Charlotte was born and raised in Riverdale, NY. She graduated Oberlin College with a Bachelors in Biology, and later, a Masters in Early Childhood Education. She has lived in Portland for seven years now, six of which she has spent working in the PJA Afterschool Department! In addition to providing a meaningful, inclusive environment for kids to grow and learn in after school hours, Charlotte enjoys running races, reading, studying languages, and exploring different parts of Oregon with her partner, Rick.

 


Natalie Haskins, Director of PJA Afterschool Programs
Born and raised Northeastern Oklahoma, Natalie grew up exploring the foothills of the Ozark mountains, riding horses, climbing hay bales and playing music on her dad's family farm. In the spring of 2006, Natalie and her husband, Tim, relocated to Portland, Oregon where Natalie has continued her love of exploring the great outdoors. When not hiking or investigating coastal tide pools, Natalie can be found tending her vegetable and medicinal herb gardens, riding a bike with her dogs racing alongside her or reading several books at once. She also still very much enjoys playing music. Natalie studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Oklahoma and has worked in Afterschool with PJA since 2006. She teaches because she believes every child deserves a safe and supportive learning environment during their out of school time.
 


Merrill Hendin, Principal
Merrill grew up in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Jewish day school through high school. She graduated with a BA in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton and worked at a Jewish day school in Brooklyn before moving to Vancouver, BC, where she completed the graduate education program and received her teaching certification through the University of British Columbia. Merrill and her husband lived in Haifa, Israel, where she taught English to adults, seniors and children in a variety of settings. When her young family returned to the United States, they made Portland their home and their PJA lives began. Merrill taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies at PJA before taking time off to raise her growing family. Her involvement at PJA has taken many forms over the past 29 years as she became involved as a lay leader and then for the past 12 years, has served as a member of the PJA administration as the Director of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Assistant Head of School, and for the past 8 years, as the school's Principal. Jewish education has always been an integral part of Merrill's life and when she and her husband were looking for a place to live after he finished medical school in Israel, at the core of the decision was to ensure that wherever they moved, there would be strong Jewish education and community for their family. PJA was home to all three of their children and remains an integral part of the Hendin family's lives.


Allison Hernandez, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Programs
Allison was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She received her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University. Previously, she lived in New York City and worked as both an educator and an acrobat. She lives with her family in Beaverton, Oregon, and in her free time enjoys running obstacle course races, gardening, and spending time with her family. Allison joined the PJA community in 2016, and believes that young children are capable, contributing citizens of our world.

 


Michael Hyde, Director of General Studies







 


 

Amy Katz, Director of Jewish Life
Amy Katz has been working in Jewish Education for over 20 years. She taught in Jewish Day Schools, synagogue schools, and Jewish summer camps in Wisconsin, Canada, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco before moving to Portland in 2004. Amy taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies for seven years at PJA before becoming the Director of Jewish Life. Amy's favorite thing about PJA is forging strong connections with students and faculty and encouraging everyone to learn a little more about the beauty of Judaism. Her favorite part of each week is Middle School tefilah. She lives in Northeast Portland with her husband, two teenagers, and her dog Sox. Amy graduated from Beloit College with degrees in Creative Writing and Literary Studies, and has a Master's in Jewish Education from Boston's Hebrew College.


Saul Korin, Development Manager
Saul Korin, MBA, is the Development Manager for the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and Portland Jewish Academy, where he builds relationships and enables philanthropic dreams. He is active in Havurah Shalom where he makes Purim happen, and occasionally DJs Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs on the side. Saul graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and as an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.


 


Erika Saiers, Director of Early Childhood Education
Erika grew up in central Pennsylvania. She attended Green Mountain College in Poultney Vermont and earned a BS in Elementary Education and Teaching with a concentration in Recreation and played collegiate soccer. During her senior year at Green Mountain she attended the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where she spent 3 months in the PNW mountaineering, sailing and rock climbing and decided that Oregon was where she was destined to be. She packed up a small pickup truck, spent a month traveling the country and has been rooted in Portland ever since, now calling the PNW home. In Portland Erika earned her MEd in Educational Leadership and Administration from PSU and continues her love of exercise coaching the PJA middle school cross country team, hiking and biking. Both of Erika's children attended PJA as "lifers" meaning they started as infants and graduated 8th grade and believes this community is truly a wonderful environment to grow up in.

Board Members

Photo: Executive Committee: Left to Right: Danelle Romain, Jason Zidell, Amy Blauer, Steven Klein, Marni Glick.
Not pictured: Erik Richmond

Larry Gloth

Larry Gloth is an East Coast transplant who grew up in Massachusetts where he attended UMASS Amherst before joining the U.S. Marine Corps and moving West...

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Gail Mandel

Gail Mandel is currently the Legacy Development and Marketing Manager at the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation...

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Carol Richmond

Carol is originally from Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with a Doctorate in Pharmacy in 2000 and moved to Portland the following year.... 

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Jonathan Singer

Jonathan is a fourth generation Portlander and graduate of PJA's first eighth grade class who spent his formative years at the MJCC... 

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