Faculty & Staff
We are a team of educators with collective expertise in Jewish studies and in the arts of teaching and learning. As senior scholars and educators, we come back year after year because we grow, we laugh, we keep creating, both with one another and with MTEI participants. We come from California, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Boston, Jerusalem, and look forward to meeting you in Skokie!
Miriam Raider-RothDirector of MTEI
Professor of Educational Studies, University of Cincinnati firstname.lastname@example.org
Miriam Raider-Roth is the Director of Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. She is a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati where she serves as a professor of Educational Studies and Educational/Community-Based Action Research, and directs the Action Research Center. She is also a founding co-director of the Center for Studies of Jewish Education and Culture at UC. Her research focuses on the relational context of teaching and learning, action research and feminist qualitative research methods. She is author of Professional Development in Relational Learning Communities: Teachers in Connection (2017). Her research interests include how relational learning communities contribute to teachers’ transformative learning in professional development settings.
Gail DorphFounding Director of MTEI email@example.com
Gail Dorph is the Founding Director of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. Her research interests are teacher development and the relationship between Judaic content and pedagogy. Prior to her work with the Mandel Foundation, she directed the Graduate Center for Jewish Education at American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism). In addition to teaching, she consults with communal organizations, universities, and schools on the creation of professional programs for principals and teachers. Gail is author of numerous articles reflecting the ongoing research on MTEI.
Seymour KopelowitzMandel Foundation Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Seymour Kopelowitz is a Mandel Foundation Program Director. His primary area of focus is the Foundation’s Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI) program. He joined the Foundation as a consultant in 2005 and moved into his current role in 2013. Prior to joining the Foundation, Seymour served as Director of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland (JEC), where he frequently worked with the Foundation on various initiatives. He has also served as a teacher, a day school principal, and Director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the national umbrella body for South African Jewry. Seymour holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Kent State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Cape Town. He is a graduate of the Mandel Jerusalem Fellows program and holds multiple endorsements from the Ohio Department of Education, including a superintendent’s license. Seymour is married to Gail Kopelowitz and enjoys classical music.
Barry W. HoltzTheodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education
The Jewish Theological Seminary email@example.com
Barry W. Holtz is the Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. From 2008 to 2013 he served as Dean of the Seminary’s William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. Barry is a long-time consultant to the Mandel Foundation and has been on the faculty of MTEI since the program first began. His books include Textual Knowledge: Teaching the Bible in Theory and in Practice, which won the National Jewish Book Award for Education in 2004 and was closely related to his work at MTEI.
Elie HolzerProfessor of Jewish Education at Bar Ilan University
Founding President of Shma Koleinu—A Beit Midrash for Prayer and Community firstname.lastname@example.org
Elie Holzer is a practice-oriented philosopher of Jewish education, who holds rabbinical ordination and a Ph.D. in Jewish thought. His research attends to to the intellectual, ethical and spiritual dimensions of havruta text study; the hermeneutics of “otherness and self” in the teaching and learning of Hasidic homilies; the hermeneutics and spiritual pedagogies of niggun. Elie has served as a faculty member of MTEI since 1997. He co-directed and taught in the Beit Midrash for Teachers in the DeLeT program at Brandeis University. He is the author of the winner of the 2014 National Jewish Book Award, A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs (Brighton: Academic Studies Press, 2013) with Orit Kent, which grew out of his work in both of these contexts, and he published Attuned Learning: Rabbinic Texts on Habits of the Heart in Learning Interactions (Academic Studies Press, 2016). Elie lives in Jerusalem and serves as Professor at the School of Education of Bar Ilan University, where he also holds the R. Dr. Ochs Chair for Teaching Jewish Religious Studies.
Kathy SimonTeacher Educator and Communication Coach email@example.com
Kathy Simon holds a B.A. in English and Hebrew Literature from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University. A former high school English and drama teacher, Kathy co-directed the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school-reform organization. Kathy is the author and co-author of several books on curriculum, teaching, and school reform, including Moral Questions in the Classroom, Teaching as Inquiry, and Choosing Small. Kathy has served on the faculty of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute since 2006. She also is a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, and leads communication courses and workshops for couples, parents, teachers, and non-profit organizations.
Jeff StanzlerLecturer in Education at the University of Michigan School of Education firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Stanzler is a faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Education, working in teacher education and digital media, and directing the Interactive Communications and Simulations (ICS) group, which facilitates mentored simulations and writing projects for K-12 students worldwide. Jeff is on the faculty of the Master of Arts in Educational Studies with Secondary Teacher Certification (MAC) Program and the Michigan Community Scholars Program, and is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and the Program in Intergroup Relations. He is also a founding board member of InGlobal Learning Design, an organization that supports educational innovators in K-12, university, and business settings.
Jennifer LewisProfessor of Mathematics Education
Wayne State University email@example.com
Jennifer Lewis earned her Ph.D. in teacher education and mathematics education at the University of Michigan. Previous to her graduate studies, Jenny taught elementary and middle school for ten years. She is currently the Executive Director of Educator Excellence for Detroit Public Schools Community District, on leave from her position as associate professor of mathematics education at Wayne State University in Detroit. Jennifer does research on teacher learning in high-poverty settings, and is influenced by teacher education methods in Japan. In addition, Jenny works on a number of professional development projects in Jewish education including for the Mandel Institute in Jerusalem.
Sharon Feiman-NemserJack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education
Brandeis University firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Feiman-Nemser is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University and the founding director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. A well-known scholar of teacher education and learning to teach, she also led innovative teacher education programs at the University of Chicago and Michigan State University before moving to Boston. Sharon has served on the faculty of MTEI since its beginning. At Brandeis, she teaches in the Education Program and the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Dept. Sharon founded the DeLeT program which prepares teachers for Jewish day school and a fellowship program for day school teacher leaders. Her book, Teachers as Learners (2012), deals with many themes related to MTEI.
Sivan ZakaiSara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion email@example.com
Sivan Zakai is the Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She also serves as the Director of the Children’s Learning about Israel Project of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University, and as co-director of Project ORLIE: Research and Leadership in Israel Education. Author of My Second-Favorite Country: How American Jewish Children Think about Israel (2022) and senior co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Education, her research focuses on the teaching and learning of Jewish history, Israel, and controversial issues in Jewish education.
Mindy GoldGraduate Network Leader, Mandel Teacher Educator Institute
Founder and Lead Consultant, EdtechMMG firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindy Gold’s consulting work and research focus on relationship-centered professional learning, educational technology pedagogy and instructional design, and participatory action research. As a former elementary school teacher, she brings her classroom and leadership experience to her work as a Coach for the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. In 2021-2022, she served as the Scholar-in-Residence for the Bonnie Tenebaum Digital Learning Initiative at Jewish LearningWorks. Mindy is a proud graduate of MTEI’s Cohort 7 and is currently pursuing an EdD in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville.
Allison JoAnn LesterMTEI Graduate Assistant email@example.com
Allison JoAnn Lester is the MTEI Graduate Assistant and a current doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati where she is studying educational and community-based action research, performative ethnography and storytelling, and innovative educational technology (virtual reality and participatory photography). She holds a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Educational Studies with a concentration in teacher action research. Allison has taught in a variety of educational settings, including teacher education, special education, early childhood, and ESL classrooms in Migdal HaEmek, Israel. Committed to tikkun olam, Allison seeks to foster supportive and reflective learning communities for educational equity and social change. Her current scholarship focuses on the development of new frameworks for understanding participatory program evaluation and development with an emphasis on theory, research, and practice integrations.
Carol LindleyProgram Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Lindley is the Program Manager at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio and also serves in this role for MTEI. Carol majored in Communications at Cleveland State University. Her work experience includes event planning, marketing and public relations. She served on her university’s Alumni Board of Directors and has volunteered with several non-profit and civic organizations. She enjoys supporting Cleveland’s revitalization efforts.
Deborah Niederman, RJE has been working in Jewish education since 1989. She has worked in four different congregations as Director of Education and served as the Associate Director of the Leadership Institute for the Union for Reform Judaism and Coordinator of Career Services and Alumni Relations for the Schools of Education at HUC-JIR. She holds a BA in Judaic Studies and Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. and a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. In 1995 she received the title Reform Jewish Educator and in 2018 an honorary doctorate in religious education. She loves to lead change and bring innovation to all the organizations in which she works.
Heather Gerker is the MTEI Graduate Assistant and a current doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati where she is studying educational policy. She holds a B.F.A. in Electronic Media and an M. Ed. in early childhood education with a concentration in Montessori pedagogy. Heather has taught in a variety of educational settings, including in teacher education, preschool, kindergarten, and Montessori early childhood classrooms. Passionate about organizing, facilitating learning, and connecting with communities, Heather seeks to understand the role of collective impact in shifting education policy. Her current scholarship focuses on a critical analysis of the relationship between educational policy and practice with emphasis on progressive pedagogies in public schools.
The MTEI faculty has written a number of books that we are excited to share with you. Click on the links to go to the publishers’ websites to read more or purchase.
Professional Development in Relational Learning Communities: Teachers in ConnectionMore
Attuned Learning: Rabbinic Texts on Habits of the Heart in Learning InteractionsMore
Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the TalmudMore
Teachers as LearnersMore
The Story of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute: From Problem To Idea To Practice in Empowering LeadersMore
Interactive Communications and SimulationsMore
Moral Questions in the Classroom: How to Get Kids to Think Deeply About Real Life and Their School WorkMore
A Philosophy Of Havruta: Understanding And Teaching The Art of Text Study in PairsMore
Textual Knowledge: Teaching the Bible in Theory and in PracticeMore
Trusting What You Know: The High Stakes of Classroom RelationshipsMore
Inspiring Teaching: Preparing Teachers to Succeed in Mission-Driven SchoolsMore
"Professional Development of Teachers in Jewish Education" (article)More
“Playful Partnerships for Game-Based Learning in International Contexts” (article)More
Teaching as Inquiry: Asking Hard Questions to Improve Practice and Student AchievementMore
Director of MTEI
“The MTEI faculty is a dream team! We support and challenge each other to do our very best work. We deeply value the relationships we build with MTEI participants. Seeing them go back to their home settings more empowered, skilled, confident, and innovative brings us such joy.”
Upper School Dean of Faculty, Golda Och Academy
“The faculty are all gifted teachers, who speak and act with generosity and humor. The relationships we form with them and with other participants help us to think through questions and difficult situations. You will learn and do more than you thought possible and not want to leave!”