Our Staff

Leadership Team

Head of school

Meghan Barrios

Meghan is the current Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Math at Hebrew Public. When Meghan started with Hebrew Public in 2016 she joined Harlem Hebrew as a member of the school leadership team. Meghan has over fifteen years of teaching, coaching and leadership experience. She successfully completed both the NJ EXCEL and New Leaders Aspiring Principal school leadership programs. Meghan earned a masters degree in education from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from King’s College. She is looking forward to working with the staff, students, and family members to continue the meaningful work of designing a truly wonderful school at Harlem Hebrew.

Assistant Head of School

Melanie Hinds

Melanie is very excited to serve as the Assistant Head of School at Harlem Hebrew. Melanie brings over twelve years of experience as a teacher, Dean of Students, and administrator. Melanie received her Master’s in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at The College of New Jersey. Melanie resides in New Jersey with her family, including her fourteen year old daughter and twenty one month old son. She is looking forward to meeting and getting to know the Harlem Hebrew team members and students this school year!

Assistant Head of School

Shlomit Levy

Shlomit Levy, LCSW, SBL, Assistant Head of School, has been a strong leader of Harlem Hebrew Language Academy team since its inception in 2013. Ms. Levy joined Harlem Hebrew as the Social Worker and continues to be committed to improving the experience of children and families at HHLA by working collaboratively with teachers, parents/guardians, staff, and organizations to support students’ academic and social development. Ms. Levy has 11 years of experience coaching and working with children and families in the educational system. Ms. Levy earned her BA in Family Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) from the Cuny Baccalaureate Program and is a member of the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology. Ms. Levy graduated from Lehman College with a masters degree in social work and received her School Building Leader at The College of St. Rose. Ms. Levy is a board certified Clinical Social Worker as well as a board certified School Building Leader in New York State. Ms. Levy believes in the importance of leading by example.

Dean of Culture

Taharah Smalls

With over 10 years in the social service field, Taharah is adept at understanding and responding to the unique needs of a diverse student population.  Taharah joined the Harlem Hebrew community in 2017, as the Behavior Specialist, and her passion to support academic achievement, as well as social development, continues to take shape everyday in her new role as Dean of Culture.  Prior to joining Harlem Hebrew, Taharah worked as a Lead Behavior Specialist at a residential-school for children with various developmental disabilities. Additionally, Taharah provided in-home therapy services to children and families.  Taharah earned a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from The College of New Rochelle, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. John’s University.

Director of Mathematics

Rachael Besser

Rachael is excited to be taking on this new role as she begins her fourth year at Harlem Hebrew. Rachael was a founding 2nd grade teacher in 2014 and then spent a year in Israel with her family. She returned to Harlem Hebrew in 2016 as a founding 4th grade teacher and continued in that grade this past year as well. Prior to joining the Harlem Hebrew team, Rachael spent four years teaching at a private school in Boston. Rachael received a Masters in Literacy from Wheelock College and an undergraduate degree from Boston University in Elementary Education. She lives in Washington Heights with her husband and their 8 month old daughter.

Director of Literacy

Stephanie Fox

Stephanie began her teaching career through Teach for America as a Writing teacher in Memphis, TN. Eager to return to her hometown of NYC, she took on the role of teacher, curriculum writer, and coach at a charter school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Upon leaving the classroom, Stephanie had the opportunity to work for both the New York State Education Department and New York City Department of Education, focusing on diversity initiatives and fair ELA assessments. Stephanie received a Masters in Education and Applied Statistics from New York University, a Masters in Literacy Education from Christian Brothers University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. She is eager to bring her work from both inside and outside of the classroom to the Harlem Hebrew community.

Director of Operations

Ursula Vericain

Prior to joining HHLA, Ursula supported both established organizations, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profits managing them through their stages of creation, growth, finance and human resources. Ursula is most proud of her ability to successfully bring on board a range of experiences to HHLA in finance, human resources and operations. In her role at HHLA, Ursula will continue to manage the day to day HR needs of the staff and to also meet the operational aspects of the school. Ursula holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and plans on continuing her studies in obtaining her Master’s degree

Director of Hebrew Curriculum and Instruction

Alona Mor

Alona Mor has years of experience in education. She received her masters in Education from Hunter College, where she did research on students who are Hebrew Heritage Language Learners. She is proud to be part of the founding team of Harlem Hebrew, where, as the director of Hebrew instruction and curriculum, she leads a team of excellent educators teaching Hebrew in one of the most diverse and exciting schools in NYC. Alona is also a parent at the school: her son is an in-coming kindergarten student this school year.

Kindergarten

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Jared Waters

Mr. Jared Waters is our Kindergarten teacher for this school year at Harlem Hebrew Charter School. This is Mr. Jared’s second year with us and last year he taught first grade in Rehovot.  Jared joins us from Tampa, Florida, where he taught kindergarten for four years.

Mr. Jared obtained his education in Elementary Education from East Carolina University College the home of the Pirates.

Mr. Jared is looking forward to the school year, and can’t wait to  watch and see the future of generation grow and exceed expectations.

Elana Weinberg

Elana has been teaching young children for over three decades. She received her BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Her first masters degree in Early childhood education from City College, and is currently working on a second Masters degree in Hebrew education at Middlebury College.  Elana was born in the United States and moved to Israel at the age of 10 with her family. Having learned Hebrew as a second language herself informs a lot of her instruction.

Elana was a founding teacher of the Hebrew Charter School in Brooklyn (HLA) and was delighted to join HHLA when it opened, which teaches Hebrew language and culture and which celebrates the diverse population that makes up American society. She was delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to the community where she lives She believes that many of the biases and baseless hatred we see in world societies come from peoples’ fear of those they don’t know or understand. She recognizes Harlem Hebrew as a place which draws children together who otherwise may never have had the chance to get to know each other, and celebrate their commonalities as well as their differences.

As a preschool teacher, Elana was skeptical at first about how Hebrew immersion was going to work. What if the children were fearful of being spoken to in Hebrew or they didn’t understand her? Those fears soon faded.

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Sheralyn Camacho

Sheralyn Camacho has joined our team and is working as an Assistant Teacher for this school year. This is Sheralyn’s first year with us, and she is excited to bring her experience and positivity into the classroom. Sheralyn joins us from Connecticut where she worked with Kindergarten for four years at the Bridgeport Hope School. Sheralyn obtained her bachelors degree at the University of Bridgeport and is currently obtaining her Masters in school counseling. Sheralyn hopes to continue to grow as a professional in the field of education and social reform.

Hadar Haika

Hadar has been teaching Hebrew at Harlem Hebrew for the last 2 years in Kindergarten.  With history in special education with children with mental disabilities at the Tal center in Beer Sheva, Israel, Hadar acquired great experience in working with young children and pursuit her passion in teaching.

Hadar graduated from Ben Gurion University, Israel, in 2011 with a degree in Psychology and Education. While studying for her degree, Hadar worked and expanded her experience in education and worked in an elementary school in Beer Sheva, Israel.

Hadar immigrated to the United State from Israel 6 years ago and is fluent in Hebrew and English.  In Israel, Hadar served as a sports instructor, training soldiers in the field.

First Grade

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Dana Nassau

Dana holds her New York State Teacher Certification in general education in grades 1-6. She recently graduated from CUNY Hunter College, where she majored in Childhood Education and English Language Arts, while being a Muse Art Scholar. She graduated at the top of her class as the Salutatorian and received her bachelor’s degree. While being the Associate Teacher at Harlem Hebrew, she is a full time student at Columbia University Teachers College, obtaining her professional certification and Master’s degree in curriculum and teaching, as well as educational technology.

Outside of the classroom, Dana is constantly interacting with kids, whether it is at 92Y camps, babysitting, or tutoring. She is a visual artist, with specific interests in painting and photography. Dana loves to read all books and is frequently listening to calming music.  She was born and raised on Long Island, but now lives in Harlem.  She is extremely excited to start her new career at Harlem Hebrew and to meet all the new parents and students!

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Marlee Taub

Marlee is thrilled to be teaching first grade this year at Harlem Hebrew! She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Salisbury University in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree at The Bank Street College of Education. She have a wide range of experiences teaching in a variety of school settings but this is her first year at HHLA.

Marlee grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey where she still lives with her family. Some of her favorite things to do are read and write, travel, watch baseball (go Mets!) and spend time outside with her two dogs.

Marlee is looking forward to a great year!

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Rebecca Corrigan

This is Rebecca Corrigan’s second year at Harlem Hebrew, and third year as a first grade teacher. She graduated from Hofstra University with degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, along with a degree in English. She is currently attending Bank Street College of Education where she will be receiving her masters in literacy.

Rebecca lives in New York, but is a Colorado native. When she is not teaching, she enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, and traveling whenever she can. She is happy to be teaching at Harlem Hebrew!

Marlee grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey where she still lives with her family. Some of her favorite things to do are read and write, travel, watch baseball (go Mets!) and spend time outside with her two dogs.

Marlee is looking forward to a great year!

Second Grade

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Maya Stein

Maya has been a foreign language teacher since 2008. After getting her bachelors degree in English Literature from Hunter College New York, she participated in an ESL/EFL(English as a Second Language/ English as a Foreign Language) teaching course at Oxford Seminar and started tutoring. She later participated in a career retraining at Seminar Ha’Kibutsim in Tel Aviv, and started working as an EFL teacher in an Elementary School.

Maya is a mother of two little girls and a resident of Harlem since 2013.

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Rikki Cohen

Rikki is a certified teacher in general education and special education birth through second grade. She received a Bachelors degree from the University of Rhode Island in Human Development and Family Studies.  While getting her bachelors degree she was a teachers assistant in a special education school.  Rikki then went on to get her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education at Hofstra University.  After graduate school Rikki was a Pre-K teacher in Manhattan in a private school. While in this position, Rikki was also the teacher of the gifted and talented class.  From there Rikki became a Universal Pre-K teacher in an inclusion classroom. She currently tutors children of all ages in literacy skills, phonics, and math.  Rikki is a native New Yorker, growing up on Long Island and now living in Manhattan. This is Rikki’s first year at Harlem Hebrew and is looking forward to a great school year!

Sufa Friedman

Sufa is a graduate of Baruch College Zicklin School of Business with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a Minor in Marketing and Operations. Sufa Immigrated to the United States from Israel 13 years ago and speaks fluent Hebrew and English and comprehends some Spanish. During her time in New York, Sufa worked in multiple positions within the Financial and Real Estate field. Her last position was at BHI (Bank Hapoalim), where she worked as a CSA, providing assistance to both clients and bank departments, where she gained a lot of experience working with people, which eventually led her to pursue a profession in which she could give all of her time to working with people, particularly with children.

While in Israel, Sufa served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) as a Non-Conventional Warfare Instructor, teaching new recruits how to defend themselves from Biological, Chemical and Atomic War. As part of her role, Sufa gave lectures and conducted field drills.

Sufa is currently living in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, she is the youngest daughter of three and a proud aunt of 8 adorable nephews and nieces. Sufa’s favorite activates include; Rock Climbing, Ski, Motorcycle and Hiking. She is delighted to be joining the Harlem Hebrew family.

Third Grade

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Arielle Berger

This will be Ms. Arielle’s third year teaching at Harlem Hebrew and she is very excited for the school year.

She grew up in the Catskills in upstate, New York and first started teaching in 2010. Ms. Arielle has experience working in both general education and special education settings. She is a graduate from Wingate University in North Carolina with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Services. She received her Master’s of Education degree from The College of Saint Rose.

In her free time, Ms. Arielle enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In the winter, you can find her on the ski slope and on the beach during the summer. She is an avid reader, a huge Yankee fan and is passionate about teaching!

Marissa Kaplan

With almost a decade of experience in second language education, Marissa is happy to be a part of the Harlem Hebrew family since 2014. Previously, she has taught around the globe in Israel, Spain, and Ecuador before returning to her native New York. She is committed to creating a positive and open-minded environment in the classroom that fosters a lifetime of curiosity for learning.   

Currently Marissa is finishing her second Masters degree in Hebrew Education from Middlebury College. Prior to this, Marissa studied at Tel Aviv University graduating with a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology and a M.A. in English Literature.

Marissa has one very special puppy named Lorenzo. Together, Lorenzo and Marissa like traveling, camping, seeing live concerts and exploring NYC. Marissa is an avid learner of languages herself–a speaker of Hebrew, Spanish, and English–she is currently studying Italian. She uses her experience as a language learner to further her proficiency in language teaching.

Maya is a mother of two little girls and a resident of Harlem since 2013.

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Tracy Graham

Having served children in the capacity of educator for 21 years, 17 of which have been in the capacity of a middle school science teacher, and the remaining years as a college professor in the Science Department at Berkeley College, she has also served as a lead teacher, grade level leader and district liaison, Tracy has dedicated her life’s work to shape the mind’s of children.

Tracy’s formal education took place at St. Joseph’s School of Greenwich Village in NYC and then she attended Cathedral High School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Tracy’s higher education began at Touro College, graduating Magna Cum Laude, receiving a B.A. in Education and receiving a Masters in Science Education from the City College of the City of New York. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at Concordia University, where her dissertation is focused on culture and its effect on a students’ education.

Although, Tracy was born and raised in NYC, she now resides in the Hudson Valley, where she is raising her 7-year-old son Matthew. She is active in the community, where she is involved in donating time to the underserved, through visiting a nursing home, participating in serving in soup kitchens and collecting goods, like clothes, and books for those in need. She enjoys reading, dancing (she’s a trained ballet and flamenco dancer) and has had classical opera singing training.

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Marcie Kaiser

Marcie is beginning her first year teaching 3rd grade at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School as a Special Education teacher.  Although she is new to teaching, Marcie has spent significant time working with children and teens with special needs.  Marcie graduated William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and spent her years after graduating from managing a residential facility that was home to 5 teenage boys with severe autism.  In May 2017, Marcie graduated Long Island University with a dual Master’s degree in childhood and special education.  She is passionate about her work and is excited to spend the 2017-2018 school year at HHLA.

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Fourth Grade

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Stephanie Vedral

Stephanie did her undergraduate degree at Seton Hall University and studied Business Management.  After graduation, she worked for the Brooklyn Nets for two years before discovering her true passion was elsewhere and decided to go back to school for teaching. She has been a Lead Teacher in a pre-k program in the Bronx the past two years.

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Taryn Wrotny

This year is Taryn’s first year at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy.  She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Elementary Education, which she obtained from Quinnipiac University. This past year she worked with grades 3-6 as a reading specialist at a public school in Connecticut called Stratford Academy Johnson House.   She also interned and student taught in a first-grade class at Clintonville Elementary School while working towards her Master’s degree. Her love for teaching has continued to grow through each of these experiences and has given her a great foundation as a teacher.

She is originally from South Brunswick, New Jersey and recently moved to the Financial District of New York City this summer. She is a proud dog owner of four and is beyond excited to be part of the Harlem Hebrew Team and teach her fourth-grade students this year!

Gat Gabriel

Gat Gabriel is a native Hebrew speaker, veteran journalist, and graphic designer with excellent people skills and an expertise in Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM)—Theta and Reiki healing.  She also has extensive expertise in crafting creative and effective lessons for children.

Prior to teaching Modern Hebrew at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy, Gat worked as an energy healer and spent many years as a student of spiritual traditions from all over the world, from Jewish Kabbalah to Buddhism, Zen, and Shamanism.  Finding meditation to have a powerfully positive impact on her life, Gat started teaching meditation to individuals and group with a focus on Mindfulness and Manifestation.

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Fifth Grade

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Samantha Green

Samantha Green recently completed a dual master’s program at Hunter College School of Education in Special Education with Learning Disabilities, Grades 1-6 & General Education, Grades 1-6.

This is her first year teaching, and she is very excited to be a part of the Harlem Hebrew Charter School team. She has always loved working with children and firmly believes that with the proper educational setting, each child can thrive and reach their full potential.

She lives with her husband in NYC & spends as much free time as possible outdoors. She also enjoys listening to music reading!

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Special Areas

Physical Education

Henry Frier

Mr. Henry is a Queens College graduate and is a proud founding member at Harlem Hebrew who is currently entering his 5th year.  Prior to teaching at HH, Mr. Henry taught Physical Education and health class to Middle School Students at Amani Public Charter School located in Mount Vernon NY.

Mr. Henry’s PE class consists of teaching experiences that will help build a complete student with the physical, social, health related fitness, and problem solving skills necessary to be successful.  A positive learning environment will give students the confidence to appreciate a good challenge in a safe environment all while having a great time..   You will not find another class that is filled with more life lessons, skill, love, and above all fun.

Art

Dance

Kenya Gibson

Kenya Joy Gibson is a native of Brooklyn, NY. At the age of four she started her formal training at Dance Theatre of Harlem. She attended Talent Unlimited Performing Arts High School in NYC as a Dance Major, where she trained at the Martha Graham School, the Juilliard School, and Long Island University Post Campus. She received her BFA in Dance Studies in 2014. Kenya became a co-founder of Ntrinsik Movement in 2014, showcasing her works at such venues as The Alvin Ailey City Center, Symphony Space, and Kumble Theater. She is currently a company member with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre under the direction of Abdel Salaam.

Kenya has taught in many public schools and local studios such as PS/IS 128Q , Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts, Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation and Cumbe. She hopes to receive her Master’s in Dance Education along with her certification. Kenya looks forward to the continuation of her professional career in dance and choreography.

Music

Social Worker

Behavior Specialist

ESL

Hebrew Floaters

Yris Bella

This is Yris’ second year teaching Hebrew at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School.  She is continuing with last years’ Fourth graders into Fifth grade and teaching K classes as well.

Yris is a native of Israel, a former Lieutenant – Air Traffic Controller in the IDF. She holds a BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Haifa University. While studying for her degree Yris worked with mentally disabled children and adults in various institutions mainly in Tel Aviv.

In NY Yris worked in Advertising, producing TV and Radio commercials for over a decade.

Yris is a proud mother of 4, committed to serving her community.  She volunteers as Head of Israeli Scouts NY Chapter with over 200 children 2nd-12th Grade. In her free time, Yris loves to travel, hike, be inspired in art museums and create various visual art forms.

Shiran Achrak

Shiran was born and raised in a small town in Israel. She lived on a Moshav which had roaming chickens and plentiful fields. Shiran graduated from Bar Ilan University in Israel, with a Bachelor’s degree. In the past, she taught students with disabilities and even worked with prisoners. She worked for a nonprofit organization helping disabled people find job placements. She moved to America 4 years ago to pursue her career in education. This will be her fourth year at Harlem Hebrew School! She taught kindergarten her first year and first grade for the following two years. This year is her first year in the 5th grade and she is very eager to get started.

Along with teaching, Shiran is a new mom to a beautiful baby girl, Gaia. Although this takes up most of her free time, she also has a passion for dancing, practicing yoga and traveling to interesting and fun places. Additionally, Shiran tutors students in the Hebrew Language and teaches in an After School Program at a local Synagogue. She enjoys meeting new people, learning about new cultures, and creating new relationships.

Learning Specialists

Operations

Community Relations Coordinator

Sarah Guthartz

Sarah is an LMSW who has extensive experience working with children and families. Sarah has been working in the nonprofit world her entire career, but this is her first school experience. She has been a camp counselor, a camp director, a crisis intervention social worker and an executive director. She has her MSW from Yeshiva University – Wurzweiler School of Social work and her undergraduate degree from Central Connecticut State University. She has two HHLA students, Jonah, a founding Kindergartener who is entering 5th grade this year and Stella, an enthusiastic rising 2nd grader. Sarah lives in Washington Heights with her HHLA students, husband Seth and devilish Chocolate Lab, Cocoa.

Technology Associate

Finance Associate

Charita Whitaker

Operations Associates

Janice Smith

Christine Prosper

Nashaun Lemay