Our Faculty

Leadership Team

Emily Carson, Head of School
אמילי קארסון, מנהלת בית הספר

Emily is excited to enter her third year in the Harlem Hebrew Community and her third year as Head of School. In her role, she works with Leadership Team members and Harlem Hebrew staff to ensure that Harlem Hebrew is continuing to grow stronger and stronger and that 2020-2021 will be our best year yet – even with the unique challenges in the world.

Emily is the middle child of seven kids and grew up on the Gulf Coast. She’s a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the team at Harlem Hebrew, Emily worked at a district school in the Bronx, a charter school in Brooklyn, and she spent two summers teaching English in Israel. She’s passionate about historical education, creating diverse spaces, and helping teachers be their best selves for kids and families. She’s also currently in Beginner Dalet in Hebrew Classes, and she’s committing to learning and growing alongside the kids.

Stephanie Branovan, Assistant Head of School
סטפני ברנובן, סגנית המנהלת

Stephanie is entering her fourth year with the Harlem Hebrew community and the Harlem Hebrew Leadership Team and her second year as the Assistant Head of School.

A native of Queens, NY, Stephanie feels passionate about providing excellent educational opportunities for all children in New York. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and International Relations from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, a Master’s Degree in Education from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, and a Master’s in Education and Social Policy from New York University. Prior to joining Harlem Hebrew, Stephanie worked at a charter school in Memphis, TN, a charter school in Brooklyn, and the NYSED and NYCDOE working on diversity and school desegregation policies.

Having studied Hebrew in her own K-8 school, Stephanie deeply understands the entryways to opportunities that the knowledge of a second or third language allows. She is excited to continue working with the amazing Harlem Hebrew community.

Contact Stephanie: sbranovan@harlemhebrewcharter.org 

MarrLa Merritt, Director of Operations
מרלה מריט, מנהלת תחום תפעול

MarrLa is thrilled to start her first year as the Director of Operations at Harlem Hebrew. In her role, MarrLa leads the operations team to support the needs of our students, teachers, and families.

MarrLa was born and currently resides in New Jersey. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies from Montclair State University and obtained her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Thomas Edison State University.

Prior to joining Harlem Hebrew, MarrLa’s passion for equitable education for all students was evident in her work. In the past ten years, she has worked in charter schools and education-based nonprofit organizations, focused on operations, fundraising, community development, and strategic initiatives. MarrLa’s favorite part about her role is being able to make an impact on the lives of our students because they are the future change-makers!

Contact MarrLa: mmerritt@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Taharah Smalls, Senior Dean of Culture
טהרה סמולס, רכזת תרבות

Taharah is an essential part of the leadership team and is responsible for working closely with students, teachers, and families to help shape and sustain a positive school culture that promotes academic and character growth.

Taharah has an extensive and diverse background in the social service field. Prior to taking on her role in our school, Taharah worked several years as Lead Behavior Specialist in a residential school for children and young adults with various disabilities. Additionally, Taharah has provided school-based and in-home counseling to support students having difficulties that interfere with learning. Utilizing a family-centered approach to designing and implementing the student’s program, Taharah worked with students individually as well as within small groups to promote social and emotional development. Taharah is a graduate of The College of New Rochelle with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, but more importantly, Taharah is committed to the flexibility and time students need in order to build a strong relationship based on empathy and trust.

Taharah looks forward with great enthusiasm to another year of partnership with the Harlem Hebrew family!

Contact Taharah: tsmalls@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Alona Mor, Academic Dean of Hebrew
אלונה מור, רכזת לימודי עברית

Alona works with the Hebrew and the Specials teams (music, art, dance and PE) to support the areas of language instruction and the arts at school. She works alongside these wonderful professionals to ensure that our students’ days are filled with joy and play-based learning. In Hebrew, we are focused on creating the best conditions to support students’ acquisition of Hebrew. In Specials, we are creating spaces where students can experience themselves as artists, musicians, athletes and dancers and where they learn about different cultures, perspectives and artists around the world.

Alona is the middle child of five and grew up in Jerusalem, where she spent most of her time playing outside barefoot. She graduated from Hunter College with a Master’s Degree in education. Alona is a member of the founding leadership team at Harlem Hebrew – a privilege she is forever thankful for. Alona is passionate about the Hebrew language, about play-based learning, and about growing alongside the amazing people she is fortunate to call colleagues.

Contact Alona: amor@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Sarah White, Academic Dean of Literacy
שרה ווייט, רכזת פדגוגית – אנגלית

Sarah is excited to enter her second year as the Harlem Hebrew Community in the role of Academic Dean of Literacy. Sarah has wanted to work in the field of education for as long as she can remember and is so excited to continue to work with HHLA. Collaboration with other teachers has always been important to her, and she has worked diligently to ensure that student voice is prioritized in her classrooms. Sarah is excited to serve as Academic Dean and work alongside the team at Harlem Hebrew Language Academy to best serve our students, families, and community.

Sarah White grew up in Scranton, PA, and is a middle child who has 2 brothers. Her younger brother was actually her very first student when she taught him how to read. She is a graduate of Boston University, where she studied Secondary English Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Following her graduation, she worked as an 8th-grade teacher in Massachusetts Public Schools, and after moving to New York, she worked in a charter school in Brooklyn, serving as a reading teacher while holding various leadership positions. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and baking.

Contact Sarah at swhite@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Martin Reed, Academic Dean of Math
מרטין ריד, רכז פדגוגי – מתטמתיקה

Martin is excited to start his second year as the Academic Dean of Math and Science at Harlem Hebrew. He grew up in Tampa, Florida where most of his Cuban family live and lived in North Carolina from grade school through college. He’s a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with BA’s in Geophysics and Environmental Public Health Policy and John’s Hopkins University’s Graduate School of Education with an MS Ed in Education. Currently, he is in the second year of doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University for an Ed D in Mind, Brain, and Teaching; his research seeks to understand student development of a STEM identity, particularly for underrepresented minority students in urban elementary schools.

Prior to joining the team at Harlem Hebrew, Martin worked in charter and public schools in the west side of Chicago for eight years, with the past two years being focused as Department Head of Science rebuilding a science program for a K-8 elementary school from the ground up. He’s passionate about science and math education, creating multi-modal and personalized learning opportunities, and building strong relationships with teachers, students and families to develop the whole child. He is also passionate about Smokie, a Cairn Terrier eerily resembling the dog from the Wizard of Oz and spending as much time outside or traveling as possible.

Contact Martin: mreed@harlemhebrewcharter.org

Rikki Cohen, Special Education Coordinator
ריקי כהן, מתאמת חינוך מיוחד

Rikki is really excited for her third year as the special education coordinator at Harlem Hebrew. Although Rikki is the point person for special education, interventions, related services, and multilingual services she works with all teachers and team members. She collaborates with teachers, staff, and families to ensure the needs of all of our students are being met. She is deeply committed to working as a team to ensure a successful year! Rikki has always been passionate about education. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island. She then went on to receive Master’s Degrees from Hofstra University in general education and in special education. This is Rikki’s second year as Harlem’s Special Education Coordinator. Before becoming the SPED coordinator at Harlem Hebrew, she was a second-grade teacher and grade team lead at our school. Prior to joining the HHLA team, she has had experience teaching in different general education and special education classroom settings. She is excited to continue to grow and continue to build strong relationships with our students, staff, and families.

Contact Rikki: rcohen@harlemhebrewcharter.org