Leadership & Staff

Akiba-Schechter has the superb academic leadership of the following educators.

 

Miriam Kass, Principal

Principal Miriam Kass comes from a family of educators. Over the past 15 years, Ms. Kass has worn many hats at Akiba-Schechter. She was the president of the Board of Directors, an award-winning 3rd/4th grade teacher, and most recently the Director of Teaching and Learning. In all her roles, she employed creative strategies and relished opportunities to build community and strengthen characters.

As Principal, Ms. Kass enjoys supporting teachers, collaborating with administrators, and partnering with parents and students. She is committed to helping our teachers and students discover and illuminate the connections between Judaic and General Studies to enrich the important work of inspiring active Jewish citizens.

Ms. Kass has a B.A. in Religion and Education from Carleton College, and a M.Ed. from Lesley College. Before coming to Akiba, she taught at Brookwood School in MA and at the Latin School of Chicago. Students, friends and family know Ms. Kass as a lover of word games, puzzles, biking and birds. She is the mother of two Akiba alumnae. She and her family are residents of Hyde Park, members of Congregation Rodfei Zedek and proud White Sox fans.

 

Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director 

Carla Goldberg has been the Akiba-Schechter Early Childhood Director since 2000. Carla started at Akiba in 1991 as a teacher and has since taught in the 1st & 2nd grade, Kindergarten, 3- and 4-year-olds, Ready!Set!Go!, and Parent/Tot. She became Associate Preschool Director in 1996. Carla’s experience teaching the range of early childhood years as well as in the grade school is evident in the thoughtful care Akiba-Schechter places on easing children’s transitions from one year to the next. Carla’s first love is teaching, and she continues to teach in the Parent/Tot class.

Carla Goldberg has a BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education for Leadership and Advocacy from National Louis University. Carla has taught Sunday school at Sinai Congregation and was the Early Childhood Educational Coordinator at Congregation Rodfei Zedek. In 2000 Carla was honored with the prestigious Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award. In 2001 Carla was named one of the 10 Chicagoans of the Year by Chicago Jewish News.

Over the past few years, Carla and nine of the Akiba-Schechter's preschool teachers traveled to Reggio Emilia in Italy on a study tour of this world-renowned center for Early Childhood Education. The Akiba-Schechter Preschool is proud to be a Reggio inspired preschool and deeply believes in this deliberate and meaningful way of teaching young children.  

In the summer of 2019 Carla was hired as an adjunct professor at Erikson Institute to develop and teach a course to teach Early Childhood Directors in Beijing, China. Carla’s course focused on creating community in an early childhood program and effective leadership. In 2019 Carla and Kindergarten teacher Jamee Rubin were chosen to participate in the Chicago JECLI (Jewish Early Childhood Leadership Institute) cohort, who are studying together over the next two years to promote excellence and leadership in Jewish early childhood programs.

Carla lives in Hyde Park with her family, and both her children graduated from Akiba-Schechter.

 

Rabbi Dr. David Bauman, DHL,  Head of Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

Rabbi Bauman is the Head of Judaic Studies and Community Engagement at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School. He brings wide-ranging professional and life experiences to this position. Rabbi Bauman has taught  Tanakh and Talmud at Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago and at Robbins Hebrew Academy in Toronto, and he is the rabbi of Lake Shore Drive Synagogue. He also teaches for the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps from 2011-2018, stationed in Great Lakes, IL and Okinawa, Japan, among other places.

He received his rabbinic ordination from the world renowned Talmudic Scholar Rabbi David Weiss-Halivni and from Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Court. He holds a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary, a Master’s degree in Education Administration from New York University, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky. His undergraduate work was completed at The American University in Washington, DC with a B.A. in Sociology, Education, and Jewish Studies. Rabbi Bauman earned a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree in Jewish Ethics at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago.

Prior to his work in the U.S. Navy, Rabbi Bauman served congregations in the United States and Canada. Rabbi Bauman and his wife, Elly, are blessed with two children, Matan and Ori, as well as their beloved dog Hadas Pugman. Rabbi Bauman is an avid motorcycle rider and can be seen traveling to and from Akiba-Schechter on his Harley-Davidson Road King. In addition, Rabbi Bauman has training in martial arts, having studied in the U.S., Okinawa, Japan, and South Korea. He was born in Reading, PA, two blocks west of the Monopoly Board railroad station and raised between Reading, PA and New Rochelle, NY.

 

Alicia Chipman, Director of Teaching and Learning

Alicia Chipman joined the Akiba faculty in 2017 as a 7th/8th grade Humanities teacher. Since 2019, she has also served as the Director of Teaching and Learning. In both of these roles, Alicia continually seeks out new ways to engage both students and teachers in authentic and meaningful learning. She is dedicated to the proposition that all children can and want to learn. She is passionate about promoting student agency and ownership of their learning. Alicia has a BA in American Studies from Carleton College and a MA in Educational Policy with a focus on Global Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She previously taught in Chicago Public Schools for over a decade, first at Logandale Middle School and then Lincoln Park High School. She also has led curriculum and instructional design for a wide range of schools and educational programs as an independent contractor.

Alicia is a mother of three children all of whom began their educational careers in the Akiba-Schechter Preschool. She is an avid reader and puzzler, as well as an aspiring--if not always successful--gardener.

 

Heather Waitzman, Director of Student Services

Heather Waitzman has been at Akiba-Schechter since 2014. Mrs. Waitzman started as the Learning Specialist and became the Director of Student Services in 2017. In both roles, her mission has been to advocate for all students at Akiba and empower them to believe they CAN do anything with the right support and skills taught both in and out of the classroom. 

As Director of Student Services, Mrs. Waitzman enjoys working with students, supporting teachers and parents, and collaborating with outside specialists to help create and maintain individual plans for students to attain reachable goals, and feel success through the process. She is committed to empowering students to be their own best advocates and celebrate each success, big and small. 

Mrs. Waitzman has a B.A. in Communication Studies, and a minor in Art from Northeastern Illinois University. She has a M.A.T in Special Education from National Louis University. Before coming to Akiba, she taught at Cove School in Northbrook and at New Trier High School in their therapeutic day school program. Mrs. Waitzman enjoys DIY projects, decorating, and spending time at her lakehouse with her family. She is the mother of four. Her older two attend Akiba, and her twins are excited to be future Akiba students. She and her family are residents of Lakeview and love to explore the city together. 
 

Administrative Staff

Annette Gendler, Communications

Miriam Friedman-Parks, Administrative Assistant

Jill Kohl, Director of Operations

Robin Lisak, Controller and Administrative Services

Yisraela Marshall, Accounting and Financial Aid 

Millie Miller z'l, School Matriarch

Yelena Spector, Director of Admissions & Marketing

Jefferson Vernon, Building Maintenance & School Superhero!

 

Governance

The Board of Trustees of Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School is a dedicated group of parents and community members who oversee and work closely with the Head of School to create, enhance, and support excellence in every facet of the ASJDS mission. 

The ASJDS Board is always looking for volunteers to join Board Committees as well as the Board of Trustees. For more information or to volunteer, please contact the Board Chair.

The current members of the ASJDS Board of Trustees are listed below.

David Lowenthal, Chair
Herschel Joseph, Vice-Chair
Douglas Glick, Treasurer
Elyce Bader
Andrew Bransky
Paul Cantz
Steven Erlebacher
Susan Evans
Ruslana Friedman
Sarah Gersten
Ree Grossman
Howard Levy
Saleem Penny
Jamie Roitman