May 18, 2006 — Many teachers in Jewish day schools across the United States juggle teaching duties in addition to administrative responsibilities. An innovative program for Jewish educators who aspire to securing administrative positions, the Support for Educational Leadership Advancement (SELA), has been developed by the Association of Modern Orthodox Day & High Schools (AMODS) to help prepare professional Jewish educators for the various roles they will play as administrators.
The SELA yarchei kallah (gathering for learning) will guide educators as transition from classroom professional to administrator. The SELA conference will take place at an inaugural Yarchei Kallah at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ, June 13-14.
AMODS, under the auspices of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), is the central address for the educational needs of 100 member schools around the country which brings the university and its resources to students of day schools and high schools.
The primary aim of this kallah is to create a small network of talented Jewish educators and administrators–the conference is limited to 20 invited individuals– to learn from each other and share experiences. Workshops topics range from time management skills to implementing educational changes, as well as emerging trends in the areas of administration, policy, research, and supervision and discussions about ethical leadership.
A panel discussion will feature individuals who recently made the transition into administration. Participating workshop leaders in the new initiative will feature prominent educators, scholars and psychologists including YU President Richard M. Joel; Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean, CJF; Dr. David Schnall, dean, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration (AGS); Rabbi David A. Israel, director, AMODS; Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, Senior Scholar, CJF; Dr. David Pelcovitz, Gwendolyn & Joseph Straus Chair in Jewish Education, AGS, and Dr. Frank Pignatelli, professor, Educational Leadership Department, Bank Street College of Education.
The inspiration for SELA evolved over a period of time, according to AMODS staffer Toby Goldfisher Kaplowitz. “When CJF launched last year, we at AMODS knew we wanted to provide professional development for Jewish educators as well as foster leadership training.”
“We’re creating the first cohort of school administrators and plan to hold these conferences biannually,” said Ms. Goldfisher Kaplowitz. “Our goal is to create a core group in which participants share their knowledge, learn from one another, and build consensus among their faculty, engage parents and community members, and design a shared vision for their schools.”