Administration and Faculty

ADMINISTRATION

Rabbi Baruch Lichtenstein
Menahel
Rabbi Lichtenstein is a musmach of Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. He holds a B.S. in Biology from The City College of New York (CCNY) and a Master’s degree in School Administration from Teachers College of Columbia University. He also holds state certification as a secondary school principal. His more than four decades of experience in Jewish education include teaching and administrative assignments on both the elementary and high school levels.
 
 
 

Mrs. Brendy Siev
Assistant Principal, General Studies
AP English Language and Composition
 
Mrs. Siev taught English at TAGHS/KTA for grades 9 through 12 on all academic levels, and also served as the school’s marketing director, and student yearbook and newspaper advisor. She subsequently served as director of general studies at Bais Yaakov of Boston High School and taught English and mentored new teachers at NSU University High School in Florida. A graduate of Bnos Chava Teachers’ Seminary and Barnard College, Mrs. Siev has a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University. She has also completed post-graduate programs at the Harvard Principals’ Center, Framingham State University, and the Yeshiva University - School Partnership. Mrs. Siev oversees the general studies program at KTA. She teaches AP Language and Composition to the 12th grade.
 

Rabbi Yaakov Deutscher
Executive Director
 
Rabbi Deutscher earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. He has studied at Yeshiva Kol Torah and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and at Yeshiva Gedolah of Waterbury. He came to Philadelphia in 2009 to join the Philadelphia Community Kollel where he continues to learn part-time.
 

 

Mrs. Cheryl Epstein
Director of College and Seminary Guidance
History 
Mrs. Cheryl Epstein earned her B.A. in History at Harvard University and her M.S. in Social Work at Columbia University. A member of the KTA faculty since 1990, Mrs. Epstein teaches Modern Jewish History and Advanced Placement United States History. She also serves as the Director of Seminary and College Guidance. Mrs. Epstein is certified as a Mentor Teacher through the Jewish New Teacher Project (JNTP), and she mentors novice teachers at KTA. Mrs. Epstein has worked as a Consultant for Teacher Training at the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, and is currently an Associate Program Consultant for the Jewish New Teacher Project and an Educational Consultant to the Lauder Etz Chaim School in Moscow.  
 

Mrs. Sarah Leah Greenspan
Director of Educational Services
Chumash, Yedios Klalios
Mrs. Greenspan received her teaching certificate at Bnos Chava Seminary in Jerusalem. She earned a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Education at Touro College, and an M.S. in Special Education at Adelphi University. Mrs. Greenspan has taught in New York, in both regular and special education settings, and was responsible for educational administration and education evaluation at the Yeled V’Yalda Early Childhood Center. Mrs. Greenspan teaches the skills-based Chumash sequence in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12, and coordinates the school-wide independent study of Yedios Klolios. As Director of Educational Services at KTA, Mrs. Greenspan supervises the learning center, and provides support, direction, and coordination to students, parents, and teachers.
 

Mrs. Julie Kamin
Director of Student Activities
Mrs. Kamin earned a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. After managing the KTA office for three years, she assumed the responsibilities of Director of Student Activities last year. Mrs. Kamin coordinates the extensive extracurricular, chesed, and co-curricular programs at KTA, and is the coach of the KTA Kobras basketball team.
 

 

 

Mrs. Deena Schwersenski
Director of Communications
 
Mrs. Schwersenski earned her B.S. in Graphic Design from the University of Baltimore. In addition to her work at KTA, Mrs. Schwersenski freelances as a Graphic Designer for many local organizations, primarily with print graphics and photos. 
 
 
 

Mrs. Ettie Wachs
Director of Guidance

A licensed clinical social worker, Mrs. Wachs has been the Director of Guidance for more than 13 years. She attended Michlalah Jerusalem College for Women, received her B.A. in Jewish studies and social work from Stern College for Women, and earned an M.S.W. from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University. She received additional training in Family Therapy at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center as well as Contextual Family Therapy and Play and Sandtray Therapy at the Family and Play Therapy Center in Philadelphia in addition to recent training in Emotional Focused Couples Therapy. Mrs. Wachs has many years of experience as a psychotherapist, working with individuals, couples, families, children, and adolescents.

 
 

 

FACULTY

Rabbi Avraham Baum
Halacha
 
Rabbi Baum received his rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, and he earned a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He is a halacha rebbe for grades 9 through 12. With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Rabbi Baum strives to impart to his students a love of learning halacha.
 

 

Mrs. Tessa Belluscio
History
 
Mrs. Belluscio teaches Modern European History in grade 9, academic U.S. History in grade 10, and academic and AP U.S. History in grade 11. A graduate of Rowan University with dual degrees in history and education, Mrs. Belluscio engages her students’ creative and analytical minds by encouraging them to interact with primary sources and “problems” in history through writing prompts, large- and small-format discussion, and project-based learning. She strives to challenge her students while providing the necessary modifications and scaffolding to help each student achieve success.
 

 

Mrs. Rachael Biberfeld
Limudei Kodesh
 
Mrs. Biberfeld earned her teacher’s certificate from Beth Jacob Seminary in Jerusalem, and her B.A. in English from Rutgers University. She has many years of teaching experience in both Judaic and General Studies in high schools throughout the country, as well as extensive experience giving shiurim for adults. She teaches Beur Tefilla, Historia, Neviim Rishonim, Mishlei, Tehillim, Jewish Philosophy and Chumash Bekius, and is the 11th grade Mechaneches.
 

 

Ms. Stefanie Bloom
Mathematics
 
Ms. Bloom holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed in Multicultural Education from Eastern University, and recently became a Google Certified Educator, Level 2. She has spent most of her career teaching high school math in public and private schools. Ms. Bloom holds six Pennsylvania teaching certifications, including Secondary Mathematics and Secondary English. She has worked in professional development and teacher training in addition to her classroom experience and is also an experienced SAT and ACT tutor. Ms. Bloom teaches algebra II, geometry, and precalculus.
 

Mrs. Ann Bromberg
Office Manager
 
Mrs. Bromberg holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University, and she has experience in office administration, advertising, and proofreading. She strives to provide smooth connections between KTA’s educational and administrative needs.
 

 

Mrs. Sharyn Chase
STEM Engineering
 
Mrs. Chase has a B.A. in physics from Brandeis University, a Master’s in physics and astronomy from Northwestern University, and a Master’s in secondary education from Saint Joseph’s University. Mrs. Chase holds multiple Pennsylvania certifications in math and science and has taught a variety of these courses over the years.  She has taught at Central High School in Philadelphia for the last five years and is delighted to be teaching one of the STEM sections here at KTA.
 

 

Mrs. Carol Davidoff
Mathematics
 
Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, Mrs. Davidoff graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a B.S. in Mathematics and Chemistry and an H. Ed. in Mathematics and Science Education. She has taught at public and private schools in South Africa and Philadelphia, including the Torah Academy middle and high school. Mrs. Davidoff now teaches exclusively at KTA, where her teaching responsibilities include honors precalculus and AP calculus.
 

 

Mrs. Yael Davidowitz
Fitness
 
Mrs. Davidowitz is an alumna of Torah Academy Girls High School. She earned her B.A. in Judaic Studies from Stern College, her B.S.N. from Columbia University School of Nursing, and her M.S.N. from Rutgers University School of Nursing. She is a certified fitness instructor and behavior change specialist through the American Council on Exercise and founded Thrive Studio, a full-service exercise studio in Queens, NY. Mrs. Davidowitz works part time as a nurse practitioner in primary care with a specialty practice in weight loss counseling.  As director of the fitness program for all grades at KTA, Mrs. Davidowitz is passionate in her belief that physical fitness is a key ingredient to one’s physical and emotional well-being.
 

 

Mrs. Rhonda deGategno
English
 
Mrs. deGategno earned her B.A. in English Education from the University of South Carolina and her M.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University. She holds teaching certificates in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Carolina and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent/Young Adult English/Language Arts. She had many years of experience teaching high school English in public schools before joining our faculty in 2007. Mrs. DeGategno teaches academic and honors English in grades 9 through 12.
 
 

Rabbi Yehoshua Duskis
Halacha
 
Rabbi Duskis teaches halacha in grades 9, 11, and 12. A musmach of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, Rabbi Duskis has been teaching middle school and adult students throughout the Philadelphia region. As well, he received his B.A. in Liberal Arts and pre-medicine from Thomas Jefferson University.  With his enthusiasm and effusive love of Torah, Rabbi Duskis hopes to increase his students’ understanding of Torah law and its value in their lives.
 
 
 

Miss Rena Epstein
Madricha/Receptionist
 
An alumna of KTA, Miss Epstein studied at Bais Yaakov Machon Raaya in Yerushalayim. She is completing a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College and taking prerequisites In preparation for graduate school. Miss Epstein is thrilled to return to KTA and contribute to the institution that has been so instrumental in her own growth and development. 
 

 

 

Mrs. Rivkah Fox
AP Psychology
 
Mrs. Fox received her Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania School of Education’s Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division. Prior to moving to the United States for graduate school, she received a teaching certificate at Bnos Chava Seminary in Jerusalem, further developed her advanced Jewish textual skills at Moreshet, and completed her B.A. in Humanities. Mrs. Fox completed a life coaching program and hopes to use these skills to help students both in and out of the classroom. 
 
 
 

Miss Elke Friedman
Chumash
 
An alumna of KTA, Miss Friedman earned a teaching certificate from Beth Jacob Seminary in Jerusalem, and a B.S. in Behavioral Science with a minor in Education from Mercy College. She is completing a Masters’ of Science in Special Education from the University of North Dakota and she is taking post-graduate courses in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology, leading to a future as a Board Certified behavior analyst. Miss Friedman has two years of prior experience teaching elementary-aged students in both Judaic and general studies, and this year teaches the ninth-grade foundations Chumash Bekius class.  
 
 

Mrs. Shoshana Golan
Ivrit
 
Born in Israel, Mrs. Golan was a teacher in the IDF and in schools, and taught Hebrew to new immigrants (Olim). She taught Hebrew and Judaic studies at Perelman Jewish Day School for 28 years. She very much enjoys teaching Hebrew language and grammar. Mrs. Golan believes that learning Hebrew helps her students strengthen their connection to the land of Israel and their identity as Jews. Her goal is that when they visit Israel, her students will feel at ease speaking Hebrew and using it fluently to interact with the country.
 
 

Mrs. Miriam Goldstein
Chumash
 
Miriam Goldstein received her teaching degree from Yavne Seminary in Cleveland. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education and a New York State Teacher’s Certificate. Following nearly a decade of experience in New York as a Limudei Kodesh teacher as well as a Special Education Public School teacher, Mrs. Goldstein joined the KTA staff in 2013. She teaches Beur Tefilla in grades 9 and 12, and Shmuel Beis in grade 12.
 
 

Mrs. Abigail Greene
Art
 
Mrs. Greene graduated with both a B.A. from N.Y.U. and a B.F.A. from Moore College of Art. She began teaching art 18 years ago in nursery - 12th grades, and currently teaches K through 8 at Politz Hebrew Academy and grades 9 through 12 at KTA. Mrs. Greene strives to guide students toward in-depth investigation and understanding of our visual world, teaching students skills and techniques to manipulate various mediums.
 

 

Mrs. Sima Greer
Chumash, Navi
 
Mrs. Greer is a lecturer for women at the Philadelphia Community Kollel. She attended Bruriah High School, Michlalah Yerushalayim Seminary, and she received her B.A. from Stern College in Judaic studies with a minor in philosophy. She has been teaching a variety of Torah subjects for nearly two decades, from Chumash and parsha, to Jewish philosophy, halacha, parshanut, tefilla, and mo’adim, and has taught and lectured internationally to girls and women of varying ages. Her greatest nachas as a teacher is seeing her students feel passionate about their Torah learning and implementing those lessons into their lives.
 

 

Mrs. Faigy Gross
Chumash
 
Mrs. Faige Gross received her teaching degree from Bnot Sara Seminary in Israel. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Touro College and a Master’s in social work from Adelphi University. Mrs. Gross joined the KTA faculty in 2016 after several years teaching in New York. She teaches the academic-level Chumash class in grades 9 and 10, and the honors-level Chumash class in grades 11 and 12.
 

 

Dr. Gilya Hodos
Music Appreciation
 
Pianist Gilya Hodos has concertized extensively both as a soloist and collaborative artist in Israel, Germany, Australia, and throughout the United States. Certified by the Music Teachers National Association, Dr. Hodos maintains a vibrant and active piano studio and is currently on the faculty at Penn State Abington. Dr. Hodos has served on several panels specializing in working with teenage students and derives great satisfaction teaching Music Appreciation to the Seniors of KTA. 
 
 

Mrs. Rivka Isaacson
Theater Director
 
Mrs. Isaacson earned a B.S. in Business, Management, and Economics from Empire State College and an M.B.A. from La Salle University. Mrs. Isaacson lives in Northeast Philadelphia where her husband serves as a Rabbi of Congregation Beth Solomon. Mrs. Isaacson has extensive experience producing plays and concerts and has been directing the KTA annual play for four years.  
 

 

Mrs. Miriam Kamenetsky
Chumash
 
Mrs. Kamenetsky earned her teacher’s degree from Bais Yaakov Seminary in New York. A veteran teacher with many years of experience, she has taught Chumash in our school for 20 years. Mrs. Kamenetsky teaches the Honors Level Chumash class in Grades 9 and 10, and the Academic level in Grades 11 and 12. She is also the 9th grade Mechaneches (Faculty Advisor) and coach of the champion KTA Torah Bowl team.
 

 

Mr. Lawrence McAfoos
Chemistry
 
In addition to teaching Honors Chemistry at KTA, Larry McAfoos teaches Chemistry at Lower Merion High School, where he served as Science Department Chair for 13 years. At Lower Merion he teaches general, Honors and AP Chemistry. He also teaches Chemistry at The Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia. In addition to receiving accolades from professional colleagues, he was nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in mathematics and Science Teaching in 2011. Mr. McAfoos received his B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University and his M.A.T. in Secondary Science Education from the State University of New York College at Cortland, New York.
 
 

Mr. Leib Meadvin
Mathematics
 
Mr. Meadvin is a graduate of Rutgers University, CCAS, where he earned a B.A. in Fine Art, and of Temple University, where he earned an M.A. in Mathematics. In addition to teaching at KTA, Mr. Meadvin teaches at the Community College of Philadelphia. This year at KTA, he teaches Academic and Foundation level courses in Pre-Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra I and II in all grades.
 

 

Mrs. Rivky Milgraum
English
 
Mrs. Milgraum attended Brooklyn College as a Presidential Scholar and earned her degree in Secondary English Education (Grades 7-12). She holds an M.A. in Special Education from Queens College, and has Pennsylvania certification in English and Special Education. Prior to joining the KTA faculty, Mrs. Milgraum taught 8th grade English and 11th grade SAT prep at a private school in Queens. Mrs. Milgraum teaches Academic level English in Grades 9 and 11.
 
 

Mrs. Liba Rosenbaum
Nevi'im Acharonim
 
Mrs. Rosenbaum graduated Bais Yaakov Seminary with a teacher’s diploma. She has taught children and young adult of all ages. Mrs. Rosenbaum uses her educational experience and caring manner to maximize each pupil’s potential. She believes in each student’s ability to succeed and hopes to help many more to achieve their goals.
 

 

Mrs. Anne Saks
Mathematics, STEM Engineering
 
Mrs. Saks earned her B.S. and Master’s of Engineering from Cornell University. She worked in industry for several years before earning her certification in teaching. She has been teaching and tutoring all types of math in both private and public schools for more than 15 years. Mrs. Saks most recently taught math as an adjunct professor at Widener University. She teaches algebra 1, geometry, statistics, and STEM engineering (Science Technology Engineering & Math).
 
 
 

Rabbi Yakir Schechter
Halacha
 
Rabbi Yakir Schechter received his semicha from Yeshiva University and a Master’s Degree from the Azrieli School of Jewish Education. He also spent time learning at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, Mir Yerushalayim, the Aish HaTorah Kollel Elyon, and the Philadelphia Community Kollel. While not at KTA, he is a rebbe at the Mesivta High School. With his experience teaching in a wide variety of institutions, he brings warmth, passion, and excitement into KTA. 
 
 
 

Mrs. Sara Spiewak
Chemistry
 
Mrs. Spiewak taught general chemistry for four years at NYU as an adjunct professor and simultaneously substituted at various private schools in Manhattan and the Bronx. She received her Bachelor’s in chemistry from Stern College and Master’s in chemistry from NYU. Mrs. Spiewak teaches 10th grade academic chemistry, where the students learn to understand and appreciate the atomic building blocks of the world around them.
 
 

Dr. Patricia Towler
Human Anatomy and Physiology

Dr. Towler teaches Anatomy and Physiology for her third year at KTA to the 11th and 12th graders.  She taught biology for 10 years at Middlesex County College in New Jersey and science at Beit Chana High School for girls in New Haven, Connecticut. She graduated from St. Louis University with a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Wistar Institute on the University of Pennsylvania campus. In Human A & P, students explore the different body systems, some of their disorders, and how these complex systems work together as a whole. 

 

 

Miss Faigy Zeffren
Mechina, Chumash, Nevi'im
 
Miss Zeffren, an alumna of KTA, earned her teaching certificate from Beth Jacob Seminary in Jerusalem. She is currently pursuing her B.A. from Excelsior College. She teaches Trei Asar as well as Chumash and Yehadus for the ninth grade Mechina program. She eagerly anticipates her role in molding the next generation of KTA students.