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
 
Mrs. Siev taught English at TAGHS/KTA for grades 9 thru 12 on all academic levels, and also served as the school’s marketing director, and student yearbook and newspaper advisor. She subsequently served as General Studies Principal at the Bais Yaakov of Boston High School and has been teaching English and mentoring teachers at Nova Southeastern University High School in Florida for the past four years. A graduate of Bnos Chava Teachers’ Seminary and Barnard College, Mrs. Siev has recently completed a master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction at Nova Southeastern University. Mrs. Siev 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 and the Extra-curricular programming at KTA. She teaches AP English to the 12th grade.

 

Rabbi Yaakov Deutscher
Executive Director
 
Rabbi Deutscher earned his Masters of Business Administration at the University of Connecticut. He has studied at Yeshiva Kol Torah and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and at Yeshiva Gedolah of Waterbury, CT. 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. Epstein earned her B. A. in History at Harvard University, and her M.S. in Social Work at Columbia University. She has been a member of the high school faculty since 1990, and has also worked as an Educational Consultant for Teacher Training at the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education. Mrs. Epstein teaches the 12th grade course in Holocaust Studies and Modern Jewish History, and is responsible for Seminary and College Guidance.

 

Mrs. Sarah Leah Greenspan
Director of Educational Services
Chumash

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 3 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 for the KTA Kobras basketball team.

 

 

Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman
Director of Educational Development
Psychology, Navi

Dr. Shmidman earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She holds a Teacher’s Certificate from Beth Jacob Seminary in Jerusalem, a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Queens College, and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate Institute of Yeshiva University. She holds a Certificate in Educational Technology Integration from Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership. In addition to her role as Rebbitzen of Lower Merion Synagogue, Dr. Shmidman teaches Sefer Shmuel Alef, Haftoros, and Advanced Placement Psychology. She is also responsible for the faculty professional development program at KTA.

 

Mrs. Ettie Wachs
Director of Guidance

A licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mrs. Wachs attended Michlalah Jerusalem College for Women, received her B.A. in Jewish Studies and Social Work from Stern College for Women, and earned an MSW 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. Mrs. Wachs has many years of experience as a psychotherapist, working with individuals, couples, families, children, and adolescents.

 

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. 
 

 

FACULTY

Rabbi Avraham Baum
Halacha
 
Rabbi Baum received his Rabbinic Ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore and he earned a Master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He is a Halacha Rebbe for grades 9 through 12. With over 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 and AP level US History I in Grade 10, and AP US History II in Grade 11. A graduate of Rowan University with a B.A. in History and a B.A. in 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, discussion, and project-based learning. 
 

 

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.
 

 

Rabbi Yechiel Biberfeld
Machshava
 
Rabbi Biberfeld is the Rosh Kollel of the Philadelphia Community Kollel. He is a musmach of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, and is a noted speaker and author. An experienced teacher, Rabbi Biberfeld teaches the popular 12th grade “Foundations of Judaism” Machsheves Yisroel course at KTA.
 

 

 

Ms. Stefanie Bloom
Mathematics, Science
 
Ms. Bloom holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed in Multicultural Education from Eastern University. 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. Ms. Bloom teaches Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Physics.

 

Mrs. Ann Bromberg
Office Manager
 
Mrs. Bromberg holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. She manages the Education Office, helping the students, teachers, and administrators. Mrs. Bromberg’s mission is to ensure that every KTA graduate can tell time from an analog clock. Hers is the voice that students and parents hear when they call the high school office. 
 

 

Mr. Glenn Brooks
Chemistry
 
Mr. Brooks earned his B.A. in Chemistry from Muhlenberg College, and received a Master’s Degree in Inorganic Chemistry from Drexel University. He spent 18 years in the private sector before attending St. Joseph’s University where he earned his teaching certificate. He has been teaching chemistry for the past 21 years, 2 years at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and the last 19 years at Lower Merion High School. His love of chemistry and unique teaching style have endeared his classroom to our students.
 

 

Mrs. Carly Chodosh
Madricha
 
Mrs. Carly Chodosh has a B.A. in Jewish Studies from Temple University. After spending one year studying at Shearim College for Jewish Studies in Har Nof, Israel, Mrs. Chodosh worked as the Eim Bayit at Baer Miriam, Mayanot Seminary until her and her family returned to Bala Cynwyd. Aside from her work at KTA, Mrs. Chodosh is working on her Masters of Social Work at Bryn Mawr College.
 

 

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 at the Torah Academy middle and high school. Mrs. Davidoff now teaches exclusively at KTA, where her teaching responsibilities include all levels of mathematics from Algebra I through AP Calculus.
 

 

Mrs. Yael Davidowitz
Fitness
 
Mrs. Davidowitz is a graduate of Torah Academy Girls High School. She earned her B.A. in Judaic Studies from Stern College, her B.S.N. from Columbia School of Nursing, and her M.S.N from Rutgers University School of Nursing. She is a certified fitness instructor through the American Council of Exercise and founded her own full service movement and exercise studio in Queens, NY. She works part time as a primary care nurse practitioner and runs a lifestyle counseling service with a focus on weight loss coaching. 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 at KTA.
 
 

Rabbi Yehoshua Duskis
Halacha
 
Rabbi Duskis is a musmach of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts and PreMed from Thomas Jefferson University. Rabbi Duskis has taught Grades 7 and 8 at Torah Academy and has several years teaching experience in many kiruv settings in the Philadelphia region. He is a Halacha Rebbe for grades 9 through 12. With his enthusiastic manner and effusive love of Torah, Rabbi Duskis hopes to increase his students’ understanding of Torah Law and its value in their lives.
 

 

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- 8 at Politz Hebrew Academy and grades 9 - 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. Faigy Gross
Chumash
 
Mrs. Faige Gross received her teaching degree from Bnot Sara Seminary in Israel. She holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from Touro College and a Masters 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. Zina Ioffe
Science
 
Mrs. Ioffe earned her B.S. in Mathematics and Master’s degree in Physics and Education at Riga University. She also completed 2 years of post-graduate studies. Since 1990 she has taught in the US – Physics, Mathematics, and Statistics for undergraduate and graduate science students as well as non-science majors. She also designed, implemented, and taught Physics programs for high school students. She currently teaches Physics at the University of Sciences. Mrs. Ioffe joined the KTA staff this year teaching Honors level Physics.
 

 

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. Elizabeth Nagle
English
 
Mrs. Nagle graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Religious Philosophy and Writing. She holds her M.F.A. in English/Writing from the University of Iowa. Mrs. Nagle has taught high school and college-level writing for over 10 years. She has also worked in book publishing, as a journalist, and as a communications writer and standardized test item writer. Mrs. Nagle teaches Grade 10 Honors level English and Academic level English in Grades 9 and 11.
 

 

Mrs. Suri Rabinovici
English as a Second Language (ESL)
 
A graduate of Brooklyn College with a B.A in Sociology/Psychology, Mrs. Rabinovici holds an M.A. in Sociology from New York University and an M.A. in English/American Literature from Northeastern University. She taught high school English at Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts for 25 years, serving as English Department chair for several years. Mrs. Rabinovici taught literature courses in the Brookline Adult Education Program and English as a Second Language to adult immigrants from Russia. This is her second year at KTA.
 

 

Dr. Yechiel Schur

Ivrit
Dr. Schur holds a B.A. in History from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in Medieval Jewish History from New York University. Over the past 15 years, he taught Hebrew and Jewish Studies at New York University, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. This is his second year at KTA. Dr. Schur shares with the students his love for Ivrit, making the study of the language challenging, inspiring, and enjoyable.
 
 

 

Mrs. Netanya Silver
Ivrit Assistant
 
Mrs. Silver earned her B.A. in Judaic Studies from Naaleh College. She also studied in Neve Yerushalayim and Yeshiva University. After teaching at the Maryland School for Jewish Education and The Mitzvah Factory, Mrs. Silver is very excited to teach at KTA.
 
 
 

Mrs. Leiba Sturman
Neviim, Kesuvim
 
A graduate of Bais Yaakov Seminary, Mrs. Sturman has taught in the high school since its founding. She came to the school with a wealth of teaching experience and has been a beloved teacher to two generations of high school graduates. Mrs. Sturman teaches Neviim Achronim (Yirmiyahu, Yeshayahu, and Trei Asar) and Kesuvim (Megillos) in grades 9 through 12, and is the Mechaneches (Faculty Advisor) for the sophomore class.
 

 

Mrs. Dvorah Svei
Limudei Kodesh
 
Rebbetzin Svei, a graduate of the Beth Jacob Teachers Seminary in New York, taught for many years in the Bais Yaakov educational system. Rebbetzin Svei has been a member of the high school faculty since its inception, and has taught Neviim Rishonim and Historia at various grade levels. This year, Rebbetzin Svei is supervising the Shacharis davening.
 

 

Dr. Patricia Towler
Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biology

Dr. Towler 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. Dr. Towler is teaching Human Anatomy and Physiology to 12th grade for the second year at KTA, and both Honors and Academic level Biology to the 11th grade. The goal for each class is to encourage questions and to foster excitement, connecting concepts to everyday experiences and observations.