Administration and Faculty

ADMINISTRATION

 

 Mrs. Cheryl Epstein
 Principal
 A member of  the KTA faculty since 1990, Mrs. Epstein has served in a variety of teaching, guidance, and administrative capacities at the school. In addition to her role as Principal, Mrs. Epstein teaches Modern Jewish History to the senior class. Certified as a Mentor Teacher and trained as an Educational Facilitator by the Jewish New Teacher Project (JNTP), Mrs. Epstein has mentored novice teachers at KTA and has trained veteran teachers from many Jewish day schools to become mentor teachers. Mrs. Epstein has worked as a Consultant for Teacher Training for the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education and as a private consultant to Jewish day schools in the United States and Moscow. As a former Associate Program Consultant for the Jewish New Teacher Project, she has mentored novice day school administrators around the country.  Mrs. Epstein did her undergraduate work in History at Harvard University and earned her Masters degree in Social Work at Columbia University.
 

 Mrs. Rachel Baum

Assistant Principal, Limudei Kodesh 

Mrs. Baum, a native Philadelphian, attended KTA high school and subsequently taught Chumash at KTA. Mrs. Baum has extensive experience as an educator and administrator, and has established a reputation as a masterful teacher in high school and seminary settings in the United States, Israel, and Europe. For the past three years, Mrs. Baum and her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Baum, have been living in Germany, where he has served as the founding Rosh Kollel of a community kollel in Berlin, and she has been teaching women and girls as a lecturer at the Kahal Adass Jisroel synagogue and as a teacher at the Lauder Beth Zion School. Mrs. Baum teaches 10th grade Chumash and Parsha to grades 10-12.

 

 Mrs. Brendy Siev
 Assistant Principal, General Studies
 AP English Language and Composition
 Mrs. Siev oversees the general studies program at KTA. She 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 teaches AP Language and Composition to the 12th grade and English 10 Foundations.
 

 Rabbi Yaakov Deutscher
 Executive Director
 Rabbi Deutscher earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. He studied at Yeshiva Kol Torah and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem and at Yeshiva Gedolah of Waterbury. 
 
 
 
 
 

 Rabbi Baruch Lichtenstein
 Menahel Emeritus
 Navi Rebbi

Rabbi Lichtenstein, our menahel emeritus, 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. Rachael Biberfeld
 Director of Seminary Guidance
 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 Historia, Neviim Rishonim, Mishlei, Tehillim, and Chumash Bekius, and is also the 12th grade mechaneches and seminary advisor.
 
 
 

 Mrs. Sarah Leah Greenspan
 Director of Educational Services
 Chumash, Yedios Klolios
 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, and 11, Math 10 Foundations, 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. Faige Gross
 Director of Student Activities
 Yesodos

Mrs. Faige Gross received her teaching degree from Bnos Sarah 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 Yesodos class for grades 9 and 10. She is also the mechaneches for 10th grade and serves as the Director of Student Activities.

 
 

 Mrs. Ettie Wachs
 Director of Guidance
Psychology

A licensed clinical social worker, Mrs. Wachs has been the Director of Guidance for over 15 years. She attended Michlalah in Jerusalem, received her B.A. in Jewish studies and social work from Stern College, and an M.S.W. from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She received additional training in family therapy at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center and sand tray therapy at the Family and Play Therapy Center in Philadelphia. Mrs. Wachs has trained in emotional focused couples therapy as well as the treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. She has many years of experience as a psychotherapist and school guidance counselor.

 

 

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 and 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 and academic and AP U.S. History in grades 10 and 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.
 
 
 
 
Miss Miryam Ruchama Biberfeld
Executive Assistant

Miss Biberfeld has a Master’s in Education and Special Education from the Institute of Special Education of Sara Schenirer/Mercy College. She has taught in various schools in the Philadelphia area and has also worked as an Office Manager and Extracurricular Coordinator. An alumnus of TAGHS, Miss Biberfeld looks forward to being in the KTA environment again.

 

 

 Mrs. Ann Bromberg
 Office Manager

Now in her seventh year at KTA, Mrs. Bromberg holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. She has worked in the fields of office administration, advertising, and proofreading.

 

 

 
 Mrs. Chaya Raizy Burr
 Navi

Mrs. Burr has taught a variety of grades, from preschool through seminary in the United States and in Canada. She holds a teaching degree from the Bais Yaakov Teachers Seminary of Brooklyn.  As she teaches Navi to her students, she strives to instill in every student a love of learning and pride in her Jewishness. Mrs. Burr teaches 9th and 12th grade Navi.

 

Dr. Rebecca Cohen

English

Dr. Cohen attended the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Language and Literature as well as her certification in English Education. She completed post-graduate work in Literature at Dartmouth College and earned a dual Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and American Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to arriving at KTA, Dr. Cohen taught high school English in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, writing and literature at Dartmouth College (Instructor), Secondary Education at Indiana University, Bloomington (Associate Instructor), and Liberal Studies and Teacher Education at Ursinus College (Assistant Professor). Dr. Cohen teaches English 10 Honors, 11 Academic, and 11 AP Literature and Composition.

 

 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 precalculus at KTA.

 

 

 Mrs. Yael Davidowitz
 Fitness Director

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 School of Nursing.  Mrs. Davidowitz has close to two decades of experience teaching fitness and wellness, including creating Thrive Studio in Queens, NY, a full service movement studio servicing the Orthodox community.  She is a certified behavior change specialist with a private practice in weight loss management.  Passionate about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, Mrs. Davidowitz is the director of the fitness program for all grades at KTA and has created a holistic fitness and wellness program to inspire our students to live their healthiest lives.

 

  Rabbi Yehoshua Duskis
  Halacha

Rabbi Duskis teaches halacha in grades 9 through 11. 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.

 

 
 

 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, Navi

Mrs. 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 the honors and academic levels of Chumash in grade 11, and Shmuel Beis in grade 12. Additionally, Mrs. Goldstein serves as the 11th grade Mechaneches.

 
 

 Mrs. Abigail Greene 
 Art

Mrs. Greene holds a B.A. from N.Y.U. and a B.F.A. from Moore College of Art.  She started teaching art in September of 1998. She is currently teaching girls at Politz Hebrew Academy and grades 9 through 12 at KTA. The goal of the art program is an in-depth investigation and understanding of our visual world learning skills and techniques to manipulate various mediums. The result of this program produces a diverse portfolio reflecting creative visual art forms.

 

 
 

 Dr. Tamar Halpern
 Psychology
Dr. Tamar Halpern is a licensed clinical psychologist. She earned both her Masters (M.A.) and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degrees from the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology, Widener University, in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Prior to that she earned her B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College. She has significant clinical experience working with older adolescent/college age students, having completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the college counseling center at Temple University and doctoral internship in college counseling at Widener University. Dr. Halpern is originally from Teaneck, NJ, and attended Ma'ayanot Yeshiva for Girls and Migdal Oz seminary. She has lived in Lower Merion for the past seven years with her family and is excited to now join the KTA family. She is passionate about bringing the exciting, evolving, and always relevant world of psychology to the KTA students, and helping them understand how psychological principles impact and apply to their everyday lives, relationships, and society at large. 

 

 
 Mr. James Harris
 Director of Security

Mr. James Harris has been a respected member of the KTA staff since its inception on our Bala Cynwyd campus. Mr. Harris has more than 11 years of experience in security and safety supervision. Prior to working in security, Mr. Harris served in the United States Armed Forces where he spent three years overseas in Europe as a soldier. 

 
 
 
  Ms. Stephanie Harris
  English, History

 Ms. Harris teaches English 9 Academic and Honors, 10 Academic, 12 Academic and 11th grade American History. She received dual degrees in English and History with a focus on minority and third-world studies from Cornell University and her teaching certificate in English (grades 7-12) from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Harris shares her passion for reading, writing, and history with students.

 

 

 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. She lives in Northeast Philadelphia where her husband serves as a rabbi of Congregation Beth Solomon. She has extensive experience producing plays and concerts and has been directing the KTA annual play for eight 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 23 years. Mrs. Kamenetsky teaches both honors- and academic-level Chumash and Parsha in grade nine. She is also the ninth grade mechaneches.
 

 

 

Mrs. Jennifer Kuwahara
Mathematics

Mrs. Kuwahara earned her B.A. from Swarthmore College and her Master’s in Education from the University of Southern California. She also has her 7-12 Mathematics Teaching Certification through Point Park University. She has taught and tutored high school students of all levels and backgrounds for more than 14 years. Mrs. Kuwahara is an expert SAT and ACT Math teacher. In the classroom, she strives to foster students' natural inquisitiveness and desire to learn about the world they live in. Mrs. Kuwahara teaches Math in grades 9 through 12.

 

Mrs. Doris Lipsky
Librarian, Sewing Elective

Mrs. Lipsky is the KTA librarian, theater costume designer for the annual production, and sewing elective instructor. After earning a teaching certificate from Gratz College, she substituted at Caskey Torah Academy and taught at after-school Talmud Torah programs. Mrs. Lipsky was a proof reader and bibliographer for a private corporation. She has been sewing for more than 50 years and has taught sewing classes for the past 20 years.

 

 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 is teaching classes in 9th, 11th, and 12th grade Foundations Math and 10th grade Academic Math.

 

 

Mrs. Nechama Ort
Science

Mrs. Ort earned her Bachelor's in Biology from Touro College and her Master's in Adolescent Chemistry Education from Hunter College. She taught the sciences for six years in Nefesh Academy and then in Politz Hebrew Academy. She teaches Biology and Anatomy & Physiology and aims to help her students appreciate the wonders of G-d's world and apply their knowledge to daily life. 

 

 

Mrs. Shifra Pendrak
Mechaneches, ESL

Mrs. Pendrak earned a diploma in teaching from the Jewish Teachers Training College (Gateshead) and has a B.A. in Design and Innovation from the Open University (UK). She has several years’ experience teaching and co-ordinating extracurricular programs at the high school level. Mrs. Pendrak is excited to be sharing her passion for learning and creativity with the girls at KTA. 

 

 

 Mrs. Liba Rosenbaum
 Nevi'im Acharonim, Chumash

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

Anne Saks earned her B.S. and M.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 over 15 years. Mrs. Saks most recently taught math as an adjunct professor at Widener University. She enjoys motivating her students by incorporating real life situations into math class so the students can see the impact that mathematics have on their everyday life. 

 
 

  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 learned 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, STEM

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 9th grade STEM, where the students develop their independent problem solving abilities, learn to code, and create electronic devices. She also teaches 10th grade Academic chemistry, where the students learn to understand and appreciate the atomic building blocks of the world around them.

 
 
 
  Miss Eli Tanner
  Educational Support 
 General and Kodesh Teacher

Miss Tanner, a KTA alumna, graduated from Touro College with a B.A. in Psychology. She is currently studying both General and Special Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Miss Tanner teaches STEM and skills-based Navi and Chumash classes, and she provides one-on-one support for students in the Learning Center. 

 
 
  Mrs. Sara Bena Weiss
  Receptionist

Mrs. Weiss taught limudei kodesh and limudei chol in New York and New Jersey for the past eight years. She has worked within administration on curriculum planning for the past three years. Mrs. Weiss enjoys working with people and making things happen. She is excited to join the KTA staff and is looking forward to a great year!