Administration and Faculty

ADMINISTRATION

 

 Mrs. Cheryl Epstein
 Principal
 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 has served in a variety of   teaching, guidance and administrative capacities at KTA.  In addition to her role as Dean of Students, Mrs. Epstein teaches Modern Jewish History and 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 as a   private consultant to Jewish Day Schools in the United States and in Moscow. In her capacity as an Associate Program   Consultant for the Jewish New Teacher Project, she designs and facilitates professional development for day school teachers and administrators.
 
 

 Mrs. Rachel Baum

Assistant Principal, Limudei Kodesh 

Mrs. Baum brings impressive skills and experience to the KTA leadership team. In assuming this position, Mrs. Baum is returning to her roots. A native Philadelphian, she 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. 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. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Rabbi Baruch Lichtenstein
 Menahel Emeritus
 Navi Rebbi
 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. This past year, after 22 years as Menahel, Rabbi Lichtenstein has become Principal Emeritus and is now focusing on teaching Yirmiyahu, bringing the words of the Navi alive for the students.
 
 
 

 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, 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. 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 M.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 honors- and academic-level Chumash classes for grade 10, and also serves as the Director of Student Activities.
 
 
 
 

 Mrs. Ettie Wachs
 Director of Guidance

 A licensed clinical social worker, Mrs. Wachs has been the Director of Guidance for more than 14 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.

 
 

 

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 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.
 
 
 

 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. Ann Bromberg
 Office Manager

 Now in her sixth 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 pre-school through seminary, in the United States and in Canada. She holds a teaching degree from the Bais Yaakov Teachers Seminary in Brooklyn. Mrs. Burr strives to instill in every student a love of learning and pride in her Jewishness.

 

 

 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 ninth grade honors Algebra and 11th grade honors pre-calculus 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 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.
 
 

  Rabbi Yehoshua Duskis
  Halacha
 
 Rabbi Duskis teaches halacha in grades 9 through 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.
 
 
 
 

 Mrs. Shoshana Golan
 Ivrit
 
 Born in Israel, Mrs. Golan was a teacher in the IDF and in Israeli schools, and taught Hebrew to new immigrants (Olim). In Philadelphia, 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 within the country.
 
 
 

Mrs. Miriam Goldstein
Chumash, Navi
 
 Mrs. Miriam Goldstein received her teaching degree from Yavne Seminary in Cleveland. She holds a Master’s 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.
 
 
 
 

 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 has been teaching art for 21 years and she currently teaches art to grades K through 8 at Politz Hebrew Academy and grades 9 through 12 at KTA. Mrs. Greene’s goal is to give students an in-depth investigation and understanding of our visual world, learning skills and techniques to manipulate various mediums. The result of the art program should produce a diverse portfolio reflecting creative visual art forms.
 
 
 
 
 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 ten 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 and History

 Ms. Harris teaches English 9HO, 10AC, 11HO, 12AC 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. She previously taught English at a middle school in Philadelphia and is excited to join KTA’s staff to share 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 seven 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 21 years. Mrs. Kamenetsky teaches both honors and academic level Chumash to 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 13 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 Pre-Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-calculus.

 

 

Mrs. Doris Lipsky
Librarian, Sewing Elective

Mrs. Lipsky is the KTA librarian, 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 taught various 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. 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 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 Foundation level courses in Pre-Algebra, Geometry, Algebra I, and Consumer Math.
 

 

 

 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
 
 Mrs. 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 has on their everyday life. 
 

  Rabbi Yakir Schechter
  Halacha
 
  Rabbi Yakir Schechter received his semicha from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Azrieli School of Jewish Education. He also spent time learning at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, Mir Jerusalem, 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 skills-based Navi, History, Science, and Chumash classes and leads a Writing Workshop for the 9th and 10th graders. She is thrilled to be back at KTA!