The Founding Four
A very special thank you to our founding four, who spent countless hours in meetings, reach-out campaigns, working with the San Diego Unified School district to get the school’s charter approved. Without the assistance of these founding four
Tamar Caspi – Writer, Media, Public Relations, Community Outreach
Tamar played an integral part of setting up Kavod. If not for Tamar’s drive and dedication, Kavod would not have been possible. Tamar graduated with a BA in Women’s Studies from UCLA. She has been a journalist since 2003 working as a writer and reporter in broadcast news, radio and print. Tamar has recently published a book, entitled How to Woo a Jew, a modern guide to Jewish dating and mating. In addition, Tamar has worked in the non-profit world serving on the boards and committees of many local organizations where she initiated new programming and was involved in fundraising and planning. She also has experience in marketing, promotions and internet marketing. Tamar is a local San Diegan with an Israeli father and was raised speaking Hebrew in the home.
Ethan Marcus – Legal, Non-Profit
Ethan is the owner of The Marcus Family Law Center in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties. Ethan has been practicing law since 1991 after receiving his Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law. In addition, Ethan has teaching credentials in Spanish, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and General Science and has been a bilingual teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. He also serves on the boards of Adrian Empire, Inc. and Empire of Le Mans, Inc., both historical education societies.
Michael S. Rosenbaum – Real Estate, Finance
The son of a Real Estate Agent, Michael has been around the business nearly all his life including an early career innovating technology for the industry. He began originating mortgage loans in 2006, having subsequently grown his team and culminating in the 2012 establishment of his boutique downtown mortgage office in the East Village ‘TR Office Building’ before moving to larger space at the historic Marina District ‘Royster Building’ in 2014.
Michael’s mastery of mortgage lending and perspective are sought regularly by media as he has been quoted over the past few years in articles published by U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, MSN Real Estate, Deseret Times and others.
An advocate of education and community service, he is a founding board member of Kavod Elementary Charter School. Michael resides in Little Italy serving that community on the Downtown Community Planning Committee. In addition to his ongoing work as an affiliate contributor for the Downtown Caravan, he serves in similar roles for the Metro and Coronado Real Estate caravans.
Harriet Herman – Educator, Former Head of School
Harriet Herman played a critical role of the ins and outs of what needed to be done in order to create a charter school. It was Harriet’s expertise that assisted the founders in accomplishing their goals of creating a dual-language Hebrew-English Charter School. Harriet is an educator with more than 30 years experience in grades pre-school through 8th grade, including 6 years in administration as the school Principal of an Independent Kindergarten-8th grade school. She presently serves on the Board of Directors of a parent advocacy non-profit organization for parents of special needs children. Harriet has direct experience with CAIS and WASC re-accreditation as the team leader in charge of the writing of the document, as well as the contact person during the weeklong visit. Her education experience includes curriculum development, assessments, materials selection, professional and parent presentations. Harriet has an MS in Curriculum Development and a BS in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.
Dena Harris – Education, Charter School Consultant
Dena is the CEO of San Diego Global Vision Academy. Dena is a reading and educational specialist with a Masters of Arts in Education from San Diego State University. She was a Writing Fellow at University of California, San Diego. Previously, Dena was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at MAAC Charter School in the Sweetwater Union High School District and President of the Board of Directors at Darnall Elementary Charter School.
Vicki Ambar-Libman – Educator, Hebrew
Vicki was raised inIsraeland served in the Israeli Navy before attendingLevinskyTeachers Collegein Tel Aviv and American Jewish University in Los Angeles, where she earned both a BA Liberal Arts and an MA in Education. Vicki has been a teacher, department coordinator, teacher supervisor, peer academic advisor and assisted with staff development at the high school and college levels in the study of the Hebrew language. Vicki was also invited to be a guest lecturer at the Bureau of Jewish Education inLos Angelesand Agency of Jewish Education inSan Diego.
Shlomit Lipton – Mentor to Hebrew Studies Instructors/Professional Development
Shlomit was previously, a Hebrew at The Center, Inc. consultant and a Hebrew teacher and mentor at JCDS Boston. Shlomit was the Hebrew Studies Coordinator at The Rashi School, Boston Area Reform Jewish Day School, from 1996 to 2008, where she also taught Hebrew at all levels. She was Assistant Head of The Rashi School from January 2001 to June 2003 and also Interim Head of the School. She taught Hebrew at Prozdor high school for three years and was a consultant in the development of the URJ Hebrew curriculum Haverim B’Ivrit. In Israel, Shlomit taught English in grades 4 through 12 at Kibbutz Kabri. Shlomit studied Foreign Language Instruction at Oranim Teachers’ College, affiliated with Haifa U., and holds an M.Ed. specializing in Reading and Language Arts from UNC- Chapel Hill. Shlomit has participated in many professional development seminars, including the Jewish Day School Leadership Seminar at Bar Ilan U., the Harvard U. Principals’ Seminar, Brandeis U. Proficiency Workshop, OPI Workshop, OPI Trainer Apprenticeship workshop, Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design workshops, as well as attended numerous professional conferences.
Aaron Listhaus – Mentor to the Principal
Aaron is the Executive Director of the Hebrew Charter School Center (HCSC), leading the effort to develop Hebrew Charter Schools across the country. With two schools already in existence and flourishing, Aaron has set the groundwork for new schools to open in Los Angeles, San Diego, and other locations across the country. An accomplished educator, Aaron joins HCSC from the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Charter Schools, where he was Chief Academic Officer for the Charter School Office. In that role, he was responsible for the oversight of academic programs and accountability for all of the nearly 70 Department-authorized charter schools. Mr. Listhaus also served as a coach in the City’s innovative Leadership Academy in the 2007-08 school years, advising and supporting new principals in the public school system. Prior to that, Mr. Listhaus spent five years as principal of Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City and two years as assistant principal. Mr. Listhaus got his start in the charter movement by serving as the board chair for the International High School which in 1999 became one of the first conversion charter schools in NYC.
Sandra Rief – Educator, Special Education
Sandra is an educational consultant, author, and speaker/presenter nationally and internationally on how to reach and teach children with ADHD and learning disabilities, and has trained thousands of teachers in best practices for helping students who have learning, attention, and behavioral difficulties. Sandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education and a Masters of Arts in special education – learning disabilities from the University of Illinois. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in American Education and was the California Resource Specialist of the Year, a recipient of the Excel Award in Education and a Mentor Teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. Sandra is a published author with books on dyslexia, ADHD, balanced literacy, inclusive instruction, and the benefits of preschool. She also speaks Hebrew and loves the language.
Idan Shnall – Marketing & Advertising
Idan has been working in the Internet Marketing industry before most people knew what it meant. The President and CEO of SolidRankings.com, Idan has worked with many different types of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to small, local businesses. Idan has expertise in multi-channel online marketing including innovative and strategic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), paid advertising, and analysis. Idan was born and raised in Israel before moving to Dallas, Texas in 1990.
Tali Silberstein – Educator, Community Outreach
Tali has worked in the Jewish community and received a Master in Public Affairs from the University of Texas before moving to San Diego. While working toward her California Teaching Credential, Tali was a teaching assistant in the San Diego Unified School District. She has also tutored in English while living in Israel and currently teaches Hebrew school in La Jolla. Tali has community organizational skills, public policy experience and a public speaking background.
Jackie Skolnick – Educator
Jackie taught kindergarten and first grade for eight years in the Lawndale Elementary School District, in Los Angeles County. She received her teaching credential and Masters in Education from UCLA with an emphasis in crosscultural, language and academic development and with a focus in social justice education. Jackie taught in an urban setting where the majority of her students were English Language Learners. Teaching and supporting young readers in early literacy skills is a passion of Jackie’s, and she led intervention groups for struggling readers. Jackie also held leadership and mentorship positions at her school. She was her grade level team leader, in charge of facilitating grade level meetings and the creation of lesson plans, formative and summative assessments. Jackie recently moved back to San Diego (where she grew up) with her family and is excited to be one of the founders of Kavod Elementary.
Vanessa Vishnevskiy – Finance
Vanessa graduated cum laude from University of Connecticut with a Finance degree. She worked as a Senior Personal Banker with Bank of America in both New York City and San Diego. Vanessa has excellent organizational, computer, as well as customer service skills.
Raeleen Weiss – Financial
Raeleen is a Certified Public Accountant who was born and raised in South Africa. She graduated with a Bachelor in Commerce in 2005 before moving to the United States in the same year. She completed a Masters in Administration – Accounting through University of Phoenix in 2007 and went on to obtain her CPA certification in 2009. Raeleen has been working at a local well known accounting firm, Considine & Considine, in the audit department since 2005 and has experience in complex accounting and compliance requirements that non-public companies and non-profits face. Her tasks include performing audits, reviews, and advising clients on how to improve internal controls and how to conform to new standards.
Hindie Weissman – Mentor to Curriculum Coordinator/Professional Development
Hindie oversees, coordinates and supervises HCSC staff and consultants who provide professional development services in the areas of curriculum and instruction. Ms. Weissman assists with recruitment for both school leadership and staff and supports founding teams in the charter application process. Ms. Weissman has provided customized consulting services to schools from New York City to Israel in the areas of instruction, data analysis, assessment, school climate, classroom management, test preparation, parent involvement, grant writing and goal setting. In addition to designing comprehensive instructional models for charter schools, Ms. Weissman spearheaded the Moriah Fund’s educational initiative in Netanya, Israel, where she brought the strategies of balanced literacy to teachers at schools with large Ethiopian immigrant communities. She also authors and edits professional materials for Scholastic Books.