Connections forged between teachers and students enrich the educational experience at Hannah Senesh and are the foundation of our learning community. Experienced and dedicated teachers work to create environments that encourage active engagement and challenge. Each elementary grade is staffed by one general studies teacher and one Judaic studies teacher. Our departmentalized Middle School includes teachers of humanities, mathematics, science, Hebrew language, and Jewish text study. School-wide specialists include teachers of STEAM, music, physical education, and performing arts.
Our teachers come from across the country and around the world, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a variety of perspective. All of our teachers are professionals with degrees in education or related disciplines. Many of our teachers are graduates of Bank Street College of Education, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and DeLeT: Day School Leadership through Teaching, some of the most innovative and substantive programs in the field. Collaboration among colleagues is encouraged, and extensive professional development opportunities are provided, at both in-house and outside workshops and seminars.
Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” At Hannah Senesh, our teachers artfully awaken students’ curiosity, promoting creative thinking and supporting thoughtful inquiry.
Below we have included detailed bios for a few of our faculty members. These will be rotated periodically to showcase the many talents and interests of our staff.
Born in Tel Aviv, saxophonist/clarinetist/flutist-arranger/composer/conductor Eyal Vilner moved to New York in 2007 and graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2009.
Eyal has introduced a range of instruments and musical styles to Senesh students. He inspires and directs his students through musical performances and encourages them to sing, play instruments, compose and appreciate all genres of music.
Eyal performs jazz standards and his original compositions outside of school with The Eyal Vilner Big Band. His ensemble can be heard at New York’s musical landmarks such as Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club, Iridium, and Smalls Jazz Club.
Mike inspires confidence in his students as they gain mastery in their Middle School science coursework. He infuses excitement into his STEAM curriculum and gears units of study toward high school preparedness.
Mike earned his B.S. from Rutgers University in computer science and a M.S. Ed. from the College of Saint Elizabeth in New Jersey.
When he unplugs from technology and science, you will see him skiing on the slopes, running circles around Central Park, riding his bike along rivers of New Jersey, and using his telescopes to wonder if there is life in outer space!
Nir infuses authentic Hebrew language and Israeli culture throughout Senesh in fun and experiential ways. Nir developed our unique Hebrew Heritage program based on the specific needs of our native, Hebrew-speaking learners drawing from successful models of language acquisition.
Nir spends his summers in Middlebury, Vermont as the director of the Life Learners Program at the School of Hebrew of Middlebury College.
Nir holds a B.A. in English Literature from Haifa University and a M.A. in Teaching Hebrew from Brandeis University.
Shelley brings over 25 years of experience as a lower school educator. She has taught in 1st-3rd grade classrooms, led professional development programs, and developed curriculum in Jewish day schools in Atlanta, Nashville, and Minneapolis. Shelley regularly attends workshops at Teachers College, Columbia University and transfers her knowledge to Senesh Lower School teachers in unit planning, classroom instruction and working with our diverse student body.
Shelley grew up in England and spent six years living in Israel before coming to the U.S.
Shelley loves New York’s restaurants and theater and long walks in Central Park with her dog, Maddux.
Jessica has been teaching Middle School Judaic studies at Hannah Senesh since 2003! Jessica was awarded a Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for excellence in Jewish Education. She loves transferring the close reading skills she learned as an English major at Yale to the study of Jewish texts. Jessica earned a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale. She received an M.A. in Jewish Education from Hebrew University and spent three years learning at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, earning an Advanced Certificate in Jewish Studies through the Pardes Educators Program. Before becoming a teacher, Jessica was an Emmy-nominated staff writer for Blue’s Clues on Nick Jr. She continues to write occasionally for children’s television, including recent episodes of Little Einsteins and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.