Faculty

About Our Faculty

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.

Casey Cohen
Casey Cohen
Middle School Director

Casey is a distinguished educator with experience in progressive education, educational technology, and student development. She was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator-certifying her expertise in integrating technology into learning environments.

Casey graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from the University of Michigan, earned a M.E. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Principal Certification from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Casey is passionate about getting her students excited about learning by guiding them to question and to become intellectually curious!

Eyal Vilner
Eyal Vilner
Lower School Music

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 Noll
Mike Noll
Middle School Science

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 Rikman
Nir Rikman
Hebrew Language Coordinator

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 Fogelson
Shelley Fogelson
Lower School Director

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 Lissy Trey
Jessica Lissy Trey
Middle School Judaic Studies

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.

Administration

  • Nicole Nash
    Head of School
    • M.S.Ed., Bank Street College of Education
    • B.A., University of Rochester
  • Shelley Fogelson
    Lower School Director
    • B.A., University of Leeds, UK
    • M.Ed., William Davidson Graduate School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Casey Cohen
    Middle School Director
    • B.A., University of Michigan
    • M.Ed. , Harvard Graduate School of Education
    • Principal Certification, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  • Nir Rikman
    Hebrew Language Coordinator
    • B.A., Haifa University, Israel
    • M.A., Brandeis University
  • Phyllis Sussman
    Judaic Studies Coordinator
    • B.A., Barnard College
    • B.A., Jewish Theological Seminary
    • M.A., Yeshiva University, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies
  • Jessica Robins
    Director of Admissions
    • B.A., University of Michigan
    • M.S. ED., Bank Street College of Education
  • Jennifer Brier
    Dean of Eighth Grade and Director of Alumni Relations
    • B.A., Tufts University
    • M.A., Columbia University
  • Shai Carmel
    Business Manager
    • B.S., University at Albany, SUNY Albany
    • M.B.A., University at Albany, SUNY Albany
  • Nathalie Cabot
    Operations Manager
    • B.A., Touro College
  • Sharon Bunkin
    Director of Communications and Marketing
    • B.S., Syracuse University
    • M.B.A., New York University
  • Annette Powers
    Director of Communications and Marketing
    • B.A., The University of Michigan
    • M.A., American University

Lower School

Kindergarten

  • Regina Katz
    General Studies
    • B.A., National Louis University
  • Irit Soibelman
    Hebrew and Judaic Studies
    • B.S., Brooklyn College
    • M.S., Brooklyn College
  • Rachel Beckman
    General Studies Associate
    • B.A., University of Rochester
    • M.S., Bank Street College of Education
  • Ilana Nowatzky-Bendet
    Heritage Hebrew
    • B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • M.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

First Grade

  • Rebecca Heus
    General Studies
    • B.A., Hamilton College
    • M.A., Bank Street College
  • Ilana Elmkies
    Hebrew and Judaic Studies
    • B.S., Tel Chai Rodman College, Israel
  • Jeannete Braha
    General Studies Associate
    • B.A., Brooklyn College
    • M.S., Bank Street College of Education

Second Grade

  • Jessica Dalfen
    General Studies
    • BA, Binghamton University
    • MS, Hunter College
  • Shira Becher
    Hebrew and Judaic Studies
    • BA, New York University
    • MA, Hebrew College, Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education
    • NETA-CET certificate in Hebrew language education
  • Amy Benarroch
    General Studies Associate and Heritage Hebrew
    • BA, University of Southern California
    • MA, Tel Aviv University

Third Grade

  • Hilary Davis
    General Studies
    • B.A., Goucher College
    • M.S.Ed., Bank Street College of Education
  • Aliza Donath
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Queens College
    • M.A., New York University
  • Ilana Swisa
    Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Open University
    • Teaching Certificate, Hebrew University, Israel
    • M.A., Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Israel
  • Samantha Butwin
    Science
    • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    • M.A., Hofstra University
  • Alisa Cohen
    General Studies Associate
    • B.A., Earlham College
    • M.S.Ed., Bank Street College of Education

Fourth Grade

  • Miriam Kopelow
    General Studies
    • B.S., University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Aliza Donath
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Queens College
    • M.A., New York University
  • Ilana Swisa
    Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Open University
    • Teaching Certificate, Hebrew University, Israel
    • M.A., Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Israel
  • Samantha Butwin
    Science
    • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    • M.A., Hofstra University
  • Jessica Solodkin
    Heritage Hebrew
    • B.A., Binghamton University

Middle School

Fifth Grade

  • Tony Buonomo
    Humanities
    • B.A., Brandeis University
    • M.S. Ed., Simmons College
  • Mike Noll
    Science
    • B.S., Rutgers University
    • M.S. Ed., College of Saint Elizabeth
  • Geneva Reventlow
    Math
    • B.A., Barnard College
  • Laura Mark
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Rutgers University
    • M.A., Hebrew College
    • Pardes Institute, Educators Program Advanced Certificate
  • Yehuda Fishhaut
    Judiac Studies
    • B.A., Open University, Ra’anana, Israel
  • Ilana Nowatzky-Bendet
    Heritage Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • M.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Sixth Grade

  • Naomi Forman
    Humanities
    • B.A., Washington University
    • M.Ed., Harvard University
  • Craig Mutzman
    Math
    • B.A., University of Connecticut
    • M.A., Columbia University, Teachers College
  • Mike Noll
    Science
    • B.S., Rutgers University
    • M.S. Ed., College of Saint Elizabeth
  • Laura Mark
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Rutgers University
    • M.A., Hebrew College
    • Pardes Institute, Educators Program Advanced Certificate
  • Andreea Adereth
    Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Tel Aviv University
    • Teaching Certificate in ESL K-12, Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Ilana Nowatzky-Bendet
    Heritage Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • M.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Seventh Grade

  • Allison Corvo
    Humanities
    • B.A. Rutgers University
    • Ed.M., Rutgers University
  • Geneva Reventlow
    Math
    • B.A., Barnard College
  • Mike Noll
    Science
    • B.S., Rutgers University
    • M.S. Ed., College of Saint Elizabeth
  • Jessica Lissy Trey
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Yale University
    • M.A., Hebrew University
    • Pardes Institute, Educators Program Advanced Certificate
  • Yehuda Fishhaut
    Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Open University, Ra’anana, Israel
  • Ilana Nowatzky-Bendet
    Heritage Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • M.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Eighth Grade

  • Michael Gentile
    Humanities
    • B.A., University of Kentucky
  • Craig Mutzman
    Math
    • B.A., University of Connecticut
    • M.A., Columbia University, Teachers College
  • Mike Noll
    Science
    • B.S., Rutgers University
    • M.S. Ed., College of Saint Elizabeth
  • Jessica Lissy Trey
    Judaic Studies
    • B.A., Yale University
    • M.A., Hebrew University
    • Pardes Institute, Educators Program Advanced Certificate
  • Andreea Adereth
    Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Tel Aviv University
    • Teaching Certificate in ESL K-12, Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Ilana Nowatzky-Bendet
    Heritage Hebrew Language
    • B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • M.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    • Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Additional Faculty

  • Suzanne Khuri
    Learning Specialist
    • B.A., Harvard University
    • M.A., Institute of Education, Language of Learning Certificate
  • Jessica Sinai
    Lower School Learning Support
    • B.A. in Education from McGill University
    • M.S. Ed., from Bank Street College of Education
  • Karen Brody
    School Psychologist
    • B.A., Brooklyn College
    • M.S., City College
  • Samantha Butwin
    STEAM Educator
    • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    • M.A., Hofstra University
  • Iviva Olenick
    Lower School Art
    • B.A., Binghamton University
    • A.A.S., Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Susan Hamburger
    Middle School Art
    • B.A., Brandeis University
    • M.F.A., Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
    • M.A., The City College of NY
  • Joanna Greer
    Performing Arts Director
    • B.A., Columbia College, Chicago
  • Eyal Vilner
    Lower School Music
    • B.F.A., New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music
  • Suzy Schwartz
    Middle School Music
    • B.F.A., Ithaca College
    • M.A. from the City University of New York
    • Orff and Kodaly Certificates
  • Anne Lilly
    Lower School Physical Education
    • B.A., University of Washington
    • Certification from National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • Ayinde George
    Middle School Physical Education
    • B.S., SUNY Cortland

Support Staff

  • Malkie Grozalsky
    Administrative Associate
  • Sharona Balk
    Administrative Associate
  • Helene Ruddy
    Development Associate
  • Jack Hogan
    Information Techonology
  • Rivky Nigen
    Nurse
  • Eddie Clarke
    Security
  • Jimmy Littman
    Security
  • Jorge Martinez
    Fitness and Maintenance Technician