Jacki Angelo, 1st Grade General Studies
Ms. Angelo began working at CCJDS in 2011 as a substitute teacher and quickly became a valuable member of the CCJDS team. She worked as a Teacher's Assistant for the kindergarten and first grade classrooms before becoming our 1st Grade General Studies teacher. She has a passion for working with the primary grades and focusing on nurturing young students' creativity and imagination. Jacki has also taught dance and gymnastics to children ages 3 and up and loves to incorporate movement activities into the classroom. Ms. Angelo received her BA in History as well as her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Saint Mary's College of California. Joined CCJDS in 2011.
Hagit Ayalon, Kindergarten and 2nd Grade Hebrew/Judaics
After teaching upper grades at CCJDS, Ms. Ayalon has returned to kindergarten and second grade and she loves working with them! Ms. Ayalon’s warmth and creative energy are a great fit for these young learners. Prior to moving to the United States, Ms. Ayalon taught both middle school and high school in Israel. She graduated with honors, BA in English Linguistics and a Masters in Education from Hebrew University. Joined CCJDS in 2011.
Daniel Baselj, 3rd Grade General Studies
Mr. Baselj joins CCJDS this year from Northern Lights School in Oakland, where he taught for four years. Previously, he served four years as a classroom teacher at the Highlands School in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Baselj entered teaching through his eight years of experience as a Learning Specialist in Pittsburgh, PA. Colleagues, parents, and supervisors describe him as a gifted educator, strong team member and delightful person. His classroom has a rigorous curriculum which values creativity in a child centered environment. Daniel's BA and MA are from the University of Pittsburgh. Joined CCJDS in 2016. Photo coming soon.
Eliza Becker, Curriculum Support
Ms. Becker spent five years teaching first grade at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito before joining CCJDS. She also implemented a reading intervention program for students in grades 1-3 and tutored students in grades 1-4 with a language arts focus. Ms. Becker initially came to CCJDS as a first grade teacher and most recently co-taught in second grade. She loves being part of this vibrant Jewish community. BA Communications, UC Davis; Teaching Credential and MA Teaching Reading, USF. Joined CCJDS in 2010.
Rachel Ben Shushan, Fine Arts
Ms. Ben Shushan is a talented artist and dedicated teacher. Born in Israel, she worked in the Iriyah Matnas V'Votizor V'Naamat - a highly regarded children’s art program - until moving to the US. Since arriving in the Bay Area in 2005, Ms. Ben Shushan has taught art at Jewish Day Schools. At CCJDS she has taught art and Hebrew. Currently, she teaches our Fine Art Elective in Middle School, our K-5th grade art classes and a popular after-school art enrichment program. Trained at the Michlelet Oat Art School in Jerusalem. Joined CCJDS in 2006.
Adriana Boylan, 4th Grade General Studies
Ms. Boylan returned to CCJDS this year after taking a sabbatical to travel by bicycle in South America. She previously served CCJDS as a core Math and Science teacher and now joins us as the fourth grade General Studies teacher and provides Lower School leadership, together with Jacki Angelo. Her BA and MA are from Penn State University. Photo coming soon.
Lawrence Delaney, Middle School Dean of Students and History Teacher
Mr. Delaney, originally from Wales, taught second through sixth grades at schools in Oakland, Germany, and Dubai prior to coming to CCJDS. He brings great enthusiasm for teaching, as well as music and athletic talents as leader of our rock band and one of our physical education instructors. Mr. Delaney enjoys introducing the students to cricket and non-contact rugby. He has authored a children’ book, “Detective Sniffer Investigates,” a best seller on Amazon. Visual Cultures (Magna cum Laude), University of Derby in England; MA Media and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and MEd Education, Open University, England. Joined CCJDS in 2006.
Ophira Druch, Hebrew
Ms. Druch brings a wealth of experience in Hebrew and Judaic Studies to CCJDS. She was an Associate Director of Education at Temple Sinai in Oakland where she worked for over twenty years, and in 2003 she was the recipient of the Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Ms. Druch studied Business Administration at Cabrillo College and is also a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance. Graduate of MTEI (Mandel Teacher Educators Institute) in San Francisco and Israel. Joined CCJDS in 2013.
Inbal Elbaz, Hebrew
Ms. Elbaz, originally from Israel, began teaching Hebrew and Judaic Studies at CCJDS in 2002. After a break of a few years in which she had 3 children and moved back to Israel, CCJDS welcomed Inbal back as a Middle School Hebrew teacher. Previously, Inbal worked as an English teacher and advisor at Amirim High School in Kfar Vradim. BA in Education from HaKibbutzim College major English. Joined CCJDS in 2002.
Dr. Galit Franbuch, 1st Grade Hebrew/Judaics
Dr. Franbuch was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel and moved to the United States in 1996. With a great deal of warmth and talent, she has enthusiastically taught Hebrew and Judaics in Bay Area Jewish Day schools and religious schools since 1996. BA Psychology and Criminology, with honors, Bar Ilan University, Israel; MA Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Alameda; PsyD. Clinical Psychology, Family and Child Emphasis Area, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, Alameda, CA. Joined CCJDS in 2008.
Kim Johnsen, 2nd Grade General Studies
Ms. Johnsen recently moved to our area from the South Bay where she taught at South Peninsula Hebrew Day School. Kim's former colleagues described her as beloved by students, thoughtful, creative, and a great team player. We are excited that she is bringing her talents and enthusiasm to CCJDS. Ms. Johnsen has a BA and MA from National University, Long Beach. Joined CCJDS in 2016.
Photo coming soon.
Cesar Martinez, Spanish
A native of Toluca, Mexico, Mr. Martinez studied Accounting at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City. Mr. Martinez also has experience teaching illiterate adults how to read and write. At Viva el Español Mr. Martinez has taught a wide range of ages and proficiencies, from 1st grade beginning students, to bilingual elementary school students, to Los Chavos (teens), with whom he has a particularly great connection. He loves to teach and says “I feel like I’m a child again when I work with children." Joined CCJDS in 2010.
Jeannie McKenzie, Music
After a 15-year career as a massage therapist, violinist and mime artist, Ms. McKenzie found her way into the world of Orff Schulwerk. Drawn by the emphasis on movement, composition and collaboration, she decided to become a music teacher. Her past teaching experience includes teaching music at Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco's Hunter’s Point, Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland and Windrush School in El Cerrito. She is also a certified Biodynamic Cranial-Sacral therapist and continues her studies in embryology and nervous system “Settling.” Ms. McKenzie plays violin, cello and ukulele for various projects and is realizing her dream of becoming a beekeeper and goat herder on her urban farm in Oakland. Joined CCJDS in 2011.
Zivile Otero, Middle School Math
Ms Otero was born and raised in Lithuania, where she started working as math teacher in 1986. She also has work experience in the Ministry of Education and Science, and the National Examination Centre of Lithuania. In 2013 Ms. Otero moved to the United States and started to work at the Russian School of Mathematics. Her goal is to make every student feel successful, and she prefers to show different ways to a solution to accomplish this. BA in Math, MA in Education (diplomas evaluated in USA). Joined CCJDS in 2014.
Renee Penegor, Drama and School Musical
Ms. Penegor graduated with an MFA from A.C.T. and has over 15 years of experience acting, teaching drama in private and classroom environments, producing and directing K-5 performances and cultivating meaningful experiences for students that go beyond theatre. Most recently, she taught at Strandwood Elementary School in Pleasant Hill, where she helped to develop a curriculum integrating the arts with core academic subjects. Ms. Penegor also has a BA in English Literature, Theatre, and Women’s Studies (Dean’s List) from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. Joined CCJDS in 2016.
Photo coming soon.
Sam Peyton-Levine, Math and Science
Mr. Peyton-Levine joined CCJDS after teaching high school mathematics for the first three years of his teaching experience, two of which were at a small boarding school in Dublin, New Hampshire. In Northern Canada he created a leadership canoe expedition that gave young aspiring leaders the chance to hone their leadership skills. Mr. Peyton-Levine always enjoys expanding young people’s minds, whether it’s in an outdoor or classroom setting. In his free time he enjoys distance running and playing the guitar. BS from University of Oregon in Mathematics and Outdoor Leadership. Joined CCJDS in 2014.
Hadas Rave, Director of Jewish Life and Judaic Studies Teacher
In 1997 Ms. Rave moved from the United States to Israel and taught for nine years at the alternative school - Meitar on Kibbutz Bet Oren, before coming to CCJDS. In addition to being our Director of Jewish Life, Ms. Rave coordinates our SHIR HaLev service learning program and Israel education program. She also teaches Judaic studies in the lower grades. Studied Communications at Drury University; BA Elementary Education, Warren Wilson College, North Carolina. MA in Jewish Education through Hebrew Union College. Joined CCJDS in 2008.
James Shapiro, 7th/8th Grade Humanities
Mr. Shapiro taught 9th grade Honors English at Watertown High School just outside of Boston, MA. He also taught video production and tutored students with special needs at the high school. Described by colleagues as thoughtful, intelligent, caring, and personable, Mr. Shapiro also has a passion for music, sports, and film. He earned a BA from Boston University in Philosophy and an MA in Teaching from Brandeis University, where he took upper-level graduate courses in English, in addition to education coursework. Mr. Shapiro has previously worked as a paralegal and also coached high school baseball in inner-city Boston. Joined CCJDS in 2013.
Sarah Shwedel, Kindergarten General Studies
Ms. Shwedel benefits from a strong understanding of the CCJDS K-1 curriculum and an extraordinary ability to nurture our youngest students, who arrive at kindergarten with diverse backgrounds and levels of maturity and preparedness. This along with Ms. Shwedel’s intelligence, kindness, and strong organizational and communication skills make her a star as the Kindergarten General Studies teacher. Ms. Shwedel has a BA in Liberal Arts from Chico State and her Multiple Subject Credential from Cal State East Bay. Joined CCJDS in 2010.
Dr. Michele Spitulnik, Director of Professional Development and Director of Science Education
Dr. Spitulnik taught high school chemistry and physics in Michigan before pursuing a doctorate in science education from the University of Michigan. In 2002, she joined the faculty at the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley, designing middle school science curriculum and implementing professional development courses for science teachers. She helped to design the scope and sequence of the K-8th grade CCJDS science curriculum, which is unparalleled in our local schools. Dr. Spitulnik is currently serving as our Interim Head of School during the Head of School sabbatical and she also teaches 6th-8th grade science, mentors General Studies teachers for lower school science education, and oversees teacher professional development. BA, Chemistry, Vassar College; MS, Materials Engineering and PhD, Science Education, University of Michigan. Joined CCJDS in 2008.
Sharone Wiezel, Hebrew
Ms. Wiezel, born and raised in San Francisco to an Israeli family, grew up speaking Hebrew at home and attended the Hebrew Academy. She moved to Israel after high school graduation and joined the Israeli Defense Forces, serving in the paratroopers. After teaching English as a Second Language for nine years in Israel, Ms. Wiezel enjoys bringing Hebrew and Israel to life for our students here in the Bay Area. BA in Education, specializing in ESL, from Seminar Kibbutzim in Tel Aviv. Joined CCJDS in 2008.
Elizabeth Witmer, 5th/6th Grade Humanities, 6th/7th Grade History
Prior to arriving at CCJDS, Ms. Witmer spent three years teaching 9th grade English and serving in a variety of roles related to student life at The Thacher School in Ojai, California. She loves teaching English and History to 5th-7th graders at CCJDS as well as teaching popular middle school electives like Video Journalism and Bear Paw News(paper). She is delighted to get to know students in all grades as Stage Manager for our annual musical. Ms. Witmer’s colleagues and students appreciate her energetic, reflective, and creative spirit. Ms. Witmer has a BA in English and Theater from Lafayette College, where she was the recipient of the English Department's Clinton Kline Prize, and a Masters in Literature from Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English.