Rabbi Samuel J. Levine
Interim Head of School
Rabbi Levine has over 40 years of experience as a Head of School at Jewish day schools. Rabbi Levine was the Head of School of Addlestone Hebrew Academy in South Carolina for 15 years. In 1988, Rabbi Levine moved to Cleveland to serve as Head of School at the Fuchs Mizrachi School. Under his leadership, Mizrachi grew from a 50-student K-5 in rented rooms to a 340-student nursery - 12th grade on its own campus. In 2000, Rabbi Levine joined Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton as Head of School, taking the reins at a time of uncertainty and transition for the school. Over his 14-year tenure, enrollment at Hillel grew over 60 percent to a record 480 students. Most recently, from 2014-2016, Rabbi Levine served as Interim Head of School at the Columbus Torah Academy. He hired and trained principals, increased enrollment, implemented structure, and was instrumental in the selection and mentoring of their current Head of School.
Early Childhood Director
Ten years before Jordana Bernstein became the Early Childhood Director in 2006, she began teaching at Akiba after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin. Two years later, Jordana, Akiba Class of '88, became director of the school's summer camp programs. She then created and managed Akiba's popular "Mommy and Me" program (now called Parent and Me), and became Assistant Director of Early Childhood and Recruitment/Retention. Jordana holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Texas.
Rabbi Chanania Engelsman
Judaic Studies Principal K-8
Rabbi Chanania Engelsman came to Akiba from SAR Academy, where he taught Middle School Judaic Studies, including Tanach and Gemara, as well as developed a chesed (kindness) elective to encourage students to give back to the community. Before SAR, he taught in London for 5 years at Sacks Morasha JPS where he was Judaic Studies Coordinator for grades 2 through 5. At the same time, Rabbi Engelsman created and managed a Sunday School for advanced text study (Chumash, Mishna and Gemara) for middle school students. He learned for 5 years in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshivat Hakotel where he received his rabbinical certification. He holds a master's degree in Jewish Education from Middlesex University in London.
General Studies Principal K-8
During her 10 years at Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago, Danielle Gershon distinguished herself as a faculty leader and champion for math. As JSTEAM Coordinator (Jewish, science, technology, engineering, art and math), she created, implemented and managed the program for the school. As 8th Grade Level Coordinator, she worked closely with the principal and guided the 8th grade teaching team. Danielle also served as a new teacher mentor. As a middle school math teacher, she implemented a new curriculum and taught accelerated geometry and algebra. Additionally, she ran the school's first ever accreditation process. Danielle also taught an annual course at Touro University's Blitstein Institute of Hebrew Theological College, teaching principles of math education to teachers. Danielle holds both a master's degree in secondary education of mathematics from Northwestern University and a master's degree in Jewish Professional Studies from the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Additionally, she has her certification in school administration from Concordia University in Chicago.
Director of Admissions
Andi Bonner has spent the last 5 years spearheading admissions, recruitment and retention at Akiba. Andi is a Jewish day school graduate and a proud champion of Akiba. Prior to Akiba, Andi held management roles in an employment consultant firm and at a school of advertising and design. Before moving with her family to the United States from South Africa, she received a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior and Hebrew, and a master’s degree in Personnel Management from the University of the Witwatersrand.