Faculty and Staff:
Rabbi David Rebibo – Founder & Dean of Students
Rabbi Rebibo is the Orthodox Jewish congregational rabbi, founder and dean of Phoenix Hebrew Academy, an Age 2-8th Grade Jewish day school, and head of the kosher certifying agency VA’AD in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also president of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of Greater Phoenix. He is a driving force behind the development of the Orthodox Jewish community of Phoenix and has been since 1965.
Rabbi Weiner is a veteran teacher of many years, first in Baltimore, Maryland, and then for a number of years as a member of the Phoenix Hebrew Academy staff. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, he received his Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt, OB”M, and his Masters Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago. Additionally, he is a graduate of both the Jewish Education Leadership Institute and the Maurice Ralph Julis Principal Trainting Institute. Rabbi Weiner’s passion for education and attention to detail are well known throughout the community.
Rabbi Harris Cooperman – Director of Development and Seventh Grade Boys Judaic Studies
Rabbi Cooperman, originally from Brooklyn, New York, has been a fixture in Phoenix, Arizona since 1984. He served as principal of the Phoenix Hebrew Academy for more than 20 years. A master educator, Rabbi Cooperman has decades of experience teaching classes and shiurim to Jews of various backgrounds.
Mrs. Sheila Shaffer– Director of General Studies and Seventh and Eighth Grade Social Studies
Mrs. Shaffer is a veteran Social Studies teacher from the Washington School District. She comes to PHA with over two decades of experience as a teacher and administrator. Mrs. Shaffer brings a passion for literature and writing to the classroom. She holds her Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Arizona State University.
Ms. Gabby Jiminez– Two-Year-Old Class
Ms. Jimenez, now in her second year at PHA, comes to us from the Greenfrog Child Development Center with years of experience as a toddler caregiver and holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Phoenix College.
Miss Baila Gordon– Two-Year-Old Class Aide
Mrs. Robin Samuel– Three-Year-Old Class
Mrs. Samuel is a long time member of the PHA family, having sent all three of her children to our school. She holds a degree from California State University Northridge, and has 19 years of experience teaching in Early Childhood at a number of Jewish Day Schools.
Ms. Elizabeth Reyes– Three-Year-Old Class Aide
Ms. Kylie Mony– Pre-Kindergarten
Ms. Mony, a native of Arizona and a beloved member of the PHA staff, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Early Childhood education. This will be her fourth year teaching the Four-Year-Old Class at our school.
Mrs. Esther Meirov– Pre-Kindergarten Aide
Mrs. Gabriella Medelowitz– Preschool Judaic Studies
Morah Gabriella, who has several years experience in early childhood, joined the PHA family in the fall of 2016, and has quickly become a beloved staple of our staff. She is currently completing her bachelor’s degree at Empire State University in Human Development, and is passionate about working with children, particularly of preschool age!
Mrs. Alyssa Zupnick– Kindergarten General Studies
Mrs. Zupnick is a beloved teacher and veteran of both PHA and the Tucson Hebrew Academy. Additionally, she spent a year teaching underprivileged children in Israel. She graduated from the University of Arizona with her Bachelors in Elementary Education as well as her Arizona Teaching Certification.
Ms. Esther Alush– Kindergarten Judaic Studies
Ms. Alush is currently in her first year working at PHA. She has 7 years of experience in early childhood, and is now working on her Bachelors degree from Paradise Valley Community College. Apart from her desire to teach and connect with her students, she is known for her pleasant demeanor, kindness and perseverance.
Mrs. Nellie Kataev– Kindergarten Aide
Ms. Norma Walker– First and Fourth Grade General Studies
Ms. Walker graduated from Minot State University in Minot, ND with a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and a concentration in reading. She is a veteran teacher of 25 years with the Mesa Public School District #4, and has taught at PHA for over 6 years as well.
Mrs. Leslie Knoll– Second Grade General Studies
Mrs. Knoll received her Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado. She has over 10 years of teaching experience at the primary level in grades K-3, and has also worked as an educational consultant for several educational publishing companies. This included marketing and selling educational materials as well as creating nonfiction book sets and writing teacher resources. She enjoys working with younger children because of their energy and excitement for learning.
Mrs. Lakie Blech– Second Grade Judaic Studies
Morah Lakie brings years of teaching experience to PHA, having taught a variety of ages and subjects both in Phoenix and in Silver Spring, MD. Additionally, she is trained in the Montessori Method of Education, allowing her to diversify her lessons, and reach many different levels within the classroom.
Mrs. Debbie Hagan– Third Grade General Studies
Mrs. Hagan, now in her second year at PHA, comes to us from the Scottsdale Unified School District with years of classroom experience and holds an MA in Special/Gifted Education.
Rabbi Nachman Goldenberg– Third and Fifth Grade Judaic Studies
Rabbi Goldenberg, now in his third year at PHA, earned his Bachelors degree from Thomas Edison State College as well Rabbinic Ordination from the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Queens, New York. Aside from his passion for teaching and connecting with his students, he is known for his pleasant demeanor, patience and sense of humor.
Rabbi Ari Bleeman– Fourth Grade Judaic Studies
Rabbi Bleeman, a veteran master teacher, is a graduate of the Ner L’Elef Teachers Program in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as the Machon Aluph Bina Teacher Training Program. Prior to joining the PHA staff, he served in several different capacities in the field of education, including Student Activity Coordinator at the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva in Moscow, Russia.
Rabbi Sholom Twerski– Fourth Grade Girls Navi
During his many years living in Israel, Rabbi Twerski received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovitz at the Jerusalem Kollel. In addition to being on the PHA staff, he serves as Rabbinic Administrator of the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth and Associate Rabbi of Beth Joseph Congregation.
Ms. Denise Sapiro– Fifth Grade General Studies
Ms. Sapiro is in her first year at PHA. She earned her Bachelors Degree at Adelphi University in New York and her Masters Degree at Concordia University in California. Additionally, she’s taught in private schools, public schools, charter, and has had her own tutoring business. Ms. Sapiro has 20 years of experience and is certified in both California and Arizona. Her passion is to use a variety of cooperative learning strategies to make learning engaging.
Rabbi Yisroel Isaacs– Fifth Grade Boys Mishna
Rabbi Isaacs, a fixture in the PHA family, serves as Rabbi of Beth Joseph Congregation, and is Co-Director of the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth and the Jewish Enrichment Center, an educational and outreach organization. He also serves as Rabbinic Coordinator of the Phoenix Community Eruv. Some of his hobbies include Hebrew bibliography, keeping abreast of contemporary halachic issues and meeting new people.
Mrs. Rebecca Lindenbaum– Sixth Grade Social Studies and Language Arts
Mr. Joel Michalski– Sixth Grade Math and Science and Seventh and Eighth Grade Language Arts
Mr. Michalski received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. After working in the Lake Havasu School District for several years, he joined the staff of PHA. Now going into his fourth year at PHA, he is a familiar face on campus. His classes are known for the wide range of exciting educational activities which they often include. He’s thoroughly excited to add even more dynamic activities to his classes this year.
Rabbi Moshe Rubinovich– Sixth Grade Boys and Eighth Grade Boys Judaic Studies
Rabbi Rubinovich is in his first year teaching at PHA. He graduated from Yeshivat Ohr HaChaim, a division of Touro/Lander’s College, as a Dean’s Honor Roll student, and graduated from Yeshivat Birchat Mordechai in Israel as well. Aside from his passion for teaching, his steadfast defense of the truth and Torah-true Judaism is unwavering.
Mrs. Sara Twerski– Sixth Grade Girls Judaic Studies
Mrs. Twerski is a widely respected veteran teacher who holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Before joining PHA, she taught Middle School classes for several years in the New York area.
Ms. Kari Jaques– Seventh and Eighth Grade Math
Mrs. Eva Barach– Seventh and Eighth Grade Science
Mrs. Barach is originally from Brooklyn, NY. She worked towards her Biology degree at the College of Staten Island. Mrs. Barach moved with her family to Phoenix 2 years ago and enjoys all the things it has to offer. She also brings with her a love for Scientific studies and a fascination in exploring Science and it’s correlation to the truths found in the Torah.
Rabbi Chaim Milrad– Seventh and Eighth Grade Boys Gemara
Rabbi Milrad received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Dovid Ostroff during his time living in Israel. He has been involved in a number of different areas within the field of education for many years, and prior to joining PHA, had most recently been working one on one with struggling students.
Rabbi Daniel Gewirtz– Seventh and Eighth Grade Boys Gemara
Originally from South Bend, IN, Rabbi Gewirtz exudes a wonderful energy that infuses his students with a love of learning. He studied in Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, where he received his bachelor’s degree, and in the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He received Semicha (Rabbinic Ordination) in Lakewood, NJ’s Beth Medrash Govoha. A graduate of Ner Lelef Leadership Program, Rabbi Gewirtz led a Kollel Boker in Lakewood, and he has been teaching locally at Yeshiva High School of Arizona for the past three years. This is his first year teaching at Phoenix Hebrew Academy.
Mrs. Miriam Campbell– First Grade Kriah, Ketiva, and Parsha & Seventh and Eighth Grade Girls Navi and Hashkafah
Mrs. Campbell is teaching in her first year at PHA. She graduated from University of Cincinnati with a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology which she has been using in schools and centers in New York for the past six years while getting her Masters degree in Social Work from Edinoboro University. She specializes in Cognitive-Language therapy as well as social skills. Her background makes her uniquely qualified to help our students thrive!
Ms. Jill Wilson– Resource Teacher
Ms. Wilson joined Gesher Disability Resources (formerly Council For Jews With Special Needs) in 2010. Originally brought on for inclusion consulting, Ms. Wilson has navigated the Jewish preschools, day schools and religious schools earning trust and repeat requests for assistance. Ms. Wilson has increased the list of schools who benefit from the agency’s services including tripling the number of children served each year. Additionally, Ms. Wilson leads special education trainings to teachers and camp counselors. Ms. Wilson holds a B.A. in Special Education K-12 and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, is Certified in Special Education Cross-Categorical and Elementary Education, and has 15 years teaching experience.
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