Ruth Adler has lived in Providence since 1989, when Brown University recruited her from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before coming to Brown, she served as Hebrew ructor/Lecturer at Academic Rank in the Division of Hebrew Language Instruction, and Head Teacher at the Rothberg School for Overseas Studies at Hebrew University. She also served as Pedagogical Director in the Division of Adult Education in ORT ISRAEL. In 1992, when Ruti and her husband were seeking a Jewish education for their then 6-year-old daughter, Shira, they arrived at ASDS (now JCDSRI). Immediately, they felt at home. At that time, she was offered the job of designing the Hebrew curriculum for the school. Her main goal is to bring the passion and love of learning Hebrew to each student in our school.
Ruth AdlerHebrew Language Consultant
Ronit grew up in Israel, has a BA from Haifa University in special education and over 30 years of teaching experience. She has worked with students of all ages and different learning abilities and styles. Ronit was formerly a Hebrew resource room teacher at the Solomon Schechter school in Long Island, NY and taught middle and high school at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba) outside of Philadelphia. Most recently, Ronit taught at Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA where she organized the Hebrew curricula and the methodology of teaching Ivrit (Hebrew). Her approach to teaching is to understand and to be aware of her students’ needs and abilities, both individually and as a class, and then to adjust her teaching style to fit the needs of the students. When Ronit is not in school you can find her cooking away in her kitchen or visiting her two granddaughters, son and daughter-in-law in London.
Ronit Amit3rd and 4th Grade Hebrew
Diane CerepTeacher Assistant Pre-K
Adina has spent the last 12 years building community and implementing innovative programs for all ages with Jewish and interfaith organizations in Greater Boston, Rhode Island, New York and Philadelphia. Since 2016, she has also been the Administrator and Engagement Coordinator at BJEP: Boston area- Jewish Education program. Before that Adina planned programs for families with young children for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston. She also previously worked at InterfaithFamily.com and the Union for Reform Judaism.
Adina has a Master’s Degree in Jewish communal service with a concentration in nonprofit management from Gratz College, which is outside of Philadelphia and also where she grew up. She loves meeting new people, traveling, and learning about different cultures. She also loves spending time with her husband, son and daughter. In her spare time you can find Adina taking pictures, hiking, bowling, cooking and baking (particularly Challah) and learning and playing games (especially Catan, Canasta & Taboo). She also enjoys teaching others how to make Challah from scratch so they can bring this tradition into their homes
Adina DaviesAdvancement Associate
Jill has taught fourth, third, second, and first grade, sometimes one grade at one time, and for a few years two grades at once! She has been a teacher at JCDSRI for over ten years. She lives with her husband and best friend, Paul, and their five fabulous kids in Brooklyn, Connecticut. A few of her interests include writing children’s stories, traveling, running, and hiking. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity to teach children; it is truly a gift. I am planning on another fantastic year here at JCDSRI. I will focus on the needs of my students and really give them the wings so they can soar. That is what a teacher does…and I plan to do my very best.”
Jill Davis2nd Grade GS and Director of General Studies
Emily Dennen, a graduate of DeLeT education program at Brandeis University, originally joined us as a kindergarten aide and literacy instructor in 2014. Emily received her BA in Jewish Studies from Smith College in Northampton, MA. She spent four years working at Smith College’s child care center, where she realized her passion for education. Emily has worked with students in both private and public school settings and her scholarship in Jewish studies brought her to Jerusalem for intensive Hebrew study.
Emily DennenKindergarten GS
Eileen is a native Rhode Islander who lives in West Warwick, Rhode Island. She says, “I will probably always be a Rhode Islander or at least a coastal resident as I feel such a connection to the ocean. But that doesn’t mean travel is not in my future, as I am hoping to visit a vast and varied list of destinations throughout the world.” She is the proud mother of two sons: Ryan, age 36, who lives in Arlington, VA, outside of Washington, D.C, with his wife, Sandra and her adorable granddaughters, Molly Gianna, Lucy Clare and Catherine Anne; and Matthew, age 34, who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island with his wife, Jennifer, and Eileen’s handsome grandsons, Will and Jake, as well as her grandpuppy, George! Eileen is committed to the concept of educational choice for all children and therefore totally supports the Jewish Community Day School and its mission. “After 21 years employed at our school, it continues to be a pleasure working with our students and families and the Jewish community of Rhode Island. I consider it a privilege to be a part of this fine educational team.”
Eileen EllisExecutive Assistant
Shayna Fel is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with 15 years of experience working with children, teens, and young adults with diverse learning needs in schools, camps and community organizations. Most recently, Shayna worked on the admission team at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. When she relocated with her family to Providence, Shayna knew she had to be part of JCDSRI to share the magic of this special school with families in the Greater Rhode Island community.
Shayna is a proud graduate of JCDSRI (formerly Alperin Schechter Day School). She is passionate about the school that helped her become a person who values learning, questioning and constructive conversation; an adult who understands her Jewish identity and seeks opportunities to build a thoughtful, active and inclusive Jewish community; and an individual who holds a strong belief in and commitment to civic responsibility and social action.
Shayna lives in Providence with her husband, Michael, and their three awesome little ones! When she is not working or caring for her small humans, Shayna enjoys reading a good novel, going to the beach and people-watching!
Shayna FelDirector of Admission
Hillary Guttin is originally from South Florida but became a New Englander when she moved to Boston to attend Brandeis University in 2009 where she received her B.A. in Language and Linguistics. She moved to Rhode Island in 2013 to be a Development Associate at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. Hillary has been teaching drama and music classes to elementary and middle school students since she was 18 years old. She has taught at various religious schools and currently teaches music at Temple Emanu-El. Hillary joined the JCDSRI faculty in 2016, bringing a love and passion for education, music, and Judaism with her.
Hillary GuttinTeacher Assistant
Cherishing the magic of Oz and the warm and eclectic community of her hometown, Andrea was raised in Lawrence, Kansas and stayed to receive her BA and MA from the University of Kansas. Her graduate research was on the impact of gender and ethnicity on identity construction. After graduate school, Andrea lived in Jerusalem for a year, where she coordinated a Jewish feminist project and managed a tutoring program for Ethiopian immigrants.
Since arriving in Providence in 1999, Andrea has taught in the Education Department of Rhode Island College, volunteered in the Providence public school system and coordinated a youth philanthropy program. In 2009-10, Andrea and her family lived in Rishon LeZion, Israel, during which time she co-wrote and published her first book, Purple Leaves, Red Cherries: Short Stories on Motherhood. She currently is an instructor in the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Newton, MA.
Andrea, together with her students and colleagues at JCDSRI, spends her days building community, documenting discoveries, experiencing great joy, and practicing kavod, (respect), hesed (kindness), and shalom (peace). She has an extensive snow-globe collection and regularly perpetrates acts of “guerilla gardening.” Andrea lives in Providence with her husband, Steve Jacobson, and two daughters.
Andrea KatzmanHead of School
Harshita was born and raised in a conservative Hindu family in India. She immigrated to the USA in 1996 after an arranged marriage. She and her husband lived in Manhattan before moving to Rhode Island in 1997. Harshita has worked at JCDSRI since September 1998. She and her husband live in Cumberland with their two young daughters.
Harshita LakhianiBusiness Manager
Born and raised in Warwick, RI, Lauren (Coletta) Louth loves being a nurse. She graduated RIC in 2000 after receiving a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree and then again in 2007 with a Master’s degree in Health Education. During this time, she also obtained her license as a Certified School Nurse Teacher. She began her career in the medical field in 1997 at Rhode Island Hospital as an X-Ray Tech Associate, working her way up to becoming a Registered Nurse. After graduating college she worked in a trauma/burn unit for 5 years. She then continued to follow her dream to become a Level 1 Trauma Nurse in the Emergency Department. She also practiced as a Certified School Nurse Teacher, beginning in 2002 for the Providence School Department, and has been enjoying every day since. When Lauren is not at work, she is busy caring for her 6-year-old daughter Julia and 3-year-old son James. Lauren, her husband Jim and their children reside in Warwick.
Lauren LouthSchool Nurse
Rhonda lives in Worcester, Mass where she taught third grade Judaic Studies, in addition to other grade levels, for twenty-five years at the Solomon Schechter/New Jewish Academy Day School. Her husband and she enjoyed raising their three children in the Jewish community of Worcester. She has been at JCDSRI since 2008. To receive honor, you must honor others. (Pirke Avot) How is a teacher truly honored? How is a teacher’s performance and skill measured?
Rhonda’s goal is to nurture learning in a supportive, creative and enthusiastic classroom environment that fosters self confident learners who will develop a life-long love of learning. While teaching Hebrew, Torah, Jewish holidays, history, Tefillah and mitzvot, she strives to cultivate each student’s Jewish identity. She sets high, realistic standards for student achievement while offering students a variety of ways to learn skills and demonstrate their knowledge. In addition to providing opportunities for students to learn through reading, writing, listening and speaking, she addresses their different interests by integrating art, drama, music and games. This enables students to utilize their strengths and express their unique interests and talents. Each child succeeds in his or her own way.
“For twenty five years, I was fortunate to teach in a conservative/community day school in Worcester, Massachusetts. During that time, I had the privilege to witness the realization of my goals and dreams as the day school students went into both the secular and Jewish world beyond the walls of our school. It was through my highest regard for the varied paths taken by our students that I was truly honored. Through the confidence and competence that they developed, I was able to measure my achievement as a Jewish educator. I viewed my students’ accomplishments with deep respect and in that way I was able to appraise my success as a teacher.”
Rhonda Mills2nd and 3rd Grade JS
Mike began his music career after graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2011. He then began performing, recording, and teaching private drum lessons throughout Rhode Island, while serving as the drum instructor at Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts in Providence. Later he started working with Providence CityArts for Youth as a teaching artist. There he created and taught classes such as bucket drumming, piano, world music, song writing and digital music. Mike became the music teacher at JCDSRI in January of 2015. He is looking forward to his first full school year, eager and excited to continue to share his passion with students.
Laurie has been a pre-school teacher since 1989, when she initially worked at the Dan Danciger Jewish Community Center of Ft. Worth, TX. When she moved to RI in 1990, she taught at JCCRI for 10 years, where she was a co-teacher from the 2.4 to 4 year old classes. In 2000, Laurie began working at PHDS where she wore many hats. She was a teacher’s aide in the Pre-K and also the Judaic teacher for 6 months. She then assisted in the Kindergarten and was a substitute teacher for 3 months. She also taught fifth grade math and served as a substitute from Pre-K through high school. Laurie taught Hebrew and Bible Studies at Temple Torat Yisrael in Cranston for 14 years. Laurie has been teaching in Pre-K at JCDSRI since 2007.
Laurie NoorparvarPre-Kindergarten GS
A native of Israel, Ilana came to the U.S. in 1991 where she married and is raising her family. Ilana is a recipient of the Lea Eliash Memorial Grinspoon/Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. For the past ten years, she has been working as a Hebrew and Judaic Studies Teacher at JCDSRI and Temple Emanu-El. Her goal is to create important foundations that will shape children’s worldviews; she listens and engages the students in important discussions and activities that promote love of Hashem, taking pride in being Jewish, love of Israel and the Hebrew language; structures her agenda around prayers and Jewish holidays; and instills the value of Jewish tradition and spiritual guidance.
Ilana OhanaPre-K and Kindergarten JS
Ben grew up on Cape Cod with his two older brothers and countless pets. In 2016, he graduated with a B.A. in Education and a minor in Environmental Science from Flagler College in Saint Augustine, FL. Ben has served as an educator in a variety of professional settings. These experiences vary from administering science-based summer camps for preschool-aged children, instructing young adults while sailing across the Atlantic, educating the general public on protecting sea turtles, to serving as an educator with New Bedford youth as a Commonwealth Corps member.
In his free time, you can find Ben sailing Narragansett Bay, in the woods searching for salamanders, half asleep listening for birds, or simply watching a Sox game with his father- all with an ice cream cone in hand.
“I am so humbled and thankful to be teaching Third Grade and Art at JCDSRI. Here, the students are the sailors and I am the wind. I supply a little push but the students do all the sailing.”
Ben Rome3rd Grade GS
Sara Shay-Davidson is our first and fourth grade teacher Jewish studies teacher. Sarah graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design after attending Jewish Day School as a child. She worked in Israel as a textile designer for 15 years. Upon her return to the U.S., she found her true calling to teach in a Jewish Day school. Sarah worked at Kehillah Schechter Academy (KSA) for 7 years, where she became an expert in center based learning, personalized instruction and the use of educational technology in her classroom. Sarah earned her Hebrew SPED certification at Hebrew College, and has participated in a week long intensive guided reading workshop at Lesley College. Sarah was also an online educator at Hebrew College and Yeshiva University. She has led many Professional Development workshops focusing on using technology in the classroom.
Sarah Shay-Davidson1st Grade JS
Susan Sugerman has a long career as a dedicated educator in the Rhode Island Jewish community. Her resume features 27 years at the Providence Hebrew Day School, serving initially as a sixth-grade classroom teacher before transitioning into her current role as the physical education instructor. She has also been a religious school educator for over 25 years, first at Temple Torat Yisrael and now at Temple Am David. At Temple Am David, she also serves as the assistant religious school director. Susan began her career at Jewish Community Day School in 2003 as the fourth-grade general studies teacher before becoming the physical education instructor. In addition to her role as physical education teacher, for the last five years, she has been the JCDSRI school scheduler and substitute teacher coordinator. Currently, she is also serving on the JCDSRI yearbook committee. She and her husband, Michael, reside in Cranston and have two sons. Susan enjoys lounging on the beach in Narragansett with friends and family. She also loves rooting for the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox.
Susan SugermanPhysical Education
Alison has been in Development both professionally and as a volunteer for the past 15 years. She worked at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston and Metrowest Jewish Day School in Framingham, MA. Alison holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland. She also has a Masters of Social Work and Masters of Jewish Studies. She is also a proud JCDSRI parent to Ivy ’18 and Bentzi ’21.