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Program for Careers in Jewish Education Launched with $1.5M Foundation Grant

– by The Jewish Voice

June 28th, 2016

Jewish VoiceA new Early Career Fellowship Program will launch later this year to develop and position young leaders for careers in Jewish education. The pilot program is led by Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts; Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York, New York; and de Toledo High School in Los Angeles, California and is supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation. The grant is the latest example of the innovative high schools’ expanding leadership role in strengthening the Jewish community in their local communities and nationally.

The multi-year matching grant funds Gann hiring a national manager to form and oversee this first-of-its kind program and the recruiting of six national Fellows—new college graduates—at the three different Jewish high schools (beginning in 2017). These schools share a deep commitment to training the next generation of educational leadership.

As Rabbi Marc Baker, head of Gann Academy, notes, “The Jim Joseph Foundation grant is another example of the depth and breadth of our mission and impact. Along with Abraham Joshua Heschel School, and de Toledo, we are here to prepare our students for today’s world and to ensure that we are building a solid foundation for the next generation. Teaching the teachers is a critical component of that foundation.”

The three pilot schools will become an on-ramp for new talent, benefiting directly from the contributions of the fellows while learning what it takes to recruit, inspire and connect young professionals to a meaningful career.

“The Early Career Fellowship Program provides a unique path into Jewish day school education for our best and brightest college grads,” adds Bruce Powell, head of School at de Toledo High School in Los Angeles. “In essence, the program ensures that we develop quality professionals who will be the future of our schools and who will guarantee that we can continue with our sacred task at the highest level. The vision of the Jim Joseph Foundation and Gann Academy is transformative.”

In addition to the recruiting and assignment of the six Fellows, the matching grant enables the development of a robust curriculum for the Fellows, the annual convening of the Fellows to compare experiences and share learning, and the creation of formative and summative evaluations.

“With their records of educational success, these schools are natural partners for this innovative new program,” adds Chip Edelsberg, executive director of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “There is an urgent need to develop talented young leaders who possess skills and support necessary to deliver excellent Jewish education in a variety of settings. As the Fellowship evolves, we look forward to sharing findings and key lessons to help all who care about the future of Jewish life and learning.”

While the essence of the Fellows’ professional development will be their full-time work over two years as part of the schools’ Jewish and Student Life teams, they will also seek to engage with other constituents in their local communities. Those activities will include but not be limited to working with regional directors of teen youth organizations, adult education, and doing student recruitment work with local synagogues and day schools or other synergies, as determined by the Fellow and the school.

“This exciting partnership will offer our high school students a fabulous opportunity to learn from terrific role models as the Early Career Fellows simultaneously learn how to become leaders in the field of Jewish education,” adds Ariela Dubler, Head of School, The Abraham Joshua Heschel School. “We are thrilled to be a part of this innovative program.”

The grant also will support an independent evaluator to provide careful study of the program’s efforts on the Fellows and their school communities with an eye towards the scalability of the program and its capacity to increase a pipeline of expertly prepared Jewish educational leaders for the future.

Source: “Program for Careers in Jewish Education Launched with $1.5M Foundation Grant,” The Jewish Voice, June 22, 2016