Incoming Head of School
Greetings from Rabbi Marshall Lesack '97
- Letter from Board of Directors President & HOS Search Committee - December 23, 2020
- Letter from HOS Search Committee Co-Chairs - November 10, 2020
- Letter from HOS Search Committee Co-Chairs - October 19, 2020
- Letter from HOS Search Committee Co-Chairs - June 29, 2020
- Letter from HOS Search Committee Co-Chairs - May 11, 2020
- Letter from Howard Treatman, President, Board of Directors - May 1, 2020
- Letter from Sharon Levin, Head of School - May 1, 2020
June 29, 2020 | 7 Tamuz 5780
Dear Barrack Community:
We are thrilled to share that the job description for Barrack’s Head of School, drafted by DRG, has been approved by the search committee. Thank you to those who filled out surveys, met with DRG’s search consultants, and shared your thoughts and visions. We also want to thank the members of the committee for their valuable input in the process of crafting the job description. Marketing of the Head of School position at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy has begun with the posting of the job description on the DRG website. Please click to view.
Next steps are as follows:
The job description will be posted to our school’s website
DRG will post the job on a multitude of other sites and job boards
DRG will create blurbs for social media to create an even greater reach
DRG will seek out interested and qualified candidates through their network
We are excited for recruitment to begin. As members of the Barrack community, we are the best ambassadors, so please send out the job description to anyone and everyone you know and post the job to your own social media.
If you have trouble accessing the document or have any questions, please let us know.
May 11, 2020 | 17 Iyyar 5780
To our Akiba/Barrack Community,
As you know, Sharon Levin will be leaving her position of Head of School at the end of the academic year, 2020–2021. The process of recruiting our next Head of School has begun, and we have been asked to Co-Chair the Search Committee by the Board of Directors.
Our Head of School Search Committee consists of:
|Michele Levin, Co-Chair||Oren Friedman ‘89|
|Lisa Sandler, Co-Chair||Marcia Glickman|
|Howard Treatman, Ex-Officio||Tracy Gordon|
|Rachel Scheinmann ‘88, Faculty Representative||Steven Shapiro|
|Jeffrey Barrack||Rachel Wachs|
|Peggy Carver||Jennifer Willner|
|Yoella Epstein ‘01||Carol Wilson|
Our first step was to interview executive search firms, and we decided to engage DRG Talent Advisory Group. DRG has extensive experience and a successful track record of consulting with and recruiting top talent for Jewish day schools. Dara Klarfeld, CEO, and Sarah Raful Whinston, Senior Search Consultant, will be leading the search on our behalf.
The Search Committee and Board are committed to conducting an open, transparent and comprehensive search for Barrack’s next Head of School. Over the next few weeks, the Search Committee and DRG will be reaching out to all the members of the Barrack family — parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni and their parents, donors, and other supporters — to listen to your thoughts about the kind of leader Barrack needs to guide us into the future.
Barrack is committed to nurturing, inspiring, and preparing young people for the classroom and for life. Our students develop intellectually, socially, and spiritually — and they graduate secure in their identity, abilities, and readiness to succeed as they make a difference locally and globally. We are confident that our search process will yield the right next Head of School for the 2021–2022 school year and this exciting next chapter in the life of Barrack.
We will involve and inform the community throughout the process. In this regard, we have created a web page to cover updates for our search. Please check here for updates, or feel free to reach out to any one of us with questions. We are looking forward to engaging with the Barrack community throughout this process and to diving into this exciting and important work.
Sharon Levin’s dedication and devotion to Akiba/Barrack is the lynch pin that connects the school’s past and present to its future. No matter which hat Sharon is wearing, she always has the best interest of the students, faculty, families, and community in her heart and mind. First, as an inspiring history teacher, then as the innovative Humanities Department Chair, Academic Dean, and finally as our dynamic Head of School, Sharon’s legacy reverberates far and wide. She has certainly made Akiba/Barrack a place where students love where they learn. In Gematria, Jewish numerology, the number 34 stands for the word “heal”. This is emblematic of Sharon’s impact on our community. Especially now, we are so grateful for the strong leadership Sharon has provided and will continue to provide for the balance of her tenure, as she masterfully navigates our school community safely through the COVID-19 disruption. Now, more than ever, the school benefits from her leadership.
I wanted to take this opportunity now to provide more information about our Head of School search process. I have asked Michele Levin and Lisa Sandler to serve as co-chairs of the search committee, which has been formed and is about to start its work. In populating the committee, we worked diligently to select people from differing geographic areas and levels of observance, as well as alumnae and current and past parents. The members of the search committee are: Michele Levin, Lisa Sandler, co-chairs, Jeff Barrack, Peggy Carver, Yoella Epstein, Oren Friedman, Marcia Glickman, Tracy Gordon, Rachel Scheinmann, Steve Shapiro, Rachel Wachs, Jen Willner, Carol Wilson and Jonathan Zabusky. I will be serving on the committee in an ex officio capacity.
In addition, we have recently engaged a professional search firm, DRG - Talent Advisory Group. Michele and Lisa vetted over 20 search firms and interviewed 7 of those firms prior to making their recommendation. DRG has handled many Head of School assignments for both Jewish day schools and non-Jewish independent schools. DRG’s assignment with Barrack will be headed up by Dara Klarfield, the CEO of DRG. Dara has over 20 years of experience in advising non-profit organizations, and is a committed member of the Jewish day school community - Dara went to Jewish day school, sends her children to Jewish day school and she is a former board member and teacher at a Jewish day school. Dara has worked to identify more than 40 Heads of school for Jewish day schools during her time at DRG. We are very excited to be working with Dara and her team.
Over the coming days, you will receive additional information about the search process from Lisa and Michele. It is a sign of the strength of our school, that even as we deal with the disruptions of the current environment, we are able to enthusiastically plan for our future.
Sharon, as the accomplished educator and leader that she is, has implemented systems that will allow our beloved Barrack Hebrew Academy to continue to grow and thrive long after she leaves. Her legacy is already firmly cemented, and our community will be indebted to her forever. As we observe Sharon’s steady hand during the COVID-19 Crisis, we celebrate Sharon even more, and express our deepest gratitude to her for expertly navigating Barrack into a position of educational excellence and stability.
We look forward to building on Sharon’s legacy, and to Barrack moving from strength to strength.
President, Board of Directors
May 1, 2020 | 7 Iyar 5780
Dear Barrack Family and Community Friends and Colleagues,
As I have contemplated, with mixed emotions, my decision to retire in June 2021, I have allowed myself the luxury of both reflecting back and enthusiastically thinking forward to what I hope will be an exciting new chapter in my life where I can continue my passion to teach and mentor young adults.
I am so honored to have been given the opportunity to lead a school with an integrated curriculum that fosters an intellectual environment with deeply rooted Jewish values and that continues to inspire generations of Jewish young people to better the world. I am proud of my contributions to growing Akiba-Barrack into a powerhouse of educational excellence, and I am confident that after I leave, this growth trajectory will continue on with the next Head of School.
I love starting every school year, standing in the gym in front of our entire staff and student body, in my head-to-toe newspaper garb, shouting Mah Chadash?! What’s New?! I am so grateful to work with a Board and, most importantly, to lead a team of educators that has allowed the school to grow, thrive and move forward in so many areas. We are truly a school that cultivates in every student the wisdom, courage and kindness to lead lives of significance.
One of the songs I love and from which I take great inspiration is 'For Good' from the musical Wicked. “I’ve heard it said. That people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn. And we are led. To those who help us most to grow. If we let them. And we help them in return...“ It was exactly thirty-four years ago, in the spring, as my family was preparing to move to Philadelphia from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. that I took my daughter for a pre-enrollment visit to what was then Akiba. From that point forward, our lives were changed for good. It was fortuitous that the school needed a teacher with my background to fill in for a sabbatical, and the rest is...history. It has been my greatest honor and pleasure to teach history and government at Akiba/Barrack to over 1,500 students. Today, I can say that I have taught almost every parent of our 76 legacy students. As I moved on to chair the History Department, next to become Coordinator of Humanities, then Academic Dean and now Head of School, my son Jared followed his sister Natanya to our school, and I even had the blessing of working side-by-side with my daughter for four years when she became a teacher in our resource department. From our place within Akiba/Barrack, my husband, Jonathan, and I developed our communal relationships. For myself, I have also had the opportunity to develop close relationships with extraordinary colleagues through the educational organizations with which I have been associated.
There is still so much to do before June of 2021, as our school will be entering the commemoration of its 75th anniversary the following school year. I will continue to lead the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy with the same vigor and enthusiasm that I brought with me in September of 1986. “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better. And because I knew you...Because I knew you... I have been changed for good... “
With my deepest gratitude to everyone over the years in the Akiba-Barrack family,
Head of School