School Leadership

Sharon P. Levin

Sharon P. Levin

Head of School

Sharon has been a leader in education for more than 45 years and found her passion in teaching American history and government first as a public school teacher in New York City and then in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Currently in her 34th year at Akiba-Barrack and her 9th year as Head of School, she previously served as Coordinator of Humanities of the Upper School as well as Academic Dean.  

Sharon was among the first group of inductees in RAVSAK's Head of School Professional Excellence Program (HOSPEP) and was also the recipient of a Wind Fellowship that allowed her to spend a month in Israel writing curriculum.

Serving as a Board Member of ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools) as well as on the PAIS (Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools) Commission on Accreditation, she is active in the independent school community.  

Sharon received her B.A. in History and Political Science from Brooklyn College and her M.Ed. at the University of Maryland.

Justin Cooper

upper school Dean of students/Athletic Director

Justin is entering his 15th year as an Independent School Administrator and his 8th year at Barrack. Prior to being named the Director of Athletics and Head of Physical Education and Health at Barrack in 2013, Justin served in the same capacity at Doane Academy in Burlington, NJ from 2006-13. In 2009, Justin was also named Head of Lower School at Doane. Justin holds a B.S. in Sport and Recreation Management from Temple University where he also played Varsity Baseball. He holds an M.S. in Education Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University and earned his N.J. Principal Certification. Justin served as the Penn Jersey Athletic Association President from 2008–16 and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association Secretary from 2017–20. He is a Registered Athletic Administrator (R.A.A.) and is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at the West Hill School in Rosemont, PA.

Christine Farrell

Director of the Middle School

Christine serves as Middle School Director and Department Chair for our Core and Arts programs. As one of our primary educational leaders, she nurtures our Middle School students’ emotional, social, and spiritual growth. She has held several leadership positions at Barrack, including serving as our Dean of Students. She also spent 10 years as an 8th grade core teacher, faculty advisor, and Middle School Council advisor. She holds a B.S. in History from Saint Joseph's University and an M.Ed. from Cabrini College.

Jennifer Groen '91

assistant head of school for strategy

A Barrack alumna and Day School Leadership Training Institute graduate, Jen is proud to serve our school community and help it thrive. Jen was previously Director of Education and Program at Moving Traditions and Assistant Director and Master Teacher at the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College. She was selected as one of the "Top 10 Jewish Influential Leaders Under 50" by Inside magazine and continues to bring her passion and expertise to the field of Jewish education. Jen received her B.A. in Psychology and Religion from Muhlenberg College, attended The Hebrew University, and holds an M.S.W. from Temple University.

Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston

Director of Jewish Studies



Judd has served as Director of Jewish Studies since 2009. Before coming to Barrack, he taught and held senior administrative posts at the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Solomon Schechter High School in New York, and at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. A Wexner Graduate Fellowship alumnus, he received the 2018 Ettenberg Fellowship for Research in Jewish Education for “The Moral Case for Play” and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE). He has published widely on moral development and Jewish education and is the author of Sowing the Seeds of Character: The Moral Education of Adolescents in Public and Private Schools. Judd holds a certificate in Chinese Studies from Peking University in Beijing, an A.B. in History and Science from Harvard University, an M.A. in Education followed by rabbinic ordination and a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Thomas McLaughlin



Tom has been an Upper School English teacher at Barrack since 2000, and served as Humanities Department Chair for five years before being appointed Upper School Academic Dean in July 2020. Tom believes in nurturing and inspiring intellectual growth, determination, and resilience in students, and is passionate about Barrack’s values-driven educational mission. He previously taught at various colleges and universities for five years and has worked as a professional writer and editor. As department chair, Tom served on a PAIS full-accreditation visiting committee, and presented at various academic venues, including the 21st annual SEAC (Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum) international conference and the 46th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha international conference. During this time, he also earned an M.A. in History from Villanova University, and was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta. Tom also holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Rutgers University in Camden.

Alex Stroker

Chief Operations and Development Officer

Alex has spent nearly 25 years working in the Jewish community in various leadership capacities, including his 5 years at Barrack. He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Interim Chief Executive Officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. A graduate of Penn State University, he is responsible for business and finance office oversight, facilities management, transportation, and security. He is also primarily responsible for all annual, short-term, and long-term restricted fundraising efforts. Alex holds a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from Penn State University.

Rebecca Trajtenberg

dean of college counseling and academic advising


Rebecca is in her 18th year as a college admission professional, starting as a college admission officer in New York before moving to the admission staff at Franklin & Marshall College, where she served as Senior Assistant Dean of Admission. In 2009, she joined Barrack’s College Counseling Office, becoming its director in 2014. She is committed to forging strong connections with students and parents and helping them find the right path forward after Barrack. A member of NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors), PACAC (Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counselors), NYACAC (New York Association of College Admissions Counselors), and NCA (Nassau County Counselors Association), Rebecca has participated in the Blackberry River Retreat in Mt. Holyoke and the Harvard Summer Institute on Admissions. She earned a B.A. from Muhlenberg College and an M.S. Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania.