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Rabbi Sheya Hecht Headmaster
Rabbi Mendy Hecht Associate Headmaster and Director of Development Rabbi Hecht received his Rabbinical Ordination from Machon Lehora in Pretoria, South Africa, and furthered his studies at Tzemach Tzedek in the Old City of Jerusalem. Previous to assuming his positions as Director of Development and Judaic Studies Teacher at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, Rabbi Hecht taught Jewish Philosophy in South Africa and Israel. He served as a fellow in the Jewish communities of Portugal, Poland, and Peru, teaching and organizing community outreach programs. Rabbi Hecht currently serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel-Orchard Street Shul in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dr. Shimon Waronker Academic Dean Dr. Waronker is an acclaimed educator who has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, as well as on the Today Show, CNN, and numerous other media outlets. He has garnered two fellowships and a doctorate, a Cahn Fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and both a Presidential Fellowship and a Doctorate at Harvard University. He has also been awarded a Knighthood from the French Government. Dr. Waronker is currently serving as the CEO of The New American Initiative, Inc., a not-for-profit dedicated to creating an innovative educational model across the country. In addition, he is serving as Academic Dean at The Jewish Academy in Commack, Long Island, and Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy in Orange, Connecticut.
Mrs. Dini Druk, M.Ed. SCHA Principal Mrs. Druk is an educator with over a decade of experience in bringing progressive education to Jewish day schools. A Brooklyn native, she holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and has left her mark on schools in New York, Stamford, Westchester, and Florida. Most recently, she was part of the leadership team at Orlando Jewish Day School, where she spearheaded a myriad of programs, including the building of Orlando’s first Elementary School Makerspace and the development of a highly acclaimed STEM program.
Mrs. Raizy Kaplan Preschool Director Mrs. Kaplan joined the Administration of SCHA in September 2005. She graduated from Beth Chana of Safed, in 2001 with a Morot LaGolah Degree certified by the Israeli Ministry of Education. She then attended Beth Rivkah DHL of New York, from where she graduated in 2003 with a study focus on Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Kaplan is an active participant of the CECE Network, which promotes and supports excellence in Chabad Early Childhood Education Centers nationally. She developed the Curriculum for a start-up Preschool in Brighton Beach, New York. Mrs. Kaplan has served as Head Teacher in New York, California, and Connecticut. In addition to her duties as PreSchool Director of Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, she currently consults for other Jewish Preschools, in areas of Judaic and General curriculum integration, programming, and organization.
Mrs. Shelley Stevenson Hall Director of Special Education Mrs. Hall joined the faculty of Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy in January 2012. She brings with her more than thirty years of experience teaching Special Education throughout Connecticut, including Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk; Weston Middle and High Schools; and Thurgood Marshall Middle School for Social Justice in Bridgeport (Cooperative Education Services in Fairfield County,) both as a teacher for grades 3 and 5-8, and as the Response to Intervention Coordinator for grades 5-8. She also served as the Special Education Teacher-in-Residence for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Mrs. Hall was the Weston Connecticut Teacher of the Year in 1995-1996, and a semi-finalist in the State of Connecticut Teacher of the Year Competition. She also received four commendations from the Weston Board of Education for Outstanding Service to the Community. Mrs. Hall earned her Bachelor of Science in English and Secondary Education from University of Bridgeport, and a Master of Arts in Special Education and a Certificate in Advanced Studies in Administration and Supervision from Fairfield University. She also holds Connecticut Certification in English, History, and Special Education.
Ms. Laura Donahue Head Secretary Ms. Donahue has been the welcoming face of SCHA since June 2002. She has previously worked as the secretary to the Chairman/CEO of Starter Corporation, and secretary to the Vice President and President of Dagar Software.
Mr. Timothy McCarthy IT Director Mr. McCarthy joined the administration of SCHA in August 2016. He holds a degree in Network Systems Administration from ITT Tech and certifications in A+, MCP, and Security+ from Porter and Chester. He has worked as a PTCR Independent Contractor for three years, and served in the US Army from 2009 to 2010.
Mrs. Shelley Heins, RN Nurse Mrs. Heins began working at SCHA in August 2016. She earned her RN from University of Bridgeport. She has worked with the Orange Visiting Nurse Association for fourteen years as a substitute school nurse. She was the full-time nurse at the Mary L. Tracy School for one year, and the Supervisor of the Health Office at two campuses of Gateway Community College for seven years. She has also worked in the Gateway Accommodations Office for students with disabilities. Mrs. Heins has Certifications in Diabetes Care and attends yearly Continuing Education Courses in Nursing.
Mrs. Alicia Brown Administrative Assistant Mrs. Brown joined the staff of SCHA in November 2008. She holds a BS in Cognitive Science from Trinity College and an MAT from Sacred Heart University. She was a faculty member at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, CT, and an administrative assistant in the central office of the Amity Regional School District in Woodbridge, CT.
Mrs. Mae-Ann Wilner School Social Worker Mrs. Wilner began working at SCHA in August 2015 through a grant from Jewish Family Services. She earned her BA in English Literature and Communications from Simmons College in Boston, and a Masters of Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. She also serves as the School Social Worker at Ezra Academy in Woodbridge, CT. She has previously served as a Social Worker at Bridges Mental Health Services in Milford, CT, offering individual and family counseling; and as a School Social Worker at Metropolitan Business Academy Magnet High School in New Haven, CT.