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Faculty and Staff

Mrs. Beth Culhane
Kindergarten and Third Grade Secular Studies
Mrs. Culhane began working at SCHA in August 2016.  She earned her dual Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and English from Southern Connecticut State University.  Prior to joining the SCHA faculty, Mrs. Culhane taught First Grade for five years at Yeshiva K’Tana in Waterbury, CT; Second Grade for four years in Region 15 School District, Southbury, CT; and was a Curriculum Writer for FreeWorldU.org.

Mrs. Rivka Fenton
Preschool and Music
Mrs. Fenton joined the faculty of SCHA in September 2016.  She has taught Judaic Studies to students in preschool through high school, as well as serving as the Arts and Afterschool Program Director in a Chabad School.

 

Rabbi Yonah Fenton
5th – 8th Grade Judaic Studies
Rabbi Fenton joined the SCHA faculty in September 2016.  He received his BA in Talmudic Law and his ordination from United Lubavitch Yeshiva.  Rabbi Denton has several years of teaching experience in Judaic Studies, and served as the Educational Director of Chabad of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

 

Rabbi Josef Hartmann
Middle School Judaic Studies
Rabbi Hartmann began teaching at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy in the early 1980's when it was still New Haven Hebrew Day School. He has developed a highly successful curriculum that integrates cutting-edge technology into the teaching of Talmudic wisdom. His unique ability to connect with students has made him a beloved teacher at SCHA.

Ms. Sarah Hartwell

First Grade Secular Studies
Ms. Hartwell began teaching at SCHA in September 2008. She received her BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, and her MS in Education from Metropolitan College of New York. Prior to joining the faculty at SCHA, Ms. Hartwell was an Intern in New York City Public Schools 110, 19, and 134; and teacher with TeacherCare Home School for Early Education Children.

Rabbi Baruch Kaplan

Third and Fourth Grade Judaic Studies
Rabbi Kaplan began teaching at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy in the fall of 2005. He teaches Tefillah, Chumash, Navi, Halacha, and Chagim to the 3rd and 4th grades. Rabbi Kaplan received his Bachelor of Arts in Talmudic Studies from Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Miami in Miami, Florida. He received his Rabbinical Ordination from the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. Rabbi Kaplan is the Director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Wallingford, Connecticut and the Coordinator for the Chinuch Office's Summer Educational Conferences. Prior to joining the faculty of SCHA, Rabbi Kaplan taught at Bris Avraham Hebrew School in Fairlawn, New Jersey, and was the Head Counselor at Gan Israel Overnight Camp in Parksville, New York.

Mrs. Simone Kingsley
7th Grade Pre-Algebra
Mrs. Kingsley joined the SCHA Middle School Faculty in September 2016.  She earned her BA in Psychology and Secondary Math Certification from Southern Connecticut State University, and her MA in Liberal Studies from Albertus Magnus College.  She has been teaching Middle School and High School Math since 1985 at several parochial and public schools in Connecticut, including St. Stephen School in Hamden, CT; St. Cyril and Methodius in Hartford, CT; Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport, CT; and Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, CT.

Mrs. Jennifer Laffin

Physical Education Teacher
Mrs. Laffin joined the faculty of Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy and Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy Preschool in September 2011. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University. Mrs. Laffin is currently the Assistant Softball Coach at Quinippiac University. Previously, she taught physical education and preschool at St. Lawrence School, and served as the Assistant Softball and Assistant Basketball Coach at Lyman Hall high School. Mrs. Laffin was the Florida Atlantic University - Atlantic Sun Conference Softball Tournament MVP in 2003; the Lyman Hall High School/new Haven Register Athlete of the Year 2001; the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year in Connecticut 2001; and holds the record for Most Career Points in Basketball at Lyman Hall.

Ms. Shterny Levitin
BCA Program Coordinator and 7th and 8th Grade Parsha
Ms. Levitin, who is an alumna of both Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy and Beth Chana Academy, has served as Program Coordinator of Beth Chana Academy since September 2014, and joined the Faculty of SCHA’s Middle School in November 2016.

Mrs. Pessy Malachowski

Kindergarten Judaic Studies
Mrs. Malachowski joined the SCHA faculty in August 2014.  She attended Beth Rivkah Division of Higher Learning and Bnos Chabad High School.  Mrs. Malachowski previously worked as a paraprofessional in a preschool, working one-on-one with a student; as a summer camp counselor, and a winter camp counselor with the Friendship Circle; and as a Direct Care Worker for adults with special needs.

Mrs. Kay Pacileo

Second and Fifth Grade Secular Studies
Mrs. Pacileo began teaching at SCHA in August 2000. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Math, and Master of Arts in Classroom Teaching from West Virginia University. Mrs. Pacileo taught second and third grade in West Virginia and served as a substitute in grades kindergarten through ninth grade in various schools in West Virginia. Mrs. Pacileo also worked for five years in the library at Beecher Road School in Woodbridge, CT, including a period as interim librarian.

Mrs. Leanne Pagliuso
Librarian
Mrs. Pagliuso became the SCHA Librarian in August 2015.  She earned a Bachelor of Science from SUNY New Paltz.  Prior to joining the SCHA faculty, she served as the Library Assistant at the Wood Library, and as a Library Volunteer at the Mohegan School, Elizabeth Shelton School, and Perry Hill School.

 

Ms. Mushky Reinitz
6th Grade Judaic Studies
Ms. Reinitz, who is a graduate of SCHA, joined the faculty in September 2016.  She completed her teacher training at Bais Rivka Seminary in Brooklyn, NY.  She has served as a Hebrew School Teacher in Chabad Schools in Orange, CT; Miami, FL; New York; and New Jersey.

Mrs. Traci Rhodes
Fourth and Sixth Grade Secular Studies
Mrs. Rhodes joined the faculty of SCHA in August 2016.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, Elementary Education Certification from the State of Connecticut, and is working towards her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Sacred Heart University.  Mrs. Rhodes previously taught Third through Fifth Grade at Holy Spirit School in Stamford, CT, where she also served as Assistant Principal for two years.  She was a Special Education Paraprofessional in the Branford Public Schools, and an Instructional Aide for autistic students at Giant Steps Connecticut.
 

Mrs. Rachael Scheff
First Grade Judaic Studies
Mrs. Scheff joined the SCHA faculty in August 2016.  She graduated Summa cum Laude with a BS in Behavioral Science from Mercy College, where she also earned an MS in Early Childhood Education.  Prior to coming to SCHA, Mrs. Scheff worked for five years from 2011-2016 as a Special Education Teacher in Sinai Schools in New Jersey, and for two years from 2009-2011 as an Instructional Aide at the Essex Regional Education Services Commission in Passaic, New Jersey.  She holds multiple Education Certifications in topics ranging from Social Skills Training to Digital Teacher Certification.