Friday, September 17, 2021

Rachel Mendelson will be joining the WTA family as the school’s early childhood and lower school social worker and co-coordinator of programming in the middle school.

Rachel received her bachelor’s degree from Stern College in Early Childhood Education and her LMSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Over the past five years, Rachel has been working for Yachad most recently as the assistant director of Yachad New York. Additionally, she is the assistant director and program director of Yachad’s Israel summer program, Yad B’Yad, for teens with and without disabilities.

Rachel is passionate about education, inclusion, and allowing each child to develop their best self. She is excited to be a part of the warm and growth-oriented environment of WTA and is looking forward to meeting each student and family in September!

David Merel has joined WTA full time as the director of operations & technology.

With a strong passion for the intersection of education and technology, David has spent the past school year dedicating his time, expertise and enthusiasm to WTA in a volunteer capacity, sourcing cost-effective IT solutions for the school without sacrificing quality. Among other initiatives, David updated WTA’s tech networks, dramatically improved its IT infrastructure, and enhanced remote learning solutions for students unable to be physically present at school due to the pandemic. Last month, David was the recipient of the Educational Technology Award at the WTA dinner.

David is the founder, CEO and chief architect of Thinkbright LLC, a national Voice-Over IP telephone company and cutting-edge VOIP carrier started in 2005. In addition, over the last several years, David has been involved in several start-ups focusing on mobile apps dealing with educational, e-commerce and social applications. Prior to Thinkbright, David was a project manager at Sitaro Group LLC, where he was responsible for deploying network, security and business management applications. David worked with the Ad Council on media delivery solutions, and before that served as a global project manager at Young & Rubicam, where he was the architect behind the company’s first intranet platform.

An educator for 25 years, Ann Zisser is excited to be joining the Westchester Torah Academy community. She has served as an elementary classroom teacher for many years in various Jewish day schools, most recently serving as the math curriculum specialist at the Beit Rabban Day School in New York City. In her new role at WTA, she will serve as the math curriculum coordinator and as a classroom teacher. Ann also teaches religious school at Beth El Synagogue Center, is a division head at a day camp and tutors young teens who are becoming b’nai mitzvah. Ann lives in White Plains with her husband, Sandy, who is an educator at the Leffell School, and has two grown children, Solomon and Rena. In her spare time, Ann loves to walk, bake and spend time near the ocean.

WTA is excited to welcome Penina Morell for the 2021-2022 school year! Penina attended Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY), after which she received her BA in Judaic studies with a concentration in education from Stern College. She went on to receive her MS in Jewish education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. Penina has taught and observed at SAR Academy and in Yeshivat Frisch. She has spent summers on NCSY Michlelet’s Israel learning program as a madricha, and has served as the director of the Public School Mechina Program. Penina will be teaching in middle school and will also be the co-coordinator of programming. She is thrilled to bring her experience and excitement to the WTA team!

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