Atlanta Jewish Academy has hired Rabbi Ari Leubitz to serve as head of school, effective July 1.

The successor to Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, who has led the school through the first two years after the merger of Greenfield Hebrew Academy and Yeshiva Atlanta High School, was announced by AJA President Ian Ratner on Monday, Feb. 1, after a five-month international search led by Nancy Weissmann and Chanina Falk.

Rabbi Ari Leubitz

Rabbi Ari Leubitz

Rabbi Leubitz has served as the head of school at the Oakland Hebrew Day School since August 2012 and thus will be the second educator in a year to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to lead a Sandy Springs day school. Epstein School Head of School David Abusch-Magder came from the Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Francisco.

“I am drawn to the opportunity to head AJA because I believe that my own experience, vision and skill set align well with what the school needs as it moves from its strong tradition to its future as a bright light in the Jewish and secular educational communities nationwide,” Rabbi Leubitz said.

A joint AJA statement from Ratner, Weissmann and Falk cited the rabbi’s experience in Judaic studies leadership, teen engagement, and business, including a degree in 1995 from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.

“He is described by all who know him as a mensch, a thoughtful professional, and a leader with a clear educational vision that aligns with AJA’s mission,” the school said, adding that Rabbi Leubitz is a sought-after adviser and leader in Jewish education.

“Rabbi Leubitz is an educational visionary and a pastorally oriented rabbinic leader,” said Ruthie Strosberg Simon, the director of placement and alumni affairs at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, where he received smicha (ordination) in 2006. “He will excel in this Atlanta Modern Orthodox community.”

Rabbi Leubitz and his wife, Florence, an audiologist, have three children, Eliana, Aviva and Ezra, who will attend AJA in the fall.

Having started February by picking its new leader, AJA is preparing to close the month by breaking ground on the construction that will enable the consolidation of the whole preschool-through-12th-grade school at its Sandy Springs campus. The ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Northland Drive facility.