Torah Day School of Atlanta introduced Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb, its acting head of school, and Peshie Kasloff, the head of general studies, to a room full of parents Wednesday, July 20, at the home of Barry and Judith Levitt.
Rabbi Gottlieb, an educational consultant and founding director of the Institute for Day School Management, which trains heads of school, assured the parents that he shares their vision for success. Quoting Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, he said, “The home can do little without the school. But the school can do nothing without the home.”
The son of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Gottlieb grew up in Scranton, Pa., where his parents gave him the foundation for a life devoted to others. As a teenager, he lived in New York. He then attended the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Israel and then in Queens. The yeshiva, which awarded him smicha (rabbinic ordination), emphasized outreach along with personal refinement and growth in character.
Rabbi Gottlieb holds a master’s in education from Long Island University and a specialist certificate in education from Yeshiva University. He has worked in the field of education as a teacher, principal and consultant for over 25 years and is completing his doctoral research through YU.
At the meet-and-greet session, Rabbi Gottlieb asked, “What are the predictors of success?”
He said the least predictor of success is intelligence. Then he cited a book written by Benjamin Bloom: “Developing Talent in Young People.” Bloom writes that high achievers have three things in common: “practice, supportive parents and devoted teachers.”
Rabbi Gottlieb, who is succeeding Rabbi Joshua Einzig, agrees.
“Devoted teachers have to love what they’re doing and love the kids,” he said. And “they must use effective instruction to engage and challenge their students.”
He said children will respond to warmth and challenge from teachers as well as parents. The rabbi extended his own warmth and challenge to the parents. “My door is open to all of you,” he told them. “It’s great to disagree … just not in front of the children.”
Taking the national news seriously, Rabbi Gottlieb noted that the previous four had brought attacks in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Nice, France. “Our children are not insulated from these events,” he said. He urged the adults, as parents and teachers, to give the children a sense of “security and timeless values.”
At the end of his speech, Rabbi Gottlieb told the parents, “I look forward and am delighted to have you as a partner.” Then, in introducing Kasloff, he said he also looks forward to working with TDSA’s new head of general studies.
“You are entrusting your children to me, and I take it very seriously,” Kasloff said.
Born and raised in Montreal, she was a teacher and assistant principal in Canada. The past 18 years she served as a principal and teacher in Denver.
She was granted a master’s in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational Leadership. Kasloff said that her favorite place to be is sitting at a table with the children. “I have a beautiful office,” she said, “but I love being in the classroom.”
In addition to her educational qualifications, Kasloff is a certified life coach with a special interest in positive psychology. She uses her life-coaching skills to help children and adults solve problems. She believes in giving children “what they need to feel good … and personalize their education.”
To the parents, she stressed that “we need to be clear in our expectations” and “consistently follow through.”
Like Rabbi Gottlieb, Kasloff looks forward to working as a team with teachers, students and parents. She added that she is also working closely with Linda Rabinowitz, who will assume the position of academic dean.
Rabinowitz has been with Torah Day School for 31 years and will continue to chair the school improvement committee to monitor and maintain accreditation. She will also implement Title I and II programs, research and develop curricula, oversee technology, and coordinate extracurricular activities.
All three administrators are working to ensure a smooth transition and success for the students in the upcoming year at TDSA.