Can you describe your role in Hillel?
My official title is Director of Special Services. My job is very special! I coordinate lots of things to help K-12 teachers to create the optimum learning environment for kids; work with the support staff to make sure students are learning in the best way possible; help families find resources in and out of school to help their kids be the best; and overall, work together with the division principals to create a cohesive environment with teachers and students in the classroom. I think of myself as a puzzle master and a bottle of Crazy Glue that works to put a puzzle together and preserve it! I'm always willing to rework it however, if it needs adjusting!
What do you does a typical day look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day - every day is as unique as the students at Hillel. I can always count on some Class List meetings, helping to solve some recess issues, talking to some amazing students, and hearing some wonderful kids read!
What's your favorite rainy day activity?
I like to take advantage of stocking my freezer with freshly baked challah, catching up on Netflix shows, and catching up with out of town friends.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
The best part of my job is watching and hearing about the students' and teachers' successes! No matter how big or small the progress is, it makes me feel great to hear about it! The support staff meets once a week and we share our good news on a formal basis at that time. It makes us all feel great!
How is Hillel different from other schools you have worked at?
Hillel is a wonderful place to work. The people make it special. It is hard to pinpoint, but the deep level of caring for one another is like no where else I have worked.
What's your favorite thing to read?
I love reading historical fiction. I also enjoy reading the hard copy of the newspaper everyday. I have been tempted to go digital but have not taken the plunge!
Can you tell us a little bit about your own education?
I have a BA in Elementary Education. I taught elementary school for the first part of my career. I then went back to school for a Masters In Social Work, specializing in Group Work and Administration. I then had a long career in the JCC world as Camp Director, Children's Director, and various other departments (both here in Pittsburgh and in Massachusetts). I returned to teaching and then ultimately came to Hillel in 2012. This job is the perfect marriage for all of my skills!
What three things can always be found in your fridge?
I always have Orange Juice, Trader Joes Greek Yogurt and leftovers from dinner!
What do you do in the summer?
I always try to spend time at my cabin in Cook Forest, spend time with friends, exercise, clean out my basement, and clean out my closet!
Do you have any secret talents?
I am very good at making a campfire!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I feel so lucky working here at Hillel. I have the best support staff and am so thankful for how hard they work every day! I could not do my job without them! Did you know that Morah Micah who works in the preschool part-time is my son?
By Chana Yolkut