The “From the Desk Of” series is my regular email to the Valley Torah High School community.
Today is my first official day at VTHS as the new General Studies Principal. So, what does a newly seated Principal do on his first day? Well, I would love to say that I came in to the office casually, schmoozed a little, grabbed a cup of coffee and soaked in my new digs. However, as the role I proudly assume comes with great responsibility, my day was anything but relaxed…….just the way I like it. Coffee would have to wait.
As I walked in this morning a teacher candidate was waiting for me to interview him. He was early scoring extra points right off the bat. What I thought might be a quick interview became a thoughtful and engaging discussion about education. I did not need my cup of coffee after that. I was buzzed. I quickly shifted to a meeting with Rabbi Semmel about student life at the school. There was brainstorming about student leadership roles and student culture. I was also excited to hear all the plans Rabbi Semmel has for this year and his general viewpoint on what it means to be a Valley Torah Student. I should have switched to decaf meetings at this point, but next up was an Admin meeting with Rabbi Stulberger and Rabbi Felt. It was like a five hour energy shot of planning and organization and then I got a text asking if I could move my 12pm meeting to 12:30pm. Someone was looking out for me.
The rest of my first day had a few impromptu meetings, some emails, an old friend dropping off some street art for my office (more about that in another email), some time to write to all of you and this selfie of me on my first day because there is always time for a selfie.
I plan on writing to all of you regularly and keeping you apprised of the goings-on here at school. To be honest, while this is my first official day, I have been meeting and planning with the rest of the administrative team and teachers for months now. I want to thank all the teachers, administration and parents who have been planning with me and have welcomed me so warmly since I was appointed. I want to especially thank Rabbi Felt for all the time he has put in over the last few months getting me up to speed and supporting my transition to the position.
There is a lot to be excited about and I hope to share all of it with you in my emails. For this email, I will start with an announcement that I am very proud of and points to the direction Valley Torah is not only headed, but will also be leading the field of Jewish education in.
Today is the initial launch of the I.D.E.A. Schools Network. This is a network of independent schools focused on innovation, creativity and meaningful learning of which Valley Torah is a co-founding school with Magen David Yeshivah in Brooklyn, NY. Myself and my colleague, Tikvah Wiener of Magen David Yeshiva, founded the network to support our two schools in integrating more innovative methods of teaching and learning, while sharing our work with the field. Our teachers will have online groups to discuss and share resources, ideas and be supported. The network will also provide professional development for our two schools and help our schools grow into models for other schools to learn from.
There is much more to report and I look forward to doing so in the upcoming weeks and back-to-school nights. Please email me if you have any questions.
I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos and I pray for a safe Shabbos for all our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel.
General Studies Principal
Valley Torah High School – Boys Division