The Educator Leadership Council’s mission is to unify a group of educators together to network while acting as expert advisors for the JFCS Holocaust Center on classroom settings, content knowledge, and school (teacher, student, administration) needs.
Rabbi Michelle Greenberg, The Nueva School
Rabbi Michelle Greenberg has developed diverse educational programs ranging from service learning to ethics, advocacy training to genocide education. Michelle recently partnered with the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland to develop a Holocaust exhibit, and her writing can be found in sermon collections, newspapers, and a textbook on critical thinking. Rabbi Greenberg served as a congregational rabbi and was the Dean of Students at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. Michelle now teaches 6th-grade Humanities and serves as class dean at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, California. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as rabbinic ordination and an M.A. in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion.
Suzy Kisch, Orinda Intermediate School
For close to 30 years, Suzy Kisch has taught mostly 7th grade core classes, which consists of History and English, and has always enjoyed seeing her students grow and learn in an academic and social setting. She finds joy and inspiration in helping her students discover the joy in learning, becoming more adept at problem-solving and being resourceful, and connecting past events with their world today. Suzy also acknowledges the importance of collaborating with those involved in education as well as other educators as a means to contributing to this process. Suzy’s dedication to teaching is perfectly summarized in an Ellen Browning Scripps quote, “The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” Suzy hopes that every educator could live and teach with this wisdom in mind.
Kayla Kissling, Mill Valley Middle School
Kayla Kissling is an educator in Marin County, CA. She currently teaches 8th-grade history and English at Mill Valley Middle School and also works as a tutor at Bridge the Gap College Prep. Educating for social justice is a main priority of her educational philosophy. She strives to teach the truth about history and open students’ eyes to multiple perspectives, particularly those that have often been silenced. She is proud to join the Holocaust Center’s Educator Leadership Council and to continue to advocate for culturally responsive teaching and learning.
Hilary Levine, Holocaust Educational Consultant
Hilary Levine has been a teacher in Fresno Unified in Fresno, CA for the past 25 years. She taught elementary school and a Holocaust class at the high school level while simultaneously doing professional development for teachers throughout her tenure there. Hilary’s passion is Holocaust education and she has dedicated her life to it, deciding to take early retirement from the school district to get her Masters’ degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College. At the end of 2021, she completed her degree and is looking forward to stepping into new roles as a Holocaust and Genocide educator.
Jim McGarry, St. Francis High School
Jim McGarry has been a Holocaust educator since 1992, following his first training with the Holocaust Center of Northern California and Facing History and Ourselves. Jim has been fortunate to attend professional development at the USHMM, Yad Vashem, the USC Shoah Foundation, and POLIN (Museum of the History of Polish Jews) in Warsaw. He has brought a series of survivor speakers to speak in schools each year since 1995—most recently called “Courage and Spirit.” It is through this work Jim became inspired and founded The Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools at Mercy High School, San Francisco in 2007. Through his work with the Farkas Center, in 2012, Jim went on the JFCS Holocaust Center trip with 24 college and high school students to Germany, Poland, and Israel, accompanying Helen Farkas, then 92.
Stephanie McGraw, The Athenian School
Born and raised in northern California, Stephanie McGraw has been teaching high school students at The Athenian School for the past 20 years. Stephanie received her BA in English from UC Berkeley and her MA in History from Sonoma State University. Passionate about developing a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum, Stephanie teaches a wide range of courses, such as U. S. History, Women’s Literature, and Understanding Elections. Her most popular course, The Holocaust, engages students in an in-depth, semester-long study of history surrounding the Holocaust. Besides focusing on the ramifications of stereotyping, prejudice and racism in society, the course helps students understand that it’s the responsibility of citizens in a democracy to learn to identify the danger signals of governmental abuses of power and to know when (and how) to react. Stephanie has taught at the JFCS Holocaust Center’s Day of Learning and was a Fellow in the Global Holocaust Educators’ Pilot Program. Additionally, her work was recognized by the Holocaust Center in 2019 when she was named as a recipient of the Morris Weiss Award for Outstanding Educators
Allison McManis, Envision Education
Allison McManis is a transformative life coach, who serves as an instructional coach and professional development facilitator in the Envision Education network. She taught and worked as a vice-principal at City Arts and Tech High School in San Francisco for 6 years, during which time she taught World History and developed a year-long seminar on the Holocaust and Human Behavior. During her time in the classroom, Allison worked closely with JFCS to bring Holocaust survivors to the school and refer students to the Manovill Fellowship. Allison was a recipient of the Morris Weiss Award and traveled to Israel to study at Yad Vashem as a Tauber Fellow.
Frank Perez, San Benito High School
For the last 25 years, Frank Perez has been a member of the Social Science Department at San Benito High School in Hollister, CA. He currently teaches World History, Mexican-American history, and Ethnic Studies. With the help and support of his colleagues, Frank has developed and taught an entire unit on past and present genocides. One of his lessons, “Happening Now: The Rohingya Genocide in Myanmar, a Jigsaw Activity Using Stanton’s Ten Stages of Genocide,” is now featured in the recently published book, Teaching about Genocide: Advice and Suggestions from Professors, High School Teachers, and Staff Developers, Volume 3. In 2017, Frank was recognized for his work on teaching the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, receiving the Armenian Genocide Education Award from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and the Morris Weiss Award for Excellence in Holocaust education from the JFCS Holocaust Center.
DJ Shelton, Palo Alto Senior High School
DJ Shelton began teaching world history at Palo Alto High School in 2016 and has been coaching lacrosse there since 2014. With 6 years of classroom teaching under his belt, DJ has dedicated himself to revamping the Holocaust unit based around Facing History resources and developing a multi-tier writing program to ensure that all 9th graders are introduced to historical writing and beginner research. DJ is passionate about making sure all students are prepared to discuss and write about hard topics.
Christina Tang, Galileo Academy of Science & Technology
Christina Tang is a high school social studies teacher who has twelve years of experience in the classroom. She currently teaches at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco, and is passionate and dedicated to increasing awareness about the Holocaust and patterns of genocide in her classroom. Since Christina’s introduction to the Holocaust Center almost 10 years ago, she has been a champion for students in the center’s Next Chapter and Manovill programs, instrumental in the success of the Day of Learning, and foundational to increasing the center’s partnership with San Francisco Unified Schools.
Tosha Tillotson, Diocese of Sacramento
Tosha Tillotson is currently within her 22nd year in education. She has taught social studies in grades 6-12 and was a principal of a K-8th grade school. Tosha currently serves as an Associate Superintendent for the Diocese of Sacramento. During those years in education, she has been actively engaged with various Holocaust organizations including serving as a fellow for USHMM, TOLI, and the Vladka Meed Teacher’s Resistance Group. She also served as the Director of Education for CVHEN for 5 years and was a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Regional Education Corps.
Hannah Wagner, The Bay School
Hannah Wagner is a Humanities teacher at the Bay School of San Francisco. Originally trained in literature, she’s embraced an interdisciplinary approach to Humanities education since joining Bay in 2016. A few of her favorite topics for exploration include gender studies, religious studies, and speculative fiction, and she’s excited about any class that focuses on student writing and creative argumentation. Hannah’s previous teaching experience ranges from a small New England boarding school to Mt. Tamalpais College at San Quentin. As an educator, Hannah guides students to use any available “text”—from literature to media to fashion—to carefully and critically consider the world they inhabit.
For more information about the Educator Leadership Council contact [email protected].
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