Meet the Administration

Head of School

Naomi Reem has served as Head of School of JPDS-NC since 2005. Throughout her tenure, the school received its first independent school accreditation, has grown from under 200 to over 330 students, ope …
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Naomi Reem has served as Head of School of JPDS-NC since 2005. Throughout her tenure, the school received its first independent school accreditation, has grown from under 200 to over 330 students, opened an additional campus especially geared for the Pre-Kindergarten through First Grade students to meet the demand, and is now on its way to open a 7th and 8th grade. Under Naomi’s leadership, JPDS-NC adopted several new curricular initiatives in General Studies, Hebrew, and Judaic Studies, which earned the school a solid reputation, locally and nationally, as a forward-looking institution, excellent in its academics in all curricular areas. JPDS-NC’s reputation also attracted major philanthropic contributions, totaling over 40 million dollars in the last eleven years.

Prior to coming to JPDS-NC, Naomi was Head of School at Sinai Academy of the Berkshires, a day school in Pittsfield, MA, for seven years. Previously, she worked at the Gordon Day School in Miami, following experiences in several educational settings in Argentina, Israel, and the US. Naomi earned a teaching degree from the Agnon Institute in Buenos Aires, a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an MAJE from Hebrew College in Newton, MA.     

Naomi serves as a mentor at the Day School Leadership Training Institute, a program sponsored by AVICHAI and the Jewish Theological Seminary to train new and aspiring heads of school. She is a Board Member of AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools), where she previously chaired two accreditation teams for other Jewish Day Schools in Maryland. Additionally, Naomi is a member of the Executives Council for the Jewish Federation and previously served as its co-chair for three years.

Naomi is a native of Buenos Aires, and left her hometown in Argentina when she was 22 years old. She has lived, studied, and worked in the field of Jewish education on three continents.

Middle School Director

Lisa Schopf was named the Founding Middle School Director in February 2016. Lisa brings a decade of independent school experience as a teacher, teacher mentor, and emerging school leader. She recently …
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Lisa Schopf was named the Founding Middle School Director in February 2016. Lisa brings a decade of independent school experience as a teacher, teacher mentor, and emerging school leader. She recently completed her participation in a nationally recognized program, “YOU Lead,” a Yeshiva University-School Partnership program designed to develop and advance emerging leaders in Jewish education. This summer, she completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s program, Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership. She is currently an AviChai Fellow focusing on specific elements in our school that can inspire understanding and connection within Judaism. Lisa also currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Association of Independent Maryland and DC School reaccreditation for JPDS-NC. In addition, Lisa has been serving the JPDS-NC community as a teacher mentor since 2013, through a national mentoring program, the Jewish New Teacher Project.

She has been an educator at JPDS-NC since 2006, first as a General Studies teacher for 5th Grade, and most recently as the Math and Social Studies Teacher for 6th Grade. Lisa also teaches theology to students in grades 4 to 6 as part of our tefilah electives program. Previously, Lisa taught 7th Grade students at the Booker T. Washington Middle School in Morningside Heights in New York City. She also worked in program development for Middle and High School students through The Constitution Works. The civics program develops and implements education programs in which middle and high school students role play as senators, cabinet members, or Supreme Court justices to study the three branches of our government. Lisa also developed lesson guides for educators to accompany literary selections for elementary and middle school student through her work for educational magazine Baba Ganewz. In addition to her impact as an educator and mentor, she also contributes to the field of education by regularly authoring articles about best practices in education for academic journals.

Lisa received an M.A. in History from the University of Maryland at College Park. She earned her undergraduate degree from Barnard College of Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude in History and Education. While at Barnard, she earned her education certificate for grades 7 to 12. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and the recipient of numerous academic honors including a Senior Fellowship; the Eugene H. Byrne History Prize; the Mary Thomas Elliot Prize for Outstanding Academic Record, Integrity and Citizenship; and the George Wellwood Murray Fellowship for Graduate Study in Humanities and/or Social Studies. Lisa grew up in Long Island, New York where she attended the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway through high school.

Director of Jewish Life

Sharon Freundel has been at JPDS-NC since 2006, and was appointed to the position of Director of Jewish Life in 2016. Sharon was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in New York and Baltimore. She at …
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Sharon Freundel has been at JPDS-NC since 2006, and was appointed to the position of Director of Jewish Life in 2016. Sharon was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in New York and Baltimore. She attended Bais Yaakov School for Girls from 3rd through 12th grade, and then went to Stern College of Yeshiva University, finally graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

After graduating from college, Sharon worked at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, first in pediatric neurology and then in the Pediatric Intensive Care/Shock Trauma Unit. She moved to New York and continued her work in Pediatric ICU at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, rising to the position of Nurse Manager, a role she continued at Westchester Medical Center, opening new Pediatric ICU’s in both facilities. Following the birth of her first child, she taught nursing for three years at the State University of New York at Valhalla.

During her tenure as a nurse, Sharon was also involved in Jewish education, teaching Hebrew School in Baltimore, and working at Yeshiva University doing high school programs in New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and traveling for three months to Australia to teach there.

When Sharon arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1989, she had the privilege of staying home with her children until her third child, daughter Arielle, was 2 years old. At that point she began to teach middle and high school at the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington (now the Berman Hebrew Academy). Sharon taught there for 12 years until 2005, when she returned to school to get a Master’s in Jewish Education from Baltimore Hebrew University. Sharon has been at JPDS-NC since 2006, and has been involved in Jewish education from preschool through adult, including every age in between.

Director of Student Support Services

Alexis Herschthal was appointed to the newly created position of Director of Student Support Services in June 2016. As Director of Student Support Services, Alexis integrates and manages the services …
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Alexis Herschthal was appointed to the newly created position of Director of Student Support Services in June 2016. As Director of Student Support Services, Alexis integrates and manages the services provided to all students who need academic and/or social-emotional support, in addition to overseeing the teams that have been working side-by-side: Learning Support and Counseling. The development and restructuring of our Student Support Services under Alexis’s leadership will allow JPDS-NC to provide better, more coordinated, and more consistent support to all our students.

With over a decade of experience working on special needs in independent school contexts – culminating in the last five years at JPDS-NC – Alexis is uniquely qualified to step into her new role as Director of Student Support Services and to work with our consolidated and growing department to integrate and oversee the academic and social-emotional support provided to our students. Using a strengths-based perspective, firmly rooted in the school’s educational philosophy and its deep faith that every child has the capacity to succeed, Alexis will ensure that we continue to engage our students as multi-faceted individuals and that we provide diverse learners with the opportunities and the support they need to reach their full potentials.

Alexis has served as our Senior Guidance Counselor for the last five years. Throughout her tenure at JPDS-NC, she has formed strong, trusting relationships with teachers, students, and parents, establishing and maintaining secure foundations for making a positive impact on children and their families during each school year. She has provided social and emotional support across grade levels, through individual and group counseling sessions and guidance lessons in classrooms. Even as Alexis has focused on the social-emotional needs of our students, she has also worked closely with our learning support team in the Think Tank to address the overlap and interplay between students’ learning differences and their social and emotional challenges. By partnering with parents and teachers and collaborating with outside providers, Alexis has played an integral part in identifying a range of needs and in helping to secure meaningful interventions, both in and out of school, to help students grow and flourish.

In addition to her work at JPDS-NC, Alexis provides therapy to children and adolescents through the Sibley Group in Friendship Heights during the evening and on weekends. Prior to joining our staff, Alexis provided counseling to elementary and middle school students in independent special education settings in the Washington area, including at Commonwealth Academy, The Episcopal Center for Children, and Kingsbury Day School, where she was the Lower School Counselor for four years. Through these experiences, Alexis increased her knowledge and understanding of learning differences as well as assessment and IEP processes, thus developing her capacities to support all kinds of learners and to ensure that they have the accommodations they need to thrive. Alexis is a licensed clinical social worker in the District of Columbia. She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Catholic University, along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is a local, day school alumna, having attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through middle school, and a graduate of Walt Whitman High School.

Athletic Director

Athletic Director Yonah Singer grew up in Silver Spring and graduated from the Berman Hebrew Academy. He received a BA in American History from the University of Maryland and an MA in Special Educatio …
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Athletic Director Yonah Singer grew up in Silver Spring and graduated from the Berman Hebrew Academy. He received a BA in American History from the University of Maryland and an MA in Special Education from Mercy College in New York. Yonah then spent five years as a special educator at SAR Academy, a Jewish day school in Riverdale, New York.

After living in New York for seven years, Yonah moved back to Silver Spring with his family in 2013 and worked at the Auburn School, an independent school serving students on the autism spectrum. Most recently, Yonah taught at Silver Spring International Middle School, a Montgomery County Public school, in their Autism Resource Program.

Throughout his teaching career, sports and athletics continued to be a passion for Yonah. He has coached basketball for both boys’ and girls’ teams at public and independent schools for more than ten years. During the summers, Yonah works as the Head of the sports camp at the Jewish Community Center in Rockville. Yonah is excited to join the JPDS-NC team and to develop an athletics program that caters to athletes who are looking for competition in an inter-school format, while also providing opportunities for recreational sports for athletes of all ages and ability levels.

Read Blog Posts By Yonah Singer