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Faculty & Staff

SJCS faculty and staff can be reached by email at <firstinitial><last name>


Cara Abrams-Simonton

2nd - 4th Grade Judaic Studies

  • At SJCS since 2018
  • 10 years teaching
  • M.A. of Arts in Jewish Education from Hebrew College and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
  • B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

“I love to empower my students to discover their personal connection with Jewish learning while creating a positive, meaningful Jewish identity which draws on their passions beyond the classroom. Whether they are analyzing a biblical verse, a prayer or a piece of art, Judaic studies teaches students to think critically, ask questions and compare different interpretations, and I am honored to guide them on their journey.”

Mihal Bat-Or

1st - 5th Grade Hebrew Studies

  • At SJCS since 1994
  • 25+ years teaching
  • B.H.L (Bachelor of Hebrew Letters), Gratz College
  • B.A. in Education, Temple University

“The role of the teacher is to support and facilitate students' growth in the areas of academic achievement, social skills, study skills, mitzvot, and the cultivation of dereh eretz.”

Debra J.G. Butler

Learning Specialist

  • At SJCS since 1992
  • SJCS founding Head of School
  • M.Ed. Boston College
  • Massachusetts Teaching Certificate K-8
  • B.A. Near Eastern Studies, Brandeis University

“The best learning is individualized, respecting a child’s interests and passions.”

Kacie Campbell

Before & After School Enrichment (BASE) Director

  • At SJCS since 2017
  • 5 years of working in customer service
  • 12 years of early childhood education and childcare
  • Business Studies and Early Childhood Education, Spokane College

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”— Fred Rogers

Debbie Clement

2nd/3rd Grade General Studies

  • At SJCS since 2008
  • 20+ years teaching
  • Teacher Certification, Seattle University
  • B.A. in Society and Justice, University of Washington

“My philosophy of education is to understand each child and modify the curriculum to meet his/her needs, to provide an engaging and fun curriculum so that every child will want to learn, and to help each student make a smooth transition into the intermediate grades.”

Amy Duncan

1st Grade General Studies

  • At SJCS since 2013
  • 15+ years teaching
  • M.A. Ed with Certification in Elementary Education, Lesley College
  • B.A. in Art History, Brown University

“As educators, it is our responsibility to create a safe learning environment for our students. It is only when children feel safe — physically, emotionally and intellectually, that they will take risks, grow and thrive.”

Perri Erlitz

2nd/3rd Grade General Studies

  • At SJCS since 2016
  • 8 years teaching
  • M.S. in Education for Sustainability, University of Vermont 2018
  • B.A. in Environmental Studies, Brandeis University

“Just remember the world is not a playground but a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday but an education. One eternal lesson for us all: to teach us how better we should love.” — Barbara Jordan

May Kessler

Kindergarten Judaic Studies & Hebrew

  • At SJCS since 2018

Mary Grace Lentz

Kindergarten General Studies, Student Support Services

  • At SJCS since 2004
  • 15+ years teaching
  • Professional Certification in Elementary Education, Pacific Oaks College
  • M.A. in Human Development, Pacific Oaks College
  • B.A. in Performance Arts and Transpersonal Psychology, Prescott College

“The beauty of education is to guide the individual on a path of self-discovery. Through a facilitated curriculum, the child explores the beauty of nature and discovers his or her place in the interconnected world through engaged interaction.”

Debbie Massarano

Judaics Coordinator, 1st & 5th Grade Judaic Studies

  • At SJCS since 2017
  • 20+ years teaching
  • M.A. in Religious Education, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR)
  • B.S. in Child Development, California State University, Fullerton

“I have dedicated my career to building relationships – with people, between people and Torah, and between people and the Jewish Community and strive to creative positive Jewish learning experiences for my students.”

Jana Miller

Head Chef & Kitchen Coordinator

  • At SJCS since 2003
  • 38 years of working in field of education
  • M.A. of Home Economics (MHEc), Oregon State University
  • B.S. in Home Economics Education (BS HEc Ed), Oregon State University

“At SJCS I see students eager to try new foods, learn to prepare unusual and difficult recipes. It is important to make each child feel successful and allow choices in the hot lunch program to fulfill nutritional needs.”

Bibi Powell

Art Specialist

  • At SJCS since 2007
  • 10+ years teaching
  • B.A. in Humanities with Emphasis on Fine Arts, Seattle University
  • A.A. of Art in Graphic Design, Seattle Central Community College

“I believe that education is about sharing the joy of learning with children concerning the wonderful, wide world around us, simultaneously expanding our understanding and horizons.”

Beth Schustek

4th/5th Grade General Studies

  • At SJCS since 2014
  • 15 years teaching
  • M.A. in Education and Curriculum instruction
  • B.A. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Child Psychology

“I believe in teaching the whole child, involving the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul. Partnering with parents, respecting the students as human beings, and fostering a nurturing environment is truly the only way to prepare children for the world in front of them and all the opportunities that come with it.”

Jane Shay

4th/5th Grade General Studies

  • At SJCS since 2014
  • 5 years teaching
  • M.A. in Teaching, Seattle University
  • Teaching Certification, Seattle University
  • B.A. in Philosophy, Tufts University

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats

Ron Waldman

Head of School

  • At SJCS since 2018
  • 40 years experience as an educator and administrator
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Washington
  • B.S.c in Microbiology, The University of British Columbia

“Over these past many years as an elementary and middle school educational leader, I’ve gained invaluable insights and a deep appreciation for the full spectrum of needs and learning challenges facing students within the entire the K-12 spectrum.”


Gabrielle Azose

Gabrielle Azose

Development Associate

Leah Gotz

Leah Gotz

Admissions & Marketing Manager

Yael Sachs

Yael Sachs

Director of Finance & Operations

Heidi Stangvik

Heidi Stangvik

Director of Administrative Services