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Our Team

הצוות וההנהלה

Our Team

הצוות וההנהלה

The JLA Leadership Team

JLA’s commitment to excellence in academics, service, and character begins at the very top. We have therefore assembled a diverse leadership team with extraordinary credentials, vast experience, and deep seated commitment to the values at the heart of JLA’s mission.

Gil Perl

Head of School

Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl is the CEO of the Ades Family Foundation and the Founding Head of School of the Jewish Leadership Academy.

With a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA and PhD from Harvard University, rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University, and fifteen years of experience leading highly regarded college preparatory K-12 Jewish Day Schools, Rabbi Dr. Perl is a nationally recognized leader in Jewish education.

In his previous role as Head of School of Kohelet Yeshiva and Chief Academic Officer of the Kohelet Foundation, Rabbi Perl led the team that designed and launched Yeshiva Lab School, a highly innovative elementary and middle school in suburban Philadelphia intended to re-imagine what Jewish Day School can and ought to be. Under his leadership, Yeshiva Lab School merged with Kohelet Yeshiva High School to create the Philadelphia area’s only Modern Orthodox K-12 Jewish day school.

Known for his vision, creativity, and dynamism, Dr. Perl was twice awarded Harvard University’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching and, as an Instructor of Modern Jewish History at Yeshiva University, he was named Yeshiva University’s Lillian F. and William L. Silber Professor of the Year.

In May of 2020, Dr. Perl was named a National Health Hero by JetBlue Airlines for having led the effort to transform Kohelet Yeshiva High School’s Fab Lab into a major face shield production facility to mitigate the severe PPE shortages at local hospitals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rabbi Perl is the author of the book The Pillar of Volozhin: Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin and the World of Nineteenth-Century Lithuanian Torah Scholarship, published by Academic Studies Press and numerous articles on topics relating to the history of Modern Jewry, contemporary Jewish education, and Modern Orthodoxy. He lives in Boca Raton with his wife Melissa, an accomplished educational leader in her own right, and three of their four children: Racheli, Binny, and Eitan. Shmuel, their oldest, lives in Israel with his wife, Hila.

Follow Rabbi Perl on his blog gilperl.com and on Twitter @gperl

Email: gperl@jlamiami.org

Gil Perl Head of School
Success is…

The twinkle in a student’s eye when he or she accomplishes something they never thought possible.

Leadership is…

Inspiring others to add meaning and purpose to their lives.

Judd Shapiro Associate Head of School
Success is…

The act of trying once more after repeatedly failing.

Leadership is…

Many things, but perhaps most importantly shining light on others.

Judd Shapiro

Associate Head of School, Upper School

Born and raised in Miami, Judd Shapiro is a career educator with over three decades of experience.

For the past 25 years Judd has taught Advanced Placement Literature and served as the English Department Chair at Gulliver Preparatory School, where many of his students have published their own novels and won numerous NCTE awards. He has also worked in admissions, designed and implemented professional development for the faculty, written curriculum for the humanities, and he has been responsible for faculty observations and retention.

Judd has received the Deaver Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he has been recognized by M.I.T. and Tufts University as an inspirational teacher. He has a BA degree in English from the University of Miami (where he had the good fortune to study under Isaac Bashevis Singer), and an MS from St. Thomas University in Marital and Family Therapy. In addition, he is a college admissions counselor as well as a competitive youth soccer coach.

He and his wife Melanie have three sons, and they enjoy spending their summers hiking throughout the White Mountains in New England.

Email: jshapiro@jlamiami.org

Lori Kubach

Associate Head of School, Middle School

Mrs. Kubach brings over 20 years of educational experience from K-12 to JLA. A science teacher specializing in Gifted and Talented education, Mrs. Kubach played a critical role in getting Boca Raton’s Grandview Preparatory School up and off the ground, serving as their Talented and Gifted Coordinator before moving on to become their Lower School Principal and eventually the K-12 Associate Head of School. Most recently, Mrs. Kubach served as the Assistant Principal of Academics at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale.

Mrs. Kubach has a BA in Education from the University of Kentucky, an MA in Exceptional Education from the University of Louisville, and a secondary MA in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. She is the mother of three and enjoys traveling, running by the ocean, gardening, and design projects. She credits growing up on a farm in Ashland, Kentucky for her love of science and the outdoors.

Email: lkubach@jlamiami.org

Lori Kubach Associate Head of School, Middle School
Success is…

Learning from a mistake.

Leadership is…

Empowering others to maximize their potential while inspiring and uniting individuals.

Joe Sharp CFO / COO
Success is…

… in the preparation and effort.

Leadership is…

Knowing when you’re required to step up and when it’s best to empower others to find their own way.

Joe Sharp

CFO/COO

Born and raised in Chicago, Joe previously served as the Executive Director of Katz Hillel Day School in Boca Raton for 9 years where he oversaw all aspects of the school’s financial and physical plant operations. Known for deploying organization-wide systems and maximizing efficiencies, Joe’s professionalism and accountability have helped fuel monumental growth and unprecedented financial stability at KHDS.

Prior to joining Katz Hillel, Joe spent 15 years in the for-profit sector, serving as both a Controller and as a Chief Operating Officer. He has a BS in Accounting, an MBA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, and serves on several local and national professional boards and councils.

Joe resides in Boca Raton with his wife Shira, and their 2 children.

Email: jsharp@jlamiami.org

Debbie Stone

Associate Head for Judaics

Originally from London, Dr. Stone holds a BA in Humanities with emphasis in Jewish Studies and a teaching degree from the General Teaching Council for England. Debbie spent a year studying in Michlalah Jerusalem College and received her Doctorate in Education from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School. 

A sought after speaker and educator, Dr. Stone brings over 15 years of experience in both formal and informal Jewish education to JLA. She is the co-author of the Koren-NCSY siddur as well as the Koren Aviv Siddur. Most recently she served as the Director of High School Judaic Studies and Community Engagement at Hebrew Academy (RASG) in Miami Beach. 

Email: dstone@jlamiami.org

Debbie Stone Director of Jewish Life and Learning

Success is…

The result of perseverance, drive and passion.

Leadership is…

Behaving in a way that makes the world want to emulate you.

Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl

Letter from the Head of School

Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl
Founding Head of School

When dreams collide, the truly extraordinary can happen.

For years I dreamed of creating an educational institution that catered to the unique needs and abilities of our Jewish community’s most driven and capable students. For years I’ve been troubled by the shallow pool of qualified candidates willing and able to give of their time, wisdom, and resources to our community’s most prized and precious organizations and institutions. For years I have argued that at the very core of Modern Orthodoxy ought to be the concept of Or Amim, the Torah’s unequivocal mandate to share light, values, and goodness with the world at large. For years, however, these were nothing more than fervent dreams.

In the Fall of 2020, however, the stars began to align. As the pandemic raged around us, a series of unexpected circumstances and events unfolded which began to make this dream a distinct possibility. In the months that followed a team of dreamers emerged, united by a shared sense of purpose. Their lifelong passions and aspirations met mine. Their wisdom and generosity provided form, texture, and substance to our mingling ideas and to our shared ideals. And from that most beautiful of collisions, today something truly extraordinary is happening.

Today we are building a Jewish school like no other. A school that dares to think differently about what education is and what it ought to be. A school where deep-seated connection to Judaism and Israel doesn’t come at the expense of a first-rate college preparatory education. A school to which every mission appropriate student has equal access, regardless of their ability to pay. A school that will judge its success not merely on the diplomas that adorn our graduates’ walls, but on the difference those graduates make in the lives of others.

If those dreams are your dreams – if you aspire to be part of something truly extraordinary – I invite and encourage you to become part of the JLA community today.

Sincerely Yours,

Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl

Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl

Faculty & Staff

B.S., M.S.

Director of Jewish Life

Frances Alexander B.A., M.A.

B.A., M.A.

Humanities Chair

B.S.

Director of Operations

B.A., M.B.A.

Director of Communications

B.S., M.B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

STEM Chair

B.S., M.B.A.

Assistant to the  CFO/COO

B.A., M.A.

Campus Rabbi

Vanessa Shamosh B.S.

B.S.

Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management

The JLA Faculty

A school is only as good as its teachers. They are the guides and facilitators who enable our students to discover the world around them. They are the coaches and mentors who inspire our students to uncover the potential within them.

Their job begins in the classroom and extends far beyond. They challenge our students to accomplish more than they ever dreamed they could; they push, encourage and support our students as they develop, grow, and mature; and they model the character, ethics, and values by which we expect our students to learn and live.

Only inspired teachers inspire students.

At JLA, we believe that excellent teachers should be recognized, appreciated, and supported. We are an equal opportunity employer committed to identifying and hiring the best teachers in their respective disciplines and compensating them in a manner that reflects the exceptional work that they do.

“It is the supreme art of he teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

– Albert Einstein

Are you a talented educator interested in joining the JLA team?

Do you know someone who might be?
Reach out and introduce yourself.

Faculty Spotlight

Yosef Albo
B.A., M.A., Rabbinic Ordination

Director of Jewish Life

yalbo@jlamiami.org

Rabbi Yosef Albo was born in Israel, and after living in the Dominican Republic for five years, his family made their way to Brooklyn, NY, where he began his eclectic formal Jewish education as a student of various Yeshivot, including Ateret Torah, Chaim Berlin, Ohr Sameach (Jerusalem), Ner Israel Baltimore and Yeshiva University. 

Concurrent with his Smicha studies at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Albo pursued a Masters Degree in Jewish Philosophy, thus continuing in the footsteps of his forefather Rabbi Yosef Albo, the famous medieval Jewish philosopher and author of Sefer Ha’ikarim. He also holds a BA in English Literature from Yeshiva University.. 

Rabbi Albo joins JLA as the Director of Jewish Life in which capacity he will be responsible for overseeing Jewish programming, special events, and our August in Israel Program.  He will also be overseeing our daily Sephardic minyan. Rabbi Albo comes to JLA with  eighteen years of experience in education, most recently as a highly regarded Judaics Teacher and the Director of Sephardi Programming at the Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he built curriculum for honors level classes in Talmud, Tanach, Halacha, and Jewish Philosophy. Devoted to Jewish communal life, he held Rabbinic positions at the Hampton Synagogue, Manhattan Jewish Experience, and Riverdale Jewish Center. 

Rabbi Albo is also an accomplished artist, illustrator, painter, photographer, composer, and musician. The Albo Band, which he founded and leads, will soon be releasing its third album entitled “Poor Man’s Prayer.” The conversation between Torah and Art is an integral component of everything he does and we look forward to Rabbi Albo inspiring our students and infusing our campus life with his unique set of remarkable talents and skills. 

Frances Alexander
B.A., M.A.

Humanities Chair

falexander@jlamiami.org

Ms. Frances Alexander will also be joining JLA from Ransom Everglades School where she taught 7th-10th grade English for six years and also served as the faculty advisor to TedX Ransom Everglades School. Prior to Ransom, she taught 10th grade English as well as two elective courses that she designed at Friends School of Baltimore. Ms. Alexander began her teaching career as a Teach for America corps member in

Washington, DC public and charter schools. She has also taught English at Lyc e Boissy D’Anglas in France. 

An accomplished musician and dancer with fluency in three languages, Frances holds a BA from Northwestern University in Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Anthropology, and an MA in English Language and Literature from Vermont’s prestigious Middlebury College. Widely seen as a rising star in South Florida’s Independent School landscape, Ms. Alexander is currently enrolled in the School

Management and Leadership Program at Harvard University.

Jenna Gasner
B.S.

Director of Operations

jgasner@jlamiami.org

BS, Central Connecticut State University

 

Previously at AIPAC

Yamit Linde
B.A., M.B.A.

Director of Communications

ylinde@jlamiami.org

A native of Brazil, Yamit Linde spent her formative teenage years in Israel and arrived in Miami as a junior in high school. During her time in Israel, Yamit learned firsthand how vital and enriching Jewish education can be. Having lived in different countries and cities throughout her life, she appreciates and cherishes South Florida’s unique diversity.

Yamit holds a BA in International Relations and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Florida International University, and is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Over the course of her 14 year career as a marketing and communications executive, Yamit has held leadership positions in industry leading brands like Grey Goose, Dove, and Panerai. Prior to joining JLA, Yamit owned her own consulting agency, where she was responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies for clients in the fashion, luxury, food, and hospitality industries.

During her free time, Yamit enjoys traveling and going to the beach with her husband Steven, and two young children, Levi and Lennon. 

Claudia Ochatt
B.S., M.B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Ochatt joins us from Ransom Everglades School where she has taught AP Biology, Honors and Forensic Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology.

Claudia holds a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, an MBA from the University of Miami, and a Masters of Education in Leadership from the University of West Florida. She conducted her postdoctoral work on cell and molecular biology at The Rockefeller University, and post-graduate research at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, and at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratories.

Dr. Ochatt served as the MD/PhD Program Coordinator at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine before leaving to become the STEM Chair at MAST Academy. In 2011, Claudia was the recipient of Beckman Coulter’s Science Educator of the Year Award and in 2021 she was named Florida’s Biology Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Jannine Richards Murphy
B.S., M.B.A.

Assistant to the CFO/COO

jrichards@jlamiami.org

BS, University of the West Indies

MBA, Nova Southeastern University


Previously at Katz Hillel Day School

Yechiel Shaffer
B.S., M.A., Rabbinic Ordination

Campus Rabbi

yshaffer@jlamiami.org

As an educator, community leader, and rabbi, Rabbi Yechiel Shaffer has spent over 15 years building communities, creating schools, and advocating for the vulnerable, in a diverse array of community, education and lay positions. A native of London, England, Rabbi Shaffer joins JLA as our Campus Rabbi, building the JLA community and caring for the spiritual wellbeing of each student, while also leading our Service Entrepreneurship Program. 

Rabbi Shaffer received a BS in Sociology, an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University, and Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. Upon completion of his Rabbinic studies, Rabbi Shaffer was one of three graduates  recognized as a creative and driven leader and was awarded a two year fellowship featuring extensive training and mentorship in entrepreneurship and community leadership. 

Since then, Rabbi Shaffer has been a Rabbinic leader of three synagogues, most recently in Baltimore, Maryland, and has served the Jewish community in a variety of capacities: fundraising for Jewish education and infrastructure, being an active board member of a Maryland anti-abuse agency, and by being a passionate voice for integrity and humility in the Jewish community. Rabbi Shaffer has a reputation as a warm, caring pastoral leader, who is driven by excellence and empathy for his students and congregants. 

When not serving as a community Rabbi, Rabbi Shaffer can be found teaching in local schools, working to support Bar and Bat Mitzvah students in their preparations, recording podcasts that lower the barrier of entry to engage with meaningful Torah content, and creating dynamic multimedia courses that bring ancient wisdom to life. 

Rabbi Shaffer is a dedicated father and husband, and whenever he can, enjoys fishing and trying new methods of cooking. He is thrilled to be part of the JLA community and is looking forward to serving as the Campus Rabbi.

Vanessa Shamosh B.S.

Vanessa Shamosh
B.S

Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management

vshamosh@jlamiami.org

A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Vanessa is passionate about the future of Jewish education and believes that in today’s classrooms sit tomorrow’s innovators and decision makers.

Vanessa brings over 15 years of experience in Jewish Day Schools in South Florida and beyond. During her five year tenure as Director of Admissions at Brauser Maimonides Academy, she led the implementation of innovative recruitment strategies leading to historically high enrollment figures. In her most recent position at Lehrman Community Day School, she designed and implemented a continuous enrollment system that has been used as a model for other Jewish Day Schools in the United States and Canada.

Vanessa believes that choosing a school is one of the most important decisions parents make and applies a professional and approachable philosophy, understanding the magnitude of this decision and the impact it has on each student individually. 

Vanessa holds a B.S. in Political Science from ITAM (Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology) in Mexico City, and has also lived in Israel where she attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mechina. A fluent English, Spanish, and Hebrew speaker, Vanessa is an alumna of Prizmah’s Atidenu Program and of the JTS’ Day School Leadership Training Institute, and she is often invited to speak at Independent Schools and Jewish Day School Conferences across the country.

Join us at our Open House!

Sunday, October 30th

FIU Biscayne Bay Campus

9:30 a.m. – Session is Full

1:30 p.m. – RSVP now