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 Gisela and Daniel Ades 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.

Judd taught Advanced Placement Literature and served as the English Department Chair at Gulliver Preparatory School for 25 years, 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 has more than 20 years of educational experience in K-12 schools. 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. Prior to joining JLA back in 2021, 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


Born and raised in Chicago, Joe is known for deploying organization-wide systems and maximizing efficiencies, while demonstrating the utmost professionalism and accountability. He played a critical role in the construction of our campus and in creating JLA’s unique Indexed Tuition Program.

Prior to JLA, Joe 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.

Joe also 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 has more than 15 years of experience in both formal and informal Jewish education. She is the co-author of the Koren-NCSY siddur as well as the Koren Aviv Siddur. Prior to JLA 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


Executive Assistant to Associate Head of US

Director of Jewish Life

Frances Alexander B.A., M.A.

B.A., M.A.

Humanities Chair


Computer Science Teacher

Lead Security Officer


Music Teacher

B.S., M.S.

Hebrew Teacher


Associate Director of Development

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

Andrea Aguiniga

Executive Assistant to Associate Head of US


Yosef Albo

Director of Jewish Life


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. 

As the Director of Jewish Life, he oversees Jewish programming, special events, and our JLA Ba’Aretz Program. Yosef has eighteen years of experience in education. Prior to JLA, he was the Judaics Teacher and 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 positions at the Hampton Synagogue, Manhattan Jewish Experience, and Riverdale Jewish Center. 

Yosef 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.” 

Frances Alexander
B.A., M.A.

Humanities Chair


Frances Alexander has taught English from grades 6-12 in a variety of school settings: public, charter, French, Quaker, Independent, and now Jewish. She decided to become a teacher after volunteering in Egypt, where she studied abroad in college as a student of Arabic. That experience inspired her to become a Teach for America corps member in Washington DC, her hometown. In her previous role at Ransom Everglades, she taught 7th-10th grade English for six years and was the faculty advisor to Tedx and student government. 

Ms. Alexander holds a BA from Northwestern University in Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Anthropology. She also holds an MA in English Literature from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. She recently completed the Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard University. In her past lives and in her moments of free time, Ms. Alexander enjoys pursuing her interests of dance and yoga, piano, studying new languages and cultures, traveling, writing, and reading. Whenever she can, she enjoys taking writing workshops and loves being a student. 

Shelly Assraf

Computer Science Teacher


A native of South Florida, Mrs. Shelly Assraf graduated from Reichman University (IDC Herzliya) with a BSc. in Computer Science. She has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into understandable terms, making computer science accessible and exciting for all students.

Mrs. Assaf is an experienced software designer with proficiency in C, Java, Python, Haskell, Kotlin, Erlang, OOP, as well as CSS and HTML.  Amongst other accomplishments, she has built a complete interactive breaking news Android app, created a web-based space travel game, and co-created a 3D interactive animated film.  As a Computer Science teacher, Mrs.Assraf combines her warm personality and dedication to her students, with  a deep understanding of the latest technologies in the field, from coding to machine learning and artificial intelligence to cybersecurity. 

Beyond her work as a teacher, she is a passionate advocate for the State of Israel and has been actively involved in initiatives aimed at promoting a positive image of Israel. She also enjoys traveling, website design and baking during her free time. 

Nate Baker

Lead Security Officer

Mikel Barandiaran

With 15 years of experience in the music industry across Latin America and the United States, Mikel Barandiaran is a versatile musician, educator, producer, performer, music director, and composer. Joining JLA from the Doral Academy Just Arts & Management Middle School where he serves as music director, guitar teacher, and digital arts instructor, Mikel plays more than 10 instruments and has taught at the prestigious School of Rock music academy, while leading student bands ranging from 3rd to 12th grade.

Mikel has worked on important projects as a music supervisor and audio engineer for top entertainment companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. He has also served as a music editor and audio supervisor for Nickelodeon Animation’s largest Nick Jr. project, “Baby Shark’s Big Show.” Mikel has recorded with prominent artists as a session musician, while simultaneously producing, composing, and arranging two personal music albums in Latin America. He graduated with a B.S. in Music Production from Full Sail University and studied Audio Engineering at Taller de Arte Sonoro in Venezuela.

When he is not in the studio or with an instrument on hand, Mikel can be found on the soccer field or watching movies.

Daphna Bar Yosef

B.S., M.S.

Hebrew Teacher


Mrs. Daphna Bar Yosef is excited to join JLA as an Instructor of Hebrew. Daphna grew up in Israel and served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as a Tank Instructor. She attended Tel Aviv University, studying Tanach, before continuing to earn both her BS and MS from NYU in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. After concluding her studies in 2021, she moved to Miami with her husband and daughter.


Daphna brings over ten years of experience in the teaching and learning world, ranging from teaching in a Jewish Day School to serving as a Division Head and Sports Director in an Israeli summer camp.

As a practicing Speech and Language Pathologist, Daphna has a deep understanding of language development and is excited to teach her students how to incorporate Hebrew into their everyday lives and build exceptional communication skills. During her spare time she enjoys running, biking, and swimming and is also looking forward to cheering loudly at JLA’s sports games “קדימה JLA!” 

Sabrina Baseman

Associate Director of Development

Sabrina is a Philadelphia native, but moved to Naples, Florida at the age of six, and later attended the University of Florida, graduating with a  BS in Psychology.

After college, Sabrina moved to Los Angeles and began her career as a client success manager in the technology industry, and has spent the last seven years developing client relationships in the start-up space, seeing multiple companies through rapid and exponential growth, software launches, and rounds of funding. Her clients varied in industries, from financial institutions to healthcare, VC firms to manufacturers, and government to fellow software companies. Most recently Sabrina led a team of sixteen as the Director of Customer Success and Director of Partnerships at Fulcrum, a Minneapolis based software company.

Due to her passion for Jewish education and for Israel, Sabrina is excited to return to Florida and apply the skills she has gained in the for-profit world to a cause that is nearer and dearer to her heart: ensuring that  the Jewish children of our community, our future, receive the very  best education possible.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband and family, solving puzzles — jigsaw, crossword, or otherwise — and winning during game nights with friends.