Ginny Galili will become Gross Schechter Day School’s eighth head of school in May, replacing Randy Boroff.
The school board’s vote was announced March 17, immediately following a meeting.
Galili, 54, will leave her post as executive director of strengthening families at Jewish Family Service Association in Pepper Pike, which she has led for 11 years, to take on the leadership role at the Pepper Pike Jewish day school. She is a parent of former students and was a board member of the school from 2010 to 2014.
“We know that this is out-of-the-box thinking,” Dara Yanowitz, chair of Gross Schechter’s Vision for the Future committee and a past school president, told the Cleveland Jewish News March 17. “Ginny to some … might not look like the typical head of school. But what she brings to the table cannot be replicated … her character, her core capability, her wisdom and her experience.”
Yanowitz also spoke of Galili’s deep knowledge of Cleveland’s Jewish community, of her strengths in fundraising and friend raising, her experience in building teams and collaborating. She referred to Galili as “a relationship builder in chief.”
Galili was an early favorite among local candidates for the position, Yanowitz said. She declined to say whether Galili took the initiative to apply or whether board members reached out to her to do so.
Galili will work with Boroff, who will remain in the newly created position of director of teaching and learning at the school. With a budget of $4 million, the school has 240 students from 6 weeks old through eighth grade, and 69 employees.
In the news release announcing Galili’s appointment, Gross Schechter board president Abby Stadlin said, “Ginny’s compassion, leadership and dedication to Jewish families are well known throughout our community. Of course, having her here feels more like welcoming a member of our own family home again. Under Ginny’s direction, the board officers and directors look forward to ensuring another 40 strong years for Gross Schechter.”
Boroff has been head of school since 2015. He will work with Rabbi Yoni Berger, associate head of school for Judaic studies and programs, and faculty to continue to develop its academic program.
“Gross Schechter engaged a dynamic person in Ginny Galili as the new head of school, a person with a big vision, who leads by example and is a magnet for others in both the professional sphere and elsewhere,” Gary Gross, past president and lifetime Gross Schechter board member, said in the release. “The school took this bold step by adding Ginny while retaining its current head of school Randy Boroff and his team; a terrific accomplishment. I look forward to working with her for years to come.”
Galili said she is looking forward to taking on the role and honored to have been selected to lead the school in its next development phase.
“I am thrilled to return to Gross Schechter Day School, albeit not as a parent this time, but as a member of the wonderful team that makes the school amazing every day,” Galili said in the release. “Our family has experienced the positive, lifelong impact of a Gross Schechter education. I witness, firsthand, the meaningful leadership contributions of Schechter alumni in our local and global Jewish community.
“I relish the opportunity to lead the school in its next phase of development. Gross Schechter Day School’s community comprises talented and committed students, families, faculty and lay leaders. The whole child is embraced and nurtured in Schechter’s joyous Jewish living and learning environment. I am honored to be chosen to serve as Gross Schechter Day School’s next head of school. This will truly be a labor of love.”
Galili’s 24-year career at JFSA includes having overseen the Hebrew Shelter Home. In that capacity, she and her husband, Gadi Galili, lived at the home for several years. Hebrew Shelter Home provides emergency and temporary housing for Jewish women and children escaping domestic violence or facing imminent homelessness.
Galili also has experience in executive and management level positions in the fields of youth leadership development, children’s protective services, intergenerational programming, summer camp and extracurricular enrichment. She is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in Cleveland.
Gadi Galili is the ritual director at Park Synagogue of Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike, where the family is a member.
The couple lives in Pepper Pike with their children, Hadass, Ezra, Shai and Ayala, all of whom attended Gross Schechter.