Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School has hired Jay Leberman as head of school to replace Jerry Isaak-Shapiro, who will leave the school at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Leberman is the director of the Kivunim Gap-Year program in Jerusalem that provides an intensive, experiential international Jewish education to college students, according to an email to the Mandel JDS community from Eliana LeVine, president of the board of directors.

On Nov. 18, the Mandel JDS board unanimously approved the hiring of Leberman beginning July 1, 2020.

"I’ve been involved in Jewish school education for nearly four decades and you truly have a gem of an institution," Leberman said, according to a news release."The educational program that you have created is exceptional and very impressive. I am thrilled and greatly honored to have earned the confidence of the Mandel community to be offered the head of school position."

Before going abroad, Leberman was the head of school for 16 years at the Perelman Jewish Day School in Philadelphia where he ran three divisions with more than 500 students. There he created a middle school and made Perelman more inclusive and financially stable, according to a release from Mandel JDS.

Prior to Perelman, Leberman was the head of school at the Sager Solomon Schechter Day School in Chicago for 12 years. He received national recognition for establishing programs in both schools that advocate for individual learning and allow children with special needs to receive a Jewish education.

According to the release, he received his Bachelor of Arts in history of the Jewish people and history of Jewish thought from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Master of Philosophy degree in modern Jewish studies from Oxford University in London. Leberman spent five years teaching both high school and college classes in England before returning to the United States. According to the release, he is a naturalist, conservationist, and environmentalist with a passion for outdoor learning. He enjoys international literature and visiting Diaspora communities throughout the world.

“The search process was long and thorough, and drew upon the time, efforts, and collective wisdom of countless people in the Mandel JDS community," said Louis Chaiten, Mandel JDS parent who led the search committee. "I am tremendously excited that the end result was the hiring of someone of Jay’s stature and reputation – an educational leader with an impressive record of success everywhere he has been.”

LeVine said she is looking forward to Leberman leading the school’s next chapter.

“I’m thrilled that we have found such a qualified and experienced person as Jay to lead our school into its next chapter," she said, according to the news release. "Jerry has done an amazing job at Mandel JDS and we believe that Jay will carry on our tradition of excellence in leadership. I want to thank Louis Chaiten for leading such a thorough, thoughtful and transparent search, as well as the members of the search committee, the board of directors and all of our constituents who met with Jay and offered candid feedback.”

Here is the letter sent to the Mandel JDS community:

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