Meet the Sandbox Facilitators:
Aliza teaches sixth grade Science and Math at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, NJ. She also coaches the engineering team, and serves as 6th grade team leader. Throughout the school day, Aliza aims to foster in her students a playful curiosity about the world, coupled with the skills and knowledge to pursue inquiry. She focuses on developing depth and creativity in her students, recognizing that middle school students are at a prime age to appreciate both the joy and discipline of learning. Aliza has also worked in many informal Jewish education settings, spending many summers working at camps, including being on the founding staff of Moshava Ba’ir, a Bnei Akiva day camp. She loves the fun learning and free expression that happens during the summer and continuously strives to bring that back to school. Aliza earned a BA in Physics from Barnard College and a Masters in Middle School General Education from Bank Street College of Education. In 2011, she was a finalist for the NJ Non-Public School Teacher of the Year and has participated in professional learning communities focused on differentiation, tinkering, and project-based learning.
Leah Herzog graduated (magna cum laude) with a BA in Psychology from Barnard College in 1986. At that time, she was also inducted into the Phi Betta Kappa society. In 1984, she earned her Teacher’s Certification from Michlalah, the Jerusalem College for Women. Leah earned her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago in 1989 and continued her doctoral work in the same field, as well as completing doctoral work in Educational Administration at the University of Cincinnati. Leah has taught Tanach and psychology to high school students at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, RITSS high school in Cincinnati and The Frisch School in New Jersey. She taught at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School for nine years, serving as Chair of the Tanach Department for the last two years. She currently teaches Tanach and is the co-director of Israel Guidance in addition to working as a Mechanechet at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck, NJ. She has taught adult education at the Anne Blitstein Teacher’s Institute in Chicago, the Melton School in Cincinnati and has lectured in the US, Canada and Israel.
Akiva Mattenson recently finished a year of study in Israel at Yeshivat Ma’aleh Gilboa on Kibbutz Ma’aleh Gilboa and is beginning a Fellowship this summer at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. He will be starting Brandeis University in the fall. Akiva was valedictorian of The Frisch School (’13) and is one of the founders of RealSchool, which he began with Tikvah Wiener during his junior year of high school. This is his second summer as a Summer Sandbox facilitator.
Nancy Siegel began her career in the early childhood classroom at Manhattan Day School and Magen David. Most recently she was a Principal Intern at the Montclair State University Ben Samuels Children’s Center where she promoted calm, as well as safety, in the classroom by fostering mindfulness awareness strategies and supporting teacher social emotional competency as well as student social emotional development. In addition she worked with a team at Stanford University’s Compassion Center on a curriculum that addresses resiliency and pro-social behavior in the classroom. Over the past ten years she has been creating and implementing educationally-based and yoga- inspired programming that has resonated with school leaders, educators and children of all ages. She taught kids’ yoga for 15 years and is the founder and director of CADDY Camp, which stands for Circus, Art, Dance, Drama and Yoga. Nancy has a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University. She received her certification with YogaKids (Level 1) and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher Training programs and has been practicing yoga (and being calm) for almost 20 years.
Matt Williams studies how religious cultures are transmitted and taught in the modern world. In particular, he’s interested in how people learn to navigate competing approaches to understanding history, politics, information and the day to day. Currently, he’s working on a history of the “Judaism” entry of wikipedia and a historiographic analysis of popular conservative historical works. His main project, though, is on the history of kiruv in America. Secondarily, he studies education technology and is a member of the Consortium on Education’s Digital Future in Silicon Valley.
Presently, Matt consults on an array of education projects for various foundations, schools, and universities. Before starting at the newly formed Education and Jewish Studies program at Stanford University, where Matt is pursuing a doctorate in history and education under the advisement of Professors Ari Y. Kelman and Steven J. Zipperstein, he was a visiting curator at the Smithsonian Institute, a high school teacher at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, and the Alumni Coordinator of the Yeshiva University teaching fellowship program. Previously he held a position as a Mellon Initiative Scholar of the History of Art at Yale University and graduated from Yeshiva University with highest honors and degrees in Art History, Literature, and Jewish Studies.
Currently, Matt holds a Jim Joseph Fellowship for the study of Jewish education, a Wexner Fellowship, and Davidson Scholarship. He has been a Leadership Alliance Early Identification Doctoral Fellow and a Summer Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Study at the University of Pennsylvania. To date, Matt has received numerous grants and awards for his research and teaching. Prior to attending Yeshiva University, Matt mainly grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, with stops in Dallas, Texas and West Hempstead, New York, but he originally hails from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Matt and his wife, Amy, live in Palo Alto, California. He is an avid cyclist and always game for a conversation.
Tikvah Wiener is Founder and Director of RealSchool, an inquiry-based, student-driven learning program which she began with her students at The Frisch School in 2011. In RealSchool, students learn by doing, collaborating with peers to create events and projects they are passionate about and that will better the world. Tikvah herself uses project-based (PBL) and inquiry-based learning (IBL) in her English and art history courses. This past year she piloted a SIM CITY class, where students imagined and created the kind of environment in which they would like to live. You can learn more about passion-based learning in Jewish education from Tikvah’s ELI Talk: http://elitalks.org/why-we-need-passion-based-learning-jewish-education.
Tikvah is beginning a position this fall as Chief Academic Officer at Magen David High School in Brooklyn, NY. She has most recently been Director of Interdisciplinary Studies and Chairman of the English Department at The Frisch School, where she also taught since 2001. Tikvah began her career in Jewish education at The Samuel H. Wang High School for Girls in Queens, NY, holds an M.A. from Queens College in English Literature and Creative Writing, and is a graduate of Stern College, where she earned a B.A. in English Literature. She lives in Teaneck, NJ with her husband and three children.
RealSchool and The Summer Sandbox are made possible in part
by a grant from The Covenant Foundation