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Noreen Leibson to run DeLeT/MAT Program

Leibson, who will assume the position this summer, will be the third person to lead the program

Noreen Leibson

WALTHAM, Mass.– Noreen Leibson, a Jewish educator with more than 20 years of experience, has been selected to lead the DeLeT/MAT Program at Brandeis University. The 14-month graduate program, jointly run by the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and the University’s Education Program, innovatively prepares teachers for Jewish day schools. 

Leibson was selected from more than 40 candidates after an extensive national search. She joins the DeLeT/MAT Program after 20 years as education director at Temple Beth Abraham, a Conservative congregation in Nashua, N.H.

“I am excited to join the DeLeT/MAT Program,” Leibson said. “I look forward to immersing myself in the very important work of preparing teachers for careers in Jewish day schools. DeLeT represents the kind of quality teacher training that is critical to making our day schools outstanding institutions of learning.”

As DeLeT/MAT faculty leader, Leibson will also play a leadership role at the Mandel Center. According to Jon Levisohn, acting director of the Mandel Center and chair of the search committee, Leibson’s rich background in Jewish education, her sophisticated approach to professional development, and her extensive successful experience in an educational leadership role made her an ideal candidate.

“We are thrilled to have Noreen at the helm of the DeLeT/MAT Program,” he said. “She will bring great energy and excitement to the program, and her genuine and deep curiosity about teaching and learning are a perfect match for the Mandel Center.”

Leibson was drawn to the program by its unique integration of coursework with field experience, which is a hallmark of the DeLeT model.

“I have been thoroughly impressed by the combination of theory, practice and dedication to providing novice student interns with quality mentoring,” she explained. “Interns are given the opportunity to immediately apply what they learn in their graduate classes while under the guidance of a highly skilled and nurturing mentor teacher. The program is there for the student every step of the way.”

Leibson has also worked as an informal Jewish educator and yoetzet (advisor) at Camp Ramah in New England for 10 summers. She is a graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI) and developed a sophisticated professional development program for teachers at Temple Beth Abraham, as well as new adult education programs.

Leibson will assume the role of faculty leader for DeLeT/MAT this summer; she will be the third person to hold the position. The program was launched in 2002 under the direction of Judy Elkin, who led it for six years. Current faculty leader Serene Victor, who also came to DeLeT/MAT from congregational Jewish education, is retiring after leading the program for two years. Like Leibson, both Elkin and Victor are also graduates of MTEI.

“Noreen is a wonderful teacher who brings strong organizational skills, an understanding of teaching, and a background in counseling, as well as personal wisdom.  She embraces the kind of thoughtful, critical teacher education that we try to practice here,” Victor said. “I am retiring confident that DeLeT will go from strength to strength in her capable hands.”

Leibson holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education from SUNY New Paltz and earned an MSW from Boston University. She is a 2010 candidate for a second master’s degree from Hebrew College. Noreen and her husband, Mitch Wolper, live in New Hampshire with their daughters, Hannah and Emma.

About the DeLeT/MAT Program 
DeLeT/MAT (DeLeT: Day School Leadership through Teaching; the Hebrew word for “door”), opens a door to day school teaching, preparing recent college graduates and career changers to teach general and Judaic studies in the elementary grades in Jewish day schools. DeLeT is the Jewish Day School concentration of Brandeis University's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program. Students earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education, and are eligible for initial teaching licensure (grades 1 - 6) from the commonwealth of Massachusetts. DeLeT students work closely with faculty and fellow students in a cohort model. Research and practice, coursework and fieldwork are closely integrated. Graduates teach in several local schools as well as in many communities across the country. The DeLeT/MAT Program is generously funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, and is grateful for additional scholarship support from the Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation and others. For more information, visit the DeLeT/MAT Program's Web site.

About the Mandel Center
Founded in 2002 as the first academic center of its kind, the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education is dedicated to transforming the quality of teaching and learning in Jewish education by supporting practice-centered research, pioneering new models of professional development, and shaping discourse in the study and practice of Jewish education. The Mandel Center is a partnership between the Mandel Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, and Brandeis University. For more information, visit the Mandel Center's Web site.

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