AGS-EdM Faculty


Meg Anderson

Meg Anderson (Instructor, Summer 1) brings over thirty years of experience as a teacher, curriculum leader, and principal in traditional and alternative education settings. In addition, she has had eleven years of experience as the director of the Principal Residency Network, a principal training and credentialing program (a partnership between the Center for Collaborative Education and Northeastern University), and as a school redesign coach, advising principals and district leaders and providing professional development for teacher leadership, advisory programs, curriculum development, teacher evaluation, and team development. She is currently an educational consultant and facilitator.


Lauren Applebaum

Lauren Applebaum (Instructor, Spring 2) is a facilitator and consultant on professional learning for educators in Jewish and general education. Formerly the Associate Dean at the Graduate Center for Education at American Jewish University, she teaches courses in pedagogy and reflective practice at HUC and AJU in Los Angeles as well as at Hebrew College. Lauren served as Executive Director of Kesher Newton, a nationally-recognized innovative supplementary education program in the Boston area. She is certified as a Critical Friends Coach by the National School Reform Faculty and trained as a professional development leader by the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. An alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Williams College, Lauren received her doctorate in education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where her dissertation explored professional learning and collaborative reflective practice for Israel educators. She continues this work as the co-director of Project Orli: Research and Leadership for Israel Education.


Megin Charner-Laird

Megin Charner-Laird (Instructor, Fall 1) began her career as an elementary grades teacher in the Bay Area, where she primarily taught fifth grade. After moving from California to Massachusetts, Megin began her studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she investigated the preparation and early career experiences of teachers with a focus on mechanisms that support teacher learning in various school contexts. Currently, Megin is an assistant professor of education at Salem State University, and her research focuses on teachers’ experiences of professional learning, teacher leadership, and school turnaround efforts.


Barbara Laites Collins

Barbara Laites Collins (Coach & Instructor, Spring 1) is a coach and lecturer in Education. She has been coaching teacher leaders since the Teacher Leadership program began in 2015 and teaches ED 259, an online course on the uses of data for teacher leaders. Barbara feels passionate about supporting institutional change through shared leadership, instructional practices that meet the needs of all students, and systems to implement best practices in the field of literacy. She was a literacy specialist for the Newton, MA Public Schools for over 25 years and went on to become an elementary school principal and then K-8 District Literacy Director and Title 1 Director for the Needham, MA Public Schools. Barbara has an undergraduate and graduate degree from Tufts University. In addition to teaching at Brandeis, she consults and coaches individuals and school districts.


Jan Darsa

Jan Darsa (Coach) is former Director of Jewish Education at Facing History and Ourselves. She has facilitated Facing History workshops, seminars, and other professional development programs for teachers across the country and in Israel and provides follow-up consultations for individual teachers and schools. She has developed curriculum materials designed for educators in Jewish day schools and supplementary schools and has written numerous articles on Holocaust education. Prior to coming to Facing History, Jan taught English and social studies in public and Jewish middle and high schools and at Tufts University. Darsa received a B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.Ed. from Boston University and has studied Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the World Union of Jewish Students in Israel. She has been a Jerusalem Fellow, studying education and Jewish studies, and a scholar-in-residence in South Africa.


Sharon Feiman-Nemser

Sharon Feiman-Nemser (Co-Director, Coach & Instructor, Summer 2 & Spring 2) is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University with joint appointments in the Education Program and the Near Eastern and Judaism Studies Dept. Sharon teaches practitioner research in the MAT program, the capstone seminar to Ed Studies majors and Topics in Teacher Leadership. Her scholarship focuses on teacher education and learning to teach. Since coming to Brandeis in 2001, Sharon founded the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and the Delet Program. A former high school English teacher, she is especially interested in what and how teachers learn in and from their practice.


Minna H. Heilpern

Minna H. Heilpern (Coach) is a veteran Jewish educator with a passion for nurturing and supporting teachers and administrators and significant experience as a Jewish educational leader in teacher education and mentoring. She is a trained mentor through the Jewish New Teacher Project and was a Fellow in Cohort IV of the Mandel Teacher Educator’s Institute. Along with being a coach in the Legacy Heritage Teacher Leader Fellowship Program, Minna is also the Director of Professional Development of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Prior to her work as a coach, Minna was an Assistant Principal at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ. She also served as the Director of the Teachers’ Center and Director of Teacher Education at Jewish Educational Services (JES) of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Minna holds a BA in Judaic Studies from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in Jewish Communal Service, with a concentration in Jewish Education from Brandeis University.


Shira Horowitz

Shira Horowitz (Coach) is a Lecturer in Education as well as a coach in the Teacher Leadership program. She co-teaches ED 264a, Foundations of Education, a course taken during the first summer of the Public Elementary and Delet Concentration of the MAT. Shira spent many years teaching kindergarten and first grade in a Jewish day school in the Boston area. She also worked as a mentor teacher and field instructor in the Delet Concentration of the MAT Program from 2002-2015. Shira studied at Brandeis as an undergraduate and then received a Masters from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.


Aja Jackson

Aja Jackson (Coach) teaches in our MAT program and serves as a coach in the Teacher Leadership program. Aja received a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Simmons College and later studied at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education. She obtained her teaching certification through the Urban Teachers Program at Wheelock College. After over a decade of educating Boston Public Schools students, she became more interested in school leadership and has a principal licensure from the Center for Collaborative Education/Northeastern University. Aja currently works with Social Science teachers as a District K-8 Instructional Coach. Her interests include new teacher development, authentic assessment, and multicultural curriculum rooted in social justice.

Jodi Klein

Jodi Klein

Jody (Coach) is a coach who brings 25 years of experience in education as a teacher, program director, curriculum developer and trainer. She has taught pre-service and in-service education courses to teachers from pre-K through the university level, often around topics related to English Language Learning. She currently works for Newton Public Schools and as a consultant for Research for Better Teaching. Her beliefs about access and achievement for all students is what fuels her work in and out of the classroom.


Lena Kushnir

Lena Kushnir (Coach) is a passionate and talented educator with extensive experience teaching and leading in the Jewish day school world. Her career began as a third grade teacher at Sager Solomon Schechter Day School in 1997 where she worked her way into leadership roles, spending the last ten years as a school administrator in the system. As the K-5 Principal and then the K-8 Principal/ Assistant Head of School, Lena led the school educationally and set priorities for all academic programming and professional development. She left her administrative position in July, 2016 to pursue consulting work full time, and she is currently using her experience and expertise to help other educators, leaders and schools reach their highest potential.

marya levenson

Marya R. Levenson

Marya R. Levenson (Co-Director, Coach & Instructor, Summer 2) is Professor of the Practice in Education and the Harry S. Levitan Director of the Brandeis Education Program. She was a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, principal of Newton North High School, and superintendent of the North Colonie Schools. Prof. Levenson is the author of Pathways to Teacher Leadership: Emerging Models, Changing Roles.


Shira Loewenstein

Shira Loewenstein (Coach) spent ten years as a classroom teacher. She currently works for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools as the Program Director for Teacher and Leadership Development. Formerly she worked at the YU School Partnership supporting teacher learning. Shira is particularly interested in the pedagogical practices of teachers and thinking about how kids think. She has her masters from Brandeis University where she is an alumna of the Delet program and is currently writing her dissertation as part of the Azrieli doctoral program of Yeshiva University.

Ellie Logan

Ellen Logan

Ellen Logan (Coach) brings 30 years of experience in education in a Chicago suburb as a classroom teacher, differentiation support coach and curriculum developer. She has previously supervised MAT candidates at Northwestern University. Her passion is helping to make the connection through strategies between children who want to learn and teachers who want to teach.


Gary Pretsfelder

Gary Pretsfelder (Coach) is Principal, K-8, of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, a student-centered, Constructivist-oriented school. He has been a member of their Educational Leadership Team for 18 years and a teacher and administrator in both elementary and middle schools at three different Jewish day schools since 1989. In addition to being a coach in the Teacher Leadership Program, Gary has also mentored aspiring administrators through the ELAI program of the Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan University. Gary has a BA from New York University and an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He lives in Riverdale, NY with his wife and two children.


Cynthia Shulak Rome

Cynthia Shulak Rome (Coach) has been working as a coach for the Teacher Leadership program since it began in 2015. She also serves as the alumni specialist for the Delet Alumni Network, planning and facilitating professional development programming for Brandeis's Delet/MAT alumni and day school teachers in our partner day schools. Prior to Delet, Cindy worked as a Jewish educator with her primary focus being supplementary school education. A founding member of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Newton, Massachusetts, she also served as Education Director of the congregation’s religious school for five years. Cindy served on the Board of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) from 1998-2004, and on the JRF Executive Committee as Education Vice President from 2006-2008. Cindy received a master’s degree in Education and Speech-Language Pathology from University of California Santa Barbara and did her undergraduate work at University of Michigan. She also participated in the two-year Mandel Teacher Educator Institute, a rigorous professional development program for teachers of teachers in Jewish education.


Aviva Scheur

Aviva Scheur (Coach & Instructor, Summer 1) is currently the education director at Temple Beth David in Westwood where she is responsible for teacher supervision as well as professional and curriculum development for the school. Previously, she was the Leader of Professional Development and Head of the Tanakh department at Gann Academy. In those roles, she was instrumental in the development of the faculty rounds program. She has taught Pedagogy of Tanakh in the Brandeis MAT program, presented at many conferences on teaching and learning, and is a contributing author to The Power of Teacher Rounds: A Guide for Facilitators, Principals, and Department Chairs, by Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Boles.


Margery Sokoloff

Margery Sokoloff (Assistant Director) is the Assistant Director of the Brandeis Teacher Leadership Program and a Field Instructor for Secondary English teachers in the MAT program. Margery has worked as an educator since 1989 and as a teacher educator since 2006 when she joined the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English. She has a BA and PhD in English Literature from Yale University and has taught English at the high school and college levels in both Miami, FL and Boston, MA.


Vivian Troen

Vivian Troen (Coach) is the former director of the Teacher Learning Project at Brandeis, supporting school leaders in developing systems for supervision and evaluation to promote ongoing teacher learning. She is currently the director of the education consultancy, The Power of Teacher Learning. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on teaching and education policy, and with colleague Katherine C. Boles, is the co-author of Who’s Teaching Your Children? (Yale University Press), The Power of Teacher Teams (Corwin Press) and The Power of Teacher Rounds (Corwin Press). Vivian was a public school teacher for 30 years in Brookline, Massachusetts.