Dylan Abrams is thrilled to be back at Pardes for another amazing year! This is his third year at Pardes and his seventh year of teaching. Moreh Dylan has a Master’s degree in Education from Gratz College, where he specialized in Jewish Instructional Education and Hebrew Language Instruction. He was honored to earn the Graduate Subject Prize for excellence in Hebrew upon his graduation. His undergraduate work includes a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Mass Communication, a minor in Religious Studies, and a certificate in Jewish Studies from Arizona State University, as well as interdisciplinary field work at Monash University in Prato, Italy. Moreh Dylan has studied Hebrew in formal and informal settings for more than 15 years and enjoys sharing his love of the language with his students. In addition to his work at Pardes, Moreh Dylan serves as the Hebrew Coordinator for Temple Chai Religious School and has taught Modern Hebrew at Hebrew High. He has previous experience as a B’nai Mitzvah tutor, Jewish Studies teacher, Retreat/Shabbaton facilitator, and Mitzvah Project mentor. Before coming to Pardes, Moreh Dylan spent ten years as a working journalist, including seven years as a morning show producer/video editor/live shot coordinator at ABC15 Arizona. He has also been published in The Jewish News. He is deeply passionate about bringing his journalism experience into the Hebrew classroom through Project Based Learning. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, traveling, swimming, hiking, drinking coffee, and spending time with his wife and dog.
Sara Abrams is excited to be in her ninth year teaching Middle School humanities. This is her 15th year at Pardes, and her 20th year of teaching. Miss Abrams graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University and her Master’s degree in Secondary English education from Arizona State University. As a part of her Master’s work, Miss Abrams studied abroad at Cambridge University, where she studied Shakespeare in depth. More recently, she took her education further at Columbia University where she has not only participated in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Summer Institutes, but the Coaching Institute on the Teaching of Writing and Reading as well. Furthermore, this summer, she completed the Teacher Leadership Program at Brandeis University. She brings with her a deep-rooted passion for William Shakespeare, the written word, and a perfect cup of tea.
An Arizona native, Jennifer Adams has trained with world-renowned vocal instructors across the U.S., her passion has always been for the classical voice, but her love for music theater has grown over the years. She has been seen on the stage and working extensively as a professional in both Operatic and Music Theatre repertory across the southwest for over 30 years, including Broadway tour contracts, as well as World and Arizona Premiere Productions. An award-winning actor and singer, Jennifer loves sharing her knowledge, experience, and love of the arts with her students. She has also been the music director for countless award-winning productions over the past 25 years, including many youth productions. She has taught music and theatre for numerous performing arts schools, which includes creating and heading the music theater program at the prestigious Arizona School for the Arts in downtown Phoenix. Her students have performed all over the country and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway, Carnegie Hall. She is also the owner/proprietor of a private voice and piano studio in the valley.
Şeli (Shelly) Allen is excited for her third year teaching Kindergarten at Pardes Jewish Day School. Morah Şeli received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Ege University in Izmir, Turkey and her Master of Science in Education, Early Childhood General Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY. She has taught at several Jewish preschools, in Washington DC, New York City, Pennsylvania, and most recently in Arizona. Morah Şeli also co-founded and was the first teacher at B’Yachad Jewish Preschool in Ithaca, NY. She is passionate about teaching and focuses on the whole child. Morah Şeli has attended Responsive Classroom Workshop as well as Phonics, Reading and Writing Institutes at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University and Stanford Center for Professional Development Mathematics courses. Morah Şeli immigrated to the United States from Turkey in 2005 and has resided in Arizona since 2017. She is the proud mom of two children, Audrey and Max, both of whom attend Pardes Jewish Day School. She enjoys traveling, biking, hiking, camping and movies, and she can frequently be found schlepping her kids around Scottsdale and Phoenix to sports and other activities.
Rabbi Pinchas G. Allouche teaches seventh and eighth grade Jewish Studies. Additionally, he is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Tefillah. Rabbi Allouche is a sought-after lecturer and popular author of many essays and writings on the Jewish faith, mysticism, and social analysis. Rabbi Allouche was born in Toulouse, France and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and Jerusalem, Israel. His travels have also taken him to Geneva, Switzerland where he provided Jewish Learning Opportunities and activities to adults and youth alike, and to Milano, Italy where he received his rabbinic ordination. Besides his academic pedigree, Rabbi Allouche is highly respected and tremendously involved in the Jewish community of Greater Phoenix. He is a member of the Think Tank Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. Additionally, Rabbi Allouche is a member of AIPAC’s National Council, and here locally, he is also a member of the Vaad Harabanim, the Orthodox Rabbinic Council – Arizona’s Committee of Orthodox Rabbis.
Melinda Berko is in her 12th year teaching fourth grade at Pardes Jewish Day School. Before coming to teach at Pardes, Mrs. Berko taught fourth grade for 11 years at another Jewish Day School in Scottsdale in addition to first grade in public school. Mrs. Berko graduated with a Bachelors of Art degree in Psychology from Stetson University in Deland, Florida and a Post Baccalaureate in Elementary Education from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She is certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. She also has experience developing training materials and computer based training from her time working at a Fortune 500 company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Dani Braney is excited to be joining the Pardes family and comes with over 15 years experience in education, ranging from early childhood to high school. Mrs. Braney grew up in Chagrin Falls, a suburb of Cleveland, and moved to Arizona with her family in 2004. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in secondary education, she went to work at both private and public schools in the Valley, and has been teaching middle school Social Studies for the last ten years. Mrs. Braney lives in Phoenix with her husband, son, and two cats, Phinnaeus and Amélie. In her spare time, she enjoys DIY projects, cooking, and event planning, and whenever possible, she enjoys traveling and attending concerts.
The 2022-2023 school year is Laurie Burckhardt’s tenth year as part of the Pardes family. She’s been a professional educator for over 20 years. Mrs. Burckhardt coordinates student support services for middle school and teaches Pre-Algebra. Previously, she taught math, science, language arts, and general studies to fourth through ninth grade students in public schools, private schools, Jewish day schools, and tutoring centers in Illinois, Colorado, and Arizona. In addition, she has run resource and gifted enrichment programs and served as a tutor and academic coach. Mrs. Burckhardt’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Arizona. She has a Master’s degree in teaching and holds an Arizona Highly Qualified teaching license with a gifted education endorsement. Her passion is teaching all types of learners and helping each child build knowledge and self-confidence while increasing their skills and developing a love of learning. Mrs. Burckhardt is a proud alumni parent, too. Her son is a graduate of Pardes.
Blanca Caballero previously worked in the Madison School District as a Middle School Spanish Teacher as well as Creighton School District in the Spanish Immersion Program teaching second and third grade students.
Ms. Caballero was born in Mexico City, where she worked for several years in primary and secondary schools. Ms. Caballero also had the opportunity to on the faculty of the University of Tepeyac, teaching humanities subjects in languages and labor communications.
Ms. Caballero is the proud mother of a young lady named Ashley who finished her data science master’s degree in Public Policy and currently works as the VP of Public Relations and Marketing for a sports agency. Her son Michael, who traveled to Peru for two years on a service mission, is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree in business communication and marketing.
Ms. Caballero is also a student herself studying for her Master’s in Leadership at ASU. She is also pursuing certificates in Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness.
“Learning a language opens doors to knowledge, learning a second language opens countless doors, windows and ceilings.”
Anthony Carter comes to the Pardes community having taught general education, math, science and engineering for six years in the BASIS network of schools. He previously worked as an electronics engineer for ten years as well as a touring musician. Mr. Carter cares deeply about creating strong relationships with his students and engaging them in meaningful learning experiences that are hands-on and collaborative. In addition to teaching, he has a passion for creating custom guitars and amplifiers and combining his academic knowledge with his artistic nature.
It is with so much excitement that Hannah Carter returns to the Pardes mishpacha (family) for her third year as an Art Educator! Over her 15-year teaching career, she has had the privilege of teaching students from infants through fourth grade in a variety of traditional and not so traditional settings. Mrs. Carter received her Bachelors of Fine Art from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2010 before moving back to Phoenix, where she grew up. She is passionate about art education and the role that it has in educating the whole child. Mrs. Carter finds a deep sense of pride when students step out of their comfort zones and explore the world around them with an open mind and a creative spirit. She is honored to be able to bring her unique style of teaching to the Pardes students.
Jennifer Eckstein is excited to be in her 15th year at Pardes and her 21st year in teaching. She taught third and fourth grade in public schools for six years before coming to Pardes. She spent three years teaching second grade, eight years teaching third grade, and is now in her fourth year of teaching fifth grade which she loves. Ms. Eckstein graduated from Chapman University with a degree in Criminal Justice and earned her post baccalaureate in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. Ms. Eckstein has had the privilege of attending both reading and writing institutes at Teachers College at Columbia University. She also has an endorsement in Structured English Immersion and is certified in the Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project (CLIP). When she is not at school, Ms. Eckstein can be found on the tennis court, with family and friends, or curled up with a good book.
Sarah Ettinger moved to Phoenix from Los Angeles in 2018. Sarah attended California State University Northridge, where she received her bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Linguistics and Literature, and her master’s degree in Linguistics with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language. Sarah earned her K-8 teaching credential with the Day School Leadership through Teaching (DeLeT) program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. More recently, Sarah has been accepted for the DeLeT Master’s of the Art of Teaching program.
Sarah has taught at Shearim Torah High School, Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles, 32nd Street USC Magnet School, College of the Canyons, and Santa Monica College. She has also worked at Gesher Disability Resources as a teacher serving students with disabilities in the local Jewish day schools. Sarah joined the Pardes faculty in 2019 as the Jewish studies coordinator and middle school Jewish studies teacher. She is excited to return to her roots and move back into eighth grade humanities and sixth grade history. Sarah brings her love of history, literature, and interesting facts to every class she teaches. When Sarah isn’t teaching, she’s playing golf in loud golf pants, enjoying movies, trying new restaurants, and having adventures with her family: Seth, Ronen, and Georgina.
Celebrating her eighth year at Pardes and her twenty-first year in education, Susan Finks teaches seventh and eighth grade math. Teacher. She has taught math courses ranging from Middle School Math 2 through College Algebra as a dual enrollment class for college credit in high school. Mrs. Finks has taught in public, alternative, and Jewish day schools in Arizona, as well as served as a private tutor. Earning two Master’s degrees in education from Arizona State University – one in Curriculum and Instruction and one in Educational Leadership — Mrs. Finks holds an Arizona Highly Qualified teaching license with a Gifted Education endorsement. She previously taught Makerspace at Pardes. Additionally, she served as the STEM Specialist and the Unit Head for Counselors in Training at Camp Shemesh at the J the past two summers. Combining her love of scrapbooking and her techy side, this marks the third year Mrs. Finks will design the yearbook for Pardes. Mrs. Finks is the proud mother of two Pardes alumni sons.