Sara Abrams is excited to be in her seventh year teaching Middle School humanities. This is her thirteenth year at Pardes and her eighteenth 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 Reading as well. 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 is excited to start her second year with the Pardes family! Having 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 first year teaching Kindergarten at Pardes Jewish Day School. Morah Seli 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 Seli 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 Seli has recently attended Phonics, Reading and Writing Institutes at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University. Morah Seli 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 can frequently be found schlepping her kids around Scottsdale and Phoenix to kids’ 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 eighth year teaching fourth grade at Pardes Jewish Day School. Before coming to teach at Pardes, Mrs. Berko taught fourth grade for eleven 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.
The 2020-21 school year is Laurie Burckhardt’s eighth year as part of the Pardes family. She’s been a professional educator for over 20 years. Mrs. Burckhardt is the Middle School Coordinator and teaches middle school classes, including Earth Science, Pre-Algebra, and electives. 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 remedial, resource and gifted enrichment programs and served as a tutor and academic coach. Mrs. Burckhardt’s undergraduate degree is in journalism and political science 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 developing 21st-Century skills and a love of learning. Mrs. Burckhardt is a proud Pardes parent, too. Her son is currently in eighth grade at the school.
Allison Clark, who teaches middle school math, is excited to be a member of the Pardes Middle School team. This is Miss Clark’s third year at Pardes and thirteenth year teaching. Prior to joining Pardes, Miss Clark worked in Atlanta, GA for 4 years, taught Pre-K and first grade in Kuwait for 3 years, fourth grade in India for 2 years, and sixth grade math in a Phoenix public school. Miss Clark graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Elon University. She also earned a Master’s of Art in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. In addition to her degrees, she holds an endorsement for middle school math. When Miss Clark isn’t inspiring her students to love math, she enjoys watching hockey, playing card games, eating out, and going to the movies.
Ian Coupe is very excited to join the Pardes Middle School as the Sixth Grade Humanities teacher. He graduated from Bucknell University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Education. Prior to joining Pardes, Ian spent two years teaching in the Apprentice Teacher program at New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, Connecticut. In his two years, Ian taught fifth and sixth grade English and History. Ian has led extracurricular activities such as debates, book clubs, and current events. He has also coached Middle School soccer and tennis. When he’s not at school, you can find him on a hike, reading a book, or watching basketball!
Lisa D’Onofrio is thrilled to be returning to Pardes for her second year as our full time school nurse. Lisa comes to us with a wealth of experience in healthcare and a background in coronary intensive care, dermatology, and school nursing. Lisa holds a BA in Sociology and psychology from Caldwell, University in NJ and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Most recently, she spent 8 years as the school nurse for Tesseract School grades 5-12, where she developed and implemented a comprehensive growth education curriculum.
Kathy Davis graduated with a Bachelors of Art degree in English from UCLA and has a Post Baccalaureate in Education as well as a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her education includes a one year program studying English literature and history in a castle north of London. She is licensed to teach grades 1-12 in Arizona and has an endorsement in Structured English Immersion. Before joining the Pardes family, Mrs. Davis taught grades 4-8 privately and was an academic coach for online students. She also taught middle school English and math at a Jewish Day School and fourth grade in public school. Prior to teaching, she managed an avionics repair station at Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii for 16 years. Mrs. Davis was born and raised in Hawaii and earned her college degrees on a surfing scholarship. She is the proud parent of her son Davis, an aerospace engineer, and her daughter Carson, a licensed mental health counselor.
Jennifer Eckstein is excited to be in her thirteenth year at Pardes and her nineteenth year of 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 second 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 received her associate’s degree in 2007 from Pierce Community College in California American Sign Language Interpreting. She attended California State University Northridge (CSUN), where she received her bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Linguistics and Literature in 2009. She began working as both an interpreter and teacher while pursuing her master’s degree from CSUN in Linguistics with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language, which she received in 2012. Upon graduation, she taught international adult students academic English at a variety of colleges in the Los Angeles area. In 2017, Sarah was accepted into the rigorous Day School Leadership through Teaching (DeLeT) program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she earned her K-8 teaching credential. She has taught at Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles and 32nd Street USC Magnet School. In 2018, Sarah moved to Phoenix with her husband, Cantor Ettinger, and young son, Ronen. Sarah began working at Gesher Disability Resources as a teacher serving students with disabilities in the local Jewish Day Schools. She has also worked at Shearim Torah High School for girls as an English Language Arts instructor for grades 9-12.
Achia Gafni Mor moved to Phoenix with his wife and two children from Israel in August 2019. Both he and his wife, Maya, came to Arizona to teach Hebrew at Pardes because they felt it was their calling and their privilege to teach Hebrew in a Jewish day school, to share their love for the language and its bond to the Jewish people.
Achia’s education includes a B.A in Jewish Thought (Magna Cum Laude), and LL.B (Bachelor of Laws) from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition, he spent many years studying Torah in different Yeshivas and in the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel. He also taught Hebrew to new immigrants in an Ulpan in Israel.
This is his second time as an emissary in the United States. He previously worked in Atlanta, Georgia as a Hebrew teacher where he taught Hebrew, Judaism, and Israeli culture.
Achia loves practicing mindfulness and meditation, learning Torah, reading and collecting various books, exercising in the gym, and getting to know people from different backgrounds.
He is very excited about the opportunity to be back in the United States again, this time as a Hebrew teacher at Pardes Jewish Day School.
Before coming to Pardes, Maya Gafni Mor was Tanakh and Jewish studies teacher in Israel for nine years. After studying in the Revivim Program, she started working as a Middle and High School Teacher in Yachad Modi’in, where she stayed for five years. Maya continued teaching in The Israel Arts and Science Academy (IASA) in Jerusalem for another four years.
She has a Bachelor’s degree and a teacher’s certificate in Jewish studies and Bible from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Master’s degree in Pluralistic Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Maya moved to Phoenix to join the Pardes team with her husband and two children in August 2019.
Aside from teaching, she loves traveling, hiking, yoga, books, music, movies, and people.
Dr. Graham recently joined the Pardes faculty as the Director of Learning Resources after relocating back to Arizona from Austin, TX. During her educational journey, she received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources at Michigan State University. Soon after, she moved to AZ and obtained her post degree certifications in Elementary (K-8) and Special Education (K-12) along with her Master’s of Special Education at Northern Arizona University. After spending several years as a classroom teacher and the Director of Special Education at various school districts in both Arizona and Texas, Deborah also obtained her PhD in special education. Among her school experiences, she previously worked at the Austin Jewish Academy and is very excited to transition over to the Pardes community. In her spare time you can find her mountain biking, hiking, or spending time outdoors in general.