Dylan Abrams is thrilled to be in his second year on the Pardes Hebrew team. He joined the staff last year as a support teacher and is excited to be teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Hebrew this year. This is Mr. Abrams’ sixth year of teaching. He has a Master’s degree in Education from Gratz College with emphases in Jewish Instructional Education and Hebrew Language Instruction. 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. Mr. Abrams also teaches Hebrew at Temple Chai and has spent time there as a Jewish Studies teacher, B’nai Mitzvah tutor, and Retreat/Shabbaton facilitator. Before coming to Pardes, Mr. Abrams spent seven years at ABC15 Arizona as a news producer, video editor, and live shot coordinator. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, drinking coffee, and spending time with his wife and dog.
Sara Abrams is excited to be in her eighth year teaching Middle School humanities. This is her fourteenth year at Pardes and her nineteenth 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. 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 second 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. 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 ninth 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 2021-22 school year is Laurie Burckhardt’s ninth 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 and 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 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 alumni parent, too. Her son is a recent graduate of Pardes.
It is with so much excitement that Hannah Carter returns to the Pardes mishpacha for her second year as an Art Educator! Over her 14-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 Bachelor’s in 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.
Ian Coupe is excited to begin his second year at 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, and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in English Education at Middlebury College. 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, basketball, and tennis. When he’s not at school, you can find him exploring Arizona’s hiking trails with a book!
Leah was born and raised in Arizona and grew up within the Scottsdale Jewish community. After graduating from The University of Arizona with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Communication, she decided to move to Israel and spent a year teaching English through MASA. Because she fell in love with the culture and land of Israel, Leah continued living there for 3 more years after her teaching was finished, officially making Aliyah. While in Israel, Leah managed the registration team for a Birthright organization and later became a content writer for an online magazine publishing company. When she finally decided to move back to Arizona, it was no surprise she quickly got involved with the Scottsdale Jewish community again and she joined the Pardes family shortly after returning home. In her free time, she loves getting outside to hike, run, and walk as much as possible; cooking; traveling; and spending time with friends and family.
Jennifer Eckstein is excited to be in her fourteenth year at Pardes and her twentieth 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 third 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.
Susan Finks rejoined the Pardes family this year as a part-time seventh and eighth grade math teacher, marking her seventh year at Pardes and twentieth year in education. 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 serving 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 founded and taught Makerspace at Pardes as well, and served as the STEM Specialist at Camp Shemesh at the J this past summer. Mrs. Finks is the proud mother of two Pardes alumni sons.
Addi Fraser is excited to be in her third year teaching Kindergarten. Morah Addi graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at University of Arizona in Retailing and Consumer Sciences and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. After moving to NYC to pursue a career in the fashion industry, she realized she missed the constant sunshine and lifestyle of her hometown, Scottsdale. She quickly moved back and found Pardes Jewish Day School, which combined her true passions of teaching, Judaism, and doing mitzvot. She loves the opportunity to teach young minds and give back to Jewish community she grew up in. Morah Addi recently attended a summer program at Columbia University, where she participated in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Summer Institute. She’s been nicknamed the energizer bunny – when she’s not at school, you can find her teaching workouts at local barre studios. She brings with her a love of writing workshop, learning through movement, and boundless imagination!