Dylan Abrams is ecstatic to be part of the Pardes family this year. This is his first year at Pardes and his fifth year teaching. Mr. Abrams earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and a certificate in Jewish Studies from Arizona State University, and is working toward a Master’s degree in Jewish Instructional Education from Gratz College. He is deeply passionate about the Hebrew language. Mr. Abrams also teaches 3rd and 4th grade 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.
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.
It is with so much excitement that Hannah Carter joins the Pardes mishpacha as a member of the faculty! Over her 13-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.
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!
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, she decided to move to Israel to spend 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. One of the things she values most is family, so Leah made the difficult decision to move back to Arizona in 2019. It was no surprise that she quickly got involved again with the Scottsdale Jewish community she adores so much and she joined the Pardes family shortly after returning home. In her free time, she loves going to events within the young Jewish community; getting outside to hike, run, and walk as much as possible; cooking; traveling; and spending time with friends and family.
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.