Dylan Abrams is thrilled to be back at Pardes for another amazing year! This is his fourth year at Pardes and his eighth 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 Specialist and Retreat 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, 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.
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, Disney and many cruise lines. She is also the owner/proprietor of a private voice and piano studio in the valley. Jennifer loves traveling with her husband, spending time with her children and grandchildren, reading and cooking.
Şeli (Shelly) Allen is excited for her fourth 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.
Mark is excited to join the Pardes community as the new School Counselor. He has been in the Education and Social Services fields for over 25 years. Mark graduated from Chapman University with his Masters in School Counseling and received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Buffalo, NY. In the years prior to joining Pardes, Mark was a High School Counselor in Phoenix and spent several years in Knoxville, TN working with The University of Tennessee and Great Schools Partnership, developing Community Schools Initiatives in East Tennessee. Mark was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. When not working, he enjoys time with his family, hiking, catching a Diamondbacks game, traveling or exploring parts of Arizona.
Melinda Berko is in her thirteenth 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.
Dani Braney is excited to be entering her fifteenth year in education and second year at Pardes. 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, Amélie and Duke. In her spare time, she enjoys DIY projects, cooking, and event planning, and whenever possible, she enjoys traveling and attending concerts.
Laurie Burckhardt is excited to start her 11th year as part of the Pardes family and her 20th year in Jewish day schools. She’s been a professional educator for over 25 years. Mrs. Burckhardt coordinates learning support for grades K-8 and works directly with middle school students and teachers. Previously, she taught math, science, language arts, and general studies 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 gifted education and structured English immersion endorsements. 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 is thrilled to be back at Pardes for another year. This is her second year at Pardes and she has been a professional educator for over 30 years. Ms. 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 be on the faculty of the University of Tepeyac, teaching humanities subjects in languages and labor communications.
Ms. Caballero is the proud mother of Ashley who finished her 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.
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 for her fourth year as an Art Educator! Over her 16-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, a middle school math teacher, is excited to join the Pardes Middle School team. This is Miss Clark’s sixth year at Pardes and 16th year teaching. Miss Clark graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Elon University. She also earned a Masters of Art in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. In addition to her degrees, she holds an endorsement for middle school math. She furthers her education by participating in Stanford’s YouCubed courses. Recently, she completed the Teacher Leadership course through Brandeis University. 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.
During her 13 year career in education, Nicole DePalma has taught a wide range of subjects including science, history, technology, and art to grades K-12. Ms DePalma graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in History from UC Riverside and has a Masters degree in Cross-Cultural Education from National University. Last year, she went through the ISTE certification process and earned her certificate for demonstrating mastery of the ISTE Standards for Educators. This year, Nicole will be attending the Legacy Heritage Teacher Leadership Institute. Before joining Pardes, she was the manager and lead educator of an intergenerational STEM Studio located in San Diego where she developed curriculum, led classes, and ran their summer camp program for kindergarten through eighth grades. Her work history also includes working at the San Diego Natural History Museum as the lead educator for their School in the Park program where she taught science classes to grades 4 – 8. The 2023 – 2024 school year will be Nicole’s fourth year at Pardes, where she teaches Makerspace classes and sixth grade science. Nicole believes in educating the whole child and strives to create a learning environment that fosters creativity, confidence, and enthusiasm for learning. Nicole is a life-long learner who loves anything hands-on and spends a good deal of time crafting and experimenting with new ideas and materials. When not at school she spends her time with her family, out in nature, reading, crafting, practicing photography, and traveling.