Home / Newsletters / June 3, 2018 MUS Division Newsletter / From the Boardroom – Rabbi Yael Ridberg

From the Boardroom – Rabbi Yael Ridberg

Dear SDJA Families:

As this will be my last column for this year, I wanted to share my remarks from the Annual General Meeting held on May 17.  For those of you who have never been to one of these evenings, it is a lovely way to celebrate teachers for their long term commitment to the school (those who have been at SDJA for 15+ years), witness the “transfer of power” from Board members completing their terms of service and welcoming new members, and hearing from Chaim Heller, Yael Edelstein, Kelley King, and Mike Quigley about the “state of the school” and the recent happenings in each of the divisions.  This year we also enjoyed the MUS band under the direction of master teacher, Tommy Collins, delicious treats from Chef Giselle Wellman, and the kids were invited for a movie night and pizza dinner. We look forward to seeing each of you at next year’s AGM!


We come together each year to share and celebrate the year coming to a close and recount our successes and challenges, reflecting on where we are and how our expectations aligned with our reality.

It is especially nice to be together as we approach the holiday of Shavuot – a time of celebrating the first fruits, and the harvest of our efforts, as well as the recognition of the ongoing revelation that takes place every day in our school – the insights our children gain from their explorations in the ECC to the profound encounters in Poland and Israel of our seniors (who arrive home tonight!)

I want to first express my gratitude to our senior leadership team of Chaim Heller, Kelley King, Mike Quigley, Yael Edelstein, Rabbi Phil Graubart, Skip Carpowich (who is celebrating his son’s graduation tonight), Rachelle Jagolinzer, Keri Copans, and Ariela Berkstein, for all of their hard work this year on so many fronts. We benefit every day from their wisdom, insight, effort, and profound dedication and love for this school, that it is important to recognize all of the myriad of ways they work to improve every aspect of the academic program, the admissions process, the Jewish life, the financial stability and sustainability, and overall experience of every one of our families.  Thank you!

I have the privilege to sit around the board table every month with a truly extraordinary group of parents and community members.  They bring their whole selves to this endeavor of stewardship and I really look forward every month to our meetings.

Independent School trusteeship is a position of leadership, honor, and responsibility. The Board of Trustees, working very closely with the Head of School, has the ultimate responsibility for maintaining the integrity, standing, reputation, and future direction of the school. The Board keeps its eye on the mission of the school while it manages the changes and challenges that are part of institutional life. With guidance from the Head, the Board is responsible for setting policy. The Board of Trustees is comprised of parents, educators, and friends in the community. The members of the Board of Trustees, who serve as volunteers, support the school through their hard work, wisdom, and financial resources.

This year we thank 3 board members for their service to SDJA and we know that though they may no longer sit at the table, their contributions will remain essential elements of SDJA history, and examples of what it means to give of oneself beyond a personal agenda for one’s children – to envision and imagine San Diego Jewish Academy for the students here now and those who have yet to enroll.

The three members departing this year are: Larry Bartlett, Susan Chortek Weisman, and Dan Feldman.


Larry came on the board when we were beginning to reimagine the security needs of the school, and brought his legal background, his thoughtful approach, and love of the school to those conversations on the security committee and really helped leverage the school into the 21st century.

Susan brought her considerable history with, and institutional memory of the school as a parent and former president of the PTO. She consulted with Atid – our committee that focuses on inreach and enrollment, the PTO, and PALS – Parents of Alumni – to share her wisdom and insight and love of the school.

Dan has brought his considerable financial acumen to the Board in his role as treasurer and head of the finance committee, in addition to his wit and sarcasm. While he was always the first to say how much Skip supports and prepares so much for him, Dan has really been such a strong and straight-talking member of the board and managed our finances with integrity.

We are delighted to welcome two new board members this evening – Barbi Dorfan and Trevor Klein. Barbi has been such a wonderful presence on the Board as the PTO rep for the upper school, deliberate and considerate in her contributions, we wanted to maintain her presence as a full member of the BoT, and her connections with the parent body will continue as she will also serve in the PTO again.

Trevor joins the board having served on the finance committee this year. His family history with school and deep appreciation for all SDJA is such a welcome addition along with his business savvy and financial knowhow.

To all the Board: Our tradition understands that leadership is not easy – we thank you for your vision, imagination, courage, and dedication.  May you continue to be an example to all of us, inspiring us to understand the kedushah – the holiness – and the sipuk neshamah – the satisfaction found in serving our school community.

Elohai Ha’avodah, God, Source of Service to community – Grant your blessings upon those elected to serve San Diego Jewish Academy.

As they perform their duties, keep them ever mindful of the high purposes to which they and we are dedicated.  Help them to be faithful heirs to those who have preceded them, and worthy predecessors of those who will yet follow.

May their actions reflect strength and wisdom, and may they find great joy in their service.

Grant our leaders strength when they are weary, hope when they are discouraged, patience and perseverance when they face an obstacle.

May their labors reflect honor upon our school community, and may they find tremendous fulfillment in the work and its fruits.

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