Dan Finkel started as Head of School at Gesher JDS in 2015, and quickly fell in love with the warm community, outstanding academic program, and unique focus on outdoor education. Since then, he’s been focused on articulating and implementing a shared vision of an excellent school that is gracefully balancing commitments to Jewish tradition as well as modern, innovative approaches to educating children. Gesher JDS has taken meaningful strides forward during the past years, including a massive tech infrastructure overhaul, a data-driven strategic planning process, and lots of meaningful professional development for faculty and staff in pedagogy and school operations.
While Mr. Finkel considers his time as a founding staff member and Outdoor Educator at Camp Ramah Darom (1997-2003) to be the real launch of his journey as a Jewish educator, he began his formal career in Jewish education at The Weber School in Atlanta, GA, teaching Psychology and Judaic Studies, and eventually became the Director of Student Life. Mr. Finkel came to Northern VA after several years as the Principal for Judaics and Hebrew at Wornick JDS in Foster City, CA. He holds a BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Jewish Studies & Jewish Education from Siegal College, and an MA in Anthropology (ABD focusing on Music, Ritual, and Cooperation) from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Finkel’s primary roles in life are as husband to his wife, Ellie, and as the father of two Gesher students, Oren and Yaara (and their recent four-legged addition, a little dog named Clyde Oreo Finkel).
On weekday mornings, Mr. Finkel likes to play his guitar while greeting students and families during morning drop-off. He is also a bass player and a big fan of live music, and deeply appreciates the musical culture at Gesher.
Jodi Hirsch Rein, Gesher JDS Principal, joined the Gesher faculty in 2014. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Jodi is blessed to have returned to the community to continue to grow the next generation of Jewish leaders. Jodi has devoted her career to Jewish Education, spending many years prior to joining Gesher in the day school classroom as a teacher, reading specialist, teacher mentor, and now as a day school leader.
Jodi graduated from List College, earning her BA in Psychology from Columbia University and a BA in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She went on to become a DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) Fellow earning her Masters in Jewish Education from Brandeis University. Jodi also received her certification as a Reading Specialist and most recently attended the Harvard University Art of Leadership Principal institute. Jodi loves art, swimming, cooking, games, vacation and her family. She is married to Rabbi Steven Rein and has two wonderful boys (both Gesher students), Ari and Ilan.
Allison came to Gesher in 2017 from Loudoun County Public Schools as an Educational Technologist and has transitioned into Gesher’s Director of Student Services and Technology. She was born and raised here in Northern Virginia. Allison completed her undergraduate degree at The University of Pittsburgh studying Media, and Film and is currently getting her Masters Degree in Education Technology and Leadership from the George Washington University. After completing her undergraduate studies, Allison spent four years working at the Apple Store in Reston Town Center focusing on employee and customer training and device management. She followed her passion for technology and integrating it into learning to a job as the Technology Assistant at Hillside Elementary in Loudoun County before coming to Gesher. When she’s not learning about the newest technology gadget or trend, Allison loves spending time with her two dogs, her family, going to see musicals or concerts and enjoying a good book.
Allison is excited to support Gesher students and families in the front office, help promote a new age of technology use in classrooms, and is looking forward to a great year with your children.
Jennifer Scher has served as the Director of Development at Gesher JDS since 2014 though she has been a proud Gesher parent since 2013. As a Jewish Professional for nearly 15 years, Jennifer has spent the majority of her professional and personal family life engaged in the strengthening of Jewish life and community in Northern Virginia (NoVA). She came to Gesher JDS because ensuring we have a strong and accessible Jewish day school in Northern Virginia is essential for our community vision to be fulfilled.
Prior to her professional role at Gesher, Jennifer served in numerous roles at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington starting with her first position focusing on Northern Virginia outreach and engagement with an office inside the lobby of the JCCNV and leading up to her position as the Federation’s lead on the Create a Jewish Legacy endowment program. Jennifer is a graduate of the Florence Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning and a former Covenant Foundation Fellow, a Jewish professional recruitment and leadership development program through Hillel at The Ohio State University. In addition to her role as Director of Development, Jennifer oversees our new adult Jewish learning program at Gesher. Jennifer holds a BS in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). She lives in Fairfax with her husband Michael, their three children; Xander, Maya, and Dina and their beagle Farfel.
Amy Pernick, Director of Admissions, comes to Gesher with over a decade of educational admissions experience, having worked in both private independent school and university settings. She is passionate about connecting students and their families to their best-fit school, with the goal of enabling each student to reach his or her fullest academic, social and spiritual potential. Amy attended Virginia Tech where she earned her B.A. in English, and has completed master’s coursework through the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. Amy, her husband Andrew and son Matthew are members of Temple Beth Torah in Chantilly, where she teaches Kindergarten/1st grade religious school.
Ron Katz is the father of three Gesher graduates; Joel, Talia and Ethan. Ron has been involved with Gesher for almost 30 years. He served on the Gesher Board for many years in various roles. Ron was also Gesher’s Owner’s Representative for the construction and opening of our new building on Mattie Moore Court. Ron is currently responsible for all facilities at Gesher. Ron is married to Ellen Katz. Ellen was Gesher’s nurse for 8 years and is currently an RN at Fairfax Family Practice. Ron holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Since joining Gesher’s administrative team in 1997, Bev Kramer has maintained senior oversight of the school’s daily financial operations in concert with the school’s Finance and Development Directors. Bev brings years of knowledge of Gesher’s history and inner workings, having served under 4 of Gesher’s Heads of School, having close communications with its founders and supporters since its near beginnings and as a proud parent of two Gesher alumni. Extremely detail- oriented and a known multi-tasker, Bev’s abilities were born out of her early professional experiences as an education researcher for the Organization of American States, as a proofreader for Northrop Grumman and from having served 12 years as a senior paralegal for the Federal Election Commission . Bev was born in Chicago, Illinois and resides with her husband, Neal (former Gesher VP of Fundraising), in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a graduate of Beloit College and holds multiple certificates in legal research and writing.
Michelle Newman-Lomasky, CPA is our Director of Finance at Gesher. She has her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Accountancy from The University of Tennessee. Prior to Gesher JDS, Michelle has worked for five years at the accounting firm Tate & Tryon, as an accounting consultant for nonprofit organizations. Before that, she worked at KPMG as an auditor. She is also involved in the Jewish community and most recently was a jfamily ambassador with the JCCNV. Michelle and her husband Andy have a 2 year old son and live in Herndon. She is very excited to be on board and to be a part of our wonderful organization!