Aviva Walls believes deeply in the transformative nature of Jewish day school education and in the community they create. After attending day schools in Seattle, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and her Masters in Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a concentration in Leadership and Change Management.
Ms. Walls originally worked as an Undergraduate Admissions Officer at Barnard College and New York University. This work gave her insight into the nuanced world of marketing and admissions. She took those lessons and moved into Jewish educational leadership. Her diverse background ensured a commitment to Jewish pluralism and professionally, she has worked with a wide variety of Jewish communities. She particularly enjoys the work of helping students develop into thoughtful individuals and Jewish leaders.
Before joining Gesher as Head of School, she served as Dean of Academic Affairs at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, California. During her tenure, she led the faculty through a reflective, growth-oriented evaluation process, ushered a transition toward a faculty-developed advanced curriculum, increased enrollment seamlessly from 160 to 260 students, and developed a comprehensive college counseling and academic guidance program. With a track record of academic success combined with detailed financial fluency, she turns goals into deliverables.
Ms. Walls is an alumna of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Day School Leadership Training Institute and received a certificate from Prizmah’s “YOU Lead Program.”
She is the proud aunt of five, enjoys listening to podcasts and traveling the world.
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.
Jennifer Scher has worked at Gesher JDS since 2014 though she has been a proud Gesher JDS parent since 2013. As a Jewish Professional for 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 there is a strong and accessible Jewish day school in Northern Virginia is essential for the community vision to be fulfilled. Jennifer’s vision positions the day school as the hub for Jewish learning in the NoVA community, serving not only the whole child but the whole family and the whole community.
Prior to her professional role at Gesher JDS, Jennifer served in numerous roles at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington starting with her first position focusing on Northern Virginia outreach and engagement which lead up to her position as Federation’s Director of the Create a Jewish Legacy endowment program.
Jennifer is currently a JTS Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) fellow and a former Covenant Foundation Fellow; a Jewish professional recruitment and leadership development program through Hillel at The Ohio State University. As Director of Institutional Advancement, Jennifer directly supervises admissions and marketing in addition to her responsibilities with development.
Jennifer holds a BS in Human Ecology with a focus on Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). She lives in Fairfax with her husband Michael, their three children; Xander, Maya, and Dina and their new puppy, Mona.
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!