Head of School Search Committee

The search process for our next permanent Head of School is underway. The Board of Trustees has appointed William Foster and Jill Smith to be the co-chairs of the Search Committee. Both William and Jill are current trustees of the Gann Board and bring to this process a deep knowledge of Gann, search experience, and critical strategic skills. 

The Board has also appointed the members of the Search Committee. The committee members and their bios are below.

This is a remarkable and diverse group that is well poised to undertake this effort. We thank each of these individuals for their commitments to Gann and its future and their willingness to contribute their skills, time, and efforts to this important process.  

List of 12 items.

  • William Foster, Co-Chair

    William serves as a partner at Bridgespan, where he is the head of consulting, and an active thought leader on philanthropy and social change.  He has dedicated himself to research on the topics of philanthropic “Big Bets” and nonprofit funding models. Most recently, he co-authored the article “10 Ways to Make a Big Bet on Social Change”, published by Stanford Social Innovation in May 2017.

    Prior to joining Bridgespan, William worked at Bain & Co. He received his BA from Harvard College and his MBA from Stanford University where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. William is active in the Jewish community and serves on the Board of Trustees of Gann Academy. 
     
    William, his wife Rachel, and their four children live in Newton, MA.  Two of their children attend Gann Academy, Jacob ’19 and Trudi ’21, and their other two children attend Solomon Schechter Day School and Newton Public Schools.  They are members of the Newton Center Minyan in Newton, MA.
  • Jill Smith, Co-Chair

    Jill currently serves as CEO of Allied Minds, an early stage technology company.   Previously, she was CEO of several private and public technology companies, including DigitalGlobe Inc., a provider of satellite imagery products and services globally, which she took public in 2009.   She started her career at Bain & Company, where she became partner, working in the London and Boston offices. Earning an M.Sc. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Jill has traveled to over 60 countries for both business and pleasure and speaks several foreign languages.
     
    Jill currently serves on the board of several global corporations and private companies.  In addition, she is also a member of the Board of Trustees of both Gann Academy and The Rashi School and has co-chaired one of Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ (CJP) Boston-Haifa Commission committees.
     
    Jill lives in West Newton, MA, with her husband Randy and their son, Josh. They are members of Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA.
  • Michelle Black

    Michelle has been a dedicated volunteer leader in the Greater Boston Jewish community for more than 20 years. She serves on the boards of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Gann Academy, and The Rashi School, where she plays an active role in Governance, Leadership, and Development. Currently serving as chair of CJP’s Governance and Nominating Committee, Michelle is the incoming chair for Gann’s Governance Committee and is a co-chair for Rashi’s “Inspiring More” comprehensive campaign. In addition, Michelle serves on CJP’s Commission for Jewish Learning and Engagement and has played a role in helping to define CJP’s Teen agenda over the years.

    Originally from San Francisco, Michelle moved to Boston to earn her MBA from the Harvard Business School.  For more than 10 years, she has worked as a consultant, both to non-profits and corporate organizations in the areas of leadership, corporate strategy, and organizational change management.  She is now applying her business skills and experience to the non-profit arena, acting as an ambassador, community builder, fundraiser, and strategic advisor for each organization in which she serves. 

    Michelle lives in Waban with her husband, Darren, and their four children, Evan, a sophomore at Gann Academy, and Scott, Emily, and Alex, all who attend The Rashi School.  They are members of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA.
  • Scott Cohen

    Scott is the incoming president of Gann Academy’s Board of Trustees, where he currently serves as a vice president and chair of the Governance Committee. A serial entrepreneur and investor in the media space, Scott served on the team that built, launched, and ran The Boston Globe’s Boston.com in the early 1990s. He then went on to start and sell three companies and invest in others and is currently the co-founder of another media-technology company based in Boston.

    An active member of the local Jewish community and deeply committed to Jewish day schools, Scott was the immediate past chair of Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ (CJP) Day School Education Commission and currently serves on CJP’s Jewish Learning and Engagement Commission. He is a supporter, mentor, director and/or advisor to numerous organizations focused on Israel, including Our Generation Speaks (at Brandeis University’s Heller School), MassChallenge-Israel, Achim L’Chaim (“Brothers For Life”), The Israel Project, AIPAC, and others. He also helped launch JNS, a global news service that is successfully embedding objective coverage of Israel into mainstream media.

    Scott and his wife Kathleen, who is the immediate past president of The Rashi School, have two children attending Gann Academy, and one Gann graduate attending Skidmore College. They live in Needham, MA, and are members of Chabad of Needham and Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA.
  • Lisa Popik Coll

    Lisa has been involved with Jewish social service, education, and Israel-related organizations for over 20 years. A graduate from Mount Holyoke College, she earned her master’s degree in geography from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. Lisa served as a political analyst at Harvard’s Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East. She has also worked closely on the launch of Family Table (New England’s largest Jewish food pantry) and served as a consultant to Jewish Family & Children’s Service on many of its programs, including a newly launched Jewish hospice program.  Lisa sits on the Board of Trustees of Gann Academy, where she has been actively involved in development efforts.  She also serves on the Board of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, the resource, thought leader, and advocate for North America’s day school field and works as a grant writer for various educational and social service non-profits.
     
    Passionate about making day school affordable and accessible to all who desire a Jewish education, Lisa and her husband Arieh live in Newton, MA, and are the parents of three children, all of whom attended the Solomon Schechter Day School and Gann Academy. They are members of Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA.
  • Elizabeth Cooper

    Elizabeth 'Liz' Cooper is a graduate of Brandeis University and Boston University School of Law.  She practiced bankruptcy and commercial law at the law firms of Gaston & Snow and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., and for the past 20 years has been deeply involved in Jewish and educational organizations.   At Gann Academy, Liz is a Board officer and trustee, chairs the Gann Head of School Support and Evaluation Committee, has served on and chaired several committees, and is a past president of the Gann Parent Association (GPA). 
     
    She is an active member of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, having served as a trustee and on many committees, including the Rabbinic Search Committee, and has been the long-time chair of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Committee.  Liz has also served as PTA president in the Lexington Public Schools, chair of the Lexington PTA Council, and a member of the Maria Hastings School Principal Search Committee.
     
    A lifelong resident of the Boston area, Liz and her husband Scott live in Lexington, MA, with their two children, both of whom are Gann Academy alumni, Madeline ’12, a graduate of Dartmouth College and current rabbinical student at HUC-JIR, and Benjamin ’14, a Dartmouth College senior, majoring in Computer Science. 
  • Jon Levisohn

    Jon A. Levisohn is a professor of Jewish education at Brandeis University, where he directs the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. He holds graduate degrees from Stanford University and a BA from Harvard College and also attended Yeshivat Sha’alvim, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. 
     
    Jon began his career as a teacher of Jewish studies in a Jewish day school. He served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Day School (JCDS) (where his children attended) for seven years and before that served as a non-director member of the head search committee at JCDS. More recently, he served on the search committee for a new dean of arts and sciences at Brandeis University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Encounter. Earlier this year, he published a perspective on the qualities we ought to seek in the leaders of our Jewish day schools, titled “Leadership Fast and Slow."
     
    Jon and his wife Emily Beck live in Newton, MA, with their three children, Gann Academy graduate Ariella ’15,  and current Gann students Maya ’18 and Jesse ’20. They are active members of Congregation Shaarei Tefillah and Minyan Yedid Nefesh, both located in Newton, MA
  • Frank Litwin

    Frank is a director and former executive committee member at Goulston & Storrs, an Am Law 200 firm where he specializes in complex commercial real estate matters.  Involved in various professional associations and organizations, he has held numerous committee and board positions with several organizations, including the American Bar Association, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, and the Boston Bar Association.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
     
    Frank currently serves as the president of the Board of Trustees of Gann Academy.  He is also a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and has been actively engaged at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), including participating in the Cynthia and Leon Shulman Acharai Leadership Program, co-chairing both the CJP Lawyers Team and the CJP Attorneys’ and Accountants’ Dinner. In addition, he has been actively involved at The Rashi School, including serving on the Building Committee, which secured and developed the new Rashi School campus.
     
    Frank and his wife Barbara live in Newton, and all three of their children have attended Gann Academy.  They are members of Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA.
  • Dr. Deborah Margolis

    Deborah is chair of the Education and Community Studies Department and director of the Human Development Program in the School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College. She is also the consulting psychologist at Catholic Memorial School. As a developmental and educational psychologist with a specialty in adolescent development, Deborah is interested in the social-emotional development of children and adolescents and the implications for educational institutions and other youth programs.

    Deborah has done research looking at how children and teens make transitions from one school level to another and believes it is crucial to increase understanding of learning and development to enhance the educational experiences and outcomes of our nation’s children. She is also interested in children and teens’ experience of “otherness,” present when someone is characterized as being different from the group or society’s norms.  “Otherness” can lead to marginalization, and Deborah helps her own education and human development students, as well as professionals working in the field, to understand experiences of “otherness” so that they will be better prepared to create communities of inclusion and kindness.

    A graduate of Maimonides School, Deborah is the proud mother of two teenage sons who attend Gann Academy. She is a member of Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA.
  • Jacob Pinnolis

    Jacob has served as director of Teaching and Learning since 2011 at Gann Academy and has taught Biblical Literature and Analytical Philosophy at the school since 2005.  In his current position, Jacob works to improve the quality of teaching at Gann through encouraging a culture of reflective practice, continuous professional development for teachers, and a robust program of observation, feedback, and supervision.  
     
    Gann is a leader in professional development of teachers and has done significant work with education departments at Brandeis University and Harvard University. Jacob and other teacher leaders at Gann frequently conduct workshops, present at conferences, and publish about Gann’s work in this area.  Prior to joining Gann, he taught at the Solomon Schechter High School in New York City, the University of Florida, Virginia Commonwealth, and UC Berkeley. 
     
    A graduate of Harvard University and The Jewish Theology Seminary's Davidson School, Jacob and his wife Sarah Markovitz and their two children, Gann graduate Ayelet ’12, and Noah live in Newton, MA.  They are members of the Newton Centre Minyan in Newton, MA.
  • Lily Rabinoff-Goldman

    Lily began her career as an educator in Teach for America in the New York City public schools. In 2010 she joined Gann Academy as a member of the English Department and assumed the role of department chair in 2012. She also serves as assistant director of Teaching and Learning, responsible for a school-wide curriculum mapping project and is a member of the Steering Committee overseeing Gann’s focus on Mastery Learning.
     
    Lily built and continues to oversee the Gann Writing Center and during the 2013-2015 school years managed the school’s reaccreditation process. In addition, Lily collaborates with other faculty and staff members to deepen Gann’s commitment to inclusivity, access, and equity for all members of the school community. She is most proud of her creative writing students, whose work has been recognized for excellence through awards and publications. 
     
    A graduate of Brown University, Bank Street College of Education, and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Fiction Writing at UMass Boston, Lily is married to fellow Gann faculty member and “New Jew” alum Rabbi Hillel Greene ’00 and are the parents of Eli and Addie. They are members of Temple Reyim in Auburndale.
  • Ben Sigel

    Ben is currently the director of Client and Community Relations and special counsel at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC, an AM Law 100 law firm with over 500 attorneys nationally.  In this role, he coordinates and supports the efforts of the firm’s client and community relations activities, including deepening client relationships, increasing and expanding the firm's institutional reputation and goodwill, and effectively and efficiently bringing added value to the firm's clients and community partners. He is also an experienced litigator and legal advisor, whose practice focuses on a wide range of litigation matters and is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee and MIATTY, the firm’s attorney-of-color affinity group.

    A graduate of Middlebury College, American University’s Washington College of Law, and American University’s Kogod School of Business, Ben serves on the Boards of the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), New England Israel Business Council, AJC New England, Gann Academy, American Society of Haifa University, and Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston.  He also sits on the Jewish Community Relations Council and Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ (CJP) Israel and Overseas and is a member of the Hispanic National and the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations.  Ben has received the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts K’lal Israel Award and CJP’s Chai in the Hub Award, Young Leadership Award, and Circle of Excellence Award and was recently named as a GK100 Honoree, one of Boston’s 100 most influential people of color.

    Ben and his wife Gabrielle live in Brookline, MA, with their four children, all of whom attend the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston.  He belongs to Washington Square Minyan and regularly attends services at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA. 
Board Letter Introducing Search Committee
Letter from the Board of Trustees to the Gann community introducing the Head of School Search Committee - March 2018

Board Letter Introducing Dr. Jerry Katz as Interim Head of School
Letter from the Board of Trustees to the Gann community introducing Dr. Jerry Katz as the Interim Head of School - March 2018

Board of Trustees Letter
Letter from the Board of Trustees to the Gann community - January 2018

Rabbi Marc Baker Letter
Letter from Head of School Rabbi Marc Baker to the Gann community - January 2018

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