Kathy Simon holds a B.A. in English and Hebrew Literature from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University. After beginning her career as a high school English and drama teacher, Kathy co-directed the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school-reform organization. Kathy is the author and co-author of several books on curriculum, teaching, and school reform, including Moral Questions in the Classroom, Teaching as Inquiry, and Choosing Small. Kathy has served on the faculty of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute since 2006, working with leaders of Jewish schools around the US and Canada to support them in creating contexts in which their teachers will learn together to improve both their teaching and their understanding of big Jewish ideas.
Kathy is also a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication and leads communication courses and workshops for couples, parents, teachers, and non-profit organizations. Kathy particularly likes working with teachers and parents of children, teenagers, and young adults, because she believes that open-hearted, empowered communication is at the core of building deep, long-lasting relationships and that the skills of dialogue across difference are essential for all of us.
Rabbi Adina Allen
Rabbi Adina Allenis Co-Founder and Creative Director of the Jewish Studio Project (JSP). Integrating a lifetime of experience in the expressive arts with her rabbinic training, Adina has pioneered a methodology for the integration of Jewish learning, spiritual reflection and creative expression that she has brought to thousands of Jewish educators, professionals and lay leaders across the country. Her original research on art making as a methodology for generating new midrash was published in the CCAR Journal in 2012. A contributing writer to the Huffington Post, Patheos, and My Jewish Learning, her work has been published widely. Adina was ordained by Hebrew College in 2014 where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She is a recipient of the Open Dor Fellowship, the Upstart Fellowship and the CIRCLE Interfaith Leadership Fellowship. Adina is a recipient of the 2018 Pomegranate Prize for emerging Jewish leaders from the Covenant Foundation. Adina resides in Berkeley, CA with her husband Jeff Kasowitz (co-founder and Executive Director of JSP) and their two amazing young kiddos.
Annie Fox, M.Ed., an award-winning author and an internationally respected educator in the realm of character development and SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), has been a trusted online adviser to teens and parents since 1997. Host of the popular podcast Family Confidential: Secrets of Successful Parenting, Annie’s books include: The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship, Teaching Kids to Be Good People and the ground-breaking Middle School Confidential™ book and app series. Learn more at AnnieFox.com.
Ana Homayoun is a noted teen and millennial expert, author, speaker and educator. Her latest book, Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World, discusses modern social media dilemmas and offers prescriptive solutions. Her first book, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life, quickly became a classic among parents and educators for the pragmatic approach to executive functioning issues. Her next book, The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life, explores the real-life dilemmas of young women today and provides strategies for finding authentic success and happiness. Ana work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic Magazine, Fast Company, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Chicago Tribune, and ABC News, among others, and she is a frequent guest on NPR.
Ana is the founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based educational consulting firm, and has spent the past seventeen years working with students, parents, and educators around the world. For more information, please visit: www.anahomayoun.com and www.greenivyed.com.
Denise Pope, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where she specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She is the author of, “Doing School”: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students (Yale University Press, 2001), which was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal, 2001, and co-author of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids (Jossey-Bass, 2015).
Dr. Pope lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. She is a 3-time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award and was honored with the 2012 Education Professor of the Year “Educators’ Voice Award” from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. Prior to teaching at Stanford, Dr. Pope taught high school English in Fremont, CA and college composition and rhetoric courses at Santa Clara University. She lives in Los Altos, CA with her husband and three children.
Rabbi PJ Schwartz
Rabbi P.J. Schwartz is the Rabbi Educator at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA. He was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-HIR) in Cincinnati, OH in June 2013 and was the recipient of the Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize awarded to the senior rabbinical student who best contributes to the development of community relations. In addition to his studies at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Schwartz received a Master's in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Jewish Education at Xavier University. Rabbi Schwartz grew up in Greenville, SC and is a 2007 graduate of the College of Charleston, where he majored in Religious Studies. Rabbi Schwartz is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, a special education teacher.
Cindy Pierce is a leading social sexuality educator and comic storyteller who has been performing her one-woman comedic show and providing educational program around healthy sexual behavior and choices since 2004. Combining humor and research, she enlightens people about the choices and obstacles confronted in today’s media-driven world. As the youngest of 7 children, Cindy grew up seeing a lot! As an athlete on co-ed teams, she found herself having dual citizenship, accepted and “in” with both boys and girls. A self-proclaimed ‘incident magnet,’ Cindy frequently finds herself embroiled in awkward or embarrassing situations—which she characteristically interprets as moments of humor and learning, from which her audiences benefit. Cindy is the author of SEXPLOITATION: Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn Driven World and is co-author of Finding the Doorbell.
Randi studied acting at Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis. For many years, she utilized her background in art, theater, and working with children as a staffer at summer camps in New York City, Pennsylvania, and the Bay Area. A longtime Keshet volunteer, Randi has always felt a passion for working with the LGBTQ community, in particular creating safer and more inclusive spaces. As a Teen Program Coordinator, Randi helped build LGBTQ teen and community programs for the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (for which she received a Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education nomination). Prior to coming to Keshet, Randi worked as the Community Involvement Coordinator at Covenant House California, where she managed volunteers, community programs, and donations for the largest youth shelter in Northern California. Her passion and drive to bring everyone love, dignity, and a sense of inclusion is something she works for every day. When Randi is not in the office, she can be found riding one of her two bikes around San Francisco and Oakland, hanging with her cat Pip, or rowing in the San Francisco Bay with her Whale Boat team, West Coast Rowing.
Suzanne Amor, Community Outreach Program Manager, has been doing work related to gender equity advocacy, survivor support, and abuse prevention since 2012. From their previous work with UC Davis Women’s Resources and Research Center (WRRC), Suzanne brings a wealth of experience in community organizing, crisis intervention, and program implementation from a feminist empowerment and survivor-centered perspective. Suzanne is a California certified sexual assault and domestic violence counselor. They also have a bachelor’s degree in Community & Regional Development.
Suzanne has been running Shalom Bayit’s Community Education program since 2016. As Shalom Bayit’s Community Outreach Program Manager, Suzanne provides consultation and trainings for Bay Area Jewish community leaders on preventing and responding to gendered violence.
Lisa Langer, RJE has served as an educational leader at the URJ, the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco, and Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California. She has been a visiting lecturer and Alumna-in-Residence at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and is currently a Clinical Faculty Mentor for the Executive M.A. program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education and a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Lisa lives in Menlo Park, California.
Marci and Marc Dollinger, both Jewish educators in the Bay Area, grew concerned when their seventh grade daughter, Rivi, began to show classic signs of adolescent depression. Over a four year period, their family struggled through the profound challenges of mental illness as they worked to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Today, Rivi is a graduate of Pitzer College and an advocate to de-stigmitize mental illness.
Rebecca is a mindfulness instructor, teen mentor and Jewish educator based in the bay area. She works at the intersections of mindfulness, creativity and education and is grounded in principles of somatic studies, depth psychology, and years of meditation study and practice in the US and abroad. She has taught Jewish meditation to youth, families and teens on retreat with Or Ha Lev and currently teaches mindfulness, yoga and expressive arts to elementary and middle school youth in Richmond, CA with Mindful Life Project. She also guides adolescents through Jewish nature-based rites of passage with Wilderness Torah.
Lorenzo Cooper, Is a mentor and a youth advocate who was raised in Oakland, California, in several different drug infested households. In high school, Lorenzo got involved with The Ever Forward Club and the support of the club helped him through some very difficult times. Lorenzo has studied at Chabot Community college and San Francisco State University. He became a mentor for Ever Forward in 2013, and took on two clubs of his own in 2015 at the REACH Ashland Youth Center; the same city where he joined EFC. After a long 6 years of cooking burgers at In N Out Burger Lorenzo quit in August 2016 to work for Ever Forward full time and became the “Program Coordinator” for The Ever Forward Club taking the responsibility of managing all six of the different EFC chapters.
Lorenzo is the Lead Facilitator and Trainer for our signature Taking Off The Mask workshop and has facilitated over 80 workshops with a great number of those being professional development workshops. Lorenzo has also presented at several conferences including an “International Colloquium on Black Males in Education” in the country of Bermuda. Lorenzo has also been apart of EFC’s #100kmask Challenge which has collected over 30 thousand masks.