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Faculty and Staff

Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen

Transitional Kindergarten
lcohen@hillelacademytampa.com

Lisa Cohen got her BA in Elementary Education and Specific Learning Disabilities from Boston University in 1977. She began her career in Fairfax VA, teaching K -12 children with Learning Disabilities.

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Lisa Cohen

Transitional Kindergarten

Lisa Cohen got her BA in Elementary Education and Specific Learning Disabilities from Boston University in 1977. She began her career in Fairfax VA, teaching K -12 children with Learning Disabilities. For 6 years, she traveled to 3 different schools to teach her students. She moved with her husband to Tampa in 1982 and worked for the HCPS as an SLD teacher at Forest Hills Elementary School. Her daughter Tara was born in 1983 and in 1986, her daughter Katie. She was fortunate to be a stay at home mom until her youngest turned 3 years old. She became a substitute teacher at the JCC preschool and was hired full time the following year to teach the 4 year old class. She is a member of NAEYC, the professional organization for early childhood leaders. To maintain this, she has taken many hours of inservice training each school year. She obtained the VPK teaching Credential as well. She left the JCC in 2006 and came to Hillel. She continues to keep her professional status and training up to date and received a Director Credential in 2018. She loves her teacher life and watching her students as they grow up at Hillel. Outside of school, she adores her 2 grandsons and is lucky that both of her daughters have remained in the Tampa area. She travels during school breaks with her husband of 38 years, Alan. She enjoys cruises, visiting other countries and hiking.

Tracy Gold

Tracy Gold

Transitional Kindergarten Aide
tgold@hillelacademytampa.com

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Tracy Gold

Transitional Kindergarten Aide

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Maritza Patet

Maritza Patet

Primary Division Director and Kindergarten Teacher
mpatet@hillelacademytampa.com

In 1978 Maritza earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Special Education from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas. She began her teaching career in a combination 1st and 2nd grade classroom in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Maritza Patet

Primary Division Director and Kindergarten Teacher

Maritza Patet grew up in Cordele, Georgia, and traveled extensively through her school career, living in St. Paul, Minnesota, and graduating from high school in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In 1978 Maritza earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Special Education from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas. She began her teaching career in a combination 1st and 2nd grade classroom in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After teaching 4 years, her daughter Gina was born, and she took time away from teaching to be a home for several years with her, and later her brother Nathan.

Maritza came back to teaching at TGH Psychiatry Center as a primary teacher in the Center School for inpatient children. While at TGH, she obtained her Florida state teaching certification in 1993. As a teacher there, she coordinated each student’s academic plan with their home schools, and presented these at weekly team meetings with their physicians and other professionals. During her 6 years at TGH, Maritza received training in the ADHD clinic, and was a leader in after school programs and summer camps for ADHD students. For 2 years she conducted the interviews for students, referred to the center by school and parents for evaluations, for treatment of ADHD. She also fulfilled a state contract for evaluating all the Headstart centers in Hillsborough County while working at TGH Psychiatry Center.

She went on to teach a primary class (grades 1-3) at Bowman Academy for 6 years. During these years , she received LIPS training, which is part of the Lindamood Bell reading curriculum and worked in the intensive reading clinic at Tampa Day School during her summers. Maritza came to Hillel in 2003 to teach 1 of 2 kindergarten classes. She went on to receive training in Orton Gillingham, an intensive reading curriculum, which relies heavily on teaching reading with a strong phonetic approach.

Her desire for each child to be successful has been the driving force in her classroom. Kindergarten is often “abuzz” with exciting units of study, hands on activities ,singing, student directed sharing and teaching, and a community atmosphere! Truly, the place to be!

Dana Sock

Dana Sock

Kindergarten Teachers Aid
dsock@hillelacademytampa.com

Dana received a Bachelors of Arts from University of Tampa. She was born and raised in Atlanta, GA , but her family decided to make the move to Tampa when she was 16.

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Dana Sock

Kindergarten Teachers Aid

Dana received a Bachelors of Arts from University of Tampa. She was born and raised in Atlanta, GA , but her family decided to make the move to Tampa when she was 16. She enjoys being a mother of three in which two of her children are Hillel graduates. She has served our jewish community in many different spectrums such as working for the JCC as a substitute teacher and in charge of Moms morning out and was President of Sisterhood and a member of Maasim Tovim at her local synagogue. Dana’s Hillel journey started as a parent in 2001 and began working in 2004. Hillel has been an intricate part of Dana’s life and has helped shape her into the person she is. Her motivator is simply coming to school everyday and seeing the wonderful smiles of all of the children. From singing fun songs during services to dressing up on a tacky dress day for Dana Hillel is simply the place to be.

Alicia Flasher

Alicia Flasher

1st Grade Teacher
aflasher@hillelacademytampa.com

I received my BS degree from the University of South Florida, School of Physical Education, Wellness, and Sports Studies. While in the graduate program at USF I became the kindergarten Aid at Hillel School of Tampa in 1999.

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Alicia Flasher

1st Grade Teacher

I received my BS degree from the University of South Florida, School of Physical Education, Wellness, and Sports Studies. While in the graduate program at USF I became the kindergarten Aid at Hillel School of Tampa in 1999. It was this experience that changed my major from PE to elementary education. I attended Nova Southeastern University and obtained my Florida state teaching certificate in 2000. I then taught first grade from 2001-2004, took a year off to have my daughter Nina, taught MS spanish from 2005-2010, took 2 years off to have my daughter Lola, returned in 2012 to teach LA in the intermediate grades, 2013-2015 taught second grade, 2015-2017 taught fourth grade, 2017-2018 taught second grade, am currently going to be in first grade again. I began my teaching career here and would love for this to be the place I retire in 20 years!

Rebecca Guindine

Rebecca Guindine

2nd Grade Teacher
rguindine@hillelacademytampa.com

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Rebecca Guindine

2nd Grade Teacher

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Elizabeth Glidden

Elizabeth Glidden

3rd Grade Teacher
eglidden@hillelacademytampa.com

Motivated by the inquisitive and kind nature of her students, Elizabeth strives to touch her students’ lives by personally connecting with each child;

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Elizabeth Glidden

3rd Grade Teacher

Motivated by the inquisitive and kind nature of her students, Elizabeth strives to touch her students’ lives by personally connecting with each child; helping him or her grow socially and academically as they transition from primary to intermediate learning. Elizabeth grew up and attended college in Upstate New York, graduating from SUNY Oswego. Immediately upon graduation, she moved to the Tampa area in search of sunshine and a job! She started her career teaching preschool in 1998, then teaching third grade at Hillel in 2002. She was fortunate to have some time at home when her daughter was born in 2005. Elizabeth found herself ready to return to teaching part time in 2009, and was happy to rejoin her Hillel family with two children in tow in 2012.

Lisa Caine

Lisa Caine

4th Grade Teacher
lcaine@hillelacademytampa.com

Lisa grew up in New Jersey with her loving parents, Marilyn and Alan Daniels, and her two older brothers and younger sister. After graduating from Montclair State College, she moved to Florida to be closer to all her family members that had moved to the Sunshine State.

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Lisa Caine

4th Grade Teacher

Lisa grew up in New Jersey with her loving parents, Marilyn and Alan Daniels, and her two older brothers and younger sister. After graduating from Montclair State College, she moved to Florida to be closer to all her family members that had moved to the Sunshine State. Although Lisa began in the Retail Merchandising field, she quickly realized her love was in teaching and decided to join University of Florida and their incredible teaching program. Lisa began her teaching career in the Winter of 1991 in Dade City as a first Grade teacher. That spring she was hired by Hillsborough County to teach at Broward Elementary and remained there until 2006 when she joined the Hillel Family. While at Broward Elementary, she taught 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th as well as served as the Media Specialist after receiving her Masters Degree in Library Information Sciences. In 2003, she married Larry Caine and David was born in 2005 prompting her to rethink her teaching options. She interviewed at Hillel and felt the love and care each teacher and staff member has for the children as well as the values being instilled, she knew this was the place her family needed to be. In 2006, she joined the Hillel family as one of the First Grade teachers. In 2016, she created and implement the Intermediate Science Curriculum for grades 2 - 5.

Lisa believes in each child and their abilities to grow and excel each day. Each child brings a special light and unique ability to the class and to our school. She helps each child grow to be be capable, independent learners that are in charge of their own learning through readers, writers and math workshops, cooperative activities and inquiry. Students strive to achieve their personal best and measure their achievements by their own growth and the growth of the class as a whole. We praise each other, understand that growth comes from learning from our mistakes and build upon our strengths helping each to achieve his/her personal goals and set new ones as we learn together throughout the year.

Lexa Andreu

Lexa Andreu

5th Grade Teacher
landreu@hillelacademytampa.com

Lexa is a fourth year teacher and is embarking on her third year at Hillel Academy, where she serves as the Fifth Grade Lead Teacher.

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Lexa Andreu

5th Grade Teacher

Lexa is a fourth year teacher and is embarking on her third year at Hillel Academy, where she serves as the Fifth Grade Lead Teacher, in addition to teaching Creative Writing and Hula Hoop Club! Originally from Long Island, New York, she moved to Tampa to pursue a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. Sunshine was enough to keep her in the wonderful state of Florida, and she continued her education to earn a Florida Teaching Certification in elementary ed. Currently pursuing her Masters in Education in Reading at Saint Leo University, Lexa strives to demonstrate to her students that, she too, is incessantly learning and evolving.

Idit Hacham

Idit Hacham

Hebrew Teacher
ihacham@hillelacademytampa.com

Idit Hacham grew up in a small town in Israel. Both of her parents are educators, her sister is an accountant and her younger brother is studying computer engineering.

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Idit Hacham

Hebrew Teacher

Idit Hacham grew up in a small town in Israel. Both of her parents are educators, her sister is an accountant and her younger brother is studying computer engineering. In 2003, she joined the IDF as a Non-commissioned Officer of Education in the Israeli Navy. During her service, Idit developed curriculum regarding Israeli society, culture and geography and led combat soldiers through their educational classes, community volunteering, field trips and more. In 2006, she was chosen by the Jewish Agency as Israeli cultural guide for a summer camp in New Jersey. Later on, Idit pursued her dream to be a teacher and studied in Oranim College in Israel. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor in Education General Teaching and Biology Science for Elementary School. During her studies she was also elected to be the president of the Student government. After graduating in 2011, Idit was fortunate to be selected again by the Jewish Agency for an international fellowship position as the Israel Fellow for the USF and University of Tampa Hillels. During the time she lived in Tampa and while being involved in the Jewish community, Idit met her husband Jay and today they have son name Ron. Idit continued her career in education, working as the Youth Program Coordinator at the JCC and as a Hebrew teacher at Kol Ami. She joined Hillel Academy in 2017 and is excited to continue her journey with the Jewish community here in Tampa.

Sylvia Cohen

Sylvia Cohen

Hebrew and Judaics
scohen@hillelacademytampa.com

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Sylvia Cohen

Hebrew and Judaics

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Carrie Hearshen

Carrie Hearshen

Judaics
chearshen@hillelacademytampa.com

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Carrie Hearshen

Judaics

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Jessica Wittcoff

Jessica Wittcoff

Middle school Language Arts Teacher
jwittcoff@hillelacademytampa.com

Jessica Wittcoff started her career teaching high school English in Newark, New Jersey. She located to Tampa, Florida, in 1985. After taking time off to raise a family, she returned back to teaching and was fortunate to be employed by Hillel in 2002.

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Jessica Wittcoff

Middle school Language Arts Teacher

I received her BA in English with a collateral program in secondary education from Kean University in New Jersey. She started her career teaching high school English in Newark, New Jersey. She located to Tampa, Florida, in 1985. After taking time off to raise a family, she returned back to teaching and was fortunate to be employed by Hillel in 2002.

Personal thought- Self discovery begins when entering a poem, short story, or novel. Through words, students explore diverse characters. Protagonists and antagonists annoy, frustrate, entertain, and teach; they stir up emotions of hatred and love. Hopefully, students gain insight, empathy, and learn the written skills to communicate. I strive to be the catalyst.

Debra Campbell

Debra Campbell

Art Teacher
dcampbell@hillelacademytampa.com

Debra majored in Psychology and minored in Fine Art and Asian Studies. After working in Yokohama, Japan with the Early Development Association, she came back to the States to complete her Masters in Art Therapy.

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Debra Campbell

Art Teacher

Debra Campbell, grew up in Philadelphia and holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She majored in Psychology and minored in Fine Art and Asian Studies. After working in Yokohama, Japan with the Early Development Association, she came back to the States to complete her Masters in Art Therapy. Debra took a career detour after her time in Japan landed her a position with the industrial development corporation of Philadelphia and later as the Asia Department Division Head with the Philadelphia Commerce Department. Here she was in charge of stimulating international trade between companies in Philadelphia and Asia. Debra moved to Tampa in 1999 with her family. Her son Eric graduated Hillel and in 2004 she began teaching art at Hillel. As an adjunct teacher in the USF School of Art, she is happy to bring USF interns to Hillel to train in art education. Debra also started a non-profit, Forward Thinking Initiatives, whose mission is to teach entrepreneurship and innovation to teens throughout Tampa Bay. Debra’s passions are teaching at Hillel, creating her own art, reading, dancing and creating great memories with her family and friends.

Allison Oakes

Allison Oakes

Head of School
aoakes@hillelacademytampa.com

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Allison Oakes

Head of School

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Cantor Beth Schlossberg

Cantor Beth Schlossberg

Director of Jewish life

Cantor Beth Schlossberg grew up on the Main Line of Philadelphia, in Bryn Mawr PA. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2001 with a Bachelor of Music specializing in Voice Performance, she spent several years singing professionally.

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Cantor Beth Schlossberg

Director of Jewish life

Cantor Beth Schlossberg grew up on the Main Line of Philadelphia, in Bryn Mawr PA. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2001 with a Bachelor of Music specializing in Voice Performance, she spent several years singing professionally. Cantor Beth has taught piano and voice, has directed the Hebrew School and Pre School music programs at Har Zion Temple in Narberth PA, and has offered holiday and diversity programming for other private religious institutions, both Jewish and non Jewish. In 2003, realizing that the Cantorate was a perfect fit to combine her love of Judaism, education, and music, she decided to enroll in the Jewish Theological Seminary and began her studies at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School. After being invested in 2008, Cantor Beth moved to Omaha, Nebraska where she spent 4 years with Beth El Synagogue. In 2013, following her engagement in Omaha, she and her husband Michael, moved to Tampa FL to join Congregation Kol Ami. Most recently Cantor Beth was engaged as the co-director for the religious school at Congregation Kol Ami where she honed her skills in building a comprehensive and creative Elementary and Middle School Hebrew and Judaics Curriculum. As the new Hillel Academy of Tampa Director of Jewish life and Curriculum, Cantor Beth is excited to bring renewed spirit to Jewish life and learning at Hillel.

Lydia Abrams

Lydia Abrams

School Counselor
labarams@hillelacademytampa.com

Lydia has been a part of the Hillel community as a parent first and joined the team as the School Counselor in 2015. Lydia loves to bring her knowledge of working with children and parents, individuals with special needs, therapy, mindfulness and more to her work at Hillel.

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Lydia Abrams

School Counselor

Lydia has been a part of the Hillel community as a parent first and joined the team as the School Counselor in 2015. Lydia loves to bring her knowledge of working with children and parents, individuals with special needs, therapy, mindfulness and more to her work at Hillel. Lydia grew up in the Tampa Bay Area, obtained her Bachelor of Social Work degree from USF in 1996, her Master of Social Work degree from Florida International University in 2000, and her LCSW (License in Clinical Social Work) in 2002. She loves being a parent to her two children (one a recent graduate of Hillel Academy) and her children love being students at Hillel! Lydia has experience in the areas of working with individuals with special needs, assisting parents of children with special needs, women’s issues, domestic violence, working with individuals with HIV/AIDS, as an advocate for adults with disabilities, and provided therapy and worked as the Clinical Director for Tampa Jewish Family Services for many years. In addition to her part-time work as the School Counselor for Hillel, Lydia also provides therapy for a local private practice (ProTherapyPlus), specializing in grief, depression, anxiety, parenting, couples/family therapy, and more. Lydia is an active member of Congregation Kol Ami. She loves to read, go for walks, and relax with her family and friends.

Sara Fisch

Sara Fisch

Curriculum Coordinator
sfisch@hillelacademytampa.com

Principal of Teaching and Learning, grew up in Watertown, a small town in Upstate New York. She comes from a family strongly rooted in education.

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Sara Fisch

Curriculum Coordinator

Sara Fisch grew up in Watertown, a small town in Upstate New York. She comes from a family strongly rooted in education. Her mother Jill is a retired fifth grade teacher and both her father Tim and sister Melissa are Child Psychologists. In 2001 Sara earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the State University of Cortland. She began her teaching career at PS 108, located in Spanish Harlem.

Sara was fortunate during her early years of teaching to work under Shelley Harwayne at the New York City Board of Education. This was where her strong love for teaching reading and writing began. As a highly qualified educator Sara was accepted into the Teachers of Tomorrow program and worked to complete her Master’s Degree in Literacy Education at CUNY Hunter College. Looking for a shorter commute and warmer winters Sara relocated to Tampa in 2005. She taught kindergarten and first grades at Lawton Chiles Elementary. At Chiles Sara also served as the Team Leader in First Grade, a member of the school Steering Committee, and was a Mentor Teacher to final interns from USF and St. Leo University.

Sara’s love for Hillel began when she enrolled her daughter Samantha in 2014. She jumped into the Hillel family with both feet, involved as both a parent and the school Reading Specialist. Sara, her husband Murray, as well as their three children Ethan, Talia and Samantha are actively involved in the Tampa Jewish Community.

Susan Guess

Susan Guess

Operations and Facilities Manager
sguess@hillelacademytampa.com

Susan Guess born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Ybor City where she attended Vincent Martinez Ybor Elementary School.

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Susan Guess

Operations and Facilities Manager

Susan Guess born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Ybor City where she attended Vincent Martinez Ybor Elementary School. Susan spent her childhood growing up in Ybor City with the Jewish Community. Her family moved to north Tampa and she attended Chamberlain High School. While attending the Business University of Tampa, she met and married her husband Richard while he was an English major at the University of South Florida. They later had two daughters, Christy and Lori.

Susan completed the Human Resource Certification Program at the University of South Florida Continuing Education. Susan has been in administration for Hillel since August, 1995 under the Heads of School: Karen Feller, Judy Miller, Amy Wasser, Gordon Rode and Allison Oakes. While at Hillel, Susan has been the liason for the Board of Trustees for 11 Presidents and their Boards..She also oversees construction, Security, Clubs, After Care, Substitutes, and student medical care. Susan and her husband owned their own food brokerage business. Susan also was the Office Services Manager and Human Resources for Barton Aschman, an engineering firm under The Ralph Parsons Corp. She then joined Hillel and continues her administrative career.

Grant Slater

Grant Slater

Athletics Director
gslater@hillelacademytampa.com

Grant Slater has spent over twenty years in the sport and education industries building a reputation as an athlete, coach and a sports administrator.

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Grant Slater

Athletics Director

Grant Slater has spent over twenty years in the sport and education industries building a reputation as an athlete, coach and a sports administrator.

His accomplishments include training athletes at the youth, collegiate and professional levels of sport, twice producing one of the largest youth sports tournaments in the United States, serving as the hosting Commissioner for USA Hockey’s Junior A National Championship, co-authoring Junior Elite Hockey’s risk management plan with Gagliardi Insurance, and developing a dynamic all inclusive sports program for Hillel Academy.

He holds a BA (Education) from Colgate University, a M.Ed (Specialization in International Sports Management and Coaching Strategies) from Lesley University and a Certificate in Professional Fitness Training from the University of South Florida.

Michael Gamson

Michael Gamson

Director of Student Services / IT Director
mgamson@hillelacademytampa.com

Michael Gamson began his post college professional career as a social worker at Florida’s busiest domestic violence shelter.

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Michael Gamson

Director of Student Services / IT Director

Michael Gamson began his post college professional career as a social worker at Florida’s busiest domestic violence shelter. Although his degree is in special education, he quickly adapted his skill set to provide services to some of the most vulnerable young people in the county. He stayed with the she shelter organization for over 7 years and helped found the children’s program which is still active today.

As he and his children's services team developed innovative therapy techniques for child witnesses to domestic violence, Michael continued to explore ways to enhance therapies and education through the use of technology.

For the past 17 years Michael has served as the IT Director at the Hillel School of Tampa. His philosophy is to discontinue the old educational technology designs where computers exist in the vacuum of a computer lab in favor of total classroom integration of technology. His design goal is for technology to be as ubiquitous and unobtrusive as a common pencil in every classroom.

Michael specializes in optimizing schools to leverage the use of web 2.0 resources. By utilizing open source, crowdsourcing, and cloud based services, Michael helps schools maintain maximum return regardless of their technology budget.