Lippman Staff

Sam Chestnut

Position: Head of School

John Bennett

Position: Teacher Fellow

Michelle Stephens

Position: School Nurse

Linda Brotsky

Position: Kindergarten
Room: 111-112

Read Linda Brotsky's Bio >

Linda Brotsky has 22 years of experience teaching kindergarten at The Lippman School. Brotsky, who has been at the school for 27 years, has also taught 3rd grade, 2nd grade, computer lab, and served as admissions director and interim principal. Prior to coming to Lippman, Brotsky spent four years teaching kindergarten in the Akron Public School District and three years teaching 1st and 2nd grade in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Brotsky holds a BA and MA in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh.

My quote:
Lippman is a school where the teachers know and care about each student. We are a community and a family. Our students get an outstanding education, leave with a strong sense of identity, good values, and compassion for others. I always give my students the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas. I love "math talk," when they suggest different solutions to problems or make a variety of observations about a number or topic. Also, every day in kindergarten we have "free choice," when students get the chance to have child-centered activities, imaginative play, and show their creativity at the different centers in the room.


Ceil Cohen

Position: School Secretary
Extension: 400

Read Ceil Cohen's Bio >

Ceil Cohen, The Lippman School Secretary, is responsible for communicating with students, staff, parents, and community members and responding to their needs, as well as monitoring daily attendance and overseeing student files. She started volunteering at the school 19 years ago when her daughter was in kindergarten, helping with school lunches, plays, and parties. A past recipient of Lippman's Volunteer of the Year Award, Cohen has been full-time secretary since 1999.

My quote:
What I enjoy most about my job is my interaction with all of the students, their families and my co-workers. One of the many things that attracted me to Lippman was the sense of community. The best part of this job is the students - the funny stories they tell me day after day, asking for help putting on snow pants, boots, making copies … and when they tell me after they leave school, "You were the best school secretary I ever had!"


Leora Cohen

Position: Science
Room: 211

Read Leora Cohen's Bio >

Leora Cohen, an alumnus of The Lippman School, is the K through 8th -grade science teacher. She is also on staff at Hebrew High, the Akron Jewish community's high school administered by the Jewish Community Board of Akron, and she is the staff representative for the Lippman alumni organization. A recent Kent State University graduate, Cohen was active on campus with the Woman's Resource Center, facilitating training sessions for students and staff focused on issues including abuse and tolerance. Cohen graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in K through 12th-grade health education.

My quote:
Being an educator at The Lippman School is wonderful. As a past student, I feel a special connection to Lippman and my fond memories of the great teachers I had inspired me to become a teacher myself. One of the great parts of my position is that I get to teach all the different grade levels and I can see how each age connects with science in a different, exciting way. Some of my own best memories as a student are from science class and lab, and I'm honored to be carrying on the Lippman legacy.


Sarah Greenblatt

Position: Director of Hebrew & Judaic Studies
Room: 212
Extension: 420

Read Sarah Greenblatt's Bio >

Sarah Greenblatt (Morah* Greenblatt) has been teaching at The Lippman School for 32 years. She currently teaches 4th - through 8th -grade Hebrew and Judaics, and serves at the director of the Hebrew/Judaics program, supervising staff, developing curriculum, and running school-wide holiday programs. Greenblatt has a BS in education from Boston University.

My quote:
As a graduate of Jewish Day Schools, grades K through 12, it is important to me to provide my students with the same positive experience with their Jewish education that I received. I want my students to feel Judaism is an important and meaningful part of their lives. I have a strong connection to Israel and I'm thrilled that I get to organize and take students on the 8th -grade trip to Israel. Another one of my passions is theater and I have created and directed school-wide musical plays, incorporating Hebrew and English, for the students to perform each year.

* Morah is Hebrew for "Teacher"


Beverly Hurd

Position: 3rd & 4th Grades
Room: 208-209

Read Beverly Hurd's Bio >

Beverly Hurd, who teaches 4th and 5th grade general education, joined the Lippman team five years ago. Hurd has previously taught at the 4th -,5th -, or 6th -grade level in Kansas, Virginia, Germany, and, locally, in Chardon and Chagrin Falls, where she also tutored students in math and algebra and sponsored the ski club. Additionally, while living in California, Hurd volunteered to create a school-wide art program, training parent volunteers and teaching art classes. She holds her MA in educational leadership from Baker University and a BA from Hiram College.

My quote:
I firmly believe in the experiential, positive approach to learning and that learning should be a life-long pursuit. It should be interesting, meaningful and fun! Humor is a big part of my classroom experience. I provide hands-on and real-life experiences to help students learn the skills of critical thinking, creative thinking, analysis, and synthesis. One of my favorite phrases is "Let's kick it up a notch," which the students know to mean a challenge is coming to make us think harder - and have fun doing it.


Pam Kanfer

Position: Educational Therapist
Extension: 408

Read Pam Kanfer's Bio >

In more than 36 years with The Lippman School, Pam Kanfer has held numerous lay and professional positions, including school director, teacher, educational therapist, and board president. She is former treasurer of the Northern Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, and currently serves on the organization's executive legislative committee working to pass an Ohio dyslexia law that would ensure at-risk students receive proper screening and classroom resources. Kanfer was instrumental in implementing American Sign Language as an official language credit at Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio. She received her BS in elementary education from Miami University (Ohio) and her MS in elementary administration from the University of Akron.


Courtney Krieger

Position: Hebrew / Judaics
Room: 215

Read Courtney Krieger's Bio >

Akron native Courtney Krieger (Morah* Krieger) has been teaching at The Lippman School since 2003. Prior to joining the Lippman team, she worked in the Jewish Community Center of Cleveland's Children's Department doing K through 8th -grade programming, and she served as the Hillel program director at Kent State University. Krieger, recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, holds a BA in broadcast journalism with a specialization in Judaic studies from The Ohio State University. She received her MA in Judaic studies specializing in Jewish education at Siegal College in Beachwood, Ohio.

My quote:
I teach Judaic studies because I want to help empower Jewish youth to be proud of where they come from and where they are going. I want to help them have a positive and strong Jewish identity. It's a special gift when I am able to learn from my students as much as they are learning from me. I cherish these "ah ha" moments. They inspire me to want to better myself as a person and an educator.

*Morah is Hebrew for "Teacher"


Joe LaFlamme

Position: Band Teacher
Room: 213

Brooke Lohr

Position: 2nd Grade Assistant
Room: 216

Read Brooke Lohr's Bio >



Ellen Moss

Position: Hebrew / Judaics
Room: 208

Read Ellen Moss's Bio >

Ellen Moss has been teaching Hebrew at The Lippman School since 1986, when it was still called "Hillel Academy." Prior to that, she taught 1st and 2nd grade for five years in the Euclid Public School District. Outside the classroom, Moss volunteers at Beth El Congregation in Akron, crocheting blankets as part of a "Keep Akron Warm" initiative. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Case Western Reserve University.

My quote:
Fostering creativity in the students is easy because the children at Lippman are naturally creative. In fact, my creative ideas often come from the students. It's often just a matter of putting their ideas into a manageable and workable format for their age group.


Efrat Ohayon

Position: Chef
Room: Lippman Kitchen

Read Efrat Ohayon's Bio >

Efrat Ohayon first volunteered at The Lippman School kitchen thirteen years ago when her oldest daughter enrolled in kindergarten. For the past seven years, she has prepared kosher food in the kitchen three days a week. In addition to working at Lippman, Ohayon caters kosher meals for Akron-area synagogues, the Shaw Jewish Community Center, and private events.

My quote:
I started working at Lippman because I wanted to spend some time with my children, and I stayed because of the warm environment, amazing staff, and wonderful kids. I love working there. With the small class sizes and the close relationships between the teachers and students, Lippman is a wonderful community that I am happy to be a part of.


Alisa Reinbolt

Position: Kindergarten Assistant
Room: 111-112

Matt Russ

Position: Middle School Humanities/Curriculum Coordinator

Susan Schwartz

Position: Speech Pathologist
Extension: 417

Shelby Surloff

Position: 1st Grade
Room: 114

Read Shelby Surloff's Bio >

Shelby Surloff, a Lippman School alumnus, is the 1st grade teacher and school counselor. Before returning to Lippman as a teacher, Surloff spent three years teaching 1st grade at Hawthorne Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia and served as a substitute teacher in the Beachwood and South Euclid/Lyndhurst school districts in Ohio. Outside the classroom, she has worked as an Applied Behavioral Analysis tutor, using behavioral observation and positive reinforcement to help children with autism. Surloff received her BA from Miami University (Ohio) and her MA in education from the University of Cincinnati.

My quote:
I teach because I have a passion for working with and educating kids. I am proud to be a positive role model for students. I treat each of my students as unique individuals because each of them has something special to bring to the class. I make sure to encourage my students, give them many opportunities to succeed, and point out when they are doing something great. Most importantly, I want each child to know they are special for who they are and they are a vital part of our class and our Lippman family.


Luke Varner

Position: Math Specialist
Room: 214

Read Luke Varner's Bio >

Luke Varner has been teaching mathematics at The Lippman School since 2010. His primary focus is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, but he works with the Lower School students as well. He formerly taught as a substitute teacher in the Stow/Monroe Falls School District. Varner also volunteered in Doctor Arroyo, Mexico, laying the foundations for a community shower as part of a mission trip with his hometown church in Sandusky, Ohio. Varner earned his BS from Malone University and his MS from the University of Akron.

My quote:
I teach because I enjoy working with young adults and adolescents, especially during a time when their minds are beginning to grasp critical and analytical thinking. To foster analytical and critical thinking in the classroom, I pose real-world problems that deal with current mathematical concepts. I challenge students to break apart and analyze the problems set before them. I also bridge concepts together so that students see how they are related to one another.


Debbie Zelin

Position: 4th & 5th Grades
Room: 115

Read Debbie Zelin's Bio >

Debbie Zelin began her teaching career at The Lippman Day School teaching kindergarten and 1st grade when the school still went by its original name, Hillel Academy. She has also tutored children who needed extra support in the Akron Public School District, and taught Sunday School at Temple Israel in Akron. While Zelin has spent most of her career teaching 2nd grade, she has also taught kindergarten and math, as well as 1st -, 3rd -, and 5th-grade Judaics. She holds a BS in education from The Ohio State University.

My quote:
My goal as a teacher is for each child to develop both a strong academic background and high self-esteem. It is important to provide a nurturing environment where each child is encouraged to reach his or her fullest potential. Since children learn differently, lessons need to be presented in a variety of ways so that visual, auditor, and kinesthetic learners are all accommodated. It is my hope that each child will be instilled with a lifelong thirst for learning. Respect and kindness to others is also an important component in any classroom. The classroom functions similar to a family unit, which should be built on respect and mutual trust. Each member must learn to consider the ideas and learning styles of others.


Katie Markey

Position: Art
Room: 213

Beth Gibbons

Position: 2nd Grade Teacher



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The Lippman School | 750 White Pond Drive | Akron, OH 44320 | Phone: 330.836.0419 | Fax: 330.869.2514