Howard Newman had the idea to create a gift in honor of his late wife, Sylvia. He knew that Sylvia’s passion was Jewish education and she taught in the religious school at Temple Kol Emeth for many years. Howard met with Rabbi Elana Perry, who directs the Jewish Education Collaborative, and together they crafted the Sylvia Newman Memorial Teachers of the Year Award, honoring excellence in teaching at Atlanta’s supplemental religious schools. This is the second year that the award will honor a veteran religious school teacher and a new religious school teacher.
Erin Johnson teaches 2nd-4th grade in the Kesher program at Ahavath Achim Synagogue. Throughout her 6 years on the synagogue faculty, she has gone above and beyond in the classroom, developing creative curricula that inspire further learning among her students. Through dynamic storytelling and hands-on project-based learning methods, Erin has engaged both children and parents, and she has served as a leader and role model for fellow teachers, as well.
Josiah Wolff is a 6th-grade teacher at Temple Beth Tikvah. As a new teacher, he has become adept at making learning come alive for his students in “out-of-the-box” ways. Having taken advantage of every opportunity for professional development throughout the year, including an intensive year-long cohort, Josiah is a true role model, not only through the kindness he shows to others, but also as a lifelong learner himself.