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Federation Professionals are Lifelong Learners

By March 4, 2022March 23rd, 2022Atlanta Jewish Community

Three Federation professionals have been chosen to participate in selective cohorts with three national Jewish organizations. Congratulations to Danniell Nadiv, Senior Director of Jewish Journeys, Places and Welcoming; Rabbi Elana Perry, Director of Jewish Education Collaborative; and Rabba Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez, Director of Family Education and Engagement.

Danniell Nadiv is one of 14 national participants chosen for a year-long cohort focused on Jewish communal change through UpStart Change Accelerator.

Danniell says, “As the Atlanta Jewish community grows, the opportunity for the work the Federation does and the organizations we connect with, expands as well. I am particularly interested in how to raise the profile of smaller organizations in the Jewish ecosystem and provide them the same opportunity for funding as legacy organizations. Throughout the cohort, I want to create space to rethink the previous allocations process and provide additional opportunities for engagement and communal growth. The cohort will provide an opportunity to gain a stronger growth mindset and lean into the practical application of creating systemic change.”

Rabba Melissa Scholten-Guttierez is earning a Certificate in Jewish Leadership for Educators through a collaborative program between Northwestern University and Spertus Institute. She is one of ten educators participating in the fourth cohort of the program. “We meet online every week for three hours in the evening and will eventually spend four days in person at the Spertus campus in March. (Fun fact: Nancy Gorod, Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Shearith Israel is also in her cohort)

Melissa says, “I am passionate about infusing Jewish education into Jewish communal spaces and helping all Jews find their space in the broader Jewish ecosystem. This is what drew me into the rabbinate and towards my current role at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. I am dedicated to bringing people together: building bridges between groups and building larger tables for when we can bring them all together. As an educator, I know that the best way to facilitate that is with beautiful text and meaningful conversation. What I don’t always know is how to combine that with all the other components of being a Jewish communal leader, and that is where this program comes in – a program where we get to explore leadership models both from our tradition and contemporarily, communication styles, managing through change, collaboration and power sharing, and resiliency.”

Rabbi Elana Perry was accepted to the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI) which selects educational leaders from around the country to share an immersive experience that intertwines best practices in teacher education and professional development with Jewish texts and “big ideas.” It is a two-year program consisting of six face-to-face seminars as well as assignments and on-line discussions in between meetings. The program challenges participants to think more deeply about teaching and learning and inspires participants to develop a more sophisticated understanding of Jewish content, interactive and engaging learning processes. Cohorts critically examine the core assumptions, practices, and ideas that shape our approaches to teaching and professional development and are encouraged to design new initiatives in their own settings.

Elana says, “I am excited to grow as a learner, a teacher, and a teacher of teachers! This program will enhance my own professional skills as a Jewish educator, giving me access to some of the best experts in pedagogy and design, and it will also enhance my ability to design meaningful training experiences for other Jewish educators in Atlanta. I am also excited to become part of the MTEI network of professionals, including colleagues around the globe who can share insight and best practices as we learn together. This is the kind of program that will enable me to effectively bring expertise back to a wide audience of educators in Atlanta, strengthening our entire community.”

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