Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Administration

Rabbi Don Pacht, Head of School

Rabbi Don Pacht is now in his 15th year of leadership of the Vancouver Hebrew Academy. He has worked to build a school of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies. Rabbi Pacht’s guiding philosophy in education is to create a school/home partnership where everyone works together to create happy, emotionally healthy children. Working with his dedicated staff, he is committed to providing each and every child with the guidance and support they need to be successful learners.

Rabbi Pacht and his wife Meira have four children. While the older three have since graduated from VHA, Shimie (Grade 2), still carpools with his father to school each morning.

 

Rabbi Tzvi Goldman, Principal of Judaic Studies / Grade 6/7 Boys

Rabbi Tzvi Goldman will be starting his 15th year at the Vancouver Hebrew Academy. He came to Vancouver from Israel where he had been living together with his wife Etti for the previous four years. During those years he completed his Smicha (Rabbinic Ordination), and received his Teacher Certification. Rabbi Goldman has five children, and his youngest two, Shira and Teheela will be students at our school this year. His older three children Bayla, Nechama and Bentzy, are proud VHA alumni. Rabbi Goldman very much enjoys playing sports and being out in nature. This year he is excited to take on the role of Judaic Principal, as well as teaching the Grade 6/7 Boys. He is looking forward to a fantastic year.

 

Mrs. Shannon Brodie,  Principal of General Studies

Mrs. Brodie is a mother of two amazing children who loves to travel. She had the opportunity to live and teach in Tokyo, London, Halifax, The Greater Toronto Area, and now Vancouver. Mrs. Brodie enjoys cooking, reading, theatre, and hiking. She is very much looking forward to exploring the trails of her new city and province. Mrs. Brodie is absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity to become a member of the VHA community and she is looking forward to meeting, working, and learning with this amazing team!

 

 

General Studies Staff

Mrs. Rutie Mizrahi, Preschool

Rutie was born and raised in Israel and has worked with children and youth in different settings. She lived in Seattle, WA, for six years and she also worked as a Hebrew teacher at a synagogue where she taught both children and adult classes.

She moved to Vancouver and completed her ECE program at VCC in 2000. Since then, Rutie has done volunteer work at the JCC daycare and has worked as an ECE in different Jewish schools like VTT, RJDS and VHA. She also worked as a TA at those schools where she has worked one-on-one with children with special needs.

Rutie loves challenges, working with children of young ages and being connected to Jewish life. She is very happy to come back to the preschool in VHA and loves being a part of the community. Rutie is also a photographer and an artist at heart and loves bringing her love for art and nature into the preschool. 

Mrs. Dikla Mizrachi, Preschool

Israeli born, Dikla Mizrachi served in the IDF as a teacher, and continued to peruse her passion in education at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba. After immigrating to Canada 15 years ago, she has worked as a Hebrew and pre-school teacher at VHA, at the JCC’s Bagel club, and a social program for adults with special needs that focuses on Jewish heritage and education.

Dikla enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and four kids. Dikla is looking forward to coming back and joining the pre-school team. 

 

 

Mrs. Carmela Ben Saadon, Preschool

Morah Carmel is looking forward to another great year at VHA in preschool with her little ones. She was born and raised in Panama city. Carmela has a degree and working experience in Business Administration. She moved to Vancouver from Israel with her husband and two kids in 2016. She really enjoys working with children and looks forward to getting to know each of the children in a loving, caring, fun and learning environment. Carmela loves spending time with family and friends, baking, cooking and taking care of her two children.

 

 

 

Mrs. Melanie Dayan, Kindergarten & Grade 1

Mrs. Dayan is excited to teach Kindergarten and Grade 1 at VHA. Mrs. Dayan graduated with a Bachelor of Education, specializing in Elementary Education from the University of Victoria in 2010. Since then, she has gathered a wealth of experience working with young students. She has previously worked as a preschool teacher at Vancouver Talmud Torah, a summer staff at Camp Hatikvah and JCC Camp Shalom, and as a nanny.

Mrs. Dayan (nee Sanderson), was born and raised in Vancouver and attended grades 2 and 3 in VHAs current building, which was then part of the public school district. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and husband, cooking and baking, gardening, exercising, listening to music, and knitting.

 

Mrs. Liron Silberg

Mrs. Liron Silberg is currently on maternity leave, but looks forward to returning soon. 

Mrs. Silberg started working at VHA as student services aide in 2010 and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. Mrs. Silberg returned to VHA to teach Hebrew, as well as grade 3. She feels very fortunate to work in a warm and loving environment. She especially likes the small size of the school because it allows her to know all of the children.

Mrs. Silberg was born in Victoria and grew up in Vancouver. She also spent some time living in Israel as a child and an adult. Mrs. Silberg loves spending time with her family, going to sporting events, and being outdoors.

Mrs. Andrea Rubensohn, Grade 4

Mrs. Rubensohn (formally Miss Scharfstein/Miss S) has been apart of the VHA team since 2014 when she began her teaching career as a TOC. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Mrs. Rubensohn moved to Vancouver after completing her Bachelor of Education degree specializing in elementary and middle school years. With the bulk of her teaching experience taking place at VHA, she has taught preschool, kindergarten and grade 1. She worked in student services with all grades, and this year is teaching general studies to the wonderful grade four students. She is currently enrolled at UBC in a Masters of Special Education program specializing in supporting inclusive classrooms. Mrs. Rubensohn loves the VHA community and is looking forward to another great year at the school! 

Ms. Darlene Wilson, Grade 2 and 3

Ms. Wilson is delighted to be a part of the VHA family for her sixth year as the Grade 2 and 3 teacher. After obtaining her Bachelor of Education degree from Brandon University in Manitoba, Ms. Wilson began her teaching career and has done so with great enjoyment for the past twenty years. She taught for 9 years in the public school system in Manitoba, then upon moving to B.C. in 2009, she taught at Richmond Jewish Day School for 3 years before joining VHA. Throughout her teaching career she has been on numerous committees at the chool, district and provincial level. Ms. Wilson had always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a young child. Once her own children started school, she took the opportunity to go to university and pursue her desire to become a teacher. Ms. Wilson resides in Richmond and enjoys reading, walking, biking, crocheting, spending time with family and friends, and almost anything that involves being outdoors.

Mrs. Lisa Altow, Grade 5 and PE

Mrs. Altow is thrilled to be the Grade 5 general studies and Physical Education teacher. She loves having classes form kindergarten up to grade 7. This is Mrs. Altow’s 9th year at V.H.A. She also taught at York House and West Point Grey Academy, as well as public school in Kirkland, Washington.

Growing up in Bellevue, Washington, she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in Kindergarten. She received a BA in Psychology and her teaching certificate at the University of Washington in Seattle. She now resides in Richmond with her husband and four children. She enjoys reading, playing with her children, spending time with friends, watching movies, and baking.

 

Mrs. Finkleman, Grade 6/7 General Studies

Mrs. Finkleman is excited for another great year of learning as the grade 6/7 General Studies teacher! After a year of study at Midreshet Harova in Jerusalem; Mrs. Finkleman came from Toronto to Vancouver almost a decade ago. In that time, she has successfully completed a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a BEd from UBC, married her husband Jeremy, and has two young children. With teaching experience from as young as preschool up to and including all of secondary school; Mrs. Finkleman is a dynamic, creative, hands-on educator with a passion for excellence and drive for success. Mrs. Finkleman has been a part of the VHA team for five years now, and looks forward to integrating her love of the outdoors, cooking and artistic expression into the classroom; and taking both her classes to learn outside of the classroom walls as frequently as possible.

 

Judaic Studies Staff

Mrs. Adela Heffes, Kindergarten

Mrs. Heffes is thrilled to be co-teaching the Kindergarten class at VHA this year. Mrs. Heffes taught for over 9 years in Mexico City, at an elementary school as well at a highschool. She moved with her family from Mexico to Canada nine years ago. Mrs. Heffes graduated with a Masters of Education from the Hebrew University of Mexico and she also has a specialty in New Techniques and Methodology to teach the Tanach in elementary and high school from the University of Jerusalem. She worked for three years in our school as a Teacher’s Aid and was the Kindergarten teacher last year. She loves working with children as a group as well as one-on-one. In her free time, she loves to read, cook and exercise. She is looking forward to an amazing year.

 

Mrs. Rivka Lichtman, Kindergarten and Grade 1 

Mrs. Lichtman has been a tremendous asset to the VHA staff since moving to Vancouver in 2012. She brings over 14 years of experience to the classroom. Mrs.Lichtman holds degrees in education, special education and literacy from Touro College and Adelphi University. She has experience with a wide range of levels including Preschool through Grade 8, in both Regular Education and Special Education. She has taught in both public and private schools. Her passion for teaching is clearly evident. She loves working with students in their foundational years as they develop into young readers and learners. Mrs. Lichtman has a tangible love for every student and helps them strive to reach their personal potential. Social emotional learning is a priority in her classroom. She takes advantage of the many teachable moments to guide the students to develop their character and middot.

 

Rabbi Avi Lichtman, Grade 2, 3, and 4

Rabbi Lichtman joined Vancouver Hebrew Academy six years ago. He has become known for his ability to help students become confident and independent learners, while meeting each student at his/her own level. Rabbi Lichtman’s lessons are hands-on and skills-based. In his classroom, students engage in experiential learning and practice new skills with fun games and activities. Rabbi Lichtman is well respected for his ability to connect with students, his creativity, and his humour.

 Rabbi Lichtman studied at the Rabbinical Seminary of America for ten years where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Talmudic Law, as well as Smicha (Rabbinic Ordination.) Rabbi Lichtman participated in various teacher training programs including Classroom Management and Curriculum Development, Lehavin U’lehaskil Chumash Program, and Lashon HaTorah Hebrew language program. Rabbi Lichtman is passionate about learning and teaching Torah. His passion is apparent in his lessons and his daily interactions with his students.

Mrs. Bracha Spector, Grade 3, 4 and 5

Mrs. Spector moved with her husband and family from NY four years ago. She has a masters in Special Education and received New York State Teacher Certification. She has 10 years of teaching experience ranging from Kindergarten through Grade 12, both in the general classroom and resource room. Most recently, Mrs. Spector worked in Shalhevet as a Judaic teacher and Dean of students and oversaw the programming.

Mrs. Spector is passionate about teaching and enjoys working with children and teens. She has five wonderful children of her own who keep her very busy. When she has a free moment, she likes reading, cooking, baking and enjoying the gorgeous scenery BC has to offer.

 

 

Mrs. Chanie Yeshayahu, Grade 6/7 Girls

Mrs. Yeshayahu has been teaching at VHA for over 8 years and is an Alumna of VHA. She currently teaches the 6/7 Girls Judaic studies and, this year, she will be teaching part of the 6/7 Boys curriculum as well.

She has an enormous passion for education. Passing by her classroom, you will notice that every single one of her students are engaged and fully attentive. Mrs. Yeshayahu loves going for hikes, exploring Vancouver and taking care of her 5 children.

 

 

 


Mrs. Tova Blank, Student Services

Mrs. Tova Blank grew up in Vancouver and is a aluma of VHA. Tova previously worked at VHA as a preschool teacher and TOC. She is excited to be returning this coming year working as a Student Services Aide.

 

 

 

 

 

Support Staff

Ms. Nancy Scambler, Administrative Secretary

Ms. Nancy is a self-described "Prairie Girl", having been born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Since her graduation from the University of Alberta, she has worked in both administrative and direct service positions in the social services and education areas.  She loves cycling and enjoying the natural beauty of Vancouver. When not at work, she can be found quilting, card-making, baking, drinking tea with family or friends, or providing volunteer leadership to a program for children in Downtown Vancouver.

 

 

Mrs. Gayle Taylor, Financial Secretary

Mrs. Taylor absolutely loves her job doing the finances at VHA. The kids, admin, staff, parents, and Board make her position in the office wonderful. Mrs. Gayle and her husband, Jack, spent 18 years with their three children in Kenya. They loved that experience as their children grew up. The Taylors have been settled in Vancouver since the summer of 1999 and Mrs. Gayle has been working at VHA ever since. Her interests include scrapbooking, singing, hospitality, friends and family, and especially her nine grandchildren.
 

Ms. Teagan Horowitz, Project Coordinator

Ms. Teagan grew up in Montreal and moved to Vancouver four years ago to pursue her degree in Graphic Design at Emily Carr University. Prior to that, she obtained her certificate for professional photography at Dawson College in Montreal. Ms. Teagan is so excited to be apart of the VHA team as the Project Coordinator and to be able to get to know each student as well as the Jewish Community a lot more! Her interests include film photography, graphic design, podcasting, Jewish studies, fashion and really yummy food.