Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Administration

Rabbi Don Pacht

Head of School

Rabbi Don Pacht is now in his 17th 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 4), still carpools with his father to school each morning.

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Rabbi Tzvi Goldman

Principal of Judaic Studies, Grade 6/7 Boys

Rabbi Tzvi Goldman will be starting his 18th 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.

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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!

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General Studies

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 18 years ago, she has worked as a Hebrew and pre-school teacher at VHA, at the JCC’s Bagel Club which is a social program for adults with different abilities.

Dikla enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and four kids. Dikla is looking forward to another amazing year with the Daycare team!

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Mrs. Vida Shahghabi

Preschool

With the experience of working with children and families as an Early Childhood Educator for over 20 years, Vida is very excited to be a part of the VHA team. She has taught ECE courses and facilitated practicum students as an ECE college instructor for over 10 years. She has a strong philosophy regarding the importance of a child’s healthy development in their early years and its impact on their life. At the present, Vida is also teaching ECE courses part-time in Vancouver Community College.

Vida has two grown up children, and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, listening to music, and writing poetry in Farsi.

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Ms. Stephanie Nattrass

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Ms. Stephanie was born and raised in Minnesota, USA. She moved to Canada in 2012 to further her passions in teaching as well as art. She has taught at many different levels including daycare, preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1, 2, and 6 in three different countries.

Ms. Stephanie loves spending time with her kitten, reading books, working on her latest craft, playing games with friends, and exploring new locations. She enjoys teaching and learning with children of all ages and is excited to start her next adventure at VHA.

Mrs. Liron Silberg

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Mrs. Silberg started working at VHA as student services aid 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. Silberg is currently on maternity leave.

Ms. Darlene Wilson

Grade 2 and 3

Ms. Wilson is delighted to be a part of the VHA family for her ninth 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-one 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 school, district and provincial level. Ms. Wilson had always wanted to teach 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.

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Mrs. Lisa Altow

Grade 5 and PE

Mrs. Altow is thrilled to be the Grade 5 and Physical Education teacher. This is her 12th year at VHA. She also taught at West Point Grey Academy, York House and public school in the states.

She grew up in Bellevue, Washington and got her Psychology and teaching certificate from University of Washington.

She resided in Richmond, BC. She loves to spend time with her husband and and four children, walk and hike, bake, and read.

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Mr. Jason Kwan

Grade 5 and Grade 6/7 Girls

Mr. Kwan is excited to join the VHA community and eager to work and learn alongside the wonderful students, staff and families. His goal in education is to motivate all children to be engaged and enthusiastic about learning and to become globally-minded citizens. Science, Social Studies and Math are his favourite subjects and he hopes to create hands-on and inquiry-based lessons.

Mr. Kwan has taught in London, Hong Kong and Vancouver. He has experience in kindergarten to Grade 7 and enjoys new challenges. In his free time, Mr. Kwan likes to cook, play video games and discover new music to listen to. He loves eating spicy food and oranges and he aims to read more fiction and tackle more hikes this year.

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Mr. Daniel Wong

Grade 6/7 Girls and Grade 8/9 Boys

Daniel Wong has recently joined VHA and is looking forward to supporting students in making personal connections with education and discovering opportunities to demonstrate their ability.

He has had the opportunity to experience many different grade levels; (G3&4) Douglas Road Elementary and (G10-12) Lowell High School, and various offshore schools in China (G10-12) and South Korea (G1-6), which helped inform his philosophy of education: learning is not a one-size-fits-all model, and he strives to give students a sense of agency, and show them that they have a real effect on their education and, conversely, their education has a real effect on them.

When he is not teaching, he likes to keep up with advancements in computer technology; mostly by reading, watching videos, or trying online tutorials. He finds it especially important to be sensitive of information management and safety concepts in order to become acute “netizens,” who are aware of digital rights, digital privacy and who will also understand modern digital businesses, products and practices.

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Judaic Studies

Mrs. Adela Heffes

Kindergarten

Mrs. Heffes is thrilled to be teaching the Kindergarten class at VHA this year. Mrs. Heffes taught for over 20 years in Mexico City, at an Elementary school as well at a High school. She moved with her family from Mexico to Canada more than ten years ago. Mrs. Heffes graduated with a Masters of Education from the Hebrew University of Mexico. 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 at VHA as a Teacher’s Aid and was the Kindergarten teacher for the last four years. She loves working with children as a group, as well as one-on-one.

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Mrs. Carmela Ben Saadon

Grade 1

Morah Carmela was born and raised in Panama City. She moved to Vancouver in 2016. Carmela has a Business Administration degree. While in Canada, she also obtained her Early Childhood Educator certification.

She enjoys working with children and is looking forward to getting to know each one in a loving, caring, fun and educational environment.

Carmela loves spending time with her family and friends, baking and exploring Vancouver!

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Support Staff

Mrs. Jolene Marston

Administrative Secretary

Mrs. Jolene is excited for her 3rd year as an Administrative Secretary and she’s so happy to be part of the VHA family!

Mrs. Jolene lives with her husband, Kayle, and their three pets: their well-fed cats, Gomi and Isis, and their Shiba Inu dog, Kyoko. In her free time she loves reading, playing board games, camping and hiking with Kayle and Kyoko.

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Ms. Vanessa Marks

Financial Secretary

Ms. Vanessa is excited to be a part of the VHA community!

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Mrs. Teagan Horowitz

Project Coordinator

Mrs. Teagan grew up in Montreal and moved to Vancouver six 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. Mrs. Teagan loves being a part of the VHA team as the Project Coordinator. She loves giving band-aids and ice to all the students and truly believes that they are the best part of the job!

While Mrs. Teagan isn’t at VHA, she loves spending time with her little one, Raphael Avraham and her husband Elmar. Either they will be at the park, the sand box, Cafe41 (Raph loves pizza), or going for walks!

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Mrs. Preet Toor

Student Services

Mrs. Toor grew up in Penticton, BC and later moved to the lower mainland to pursue post secondary education. She graduated with her Bsc and a minor in education at Simon Fraser University. She later went on to pursue ABA training, focusing on children on the Autism Spectrum as a Behavioral Interventionist.

Mrs. Toor loves doing arts and crafts, playing all kinds of sports, and working with the children at VHA.

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Mrs. Joyce Lee

Student Services

Mrs. Lee has a passion for supporting children with special needs. After obtaining her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in special education, she worked with children as a special education teacher in Korea. Since moving to Canada with her family in 2008, she completed her Montessori and ECE training in Vancouver. Mrs. Lee has been working with children and families at school and home environment as a Behaviour Interventionist. She loves scrapbooking, gardening, and spending time with her children and kitten.

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