Meet Our Faculty & Staff


Rabbi Barak Cohen

Head of School

Rabbi Barak Cohen came to the Vancouver Hebrew Academy in the fall of 2021 from Sydney, Australia.   He comes to Vancouver with his eye on strengthening the school and its aim to provide excellence in both Judaic and General Studies. Rabbi Cohen’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 Cohen and his wife Rachel have 3 children. Eliana is living and learning in Israel, while Shai and Odeyah are current students here at VHA.

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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

Daycare and Grade 1

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


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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Mrs. Preet Toor

Grade 4 and Grade 6/7 Boys

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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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


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!

Mrs. Ben Saadon is currently on maternity leave.

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Rabbi Shlomo Estrin

Grade 2 and Grade 5

Rabbi Shlomo Estrin grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Cal State University Northridge with a degree in film-writing. He moved to Eretz Yisrael and learned in Yeshivat Ohr Sameach and in kollel for ten years. He received smicha as well as a diploma for teaching Judaic studies, and moved to the Vancouver community in the year 2000. Rabbi Estrin and his wife, Leah have seven children, all of them VHA graduates, and his two eldest children just had children of their own in Eretz Yisrael. He has been an active part of the Jewish community from the time he arrived. Besides his love of teaching and storytelling, he also enjoys camping, frisbee, and sushi making. He is excited to rejoin the VHA team.

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Mrs. Jackie Hauss

Grade 3 and 6/7 Girls
Mrs. Hauss is excited to join the VHA team this year! With a B.A. in Sociology from Lander College for Women, Mrs. Hauss has taught elementary school and supplemental Hebrew schools. She has studied in many post-high school and university seminaries. Most recently, she studied in Mizrachi’s Lapidot and Shalhevet programs to increase leadership skills, pedagogical skills, and Torah content.
Also, after making Aliyah and moving to Israel in 2019, she studied Hebrew in four different ulpans. Mrs. Hauss believes in holistic, hands-on learning and active participation in the classroom.
When not teaching, Mrs. Hauss loves to study Hebrew, read, and visit the ocean.
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Rabbi Shmuel Hauss

Grade 6/7 Boys and 8/9 Boys
Rabbi Hauss grew up in Los Angeles, California. He studied at the University of California, San Diego where he received a B.A. in Judaic Studies before going to Israel to learn at Yeshiva Shapell’s/Darche Noam for two years. He then spent four years at Yeshiva University, two in New York City and two at the Gruss Kollel in Jerusalem, where he received his Smicha.
Rabbi Hauss is excited to join the Vancouver Hebrew Academy team where he hopes to build up students’ fundamental textual skills and build an environment of curiosity and exploration. He looks forward to sharing his excitement and passion for Judaism and textual studies with all.
When not involved in Torah learning he enjoys spending time listening to music, playing board games, and hiking in beautiful locations.
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Mrs. Daniela Haim

Ivrit and Daycare Support Staff

Daniela was born and raised in México City where she attended Jewish School.
Her studies are in Education and received her M.A in Education, Specializing in Jewish Education from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Daniela has a genuine love for teaching, Jewish history, the Hebrew language and of course, Torah.
She enjoys spending time with her family and cooking delicious food!

Morah Daniela is currently on maternity leave.

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Support Staff

Ms. Shir Cohen

Support Staff

Shir is one of the two B’not Sherut (national service girls) in our school, coming from Israel to bring more Jewish and Zionist spirit, along with supporting the Judaic studies through informal activities.
Shir was born in Jerusalem with her twin brother Hallel and was raised in Modi’in. She graduated Ulpanat Orot Modi’in 2 years ago, where She met Keren in grade 7.
Last year Shir served her first year of national service in an elementary school in Zikhron Ya’akov, Israel.
Shir loves any kind of music, sport, spending time with friends and family, travelling with Keren and trying new things. She’s an optimist full of positive energy. And she is excited to be part of VHA and bring Israel to Vancouver!

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Ms. Keren Frydman

Support Staff

Keren is one of the two B’not Sherut (national service girls) in our school, coming from Israel to bring more Jewish and Zionist spirit, along with supporting the Judaic studies through informal activities.
Keren was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and returned to Israel at the age of 2. She has lived in Modi’in ever since, graduating from Ulpanat Orot Modi’in in 2020.
Keren served her first year of national service in the Herzl Educational Center and the Herzl Museum located in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, as a tour guide and creator of educational materials.
Keren loves reading books, playing her saxophone, spending time with friends and family, and traveling, especially with Shir:)
She is excited to be part of VHA and bring Israel to Vancouver!

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Ms. Sarah Friedman

Support Staff

Ms. Sarah began her career eight years ago as a special education tutor and student advocate. This then led to opportunities for Ms. Sarah to work as a Behavioral Interventionist. She has supported students of all ages, with a focus on developing their social emotional learning.

She spends most of her time with her many animals, reading any book she can get her hands on and playing Rummikub. She is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. Sarah has a passion for integrating her knowledge of nature and the environment into the activities that she shares with her students. She is very excited to start her new journey with the amazing staff and students at VHA.

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Ms. Emily Shelley

Support Staff

Ms. Shelley has recently joined the VHA team as a Resource Teacher specializing in IEP creation and will be working with students on their individual student plans. She attended the University of Toronto for a Bachelor of Arts and Science with Honours, and then attended Queen’s University for her Bachelor of Education . For the past five years Miss Shelley has been working for the Cree School Board and has taught Grades 1, 2 and 3. Throughout her teaching career she has been a part of many school committees and implemented a variety of after-school programs for both students and parents including; Grub Club, Parent/Student Movie Night, After-School Building Club and Grade 3 Fun Club. Miss Shelley is excited to be a part of the VHA teaching team!

Ms. Shelley enjoys playing a variety of board games, and is always looking for new games to learn. She also enjoys journalling, exploring trails around Vancouver and she is an avid reader.

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Danesh Rahmani

Support Staff in Daycare

Born and raised in Vancouver, Mr. Danesh has recently graduated from UBC with a B.Sc in Microbiology and Immunology and is delighted to join the VHA team. He has aspirations to become a teacher and start the Bachelor of Education program at UBC this coming September. Before his time at VHA, Mr. Danesh worked as a child care coordinator and day camp leader at the Coal Harbour Community Centre, where he designed and implemented team building exercises, activities and excursions for children aged 5-11.

In his free time, Mr. Danesh enjoys playing the piano, chess, spending time with friends, playing soccer, and traveling.

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Yehoshua Ben Saadon

Support Staff

Yehoshua Ben Saadon (Rabbi Yosi) was born and raised in Panama City, where he attended the Albert Einstein Jewish Institute.

Yehoshua spent five years in the Kol Yaakov Yeshivah in Monsey, NY. He worked at the Yeshivah as the Executive Director after completing his studies, overseeing programs for young boys. With Ohr Sameach Yeshivah, he also ran a Sepharadic program for Latin American boys.

In 2016, Yehoshua and his family relocated to Vancouver. He earned his Paramedic certificate, EMR certificate, BSL for infants and children certificate, Occupational First Aid Level 1, 2 & 3 certificate, and AST Security License while in Canada.

Yehoshua enjoys spending time with his family and friends, as well as cooking! He is very happy to be a member of the VHA team and to be able to contribute to the community.

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Suzanne Ferera

School Counselor

Suzanne Ferera is a registered Occupational Therapist with over 25 years of experience in mental health and trained as a certified Calmer,Easier,Happier parenting practitioner with a private practice. She goes into family’s homes to help children who have behavioural difficulties. She also goes into schools and teaches classroom management. She has worked as a Family Counsellor for the Vancouver Family Preservation and Reunification services working with families who are at risk. Her work is informed by a deep understanding of using brain science and compassion to understand and solve children’s behavioural challenges. She also explores the impact of triggers and how that impacts relationships particularly parent/child relationships. Her work often involves facilitating parents building awareness around their own triggers and bringing that understanding to their interactions with their children to avoid reactivity and maintain a close relationship. She helps parents, teachers and professionals who work with children, explore ways of understanding and working with these triggers, using the Calmer, Easier, Happier parenting and teaching strategies and trauma informed modalities.

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Office 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!

Mrs. Teagan is currently on maternity leave.

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