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Newton Resident Named New Head of Jewish Community Day School

Susan Tanchel, a Newton resident comes to the Watertown-based school from Gann Academy in Waltham.

Dr. Susan Tanchel will take over as the new head of school at the Jewish Community Day School, beginning July 2011, officials from the Watertown-based school announced today. She succeeds the retiring Head of School, Ruth Gass.

A Newton resident, Tanchel comes to JCDS from her current post as Associate Head of School at Gann Academy, the pluralist Jewish high school in Waltham. 

“My goal is to help JCDS grow from strength to strength,” Tanchel said in the school's announcement.  “This is an exceptionally warm and joyful school which truly lives up to its mission to kindle a love of lifelong learning and a commitment to Judaism in its students. My predecessor, Ruth Gass, leaves a tremendous legacy – strong academics, a vibrant community, Hebrew and English interwoven throughout the day, and an outstanding faculty and staff.  I am eager to build on this and lead JCDS into its next phase of growth.”

School officials described Tanchel as an extraordinary educator, a strategic thinker and an innovative expert in teaching about pluralism: the intentional effort to weave diverse strands of Jewish belief, observance and experience into a single, dynamic community that thrives on respect and learning. 

“We welcome Susie into our community. She is a person of impeccable integrity and a true mensch, who is committed to high standards," said Alex Sagan, President of the JCDS Board of Trustees. "Susie’s joy in her work as an educator, and her love for kids are communicated in all her interactions. We are so fortunate to have benefited from Ruth’s wisdom and dedication these past five years, and we are so pleased that our national search for our next Head led us to someone truly exceptional and already so deeply woven into our local community.”

At Gann, she played a key role in defining their short and long range strategic priorities, in developing and leading their outstanding academic program, and in building the school’s professional culture. She was also instrumental in creating the faculty’s extensive professional development program. 

Tanchel holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Susie has taught in both the DeLeT program (a program to prepare elementary teachers for Jewish day schools) and the Masters of Teaching for Secondary Education at Brandeis University. She has written extensively and presents regularly on the teaching of biblical texts in pluralist settings.

The JCDS community will honor Ruth Gass, a Brookline resident, with a celebration in late May and farewell in June. Tanchel begins her tenure on July 1. Families wishing to tour the school and meet Tanchel are invited to make appointments. For more information, please visit the school's website atwww.jcdsboston.org.

Based in Watertown near the Newton/Waltham line, JCDS is the only K-8 pluralist Jewish day school in the immediate Boston area, and the only K-8 Jewish day school north of the Charles River. It serves 200 students and their families from Watertown, Newton and surrounding communities with a comprehensive curriculum that integrates Jewish texts and practice with literature, history, math, science, technology, sports and the arts.

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