Faculty and Staff Roster


Lisa Feldman, Head of School - [email protected]

Lisa Feldman is an award-winning, 38 year education veteran with expertise in both general and Judaic studies. She has been at Weizmann Day School for 21 years, 13 as Head of School and 8 years prior as Assistant Head of School. She is a Milken Jewish Educator Award honoree and a recipient of the Pressman Academy Etz Chaim Education Award and the Temple Beth Am Presidential Award for Leadership. Before joining Weizmann, she was Head at Mizel Jewish Community Day School (formerly Heritage Academy) in Tulsa, OK. Lisa earned her MA in Educational Administration from the American Jewish University and dual Bachelor degrees in Education and Judaic Studies from Rutgers University. She also has a K-12 teaching credential. She has been an active member of the Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) Heads of School Council for nearly two decades, serving as Chair from 2010-2013. In addition, she has served as a Visiting Team member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accreditation Committee for over a decade. She is the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Beth Am. She has also held a Clinical Faculty position at Hebrew Union College. In addition, she spearheaded Weizmann Day School's participation in the Daniel Pearl World Music Days - the only such interfaith school program in the USA. When not helping to raise our community's future leaders at Weizmann, she is raising her own three sons with husband Brian Greene.

Carrie Allen, Office Manager - [email protected]

Carrie Allen graduated from Citrus College with an Associate of Arts degree.  She began her work career as the office manager for Rainbow Preschool, in Santa Ana, where she stayed for five years.  After taking time off to raise her family of three children, Carrie returned to work as the office manager at Atid Hebrew Academy.  She worked at Atid for 13 years before joining the staff at Weizmann Day School in 2007.  During her tenure as the office manager at Weizmann, Carrie has attended and participated in many and varied professional development training sessions. 

Lori Snyder, School Administrator - [email protected] 

Lori Snyder earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Community Service, with a Child Development emphasis, from California State University, Fullerton.  She spent 20 years in public service for cities including Covina, Anaheim, Glendale, and South Pasadena, specializing in collaboration and team building through the departments of Community Development & Housing, Neighborhood Services, Volunteer Management, Youth/At-Risk Youth Services, and Parks & Recreation.  Lori has been a Jewish educator in the greater San Gabriel Valley for more than 30 years – approximately 15 years in religious school, 8 years at Atid Hebrew Academy, and now 10 years at Weizmann.  She is trained and certified as an Administrative Hearing Officer and has participated in many professional development training sessions.  Lori is also the proud mother of two day school graduates and is a WDS alumni parent. 

Shelly Freedenthal, Director of Resource Management - [email protected]

Shelly Freedenthal completed the DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) program at Hebrew Union College and earned her California teaching credential in 2013-14.  She interned in a third grade class at The Wise School and then taught high school English at The Peace & Justice Academy during the 2014-15 school year.  Prior to that, Shelly spent over 20 years as an employment lawyer with a large L.A. law firm before leaving to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.  She has a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University Of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School Of Public Affairs.  Shelly has three children who attended Weizmann when they were younger -- David (20), Sarah (18), and Jonathan (15) -- and she served on the Weizmann Board of Trustees for many years.


Ellen Dinerman - [email protected]

Ellen Dinerman has a BA from Antioch University, an MFA in sculpture and ceramics from Claremont Graduate School, and a Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles.  She taught elementary school for 8 years in public school and has been at 21 years at Weizmann. Prior to that, Ellen taught art for LACMA and the Barnsdall Art Programs. In addition, she helped develop and teach in the Teaching Credential Program at Antioch University for five years; how to incorporate art into the classroom. Ellen has a small jewelry design business and currently participates in local shows.

Amy Gabay - [email protected] 

Amy Gabay bas a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Southern California and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Azusa Pacific University.  She holds a Multiple Subject Credential with supplemental authorization to teach English through 9th grade, and a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development certificate.  Amy taught second grade for several years and was a substitute teacher for grades kindergarten through middle school in both public and private school settings.  She started teaching in 1996 and took time off when her children were small.  Amy recently attended Responsive Classroom training as well as a workshop on motivating reluctant readers.

Pia Ricci - [email protected] 

Pia Ricci graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston College and with a Master of Science in Education (MSEd), Elementary Teaching, from Northwestern University.  She holds a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and has participated in numerous professional development sessions.  Pia is trained in the Responsive Classroom management program, as well as Thinking Maps and Write from the Beginning and Beyond.   She has 10 years of classroom teaching experience.  In addition to teaching at Weizmann, Pia also serves as the primary grades curriculum coordinator. 

Julie Shapiro - [email protected] 

Julie Shapiro has been a classroom teacher for 6 years.  She completed her undergraduate work at UC Davis, earning a BA in Psychology with a minor in Human Development, and continued her education at California State University, Northridge, in the ACT credential program where she earned her multi-subject teaching credential.  She also spent two years in the DeLet (Day School Leadership through Teaching) induction program.  Julie has attended Responsive Classroom 1 & 2, and formative assessment professional development training sessions.


Jane Vander Velde - [email protected] 

Jane Vander Velde has a BA from Hope College, graduating as an English major, an MA in Teaching English from the University of Illinois and holds Certification for teaching secondary English, grades 6-12. She has taught English for over 20 years in high school, middle school, community college, and at the University level.  Jane has had training in Design-Based Learning (DBL) and has attended an extensive conference on middle school teaching with the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE).  She has also served, and continues to serve, as Weizmann’s WASC coordinator and the school-wide Poetry Book producer.


Erik Allen - [email protected]net

Matti Barzilai [email protected]

James Duran - [email protected] 

James Duran graduated from California State University Los Angeles, with a BA in Music, and has been working in education and child development for eleven years.  This is his first year teaching at Weizmann.  James teaches private music lessons – independently – through Sky Mountain Charter School, and through Sage Oak Charter School. He is currently teaching piano, voice, guitar, percussion, violin, ukulele, and saxophone. James is also a worship leader at his church in Pasadena. 

Carmit Eliyahu - [email protected] 

Carmit Eliyahu was born and raised in Israel.  She has a BA in Social Work from Ben Gurion University and earned a teaching certificate from the army during her military service.  Carmit worked for three years in Israel combining social work and education, teaching special needs and underprivileged children and doing anti-drug programs at several middle schools.  She started teaching Hebrew and Jewish studies at Weizmann in 1994 and after taking a long break to raise her two boys, she has happily returned to teach kindergarten-5th grade Hebrew.  Carmit has had many opportunities to attend workshops and training sessions, including the Tal Am Hebrew program and summer learning at the University of Judaism.

Amanda Pruess - [email protected] 

Lori Serna - [email protected]

Lori Serna has been employed with Weizmann for 26 years.  (Wow! That's a long time when seen on paper.)  She graduated from Rio Hondo College with an Associate of Arts Degree.  Lori has done many jobs over the years at Weizmann, including organizing school-wide activities (Purim Carnival, Spirit Days, Yearbook, ASA classes, etc.), assisting with the annual Art Show, coordinating Lag Ba Omer and end of year parties, and even teaching the much beloved Kids Cuisine cooking classes.  Lori is currently the Kindergarten teaching assistant, yard and after school program supervisor, and enrichment class coordinator.


Staff Professional Development Training

Weizmann Day School is committed to providing continuing education and professional development for our staff so that they remain up-to-date on state of the art instruction techniques and curriculum. Recent Professional Development Courses attended include:

Thinking Maps for Critical Reading & Writing

Daily 5 Literacy Program

Tal-AM (Hebrew) Summer Institute

DBL - Design-Based Learning 

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference

Facing History and You

Responsive Classroom & Middle School "Origins"

Frostig School Conference, “Getting It:  Academic Success for Middle/Secondary Schools”

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: A Centerpiece for a Healthy School Environment 

Critical Teaching in Action:  Teaching, Social Justice and Technology