Administration

Dr. Dan Ahlstrom, Head of School

Dr. Ahlstrom came to BYDS from the Tucson Hebrew Academy in Tucson, Arizona, where he was the assistant head of school. Dr. Ahlstrom holds a PhD in Education Leadership, Policy, and Administration. As a RAVSAK, Project SuLam-educated school leader, Dr. Ahlstrom has fully demonstrated his understanding of, belief in, and ability to be a compelling advocate for Jewish values, culture, Jewish education, and Jewish thought. Dr. Ahlstrom brings in-depth knowledge about the challenges Jewish independent schools face, and he is proud of his work in curriculum development, integration, and mapping. He is appreciated by all for his authenticity, willingness to collaborate, and ability to build a strong team. He and his wife have four children. The oldest will be spending two years in Madagascar before attending American University. The youngest three are students at The Emery/Weiner School.

Cynthia Kirsch, Elementary School Principal

Cindy Kirsch joined BYDS after serving as Principal of the Prince of Peace Catholic School in Plano, Texas for 12 years where she led school initiatives that gained national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence honors. At Prince of Peace, Ms. Kirsch was a respected leader and collaborative colleague with skills in program/curriculum design, effective approaches to classroom management, and teacher recruitment and mentorship. Among the highlights of Ms. Kirsch’s tenure as Principal was her partnership with JASON Science Project, teacher professional development to advance 21st Century student learners, state-of-the-art technological improvements, programs for special needs students, and her innovative educational plans for exceptional learners. Cindy earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Denver, and she earned her M.A. in School Leadership at the University of Dallas.

Riana Sherman, Early Childhood Principal

Riana Sherman served as a first grade teacher and then a Kindergarten teacher before becoming principal of the Early Childhood Division. During that time, Ms. Sherman was the Director of the Early Childhood summer camp for three years. Prior to her work at Beth Yeshurun, Ms. Sherman taught first grade at Stafford Primary and worked as an Activities Coordinator at Congregation Emanu El, planning and implementing family education programs for all grades. Ms. Sherman completed her master’s degree in Administration with a focus on School Leadership from Grand Canyon University and has a bachelor’s of science degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. Her two children attend Beth Yeshurun Day School.

Ariel Rozen, Director of Judaic Studies

Ariel Rozen has served in multiple capacities at Beth Yeshurun Day School.  She was a Hebrew and Judaics teacher before becoming the Director of Academic Technology. Mrs. Rozen has been involved in Jewish education in both formal and informal settings since her teens. She has been teaching formally for over 15 years. Mrs. Rozen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Jewish Studies and a second Bachelor’s degree in Education from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She holds a Master’s Degree in Academic Leadership and is working on her Principal Certification.  Her two daughters attend Beth Yeshurun Day School and her son graduated from BYDS as well.

Mireille Chait, Director of Admissions

Having been at BYDS for almost 20 years, Mireille really knows her way around the school and its programs. She started off as a teacher in the Early Childhood division when she and her family moved from South Africa to Houston. All three of her children went through BYDS, and her daughter Jodi is now a teacher in the elementary school. Mireille assisted with the administration of the Early Childhood division, and – with a partner – she still runs the Extended Day Care and After School programs. She’s very knowledgeable about our financial-aid program and dedicated to helping each family afford BYDS. Mireille develops wonderful relationships with the families who visit our school, and she’s always available to answer questions or help address concerns. She studied at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and holds Early Childhood and Child Development credentials, as well. Her children are all alumni of Beth Yeshurun Day School.

Guido Setton, Director of Development

Mr. Setton came to Beth Yeshurun Day School from the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was the director of community development. While at the Tulsa Federation, Guido was responsible for the $1.8M Campaign and related events and activities, solicited for special projects, and identified sponsorship opportunities. Guido was born and raised Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he graduated as a lawyer from the University of Buenos Aires. Prior to Tulsa, Mr. Setton worked at non-profit organizations in Montreal and Vancouver. His daughter is a student at Beth Yeshurun Day School.

Cecilia Garfinkel, Business Manager

Cecilia Garfinkel graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a business degree in 1993 and further distinguished herself by becoming a CPA in 1994. Before she moved to Houston, she gained over ten years of progressive experience as an accountant and manager. She worked for various private companies, including retailers, schools and private customers.

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