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 attends American University and the youngest three are students at The Emery/Weiner School.
Cynthia Kirsch, Assistant Head of School for Education/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.
Alexis Bare, Early Childhood Director
After six years at our school as a teacher and our Director of Student Services, Alexis will be our new Director. She has a bachelor degree in Applied Learning and Development EC-6 (Early Childhood to 6th Grade) and has her Master of Education. Alexis is also a certified ESL teacher, Reading Specialist, and Educational Diagnostician. In addition, she is currently finishing the Executive Ed. D. in Professional Leadership-Special Populations program at the University of Houston. Alexis believes, “All children possess within themselves an innate ability to learn. It is as fundamental as the senses, an individual’s desire to learn new things. It is then up to the talents and gifts of the master teacher to engage the students.”
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.
Lauren Kupor, Director of Admissions
A native Texan, Lauren grew up in Dallas graduating from The Hockaday School and then earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a minor in History. Before coming to MD Anderson, Lauren was an Account Director at DPW PR, where she served as team lead and was responsible for client event planning, brainstorming/strategizing, developing plans and crisis communications. Her clients included Landry’s, Inc. and Simon Property Group. Lauren has experience in healthcare marketing and community relations. She created a successful Worksite Wellness Program for a local hospital and branded it as the go-to healthcare facility. She also spent eight years on TV as a broadcast journalist in Columbia, MO, San Angelo, TX, Oklahoma City, OK, and Chattanooga, TN. Outside of work, Lauren is actively involved in the community through the Houston Food Bank and Hermann Park Conservancy. She was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Houston. Lauren enjoys traveling, exercising, and spending time with her family. Her husband, Gregg, is a BYDS alumnus and her son, Ethan, is a future BYDS student.
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.