First photo: Clockwise from center- Debbie Niderberg, Esther Kramer, Dr. Rona Novick, Claire Wurtzel, Elizabeth Fox. Second photo: From left: Margaret Sarro, Elizabeth Fox, Debbie Niderberg, Sara Diament, Elyn Rosenthal.
Debbie Niderberg, Executive Director, helped launch Hidden Sparks, from conceptual development to its present size and worked collaboratively to design its unique programming, and build the organization’s infrastructure and professional leadership. She is also responsible for developing new initiatives, such as Hidden Sparks Without Walls, and new programmatic and funding partnerships. Prior to coming to Hidden Sparks, Ms. Niderberg served as the Executive Director for The Nash Family Foundation, where she was instrumental in bringing the Schools Attuned Professional Development Program to 72 New York area Jewish schools, launching a kosher City Harvest program (still operational), an Israel-based medical fellowship, and issued grants for the first residential Jewish hospice in New York, among other significant grants. Prior to this, she co-founded the Jewish Children’s Learning Lab, an interactive Jewish children’s museum in New York and managed the Outreach and Special Projects division for the Fund for Jewish Education. She was selected for participation in the Maoz-Advot program for educational leaders. She is the grateful mom of 6 children (and a son-in-law).
Rona Milch Novick, Ph.D, Co-Educational Director of Hidden Sparks, is the Dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University and holds the Raine and Stanley Silverstein Chair in Professional Ethics and Values. She is a trained cognitive behavior therapist with her own private practice and the author of Mommy, Can You Stop the Rain? a picture book about the role adults can play in helping children face challenges and become resilient. As one of two educational directors for Hidden Sparks, Dr. Novick provides training, supervision and ongoing mentoring to the Hidden Sparks teams of coaches, principals and Internal Coaches. Dr. Novick has been featured in an ELItalk.
Claire Wurtzel, Co-Educational Director, taught in Bank Street College School of Education for 18 years and served as Chair of the Department of Special Education. Subsequently, she served as the Director of Faculty Development for the Churchill School and Center in New York and later, and as the Director of Faculty Development for the New York City Schools Attuned initiative for All Kinds of Minds. In this capacity, Ms. Wurtzel oversaw Schools Attuned courses, mentor training and facilitator training for over 400 New York City schools. As one of two educational directors for Hidden Sparks, Ms. Wurtzel helped develop the training and curricula and provides ongoing facilitation, supervision and mentoring to Hidden Sparks coaches and school leaders. Most recently, she and her husband, Bill Wurtzel, co-authored the book, Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts.
Sara Diament, Director of School Services, came to Hidden Sparks in 2013 with a background in Health and Behavior Studies and has worked with at-risk youth for Youth Advocate Programs Bergen County. She also ran a psycho-educational program for adolescents at the Somerset Women’s Health Center, developed and led anti-bullying workshops for students, teachers and parents on Long Island through the Jewish Women’s Foundation, served as a consultant to Jewish day schools on health curriculum development, and worked with the Department of Policy Research and Program Evaluation for the American Foundation for the Blind.
Sara can be reached at email@example.com
Margaret Sarro, Manager of Operations, has worked for Hidden Sparks since its inception in 2005. Margaret manages all day-to-day operations of the organization making sure that everything from scheduling to billing runs smoothly and efficiently. Prior to working for Hidden Sparks, she was the Grants Manager at The Nash Family Foundation where she worked to determine funding needs and allocations and, coordinated grant inquiries and applications and monitored financial reporting.
Margaret can be reached at Margaret@hiddensparks.org
Elyn Rosenthal joined our operations team in 2013. She has broad experience in event coordinating, fundraising, marketing and communications both in the non-profit and public sector. Elyn is very involved in social action causes and is an activist in organization such as the John Huess House Project and the Dream Street Foundation for whom she volunteers as a counselor every summer in their camp for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Elyn can be reached at Elyn@hiddensparks.org
Tamar Bauman, a School-Clinical Psychologist, is a senior coach and mentor for Hidden Sparks and has been with the organization since its inception. She has 20 years of experience helping children with mental health, behavioral, and academic challenges. Dr. Bauman has provided ongoing education and coaching to Jewish Day School teachers as well as mentoring and supervision to coaches in training. Prior to her involvement with Hidden Sparks, Dr. Bauman worked for the School Mental Health Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. There she treated children with a range of emotional and behavioral struggles through individual, group, and family therapy. Dr. Bauman has also organized social skills and bully-prevention programming for schools and has provided learning, social skills, and anti-bullying workshops for students, teachers, and parents.
Hollis Dannaham, M.Ed., has been empowering complex learners for 30 years as a learning specialist, special educator, administrator, and consultant in public, private, and charter schools. Hollis created Transform Boundaries, an organization dedicated to helping schools create programs and creative solutions for reaching their complex learners. She served as the Director of Academic Intervention at Explore Charter School and co-created the Carmel Alternative High School for at-risk teens. Hollis also worked as a learning specialist at the Student Success Center of All Kinds of Minds. Currently Hollis is a coach, mentor, and workshop facilitator for Hidden Sparks.
Sara Reichman, a clinical psychologist, serves as a Hidden Sparks coach. She holds a doctorate from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University. She served as Senior Psychologist at New York University Medical Center, where she gained extensive experience working with children and families and was part of a multidisciplinary team that performed neurodevelopmental evaluations. Dr. Reichman then worked as a Senior Psychologist at a pediatric multi-specialty practice treating children, adolescents and families. She is a psychologist in private practice.
Andrea Rousso taught for 33 years before joining the Hidden Sparks team as a coach and facilitator. She initially taught emotionally fragile children with special needs, and subsequently served as a teacher-trainer for special education. Andrea received a Bank Street Early Childhood Education award for her innovative curriculum and teaching style, and was a certified facilitator for the Schools Attuned Program of All Kinds of Minds. Andrea also works as a part-time consultant in three NYC public schools, where she meets with teachers to assist them with curriculum adaptations and understanding classroom behaviors.
Esther Fradel Schwartz is a senior Hidden Sparks coach and mentor. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in interdisciplinary studies from Touro College and a Masters of Science in Education from the College of Staten Island CUNY. Before becoming a coach in 2010, Mrs. Schwartz gained twelve years of teaching experience in early childhood and special education classrooms and was an adjunct professor of education at Daemen College. She also coordinated the Mishan Letalmid and Shutfim: Parent Partners programs for Toshia, providing assistance to parents and teachers of children with learning and behavioral challenges. Mrs. Schwartz is the author of a popular social skills curriculum “My Place, My Space” published by Focus in Education.
Lily Howard Scott is a curriculum developer and Hidden Sparks’ social and emotional learning (SEL) coach. She received her MS Ed. in Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education from Bank Street College of Education, where she now teaches in the Continuing Professional Studies department. For nearly ten years, Lily taught elementary school in both public and independent settings. Lily has led professional development for educators around the country on topics including cultivating emotional literacy through reading and writing instruction, normalizing vulnerability in the classroom, and helping children explore and empathize with varied perspectives through interactive read-alouds. Her writing about the importance of a child-centered approach to teaching and learning has been published in The Washington Post and Edutopia.
Deannna Stecker, Hidden Sparks’ differentiated instruction consultant, has been the Coordinator of Learning Support at Schechter Manhattan for the past 14 years. Prior to that, she spent 6 years at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) where she led professional development workshops and presentations at national conferences, and created website content, professional development guides, and materials for teachers and parents for Get Ready to Read!, NCLD’s early literacy program. Prior to that she taught and worked as a reading specialist at Solomon Schechter of Nassau County. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Educational Psychology: Reading Specialist from Columbia University. Deanna has extensive differentiation experience in the classroom and in guiding new and veteran teachers in differentiating instruction.
Molly Warner is a Hidden Sparks coach who has been involved in education in various capacities for 38 years. She holds two Master’s degrees in Special Education from the Bank Street College of Education, as well as a from Columbia University’s Teachers College in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Molly spent 12 years as an elementary classroom teacher at the Dalton School in Manhattan after which she led teachers workshops for All Kinds of Minds, both with the New York City public schools and through P’TACH. For 10 years, she was the middle school learning specialist at The School at Columbia University. Molly was a coach for Hidden Sparks during its first two inaugural years and is very excited to return to that same role in this dynamic, ever-growing organization.
Roxanna Neiman, Director of Education in Israel, is a cognitive behavioral therapist specializing in Learning Disabilities Diagnostics, and coach in the field of learning disabilities and attention deficit. Roxanna holds an M.A. in Educational Counseling and was the Jerusalem District Inspector of educational counselors, and State Inspector in the Department of Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit at the Ministry of Education. In this capacity she developed a model to identify and assist children who experienced learning disabilities and also played a central role in the preparation of programs for teacher training at the David Yellin institute in Jerusalem, strategies for helping children with learning difficulties and attention deficit challenges.
Eden Israeli, Coordinator for Israel Programs, is the Learning Disabilities Coordinator for the Society for Advancement in Education (SAE), and is responsible for establishing and operating a new SAE division for treating youth with learning disabilities. This process includes: staff training; providing subsidies for youth to undergo psycho-didactic evaluations; and holding seminars that treat specific academic and emotional difficulties – such as time management skills, test anxiety management, and learning strategies. Eden’s focus is cultivating the professional staff in all SAE schools and residences, so that their work with learning disabled youth will be more effective. Eden has over 15 years of experience in treating learning disabilities. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Special Education from the Hebrew University, and was certified at Bar Ilan University to conduct didactic evaluations and Applied Behavior Analysis. Eden spent some years in the US as a Judaic Learning Specialist at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.
Beatrice Brom is an External Coach in The Community High School in Kfar Adumim. She has worked in education for close to 40 years, holding an MSc. from the State University of Utrecht (Holland), a school counselor certificate from Michlelet Yerushalaim College in Jerusalem, and a license from the Israeli Ministry of Education as supervisor for school counselors. Beatrice taught biology in Holland at Teachers College and High School, and worked as a school counselor in Israeli high schools after moving to Israel.
Ariella Lichterman is an External Coach in Dorot Elementary School and holds a BA in special education and an MA in educational counseling. She is a certified didactic diagnostician, has training in remedial instruction and learning strategies and is a group facilitator. In addition, she is a personal coach, a mind-body therapist, and a CBT psychotherapist for parents, couples and families. Ariella is a counselor and an expert in the field of learning disabilities and ADHD in MATI Raanana and in the Ministry of Education’s department of learning disabilities and is a regional adviser in the learning disability program.