By Sandra R’bibo
Rabbi Levi Solomon, Principal of Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center in Sherman Oaks, CA, was caught by complete surprise when, during a school-wide assembly on Monday, he was named Jewish Educator Award (JEA) recipient for 2015.
Leading the unexpected presentation was Milken Family Foundation Executive Vice President, Richard Sandler. Dr. Gil Graff, Executive Director of Builders of Jewish Education, officiated as well.
The JEA program was established in 1990 by the Milken Family Foundation, in cooperation with BJE, as an adjunct to the Foundation’s National Educator Awards program. Each year the program gives public recognition and unrestricted $15,000 cash awards to teachers, administrators and other educational professionals in the Greater Los Angeles area who have made significant contributions to education in day schools affiliated with BJE.
Rabbi Solomon was a perfect choice for this award, as he has been teaching passionately for the past 21 years in both London and California. Rabbi Solomon has advanced through the ranks at Emek, first as a 3rd grade rebbe with added responsibilities such as programs director and curriculum coordinator. He also ran the school’s admissions for five years.
In 2012 he became principal and have since then worked together with his administrative team to establish a number of benchmarks that integrate 21st century learning skills and techniques into the school curriculum. Under his guidance, students develop a knowledge and love of Torah thanks to an expanded and engaging curriculum.
To make sure the learning process is effective; he continuously mentors educators and monitors data on student progress. Rabbi Solomon’s commitment to professional development includes his own growth. He recently completed the West Coast Principals Training program through the CoJDS (Consortium of Jewish Day Schools).
Believing that the family-school connection is vital to student success, Rabbi Solomon maintains close relationships with parents and attends student events outside of school, even coaching the Emek baseball team for several years. He was born in London, England and currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA with his wife Erica (Rosenthal), Emek alumni, and his six children, three of whom are current students at Emek.
Rabbi Solomon graduated in 1993 from the Rabbinical College of America, Morristown, NJ, where he received his B.A. in Rabbinical Studies. In 1997 he completed the QTS (qualified teacher status) program through the University of London, and in 2007 received his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from Touro University.
Emek Hebrew Academy is an orthodox Jewish day school in the San Fernando Valley that hosts over 730 children from all walks of Jewish life. The school offers an academically challenging and strong Orthodox education for Jewish children by providing them with a comprehensive, well-balanced curriculum in both Torah and general studies.
The school has had a close relationship with Chabad of the Valley for close to 40 years with many students, teachers and administrators who are either Lubavitch or have a close affiliation to Chabad.