(Kew Garden Hills, NY) Yeshiva of Central Queens (YCQ) has three new promotions to announce, and many new hires to share with the community. YCQ promotions include Mrs. Melissa Cohen to Associate Principal General Studies K – 8; Mrs. Esther Lowinger to Interim Junior High School Assistant Principal General Studies; and Rabbi Joshua Rohr to Elementary School Assistant Principal, Judaic Studies.

“This school year brings outstanding, effective, and enthusiastic new faculty members, exciting programs and trips, and high quality academic curricular initiatives,” stated Mrs. Melissa Cohen. “I am excited about connecting with all students in Grades K-8, collaborating with faculty members, promoting a growth mindset, and facilitating the academic achievement and social-emotional growth of every student.”

“I am so excited to take on this new role,” enthused Mrs. Esther Lowinger. “I look forward to working with all the students and helping them grow and become responsible people. I have been working in YCQ for the past 20 years as a Math teacher and I am looking forward to this new year.”

“I’m looking forward to developing new relationships, helping people grow into better versions of themselves, and moving YCQ into an even better place,” specified Rabbi Joshua Rohr. “I am also excited for my own growth. New challenges bring new opportunities, and I hope that this new opportunity will help me grow and become a better person.”

To expand our already stellar faculty and administrative team, we’ve hired a host of expert, experienced educators to complement our existing curriculum and environment. We hope our students will appreciate the increase in attention and care they will receive this year. YCQ is proud to introduce our new faculty members to the community. They include:

Director of ELA Curriculum and Professional Development: Dr. Emily Amie Witty’s qualifications include more than two decades of elementary classroom teaching, educational, programmatic, and curricular development experience in Jewish day schools, public schools, and nearly a decade in higher education, most recently at Yeshiva University - Stern College for Women as Clinical Assistant Professor of Education. “I am looking forward to streamlining our ELA curriculum as we continue learning about and applying the Science of Reading,” stated Dr. Emily Amie Witty. “I am also excited to be engaging in both formative and summative assessments and analyzing the data they will yield in order to increase our academic excellence.”

Judaic Studies Instructional Leader K – 8: Morah Mashie Kopelowitz has over 30 years of administrative experience in Judaic Studies, Jewish History, and Hebrew language education. Her most recent positions include leadership roles at Magen David Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Jewish Foundation School of Staten Island. Her many achievements include developing the highest standards of Judaic Studies Curriculum and instruction. Morah Mashie Kopelowitz replied, “I look forward to supporting the wonderful Judaic Studies faculty at YCQ in preparing our students as the future Jewish generations of life-long Torah learners.”

Director of Admissions: Ms. Allison Witty has extensive experience in government advocacy, public affairs, community relations, and casework. She is the former Chief of Staff for Congressman Max Rose. “YCQ is a forward-looking yeshiva on the cutting edge of pedagogical best practices and innovative technologies,” said Ms. Allison Witty, YCQ’s inaugural Director of Admissions. “It is renowned for educating its students to become global citizens, while imbuing them with a strong Jewish education and identity. I am looking forward to working with and learning from this talented team of administrators, faculty, and staff as we build and shape the new Office of Admissions at YCQ.

Grade 6 ELA Teacher: Ms. Paula Ambagtsheer was an English Teacher and Department Chairwoman at Central City Values High School in Los Angeles, CA. She is the Recipient of the Creative Teaching Award in Los Angeles, and the Creator, Presenter, and Staff Development Trainer of Writing Across the Curriculum. She is the published author of You Are Priceless, a Memoir, and Health, Wellness, & Self-Empowerment for Teenage Girls. Says Ms. Paula Ambagtsheer, “I hope to inspire students to work to their full potential through fun, challenging lessons and to leave them with the understanding that reading about others is an exercise in learning about oneself and growing more compassionate.”

JHS Morah and JHS Girls Activities Coordinator: Morah Sarit Auerbach earned her Bachelors in Psychology and Business at Queens College, and Masters in Occupational Therapy at Touro University. She has held positions at Camp Morasha, SKA, Yeshiva Har Torah, Bnot Shulamith, and Temple Tikvah. Reports Morah Sarit Auerbach, “I look forward to creating and cultivating meaningful relationships, as well as a classroom that is centered around Torah and Jewish values.”

Grade 8 Science Teacher: Ms. Alli Blackwood is a highly dedicated and passionate educator with years of teaching experience. She is committed to closing the achievement gap by investing students’ interest in science and mathematics. Her teaching experience includes positions at North Star Academy and AlphaBest Education. Ms. Alli Blackwood stated, “I am most looking forward to taking on the adventure of teaching the amazing Grade 8 students at YCQ. This wonderful school year brings on the opportunity to teach them math and science, and I could not be more excited. I am ecstatic to be experiencing the world of science with my scholars.”

JHS Ivrit Morah: Morah Rachel David is a returning Yeshiva of Central Queens Morah. She previously worked at YCQ for 10 years as a Grade 2 Judaic studies Morah. After making Aliyah 3 years ago, she is now returning to live in the United States. “Life is an adventure. I can only wonder what treasure awaits at the top of the path. I’m very excited to come back to YCQ and begin a new school year in the JHS!” – Morah Rachel David.

Director of JHS Student Life and Activities: Mr. Jacob Grossman was the Assistant Director of NCSY Camp Impact this past summer. His student life and activities experience also includes Assistant Division Head at Camp Kaylie. He graduated Yeshiva University, Sy Syms School of Business in 2021. “I am very excited to start my career at YCQ. As the Director of Student Life, I look forward to creating new and exciting events for our students and bringing the ruach and school spirit to a new level,” declared Mr. Jacob Grossman.

Grade 5 General Studies Teacher: Mrs. Talya Klein’s experience in education is outstanding. She was a Head Teacher at both Yeshiva Har Torah and Manhattan Day School. She obtained an MS in Teaching Literacy First through Sixth Grade at CUNY Hunter Graduate School of Education. Mrs. Talya Klein is “So excited to join the YCQ family and can’t wait to work with my students to develop a love of learning and a curiosity about the world around us through experiential means.”

Grade 7 ELA Teacher: Mr. Rich Layne is an author and former journalist, with 500 articles published in Forbes, Popular Science, and other national publications. His experience includes teaching English at Regis High School and at Basic Independent Manhattan Middle School. He created the Op Ed Project, in which Grade 7 students write and submit op-eds on important issues to the New York Times Student Editorial Contest. Says Mr. Rich Layne, “I bring my curiosity and interest in writing to my teaching. I’ve found that my students ask even better questions about history than I do. They always want to understand the “why” and “how” of the world around them.”

Grade 5 Rebbe: Rabbi Moshe Levitt grew up in Denver, Colorado. He was zoche to learn in Eretz Yisrael in Chofetz Chaim Yerushalayim and Yeshivas Mir. After Eretz Yisrael, he learned in Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills where he received Smicha. Rabbi Levitt taught at Rabbi Finestone’s JEP of Queens, Netzach, and other outreach organizations. Rabbi Moshe Levitt “is honored to be joining the Yeshiva of Central Queens team this year, and I am looking forward to creating an environment of learning, growth and inspiration!”

Grade 7 Rebbe and Grade 6 Science Teacher: Rabbi Moshe Steinberg was zoche to learn in Eretz Yisrael at Mesivta Tiferes Yisroel, and in Wisconsin at Yeshivas Ohr Yechezkel. He earned Smicha at the Rabbinical Seminary of America and graduated with honors from Touro College with a BS in Mathematics. His experience includes teaching high school level science in a classroom setting and tutoring high school students in Chemistry and Earth Science. Rabbi Moshe Steinberg stated, “I can’t wait to be both a Rebbe, as well as teach through science, how beautiful the world around us is, and how there is so much to appreciate beyond what the eye can see.”