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Career Story: Educational Administrator At A Religious School

Educational Administrator At A Religious School

Job Title: Assistant Educator/Membership Services

Type of Company: We are a Reform synagogue.

Education: BA, UMass-Amherst •• M.Ed, Lesley University

Previous Experience: I was drawn into education when my children were of school age. My work with a local alternative school opened my eyes to what education could be.

Job Tasks: My educational duties involve curriculum planning, hiring of teachers, training and administration for a supplementary Jewish Religious School. I am responsible for Grades K-4 (3-4, Judaica, only). I also create the Tot Shabbat program for children up to the age of kindergarten. This involves a monthly script about the Torah portion that includes a puppet, a companion art project, flannel board pieces and administration and advertising. In addition, I work with parents in the school, plan family educational programs and deal with students and their families who may have educational issues that need addressing.

In the membership area, I speak with people who have questions about the synagogue and work as the staff liaison to the membership committee. Since my original background is in advertising and public relations, I create print advertisements and public service announcements on behalf of the temple. I am also responsible for planning and administrating open houses, following through on new members and helping with their smooth transition to our community and school.

Although the two portions of my job seem to be unrelated, they actually work quite well together. Most often, people who join a temple have young children and want information about our school. I can answer their questions and greet their children when they enter our classrooms. Often, I know a family through Tot Shabbat well before they become official members of our community. This is very helpful in serving the needs of new families and gives them a comfort level that would be difficult any other way.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the ability to be creative. If I think there is a need for a program or educational offering, I generally have the freedom to create it. The needs of our community are constantly changing, and I enjoy trying new ideas and offerings.

The worst thing about my job is that I have more evening meetings than I would like and it does require work on the weekends.

Job Tips:
1.) Make sure that you like people and children!

2.) Be creative. Students are already programmed to be resistant to additional school after a full day of classes. We need to understand this and respect the demands that are put on students while still maintaining quality education.

3.) Understand that what you do should have meaning and purpose.

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