Our Stories

JPDS-NC Announces Founding Middle School Director

February 23, 2016 by Naomi Reem (Faculty and Staff)

Middle School Director Lisa SchopfI am pleased to announce the appointment of our founding Middle School Director. After a national search, we chose an internal candidate, Ms. Lisa Schopf, for the position.

Lisa has been a standout educator at JPDS-NC since 2006, first as a General Studies teacher for 5th Grade, and most recently as the Math and Social Studies Teacher for 6th Grade. In addition to being an extraordinary teacher, Lisa has been an emerging leader in our school. Her leadership ability and teaching excellence have allowed her to serve as a mentor for new teachers since 2013, through the national Jewish New Teacher Project. Her pedagogical insight and forward-looking work in the classroom have earned her the respect of her colleagues; a spot on the lead team for our professional development work funded by the Headway Enrichment Grant; and acceptance into the nationally recognized leadership program “YOU Lead,” a Yeshiva University-School Partnership program designed to develop and advance emerging leaders in Jewish education. Her organizational and writing skills made her the right choice for Co-Chair of the AIMS reaccreditation process for JPDS-NC. Her commitment to fostering children’s exploration of their faith and heritage informed Lisa’s tefilah elective – “God Talk” – which encourages fourth through sixth graders to surface and share questions, struggles, insights, and inspiration related to their tefilah and their connections to their Jewish identities.

Lisa’s vision as an educator, her proven track record in curriculum development, and her decade-long commitment to the pluralistic Jewish mission of the school make her the best candidate for this exciting new position. In the years she has been at the school, Lisa has developed close and enduring relationships with her students and their families, and I am confident that she will develop close ties with our middle school students, based on her clear understanding of the unique needs of sixth through eighth graders and her ability to find the exact combination of support and challenge that each child in her care needs.

In her new role, which begins July 1, 2016, Lisa will lead the 6th grade teaching team and will continue to teach Social Studies. She will start implementing the vision for the Middle School with the incoming 6th graders, in full partnership with her fellow teachers, and will be the leading member of the team designing the physical space and the academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs to meet the unique needs of middle school students. Lisa will work closely with me, the Middle School Steering Committee, parents, and community members, as well as with the Early Childhood and Elementary School Directors and Instructional Leaders and the school’s Leadership Team to bring to life the educational and Jewish vision of the expanded JPDS-NC.

Lisa received an M.A. in History from the University of Maryland at College Park, and earned her undergraduate degree from Barnard College of Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude in History and Education. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and the recipient of numerous academic honors including a Senior Fellowship; the Eugene H. Byrne History Prize; the Mary Thomas Elliot Prize for Outstanding Academic Record, Integrity and Citizenship; and the George Wellwood Murray Fellowship for Graduate Study in Humanities and/or Social Studies. Lisa also contributes to the field of education by regularly authoring articles about best practices in education for academic journals.

I am thrilled to welcome Lisa to her new role and look forward to a strong partnership with her in the years to come, to the benefit of our students and the community.