Board of Trustees

The Board's primary role is to define the school's mission and to ensure its long-term viability. We identify several core attributes for our students and graduates and it is the Board's function to ensure that TVT's overall policies and actions remain consistent with those goals:

  • Moral and Ethical Adults
  • Critical Thinkers and Problem-Solvers
  • Effective Communicators and Listeners
  • Leaders and Team Players
  • Achievers and Life-Long Learners

List of 14 items.

  • Richard Arum

    Board Member 2017

    Dr. Richard Arum is Dean of the School of Education and Professor of Education and Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. He recently served as Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2013-2015 and Director of the Education Research Program at the Social Science Research Council from 2006-2013 where he oversaw the development of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, a research consortium designed to conduct ongoing evaluation of the New York City public schools.

    Dr. Arum is also coauthor of Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates and Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. He also coedited Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessment for the 21st Century and a comparative study on expansion, differentiation and access to higher education in fifteen countries, Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study.

    Dr. Arum received a Masters of Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Gary Brahm

    Board Member 2015

    Gary Brahm is the founding chancellor of Brandman University and oversees a network of 29 campuses, more than 2,500 faculty and staff, 12,000 students and an annual budget in excess of $100 million. Brandman University has been recognized as a leader in competency-based education and was the fourth institution in the nation that was approved to award direct assessment financial aid. Prior to this, Gary served as the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and COO of Chapman and as the CFO of National University.

    Gary has served as chair of numerous WASC accreditation-visiting teams and on the Interim Report Committee. Gary has presented non-traditional education, online, and competency-based education at the American Council for Higher Education annual meeting, the Association of Governing Boards National Conference on Trusteeship, the Credit Suisse Global Conference, the WASC Academic Resource Conference and many others.

    Gary received a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Northridge and a master’s in business administration from the University of Southern California.
  • Mayer Cherem, CFA, CQF

    Board Member 2017

    Mayer Cherem is a Managing Director and Sector Specialist at PAAMCO, a leading institutional investment firm, where he is responsible for the evaluation and management of opportunistic investments and offensive risk management initiatives. He chairs the firm’s Strategy Allocation Committee, serves on the Investment Oversight Committee and sets the vision for PAAMCO’s Associate Program where he oversees the hiring and development of MBA candidates from top business schools.

    Mayer began his career at Procter & Gamble as a financial analyst and forecaster, and he also worked at the Cisneros Group of Companies and Deutsche Bank. Passionate about arts and science from a young age, Mayer won first place in the National Physics Olympiad in Venezuela. As the Director of Macabi Tzair, he organized weekly educational activities, shabatonim and camping events for over 150 children and teenagers. He also participated in the Institute for Advanced Studies for Jewish Leadership, which culminated with a training and assistance trip for the Jewish community of Camagüey, Cuba. Mayer plays the piano, guitar and cuatro and often plays with Tarbut V’Torah's music band. He and his wife Deborah have two children at TVT, Eitan (Class of ’24) and Gilah (Class of ’27).

    Mayer earned his MBA from Columbia Business School after graduating from the Universidad Simon Bolivar of Venezuela with a BS in Production Engineering.
  • Lori Chozen

    Board Member 2019

    Lori Chozen is an independent Oil & Gas Investor from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Exposed to the O & G exploration, development and production industry at an early age, she currently manages an extensive portfolio of investments in the energy arena.  
    When not working, Lori spends much of her free time assisting in the community. She is an avid supporter of the Susan G. Komen organization as well as the Make A Wish Foundation. Lori actively volunteers at Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School in Irvine, CA. For the past 5 years, she has chaired the TVT Cares Committee for the Parent Association as well as taken on the role of Room Parent. 
    Passionate about education, Lori has been instrumental in the establishment of several scholarships and awards, recognizing outstanding student & teacher achievement throughout the country. The beneficiaries of which include the International Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Close Up Program in Washington DC and Temple Israel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 
    Lori enjoys international travel, the practice of yoga/meditation, journal writing and event planning.
    Mom, to daughter Harper (Class of ’28) and son, Hayes (class of '36), Lori resides in Newport Beach. 
    Lori attended the University of Wisconsin Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree with a dual major in Advertising and Spanish Language Studies.
  • Steve Kaufman

    Board Chair; Member 2013

    Stephen Kaufman is a family law attorney and partner at Kaufman Steinberg, LLP in Irvine, California. Steve is the proud father of Chana Dina Kaufman, (TVT’s Class of ’16), now attending Duke University. 

    Steve has been privileged to serve the Board of Directors of Beth Jacob of Irvine in several capacities, including as President, Vice President and Secretary. Steve worked with Irvine City Officials to complete the permitting process, construction and maintenance for the Irvine Eruv. Steve’s wife and Chana’s mom, Adina Kaufman, z”l, passed away in 2010, and they are proud the Irvine Keilim Mikvah is named for Adina. 

    Steve has served JFFS for many years, recently as Executive Vice President and chair of the nominations and governance committee. Steve has also been active with Solomon Society, a major philanthropic supporter of JFFS. Steve has been recognized by JFFS for his pro bono legal work serving its clients. Steve is also a founding member of the Orange County Jewish Bar Association, and currently serves its Board of Directors as a member at large. 

    Steve volunteers regularly at Human Options, a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence, consulting with their clients on their legal proceedings. His band, Judios Locos, (Crazy Jews), performs original Jewish music at charity events and simchas in Southern California, where Steve sings and plays guitar, bass and trumpet. 

    Steve also serves as a chazzan at Beth Jacob. Steve enjoys swimming and skiing for outdoor recreation, and has been an active member of the JCC OC since it opened.
  • Sue Littman

    Sue Littman is the proud mother of three TVT boys Matthew Littman (TVT's Class of '12), Russell Littman (TVT Class of '14), and Eli Littman (TVT Class of 2020).  Matthew is currently in a master's program in Data Analytics at UCI.  Russell is in a PhD program in Bioinformatics at UCLA.  Eli is about to begin his freshman year at UC Berkeley.
    Sue has been privileged to serve on the Board of Trustees at TVT as Board Chair, member of the executive committee, the strategic planning committee, the finance committee and the enrollment management committee.  Before joining the Board of Trustees, she was president of the Parent Association.
    Sue is currently self-employed as a math tutor.  She has a particular fondness for helping to change teens' attitudes towards math. She holds a BA in computer science from Cornell University and worked as a software engineer and in project management before changing to math education
  • Andrew Lyon

    Board Member 2017

    Dr. Andrew Lyon began his career at Georgia Tech following postdoctoral work with Professor Michael Natan at Penn State and Ph.D. work at Northwestern University with Professor Joseph Hupp. From 2003 to 2010, he was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor to Associate Chair, and he served as Chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2014, Dr. Lyon became Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University where he is responsible for guiding the college to a position of leadership in the delivery of innovative education and the production of impactful scholarship.

    He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, Beckman Young Investigator, Research Corporation Research Innovation, and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Blanchard Fellow, and the National Fresenius Award.  Dr. Lyon also served as a regional editor for the journal Colloid and Polymer Science for nearly a decade.

    Dr. Lyon’s research centers on the use of synthetic polymers in regenerative medicine applications for the development of a number of innovative and potentially translational approaches to wound healing. Dr. Lyon is also the co-founder of Sanguina LLC, a company focused on the development of devices for the point-of-care determination of anemia in remote and low-resource settings.
  • Alison Nightingale

    Board Member 2017

    Alison Nightingale is an attorney at General Atlantic, a global growth private equity firm providing capital and strategic support for companies worldwide.  In her role at General Atlantic, she provides legal advice across the firm and has extensive experience negotiating complex contracts and establishing and supporting the global regulatory compliance program. 

    Alison is actively involved with Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.  Since 2015, she has been a member of the Board of Trustees and President of the Early Childhood Education Committee.  She joined the Early Childhood Education Committee in 2013 and participated in the successful search for and transition of a new preschool director as well as helped the preschool maintain its accreditation. Alison and her husband Charlie are the proud parents of two Tarbut V’Torah students, Nathan (Class of ’28) and Ben (Class of ’30).

    Alison earned a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley where she was an Alumni Scholar and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.
  • Lauren Plant

    Board Member 2019

    Lauren has been in education in the Southern California community for nearly 20 years. Before joining Westerly as the Head of School, Lauren served as the Principal at Kadima Day School in West Hills, the Director of Middle School at Mirman School in Los Angeles, and middle and high school teacher and academic advisor at Windward Preparatory School in West Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Washington, her M.A. in Education from Pepperdine University, and her Ed.D. from UCLA in Educational Leadership.

    Lauren is an advocate of both Jewish education and the whole-child approach to educating thoughtful, prepared, and ethical leaders of tomorrow. When not on Westerly’s campus, Lauren can be found reading or at the beach with her two kiddos, Samson and Savannah.
  • Deborah Siminou

    Board Member 2015-present

    Deborah Siminou is currently the V.P. of Global Initiatives at NeurOptics, a medical device company located in Irvine, California. She has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.

    In addition, she is a CPA licensed in the State of California. She served in the U.S. Foreign Service for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, DC, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Deborah has worked in finance for the Disney Corporation, and has also had her own consulting business where she helped companies write business and marketing plans. She is currently on the board of the Jewish Federation of Orange County, as well as serving on its Planning & Funding and Audit Committee. She has also served on TVT’s Finance Committee for the last two years. She has four children attending Tarbut V’ Torah.
  • Elie Spitz

    Board Member 2018

    Elie Spitz has served as the Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel since 1988, after graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, he worked as a lawyer in Boston, completing his JD at Boston University in 1978. He and his wife, Linda, are the parents of three TVT graduates: Joey, Jon, and Anna. Elie’s hobbies are reading, writing, meditation, and a good workout. He is the author of three books and many articles that are primarily dealing with Jewish Law, Ethics, and Spirituality. Elie spent one year teaching a course at TVT on “Torah and its commentaries" to High School juniors.
  • Fred Taylor

    Board Member 2012

    Fred Taylor graduated from Haverford College in 1981 with degree in economics.  He is the president of TGS Management Company, a quantitative investment firm founded in 1989.

    He has been a proud TVT parent since 1993, and has served on the Board of Trustees for much of that time.  He currently serves on the Executive Committee.
  • Sepideh “Sepi” Varon

    Board Member 2016

    Dr. Sepideh Varon has committed her career to advancing the scientific field by conducting research to understand the impact of medical interventions on health-related quality of life and health economics. She currently leads the Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research / Strategy Group at Allergan and serves as an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, School of Pharmacy, where she is a preceptor to PharmD students pursing a Masters in the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research. Previously, Dr. Varon worked at Amgen Inc. and Mercer Consulting.

    Dr. Varon plays an active role in the community. She served as president of the Tarbut V’Torah Parent Association 2015-17 and supports multiple organizations including Camp Ramah in Ojai, California; The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC);and Beit Issie Shapiro in Raanana, Israel. Dr. Varon and her husband, Michael, are the proud parents of Ben (Class of ’24) and Ari (Class of ’26).

    Dr. Varon received her bachelors in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Health Services Research from University of California, Los Angeles as well as a Masters in Public Health from Boston University.
  • Li Yu

    Li is an educator by passion. He has always been enthusiastic about teaching and education. Immediately after college, he started teaching at Southeast University in China. After moving to North America, he served as a research or teaching assistant at the University of British Columbia and the University of Southern California when he studied for his masters’ degrees. Later, Li was once offered to teach at the University of California, Irvine.  He is now mainly focusing on children’s potentials and brain plasticity and applying innovative approaches to children development.

    Li is an entrepreneur by practice. He is an inactive Certified Public Accountant of California who was nicknamed as “an accountant who enjoys coding.” He has been a serial startup practitioner since 2010 with hands-on experiences of managing startups from early to hyper-growth stages, and most recently led as a prior CFO and partner at DTEN Inc., an innovative startup in interactive communication technologies.

    Li is also a community contributor by love. He has been an active parent and spearheaded several cultural and educational initiatives in the Southwest Chinese School in Irvine since 2017., and has been actively involved with local Cub Scout and Boy Scout activities in Orange County. He is also a book lover with his son in BOB club at Tarbut V' Torah since 2018 and has been volunteering in the “Friends of the Library” at Newport Beach Public Library since 2019. Li and his wife, Dr. Shuya Yin, are proud parents of Evan (Class of '27) and Alan (Class of '31).

    Li earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at Southeast University, Nanjing China, and a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada, and also a master’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles California.
TVT Community Day School is a TK-12 Independent Community Day School in Irvine, CA
Founded in Loving Memory of Naomi Gelman Weiss