About

Leadership

Senior Leadership

List of 1 items.

  • Jill Quigley, Head of School


    Jill Quigley was appointed Head of School in 2022 after serving the school with distinction as Middle & Upper School Division Head for eight years.  Jill received her M.A. in Jewish Studies in 2002 from Emory University, where she specialized in modern Jewish history. She received a B.A. in English from Arizona State University in 1996, where she pursued a course of study focusing on literature and religious studies. 
     
    During her tenure at TVT, Jill envisioned and led the implementation of Character@TVT to fully engage in our mission of 'character is paramount,' and co-developed a Jewish Studies Alternative Pathways model to connect students to Judaism in ways that honor TVT's pluralistic mission and diverse student body.
     
    Prior to TVT, Jill was an administrator as well as an English and Jewish Studies teacher at San Diego Jewish Academy. Earlier in her career, she taught English at Carmel Middle School and Durango High School. In her spare time, Jill enjoys cycling, spending time with family, and the New York Times Crossword puzzle.


List of 9 items.

  • Michelle Bernat, Division Head, Lower School

    Dr. Michelle Bernat graduated from California State University Fullerton with a Doctorate in Organizational Change. She has an M.Ed. in Cultural Diversity focused on curricular integration. Her undergraduate work was completed at the University of Arizona, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy with a minor in Jewish Studies. Michelle is driven to ensure student success—academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. She works diligently to create a positive, engaged community of learners.

    Before TVT, Michelle was an Assistant Superintendent of Education, Senior Director, and Director of school districts in California, as well as a Director of Curriculum and Content for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, an educational publishing company. Prior to teaching and administration in the public schools, she was a general studies, Hebrew, and Judaics teacher at Jewish Day Schools in Arizona and California.

    In her spare time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, going to the theater, cooking, and traveling.

  • Elise Blum, Division Head, Middle & Upper School

    Mrs. Elise Blum has spent over 20 years in independent school education, serving as a social studies teacher, school counselor, college advisor, and administrator. Born in upstate New York and raised in Connecticut, Elise attended Brandeis University in Waltham, MA where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Education. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Teaching & Learning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA.

    Before joining TVT, Elise was the High School Principal at American Heritage Schools in Plantation, FL where she previously served as Assistant Principal and Assistant Director of Guidance & College Planning. Elise began her career in education teaching social studies in Massachusetts and then Florida. Prior to teaching, she served as a program director and educational coordinator at Project Vote-Smart, a non-profit, non-partisan, political education organization. 

    Elise believes in creating a safe and supportive learning environment where students can take risks and try new things; as the Jewish proverb says, “whoever does not try, does not learn.” She is also committed to fostering strong relationships with faculty, staff, students, and parents. 

    In her free time, Elise enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dog (Precious Blum). She feeds her soul by reading, practicing yoga, hiking, running, and eating yummy and healthy food.
  • Bryonna Fisco, Director of Enrollment Management

    Serving as Director of Enrollment Management at TVT Community Day School, Bryonna Fisco has overseen a remarkable rise in inquiries, applications, and enrollment since 2015.

    A graduate of California State Long Beach, Bryonna’s background includes enrollment management and service/creation of Diversity Committees, production work for E! Entertainment Television and Style Network, and work as a teacher and professional dancer with both the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the NBA. Bryonna’s passion for independent education has spurred over a two decades of hands-on experience in educational administration. 

    In her free time, Bryonna enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and watching makeup and fashion blogs/video tutorials.
  • Tammi Jones, CFO / COO

    Joining TVT Community Day School in 2014 as Chief Financial & Operating Officer, Tammi Jones is a successful executive and versatile leader with extensive experience leading independent schools and organizations of all sizes across multiple industries. Prior to TVT, Tammi was Chief Financial & Operating Officer at The San Diego Jewish Academy for eight years. In addition to supervising finance and accounting, she is responsible for overseeing Technology Operations, Facilities, Human Resources, Risk Management, Compliance, and Legal. She has held numerous positions on other non-profit boards. Tammi holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Management, summa cum laude from Morningside University. In her free time, Tammi enjoys yoga, hiking, and home renovation projects.  
  • Urmi Kar, Director of Advancement & Communications

    Urmi Kar joined the TVT community in 2022 as the Director of Advancement and Communications, and in her role oversees fundraising, parent and alumni relations, as well as marketing and communications at the school. 

    Urmi has been in independent schools and colleges her entire career, in a variety of capacities in admissions, communications, and philanthropy. Prior to coming to TVT, Urmi worked at Foothill Country Day, Echo Horizon School, Vistamar School, Marlborough School, and Whittier College. She holds a Bachelor’s in English and History from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and a Master’s in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. Urmi deeply values the opportunity to work closely with TVT parents and families, partner with her colleagues, and as time permits, find a way to bring together family and friends over a delicious meal.
  • David Kerber, Director of Academics

    As Director of Academics, Dave Kerber oversees the school's TK-12 curriculum, with a focus on directing new academic initiatives and innovations.  Dave earned his Master's Degree in English from The University of Montana and his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Willamette University.

    During his time at TVT, Dave played a key role in the creation of many of the school's foundational documents, including the school's educational philosophy, portrait of the graduate, and statement of pluralism and diversity. He also helped craft the block schedule, founded the Immersion Program in the Upper School, and coordinated a recent CAIS/WASC accreditation.

    Before coming to TVT, Dave worked at Oakwood School in North Hollywood and The Athenian School in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his spare time, Mr. Kerber enjoys cooking, tennis, overlanding, and pretending that he's a professional barista.
  • Rabbi Stuart Light, Director of Jewish Life & Learning

    At a school where meaningful Jewish knowledge and know-how stand front and center, it's critical to have someone dedicated to continually raising the quality of the TK-12 Jewish experience. Rabbi Light has filled that role since 2012.   Rabbi Light graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Cognitive Science. He spent a year working at an Outdoor Education Center in Vermont and received his Rabbinical Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York. During his years of study, Rabbi Light took a year-long hiatus to serve as the Torah Reader and Prayer Leader in Dusseldorf, Germany's only synagogue. In addition to his Rabbinic Degree, Rabbi Light has a Master's in Jewish Education. He spent 12 years at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, first as the Director of Jewish Studies, and later assuming the role of Assistant Head of School.

    Rabbi Light and his wife, Wiebke (who is a faculty member at TVT), are the parents of a currently enrolled student and two alumni who all love TVT!
  • Lenny Morales, Director of Technology & Facility Operations

    Lenny Morales leads TVT in our critical mission to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge resources in the ever-changing landscape of educational technology. As an individual with a proven ability to solve problems, TVT has broadened the scope of leadership to include the school's facilities & security departments.

    Lenny earned his Bachelors of Information Technology in Network Security, and has made progress on a Master's in Information Technology (Virginia Tech University). Prior to TVT, Lenny worked for ten years at St. Francis Episcopal Day School in Houston, TX. He was the Head of Technology at the school and managed technology services for 950 students. It isn't uncommon to find Lenny taking in an after-school activity, especially if connected to statistics or theatre, as he enjoys experiencing the talents of our wonderful students.
  • Keren Wolf, Director of Campus Life

    As Director of Student Life, Keren Wolf ensures that all student initiatives align with our core values and support the social and emotional well-being of our students. Prior to this role, Keren taught numerous Jewish Studies subjects in our Middle and Upper School course offerings, and served as Middle School Activities Coordinator.  She loves the diverse and caring community that TVT offers.

    After spending years attending and working at Jewish overnight camps, Keren was inspired to attend American Jewish University and earn a B.A. in Jewish Studies and an M.A. Ed., followed by a teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton. The road that brought Keren to TVT in 2005 includes Education Director at Herzl Camp, 3rd-grade Jewish Studies teacher at Sinai Akiba Academy, and Youth Director at Temple Bat Yahm. In her free time, you can find Keren baking, reading, or hanging out with her family.


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.
  • Alyse Baron

    Board Member 2022

    Alyse is a Southern California native, and grew up in Irvine. She graduated cum laude, earning her bachelor's degree in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. She then earned her Medical Degree and completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. Alyse is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Alyse has been a private practice Pediatrician for the last 20 years, and has been involved in numerous child advocacy groups. She also has published numerous research studies in the field of Pediatric Cardiology, and also has a special interest in early childhood development, child literacy, child safety issues, and child abuse prevention. Throughout the Covid 19 Pandemic, Alyse served on the TVT Health Advisory Committee, and has made keeping our TVT students, faculty, and familes safe her top priority.
  • Mayer Cherem



    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.
     
  • Brian Levy

    Board Member 2022

    Brian grew up in the south bay, West Torrance. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Brian is the founder & president of BML Wealth Management as well as the Managing Member of West Wealth Group, LLC. He is an Investment Adviser Representative, holds a Series 66 securities license, and licensed in life and health insurance. Away from work, Brian loves spending time with his wife, Ruthie, their two daughters, 10 & 8, and their son, 4. When Brian’s not with his family, he can be found cheering on his favorite team, the LA Clippers.
  • Sue Littman

    Board Member

    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.
  • Izzi Neufeld


    Board Member 2021

    Izzi Neufeld is the proud mother of three TVT girls, Emily z’’l (Class of 2017), Ally (Class of 2019), and Rachael (Class of 2022). Ally is currently attending American University in Washington, DC studying Environmental Science.
     
    Izzi has served on the TVT PA Board as Vice President, Upper School Coordinator and class representative.  She served on the Executive Committee at Temple Beth El of South Orange County as treasurer as well as a trustee at large. She has also served as treasurer at her children’s elementary and middle schools before they transferred to TVT.
     
    Izzi the CFO for Jillson & Roberts, a family-owned gift wrappings company. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, reading, crossword puzzles, and traveling.
  • Alison Nightingale



    Board Chair; 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.
  • 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.
  • Jeff Toporek


    Board Member 2021

    Jeff Toporek is a co-founder and Principal at FD Stonewater, a fully integrated real estate investment, development and consulting firm. The company was founded in 2003, has 40 professionals and is headquartered in Washington DC with offices in Los Angeles. Jeff is responsible for the firm’s operations, business development and serves as the co-head of the Investment and Asset Management business. 
     
    If you are looking for Jeff outside of the business world you can likely find him with one of their boys on a field coaching baseball, including at TVT. Teaching student-athletes about life through sports is one of Jeff’s great passions and he is a firm believer that success in life stems from the experiences that can be obtained through team sports. 
     
    Jeff is married to Staci for 21+ years and they have 3 boys, all of whom attend TVT, and their white golden retriever Bella.  They are both originally from New York and permanently relocated to Southern California in 2016. Jeff graduated with a BA in Organizational Behavior from The University of Michigan in 1990. GO BLUE!

     
  • Li Yu


    Board Member 2020

    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