Meet our talented and dedicated administration team.
Maia Poling, M.ED., Acting Head of School, has taught students of varying ages since 2003. From 2008-2012, Maia taught fifth- and sixth-grade general studies at Heilicher. In addition to her teaching role, Maia served as the Teacher Development Coordinator, supporting and mentoring new teachers.
From 2012-2016, Maia taught at the Blake School in Hopkins, Minnesota. She was a member of Blake's Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS) reaccreditation steering committee and also served as a volunteer on Heilicher's strategic planning task force on academic excellence. She returned to Heilicher in 2016 as the General Studies Director and then served as the Associate Head of School before taking on the Acting Head of School role upon the announcement of Yoni Binus' planned departure.
Before making Minneapolis her home in 2008, Maia taught at the San Francisco Day School and was the Associate Director of Day School Summerbridge, a program that increased academic opportunities for highly motivated, underserved students.
Maia graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in communication and then went on to get her Master of Education at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She lives with her husband, Patrick, and their two sons, Adrian and Otto, in southwest Minneapolis.
David Ackerman, Ph.D., Director of Jewish Living and Learning, has worked in both Jewish camp and school settings and at all levels of Jewish education, from early childhood to graduate education. He comes to Heilicher after directing JCC Association’s Mandel Center for Jewish Education. Previously he served as Director of School Services at the BJE of Greater Los Angeles and as Dean of the Fingerhut School of Education at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University).
David was the founding Educational Director of the Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California. He received his Ph.D. in special education at UCLA and was instrumental in establishing numerous programs for Jewish children with disabilities. David teaches widely on Jewish identity, Israel, prayer and spirituality, friendship, and inclusion and disabilities. Jewish music is his primary avocation: Yiddish folksong, klezmer mandolin, Israeli folk music, and baroque recorder. He is an avid road cyclist and enjoys building up his bikes himself. David currently is baking his way through the Jewish canon of mandelbrot, rugelach, kichel, strudel, and babka.
Ali Berdass, B.S., M.A., Benefit Coordinator and Advancement Associate, earned her bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology from Indiana University and master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Minnesota. Ali is a Heilicher graduate and parent of three Heilicher students and has worked as a volunteer coordinator and benefit manager for the school since 2018. Ali and her husband, Josh, live in Minnetonka with their three girls. Ali enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the pool, and keeping busy driving kids from their many activities.
Batsheva Berman, Hebrew Language Coordinator and Grades 5-8 Jewish Studies Teacher, was born and raised in Israel and served in an education unit of the Israeli Army. Batsheva teaches both Hebrew Language and Holy Studies/Limudei Kodesh/לימודי קודש in Hebrew and has pioneered a Torah study track conducted entirely in Hebrew, for which she wrote the curriculum for grades 5-7. Before coming to Heilicher she taught Hebrew Language at Torah Academy in Minneapolis for 20 years and wrote all of the holiday programs for the school. She was also in charge of the summer Hebrew program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for 20 years. Batsheva continues her education by taking summer classes in teaching a second language at the Karla Institute at the University of Minnesota and taking Torah study classes at the Pardes and Herzog Institutes in Israel.
Yoni Binus, M.ED., Executive Director, joined Heilicher in 2010 as the Upper School Counselor. He then led the Upper School for two years as its Director before assuming the role of Head of School in 2013, a role he held until stepping into the Executive Director position in 2021. In 2015, Yoni completed the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI), an AVI CHAI Foundation program at Jewish Theological Seminary preparing aspiring leaders for Jewish day school. He is a graduate of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, where he also worked after receiving his undergraduate degree at Boston University.
Yoni went back to Boston University to obtain his Master of Education in counseling, and he stayed on board at BU when he was offered a position as Director of Sleeper Hall, a residence for 600 Boston University freshmen and sophomores. His next move was to California, where he served as boys' high school counselor at the Webb Schools, an elite boarding school in Claremont. Yoni then moved to Minneapolis and joined the Heilicher staff. He enjoys rooting for the Boston Red Sox, playing squash, and reading fiction, social psychology, and history books.
Ryan Bradley, IT, earned his B.S. in information systems with a minor in educational leadership and a B.S. in cybersecurity and information assurance.
Wendy Goldberg, Assistant Director of Jewish Living and Learning/Mashgiah Ruhani, Jewish Studies Teacher, is a veteran Jewish educator who joined Heilicher administration in 2017. Previously she taught at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School for seventeen years and for the past seven years served as the Director of Spiritual Engagement at Shir Tikvah Congregation. She also leads Shir Harmony, a women's acapella group dedicated to raising funds for local and Israeli women's groups and "serenading people at meaningful moments." Educated at Brandeis University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and at Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, Wendy brings a depth to prayer life. She has a long history of working on issues of race and class, which will intersect with Heilicher initiatives toward social justice. Wendy is also a Christensen Interfaith Fellow at Augsburg University. Wendy is a Minneapolis native and parent of two Heilicher alumni.
Allie Greenstein, Interim Admissions Director, earned her B.S. and master's degrees in Education (elementary) from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Prior to joining the Heilicher team, Allie served as the Director of Youth and Camping for the Minnesota JCC (Camp Olami) for six years. Allie is passionate about creating space for children to take risks and learn in both formal and informal settings. She loves to sing, be active, cook, and spend time with friends and family.
Karen Hoppe, Director of Finance, grew up in Bemidji, Minnesota, and has been in Minneapolis since 1989. She earned her B.A. in business management from Bethel College and her Executive M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. Karen has served in various finance leadership roles in the nonprofit sector—most recently as the Vice President of Finance and Operations for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter (Association), where she was responsible for operations, finance, and HR functions as well as oversight of internal IT operations. Prior to joining the management team at the Association, Karen was the controller and the CFO at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation for 12 years. Karen and her husband, Steve, reside in Minnetonka and have a married daughter. In her spare time, Karen enjoys playing piano, spending time with her husband, doing gardening, taking long walks, and spending time with her granddaughter.
Liz Kaplan, Head Chef, studied at culinary school in Vancouver, Canada, and then spent three years cooking in Italy. Before coming to Heilicher, she was the Executive Sous Chef at Lucia’s in Uptown Minneapolis for four years. She lives in south Minneapolis with her husband, who is also a chef, and their young children. Liz spends her free time in the backyard with her family tending to her vegetable garden and raising chickens.
N. Melegari (Mel) Newman, Registrar/Admissions Systems Director, earned her B.S. in communication arts with a major in theater and dance and a minor in music from the University of Wisconsin–Superior. Mel came to Heilicher because she feels that facilitating the education of children (our future) is important and rewarding. Mel and her husband, Scott, have three children and have hosted several exchange students from Brazil and Germany. In her non-school time, she sings in the praise-and-worship band her husband leads, watches her children’s sporting events, and travels. She highly values the cross-spiritual enlightenment she gains by working within this community.
Katie Ruff, School Nurse and COVID Coordinator, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of St. Catherine. She was born and raised in Minneapolis but was drawn to Colorado where she met her husband and raised their children. Her nursing career has provided the opportunity to work in many areas of the health field. These areas include pediatrics, infection prevention, and, most recently, working in the COVID Unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Katie returned to Minneapolis to be near her large family. When not at work, Katie enjoys baking and working out so she can bake more. She also enjoys outdoor winter and summer activities, gardening, and crafts.
Evelyn Sadlowski, After-School Activities Director and School's Out Coordinator, holds a B.S. in elementary education-middle childhood/early adolescence from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Evelyn also has a Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence Teaching License from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education and a Short-Call Substitute Teaching License from the state of Minnesota. Evelyn loves lakes, warm weather, and being outside. She also enjoys visiting her family and friends back home in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to working at Heilicher, Evelyn has enjoyed being a part of the Camp Olami community since 2018.
Don Schlueter, C.P.A. (inactive), Controller, grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and has lived in the Twin Cities metro since 1978. He earned his B.B.A in accounting from Loyola University in Chicago. Don started in public accounting as an auditor and has held financial positions with various nonprofit and for-profit companies. Don and his wife, Julie, live in Maple Grove and have two sons (one on each coast) and two grandsons. In his spare time, Don enjoys reading, being an avid sports fan, and working on a model of the USS Constitution.
Courtney Shaw, Student Services Coordinator, earned her B.S. in Latin education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, her M.A. in education from Hamline University, and a professional certificate in neurodiversity and learning disabilities with an emphasis on executive skills coaching from Landmark College. For more than 15 years, she has been supporting and empowering students to recognize and appreciate themselves as unique learners, maximizing their strengths and addressing their challenges. She has worked at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Southview Middle School in Edina, Blake, and Groves Academy. In addition to supporting students at Heilicher, Courtney writes curriculum and provides faculty training and support at a charter school in the south metro. In her free time she enjoys running, searching for her textile craft talent, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Michael Simon, Database Manager, earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, with a major in business management and double minors in marketing and business administration. Prior to joining Heilicher, Michael was the operations manager at a local health care IT consulting firm where he handled database management, onboarding and offboarding staff, contracting, payroll, and vendor relations. Michael and his husband, Rabbi Michael Latz, have two children, Noa and Liat. As one of the three Rebbitzmen at Shir Tikvah, Michael is very active within the Twin Cities Jewish community. If he’s not at Heilicher or driving his kids around town, you'll find him at services, schmoozing, or celebrating simchas at Shir Tikvah.
Rebecca Skelton, M.P.A, Institutional Advancement Director, earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her M.P.A from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining Heilicher, Rebecca served as the Director of Community Development for the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, overseeing the Federation’s allocations, strategic planning, and research activities. Prior to relocating to Minnesota in 1997, Rebecca served as Legislative Director for the Union of Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where she advocated on a wide range of federal policy issues and created the Reform Jewish Movement’s first grassroots, state policy structure. She also served as the Washington Representative of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, working with members of Congress and the executive branch on policy and funding issues of importance to Chicago-area Jewish agencies and institutions. Rebecca also has worked as a Legislative Assistant with the CJF-Washington Action Office.
Rebecca is married to Shepard Harris, a lobbyist with the law firm of Fredrikson and Byron and the mayor of Golden Valley. They have three children, all of whom are Heilicher alumni.
Elana Warren, Marketing Associate, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in journalism, minors in English and Spanish, and a certificate in editing and publishing. Elana concurrently works as the Assistant Editor at the American Jewish World. She also substitute teaches and teaches at Sharei Chesed and Beth El synagogues. Prior to coming to Heilicher, Elana served as the Assistant Copy Desk Chief at the Minnesota Daily. Elana enjoys theater and spending time with family, friends, and dogs.
Christine Yussen, M.ED., Director of General Studies and Student Life, earned her B.S. in foundations of education and her M.ED. in elementary education from the University of Minnesota. Christine joined the Heilicher faculty in 2005 and served as both a long-time teacher and the Studies Services Coordinator before taking on this new role in 2021. Education continues to be a career of passion rather simply a job. She enjoys getting to know each student individually and helping them reach goals. Christine is a native of the Twin Cities and enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing the trombone, being active around the city lakes and neighborhoods, and gardening. She enjoys engaging in curricular conversations by serving on the Heilicher Academic Council team.