Our highly skilled middle school teachers also serve as advisors to our middle school students. They are confidants, counselors, and experts in the teen years, who motivate their students with meaningful literature, math concepts, Talmudic studies, science labs, and more.
Steve Mintz, Operational Leadership Facilitator and Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 Science Teacher, earned his B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in Jewish Studies from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Heilicher faculty in 2011. Steve's educational career spans more than 30 years in both formal and informal education. He taught third through eighth grade, all subjects, during 11 years at The Tesseract School in Eagan, prior to becoming Herzl Camp’s director for six years. Steve continues his independent work as an educational consultant, writer, and workshop facilitator, helping schools around the country develop vibrant and effective learning cultures. He can often be found playing guitar with the band Stereo Kitchen. Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, making music, camping, skiing, and cooking.
Davida Cytron, Middle School Team Coordinator and Grades 7 and 8 Math Teacher, earned her B.A. in History and Hebrew from the University of Wisconsin and her Masters in Adolescent Education from Bank Street College. Prior to joining the Heilicher faculty in 2007, Davida taught fourth grade at The Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago. Davida is also the parent of two Heilicher alumni. In her free time Davida enjoys cooking, reading, yoga and amateur mixology.
Mollie Divine, Grades 6 and 7 Math Teacher, earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with a Minor in Health Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to teaching, she has taken graduate level courses at Hamline University with a focus on math education in both elementary and middle school. Prior to joining the Heilicher faculty in 2007, Mollie taught a fourth and fifth grade resource class at Shabonee Elementary School in Northbrook, Illinois. Mollie currently resides in St. Louis Park with her husband Jason and her son Rudy. When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, attending yoga classes, cooking, and being at the lakes as often as the Minneapolis weather will permit.
Michelle Etzion, Grades 3-8 Hebrew Teacher, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2006. She earned her B.S. at the University of West Los Angeles. Having grown up as a child in Israel, Michelle has a solid knowledge of the Hebrew Language as well as Judaic Studies. Her teaching experience includes working in the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as teaching Hebrew at many supplemental Jewish schools in Connecticut. Michelle has also taught, and was the Director of Admissions, at Maimonides Academy of Western Connecticut. Michelle has completed the courses for the Tal Am Hebrew/Judaics Program for the second, third, and fourth grades. Michelle has also participated in the Minneapolis Federation Education Bridge program in Israel in the past. She has extensive knowledge teaching first through eighth grades. Michelle has two children who are both alumni of Heilicher. Michelle has traveled all over the country as well as around the world. During her spare time, she enjoys exercising, dancing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Jessica (Jessie) Gitles Fine, Grades 5, 7 and 8 Math Teacher, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2014. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics Education with a Minor in Technology from the University of Indiana. Over the last ten years, Jessie has primarily taught high school Mathematics. Jessica most recently taught at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, Ramah Jerusalem High School (TRY) in Israel, and Solomon Schechter of Westchester in New York before moving to Minnesota. Jessica lives in St. Paul with her husband Jeremy, and daughters Annie and Trudy. She loves the White Sox, travel, and spending time with her family and friends.
Annika Graif, M.A.T., Grade 6 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.A. in History with a Religious Studies certificate from the University of Wisconsin and her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Hamline University. She has taught a variety of grades including fourth, fifth, and middle school social studies. No matter the grade or subject, Annika enjoys cultivating students' curiosity, creativity, and love for learning. She lives in Minnetonka with her husband and two sons. In her free time, Annika enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling and visiting museums
Jon Keljik, Ph. D., Grades 7-8 Social Studies Teacher, earned his B.A. in History and Journalism from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. in history from The George Washington University, where he specialized in U.S. immigration history. Before moving back to his hometown of Minneapolis and teaching at Heilicher, Jon taught high school history and social science courses for more than four years at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. He's also taught at George Washington University and Northern Virginia Community College, as well as spent one year teaching junior high school English classes in rural Japan. Jon lives with his wife and cat in Minneapolis and when not teaching history, enjoys traveling, biking around the lakes, and camping in as many national parks as possible.
Elena Levitt, M.A., M.A.Ed., Judaic Studies Coordinator, Grades 3 and 6 Judaic Studies, and Grades 6-8 History of Modern Israel Teacher, earned her B.A. in Hebrew letters and M.A.Ed. from American Jewish University. She also earned her B.A. in Political Science and Journalism and M.A. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Jewish Studies from the University of Memphis. Elena has worked in formal and informal education in both teaching and administrative capacities in Memphis, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Minneapolis. Elena joined the Heilicher faculty in 2007. She is very happy to have come home to St. Louis Park with her husband Matt to raise their two amazing daughters. She has a great passion for sharing the breadth and depth of Jewish learning with her students. In her free time Elena enjoys reading, walking, and spending time with family and friends.
Alona Manore, B.Ed, Grades 3-8 Hebrew Teacher. Alona earned her B.Ed & teaching certificate in the English Language & English Literature in Tel-Aviv Israel and was employed by the Ministry of Education as a full time English teacher in high schools for 13 years. In addition she was employed at Beit-Berl, Academic College for Teachers, in Israel, as a mentor for students who were qualified to be English teachers. During her Sabbatical year, she took various academic courses in Academic Teacher Colleges such as; Art Therapy and Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties, Psychology & Psychotherapy and Neuropsychology. Prior to coming to Heilicher, Alona lived in London, UK and gained a UK Qualified Teacher Status by the General Council of England. She taught Modern Hebrew in Jewish high schools for the past 11 years. In addition, she was the Head of the Modern Hebrew Department in the Jewish Community Secondary School in Barnet, London. Alona joined Heilicher school in 2018.
Lynn Slobodien, M.Ed., Grade 6 General Studies Teacher, earned her B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and her M.Ed. from UCLA. Lynn started her teaching career with toddlers in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and taught writing and literature for almost 15 years at the middle and high school levels in California. She relishes the intellectual challenge of working with students who love learning, and Heilicher students have kept her busy since she joined the Heilicher faculty in 2007. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son. She is also a teacher development coordinator at Heilicher.
Morgan Stair, M.A., Language Arts Coordinator and Grades 7 and 8 Language Arts Teacher, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2016. He served as seventh and eighth grade Humanities teacher at St. Patrick's School and Language Arts teacher at the Cesar Chavez Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. He also taught fifth grade Humanities at Gatson College Preparatory, a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) in North Carolina. A Knoxville, TN native, Morgan and his wife Elana and have two sons.