Meet our amazing Student and Teacher Resource Team. These experienced practitioners work with students who have learning challenges as well as those with social, emotional, or behavioral needs. The team also supports teachers by providing resources and training to maximize opportunities for students to succeed in the learning environment.
Amanda Awend, Learning Facilitator, joined Heilicher in 2021 as the kindergarten plus teacher. She holds a degree in Jewish studies from the University of Wisconsin. Amanda comes to Heilicher with many years of teaching experience with children ranging from ages 0-10. Amanda has a love for process-based curriculum and music and often incorporates these into her teaching style and the classroom's daily routines. Amanda and her husband, Berek, share a love of music and created two albums of original Jewish music called "Jewish Americana" and "Peace & Harmony." They have two wonderful children who are students at Heilicher, Mila and Ezra.
Sara Wolk Bernstein, M.A.Ed., Grade 3 Hebrew and Jewish Studies Teacher/Hebrew Language Resource Specialist, grew up in Minneapolis and has been at Heilicher since 1992. She earned a B.A. in theater with a minor in Hebrew from the University of Minnesota. She attended American Jewish University where she earned her master's degree in education and administration with additional credits equal to a second bachelor's degree in Jewish studies. Before returning to the Twin Cities, Sara held positions with the Jewish Community Centers Association of Greater Los Angeles, LA Unified Public Schools, and LA Bureau of Jewish Education. During her years at Heilicher, she has continued her professional learning in areas of foreign language acquisition, special education, curriculum design, and instructional differentiation.
Whitney Greiffenstein, Interim Student and Teacher Resource Team Facilitator, earned her B.A. degree in elementary education from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. She later attended California College of Culinary Arts - Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA. Whitney has worked in several fields, including restaurants, schools, and professional organizing. She enjoys cooking, travel, reading, live music and spending time outdoors. Whitney lives in Hopkins with her husband, two children, and their “Because of Winn-Dixie” dog.
Andrea Hansen, M.A., School Counselor, earned her B.A. in English language and literature from Oklahoma City University, her J.D. from Creighton University, and her M.A. from Adler Graduate School. Prior to joining Heilicher, she substitute taught in Minneapolis and served as a School Counselor at Garlough Environmental Magnet School and a Behavior Teacher at Stevenson Elementary in Fridley. Her work in education followed 10+ years working at Thomson Reuters as an Academic Account Manager, where she worked with law students. Andrea believes each student is unique and talented and helps students learn skills to help them achieve in the classroom as well as become good global citizens. In her free time, she enjoys reading, biking, exploring good food in Minneapolis, and spending time with her husband and son.
Maddie Meza, Learning Facilitator, joined Heilicher in 2020. She attended the University of North Dakota and earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education and early childhood education. Previously she taught first grade at Heilicher and was a lead preschool teacher at Primrose School in St. Louis Park. During the summer months, Maddie has worked at several camps in the Bloomington and Minnetonka areas, including Camp Mishpacha's early childhood program. Maddie is an advocate for small group work and enjoys differentiating and accommodating to students' needs. In her free time she enjoys reading a good book and walking her dog Kovu around the lake with her husband.
Dana Provus, M.A., Teaching and Learning Specialist, earned her B.A. in elementary education from the University of Iowa. She also has a master's degree from Concordia University in reading and literacy and another from National Louis University in school administration and supervision. Dana began her career in Skokie, Illinois, teaching sixth-grade language arts and then went on to teach third grade in a neighboring district. Before moving to Minnesota, she served as a literacy coach in Deerfield, Illinois, collaborating with administration to improve student learning, coaching teachers to improve upon their craft, and helping both struggling and gifted students. Outside of school, Dana loves to cook, exercise, and spend time with her husband and young children.
Beth Shapiro, M.A., LICSW, Director of Student and Teacher Resource Team, earned her B.A. in psychology and educational studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and her M.A. in social service administration from the University of Chicago. Beth is a psychotherapist in private practice and a mental health consultant for Herzl Camp, and she is excited to join Heilicher to further grow and develop the resource team. Prior to her work at Heilicher, she created a mental health program at a large private pediatric primary care office in Chicago and revised and expanded the Camp Care Program at Herzl Camp. She has provided therapy with young children up to college-aged students, helping them sort through anxiety, depression, ADHD, and adjustment to changes in life. In her free time Beth enjoys cooking, travel, and time with her husband, children, family, and friends.