Our highly skilled specialists in music, fine arts, and physical education round out the whole-child curriculum at Heilicher.
Rafael (Rafi) Forbush, Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director, is also an entrepreneur and public speaker. He has been an active member of the Twin Cities Jewish community, serving as a coach and mentor for Jewish youth at various organizations for over 12 years. He has worked with the St. Paul Talmud Torah, Twin Cities Jewish Middle School, the Newman School, the St. Paul Jewish Community Center, and, beginning in 2015, Heilicher. Rafael had his Bar Mitzvah at Beth Jacob Congregation and attended the St. Paul Talmud Torah day school where Hector Sztainer was his teacher and he discovered his love and passion of sports and fitness.
Aimee Orkin, M.F.A., Art Teacher, earned a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an associate's degree in architectural drafting from Minneapolis Technical Institute. She holds an M.F.A. in scene design for theater from Brandeis University. Aimee has been teaching art at Heilicher since 1995. She enjoyed having her two daughters as Heilicher art students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Her art projects most recently have included painting and drawing celebrations of life, murals, marriage contracts/ketubot/כתובות, and other Judaic art. Her artwork is in the permanent Judaic collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She is a member of both the Jewish Women's Artist Circle and the Jewish Artist's Lab, and she exhibits with them regularly. Visit the artist cirlce website at jewishwomensartistcircle.com.
David Shaw, M.A., Music Specialist and ISACS Accreditation Chair/Teacher Representative, joined the Heilicher faculty in 2001. He earned his B.A. in music education from Western Illinois University and his M.A. in educational administration from the University of St. Thomas. David also completed a fellowship for Aspiring School Heads through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). David has advanced training in the Orff method of teaching as well as in the Kodály and Dalcroze music approaches. He is extensively involved in the accreditation process for our school with the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). He completed his three-year tenure on the Professional Services Committee at ISACS in 2015 and assisted in conference/workshop planning for member schools in a number of states. His other ISACS work includes being on visiting teams to evaluate programs at different independent schools in the Midwest. David also serves on the Teacher Services Committee for the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) and is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). David loves learning in addition to traveling and especially enjoys seaside destinations on both coasts.
Victoria (Vic) Thor, Art Teacher and Grades 3-4 Teaching Assistant, earned her B.A. magna cum laude in art history and studio arts with minors in Jewish studies and Spanish from the University of Minnesota. Vic joined the Heilicher faculty in 1999. She coordinates Heilicher’s Art Adventure program, an art appreciation and history program in conjunction with the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She is particularly interested in integrating art with other areas of study, such as natural sciences and technology. Vic serves on the Sabes JCC Tychman Shapiro Gallery committee. Beyond children and art, she is interested in travel, wildlife and habitat preservation, gardening, and reading. Vic is the proud parent of two Heilicher alumni: Josef and Lily. Her family also includes husband, Marty Harris, a professional illustrator and graphic designer, and two adopted retired racing greyhounds.