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Our Team

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Director

Mrs. Esther Betesh

Mrs. Esther Betesh is a child development specialist who majored in Psychology and Education. Mentored one-on-one by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Weider, she is a certified DIR Therapist with significant experience in special education. She has worked with many prestigious developmentalists and has conceived the methodology for Gan Academy based on those teachings. Esther worked with children with exceptional needs for over 15 years and has been instrumental in growing a new school for children with Autism from inception. 

Born and brought up in Crown Heights, Esther is passionate about educating children with purpose and direction in the most meaningful way possible while understanding the needs of the community.  Esther directs the staff at Gan Academy with the guidance of consultants for the specific areas of expertise needed to cover all aspects of education.

Menahel

Rabbi Mendel Kugel

Rabbi Mendel Kugel is an experienced educator who has enlightened children's hearts and minds internationally. He is inspired to fulfill the fundamentals of Chinuch according to Chassidus, and is passionate about individualized education and helping every child succeed.

Rabbi Kugel was awarded the prestigious Kohelet award by the Kohelet Foundation for 'Developing the Young Acharonim' initiative, a program which helps children follow their own lines of logic to reach conclusions independently.

Rabbi Kugel and his wife and son reside in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Rabbi Kugel directs the Judaic studies for the yeshiva, mentors the Rebbis, and develops and oversees curricula.

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Curriculum Director

Mrs. Shaindy Schapiro

Mrs. Schapiro serves as the curriculum point person for the entire school, and she is working with Esther to provide a continuum for education from preschool throughout elementary school. 

 

Mrs. Schapiro comes with over thirty years of educational and curriculum experience. Drawing on her expertise as principal of Prospect Park Yeshiva and Bnos Menachem, Mrs. Schapiro developed a comprehensive curriculum and numerous programs upgrading the level of education in the Limudei Kodesh department. She created many educational materials as well as assessments to ensure the students’ mastery and to maintain high educational standards. Her workbooks and materials are being used by many Chabad schools.

 

The classroom is a very familiar place for Mrs. Schapiro, who spent nearly a decade as a teacher prior to becoming a principal for both Limudei Kodesh and general studies. She is a sought after mentor and lecturer, and has presented for Torah Umesorah, the Menachem Foundation and in schools across the country.

Operations Manager

Yeoshua Kapeluschnik

Yeoshua Kapeluschnik serves as our Menahel Gashmi/Operations Manager. Yeoshua was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For the past thirty years Yeoshua served as the Menahel Gashmi/Operations Manager for the Yeshiva Gedolah of Buenos Aires. He was responsible for the daily administrative demands of the Yeshiva and the Mesivta there. He ensured a strong and supportive environment for the wellbeing of the student which nearly half of them came from overseas. In addition, Yeoshua supervised the dormitory, kitchen and maintenance/cleaning staff. 

 

At Gan Academy Yeoshua will oversee the general operations and maintenance of our buildings, the cleaning staff, and busing. Yeoshua will work to help address any and all issues pertaining to the upkeep of our sites, so that we can continue to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our students. 

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Administrator

Mrs. Musia WIlhelm

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Administrative Assistant

Ms. Batya Eisenbach

Shaina-Yeshiva Administrative Assistant.

Yeshiva

Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Shaina Groner

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