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Science Department - Faculty List

Mrs. Gila Stein

Gila Stein

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  • Email: steing@maayanot.org
  • Mrs. Gila Stein, Chair of the Science department and Co-chair of STEAM Education and Innovation, views her classroom as a community of learners and strives to provide every student with a broad and deep knowledge of fundamental scientific principles through active, hands-on learning. In addition to chairing the Science Department, Mrs. Stein teaches Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Forensics, and she provides additional science help to students during their free periods by conducting workshops for individuals or small groups. Mrs. Stein came to Ma’ayanot from Ramaz Upper School, where she taught science for four years. Prior to her tenure at Ramaz, she taught science for two years in Shevach High School. Mrs. Stein earned her B.A. in Biochemistry from Queens College, and her M.A. in High School Science Education from Columbia Teachers College.

Mrs. Rivki Berman

Rivki Berman

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  • Email: Bermanr@maayanot.org
  • Ms. Rivki Berman, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, recently joined Ma’ayanot’s faculty to teach our Nutrition elective.  Ms. Berman earned both a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science and an M.S. in Nutrition from the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College.  After receiving her degrees, Ms. Berman completed a Dietetic Internship, also at Hunter’s School of Public Health, after which she served as a nutrition teacher for Lifeline Challenge to Healthy Living Program for students in four New Jersey public schools. She currently serves as a nutrition consultant for Medical Nutrition Therapy Associates, LLC.

Mrs. Gillian Cofnas

Gillian Cofnas

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  • Email: Cofnasg@maayanot.org
  • Mrs. Gillian Cofnas teaches chemistry and all levels of physics.  Ms. Cofnas earned  BASc and MASc degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto; for her undergraduate thesis she investigated a polymer-based drug delivery system for spinal cord injury, and for her graduate thesis she evaluated interfaces for medical devices to improve usability and enhance patient safety.  Early in her career Ms. Cofnas gained extensive research experience through her work in biomedical research facilities, but has recently shifted to a career in education by teaching chemistry at RYNJ’s middle school and individually tutoring students, primarily in math and science.

Mrs. Adele Katzenstein

Adele Katzenstein

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  • Email: katzensteina@maayanot.org
  • Mrs. Adele Katzenstein works as a Learning Specialist in Ma'ayanot's Learning Center and teaches Algebra, Biology lab, English, and Jewish Philosophy. In addition to working at Ma'ayanot, Mrs. Katzenstein maintains a private tutorial practice and is a Parent Trainer for EPIC (Every Parent Influences Children) in Rockland, NY. Mrs. Katzenstein also has extensive experience in special education, having served as a Special Education Teacher for PTACH, Yeshiva Bais Mikroh Boys School, and Kadima Learning Center, and as a Comprehension Skills Instructor at Bais Malka Girls School. Mrs. Katzenstein earned a B.A. in Education from Baruch College and a Master's in Education from Walden University.

Ms. Rebecca Mintz

Rebecca Mintz

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  • Email: mintzr@maayanot.org
  • Rebecca Mintz joins the Ma’ayanot faculty as a member of the Math and Science departments. She will also be a mehanekhet for 11th grade. Ms. Mintz holds a M.S.W. from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and a B.A. from Stern College in Philosophy and Jewish Studies. She has been a Fellow at Mechon Hadar, where she engaged in immersive study of Jewish texts, and at Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps Fellowship, where she studied and analyzed tools for combatting poverty and building community in New York City. She has supervised the care of adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness at HASC Residential Services and has worked in a wide array of social services.

Mrs. Esther Slomnicki

Esther Slomnicki

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  • Email: slomnickie@maayanot.org
  • Mrs. Esther Slomnicki teaches Biology and AP Biology. Prior to coming to Ma'ayanot, Mrs. Slomnicki worked at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, where she taught Biology and AP Biology and developed her own syllabus for teaching Genetics and Anatomy. She has also worked as a research technician at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she investigated genes possibly related to prostate cancer. Mrs. Slomnicki holds a B.A. in Biology from Queens College.

Mr. Aryeh Tiefenbrunn

Aryeh Tiefenbrunn

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  • Email: tiefenbrunna@maayanot.org
  • Aryeh Tiefenbrunn is a new teacher of Chemistry, Physics, STEAM, and Music Theory at Ma’ayanot. He has a BA from Yeshiva University with a double major in Biology and Music. He comes to Ma’ayanot with experience teaching New York City public school students through Project START!. Mr. Tiefenbrunn was a research assistant in YU’s Department of Biology, where he performed experiments in cancer cell biology. He is currently a semicha student at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He is also an accomplished performing and recording artist who has performed in several bands and venues, including NCSY and Yachad youth programs.

Mrs. Elise Vitow

Elise Vitow

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  • Phone: 201-833-4307 ext. 200
  • Email: vitowe@maayanot.org
  • Mrs. Elise Vitow is the Director of Ma'ayanot's Learning Center, teaches Biology and Real-World Finance, and serves as a 9th grade mehanekhet. Prior to joining the Ma’ayanot faculty, Mrs. Vitow served on the faculties of both HAFTR and HALB, where she taught various science and math courses for thirteen years. At HAFTR, she also served as the Chairperson of the Science Department of the Middle School, as well as a learning specialist, staff mentor, and in-service instructor of new faculty. Before returning to teaching full time, Mrs. Vitow was the Educational Administrator of the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center in Staten Island for eight years. Mrs. Vitow received both her B.A. in Languages and Literature and her M.S. in Special Education from CUNY, and she completed sixty credits towards an R.N. degree. She is a member of the team of founding educators of the National Association of Yeshiva Day Schools Serving Exceptional Children (NADSEC), as well as a member of the N.J. Association of Jewish Day Schools.