It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village ~ by Joy Sussman, GRTWA Outgoing Board President
Posted on 06/15/2021
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I have come to the end of my three-year term as President of the GRTWA Board of Trustees. There’s a common joke among presidents (not just board presidents) that their favorite moment of their term is when their title becomes “Immediate Past President” – the joke being, of course, that being president is a thankless, tedious, headache-inducing position. I’m here to tell you that this will NOT be the case for me. I’m not eagerly looking forward to being the Immediate Past President. (In fact, I even agreed to add one year to the traditional two-year term.) Even with all of the challenges and responsibilities involved in being Board President, it is a position I will truly miss, and the reason is simple: I had so many hard-working, generous, intelligent, and kind people helping me to do my job for the last three years. It takes a village to be president!

Working so closely with Moreh Moshe, Dr. Bahar, Naomi Bacharach, Nurse Phyllis, and our new Director of Finance, Joe Weiss, has been a pleasure and an eye-opener. I call it an eye-opener because even though I already knew that our administrative team members are very busy people, it wasn’t until I was Board President that I got to see “up-close and personal” just how hard this team works. Especially during the extra-challenging times of COVID-19, when big decisions needed (and still need) to be made on a daily (and nightly) basis, our GRTWA administrators show what they are made of: Strength and Endurance!

One of the main reasons I’ll miss being President is that our Board of Trustees is such a genuinely kind and committed group of people, all of whom want and work for what is best for our students and staff. Our Board meetings were actually a pleasure, thanks to this outstanding group of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is made up entirely of volunteers, and during this past year, they gave even more of their personal time to the school, with the Executive Board meeting every single week during the height of the pandemic. Particularly helpful to me as President were our Treasurer, Steve Levy; our Legal Counsel, Ira Hammer; Jonathan Ramsfelder for additional legal counsel; and our Vice President (soon to be President), Liron Kormas Harpaz; all of whom were able to confer with and advise me on many issues at a moment’s notice. Every single Board member deserves our thanks for their tireless commitment to the school.

Last but most definitely not least, our teachers are the heart and soul of this school, and I find it endlessly remarkable that they were able to pivot to a remote learning model –and an outstanding one at that -- with almost no notice at all. They are excellent mentors to our children and our community, and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. It has been my sincere pleasure to work with them. My personal thanks especially to Nancy Delman for being a wonderful liaison for the teachers.

I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity to serve the school as Board President. I’m so grateful for this particular village: Our hard-working and generous community of Gottesman RTW Academy.

Thank you, GRTWA Board Members: Jason Bacharach (Co-Secretary); Jarrett Bluth (Vice President); Alyssa Engleberg; Joshua Frankl; Marit Halper (Immediate Past President); Ira Hammer (Legal Counsel); Shimon Korish; Liron Kormas Harpaz (Vice President); Steve Levy (Treasurer); Daniel Moritz; Victoria Morrison; Rabbi Charles Popky; Jonathan Ramsfelder; Lavette Shrem (Co-Secretary).