Meet Our Team
Rabbi Mordechai Raizman, CEO
Rabbi Raizman has led the ATT for over a decade, running the day-to-day operations, fundraising, marketing, and strengthening the relationships with schools, lay leaders, parent body and other community organizations. Prior to that, he was the director of outreach at Chicago Torah Network, a founder of Bais Medrash Mikor Hachaim and a rebbe at Arie Crown Hebrew Day School.
Rabbi Raizman is married to Chani, and they are proud of four graduates of the ATT day school system.
Rabbi Avrohom Moller, Superintendent of Education
Rabbi Moller has led the ATT’s education and professional development initiatives for over a decade. He has been an educator in Chicago for 30 years, teaching elementary, secondary grades and college. He also served in school administration for six years. He received his rabbinic ordination from Mesivta Tiferes Jerusalem and a master’s degree in educational administration from Loyola University. Rabbi Moller believes passionately that Jewish education is the guarantor of our future as a people and that our schools deserve all the support we can provide them. He is fascinated by the science of learning and the systems that make schools succeed as institutions and as community assets. Rabbi Moller has written and lectured on these topics extensively.
Rabbi Moller lives in Chicago with his wife Devorah and family, and his children have all been recipients of a quality education in Chicago’s Jewish day schools.
Julie Gordon, Executive Director of REACH
Julie Gordon has over 30 years of experience in the field of special education, ranging from classroom teaching to serving as an administrator, consulting with schools to facilitate inclusion, and developing curriculum. Before coming to the Chicago area, Julie was the director of curriculum and instruction for The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Boston and was part of the team that founded Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, an organization that provides special education services for Jewish organizations, schools, and synagogues. As the executive director of REACH, Julie also works closely with a wide range of agencies to maximize private and government funding to ensure that resources are available to all Jewish day schools.
Julie holds a B.S. in psychology from Queens College and a M.A. in education of the hearing impaired with a second area of concentration in learning disabilities from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
Chani Friedman, Director of Teacher Education & Development, Government Programs Liaison
Over the course of Chani’s tenure at the ATT, she has served in many roles. Currently, she is director of the Arthur H. & Alice Barbakoff Department of Teacher Education & Development, organizing professional development opportunities for the 500 ATT teachers. She is also the government programs liaison for the ATT/Jewish schools to Chicago Public Schools and Chicago suburban districts, coordinating local, state and federal resources for Jewish schools. Chani has a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from the University of Colorado and a M.Ed. in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Chicago. She is a veteran teacher, having taught at Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov in the Jewish history and science departments for 30 years, at Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov as a guest lecturer teaching Holocaust education, adult classes in the Chicago community and also leads many of the ATT professional development classes.
Rusi Sukenik, Director of Student Services of REACH
Ruth (Rusi) Sukenik is REACH’s director of student services, supervising special education teachers who provide individualized education programs to students within the Jewish day schools. Rusi mentors staff, collaborates with school administration, and helps schools and teachers develop plans to better service students who struggle both academically and behaviorally. Rusi is committed to evidence-based programs and making data-driven decisions so that the school staff at the Jewish day schools can reach all their students.
Rusi has a B.A. in Jewish studies and special education from Hebrew Theological College and a M.Ed. in administration and supervision from Loyola University. In addition to her two Illinois State Licensures in special education and administration, she has an endorsement in middle school math, extensive training as a teacher coach, and is a certified practitioner in Collaborative Problem Solving.
Tamar Shames, Director of Professional Development at REACH
Tamar Shames works with the Chicago day school system schools to meet the educational and social/emotional needs of all students. She develops and facilitates professional development sessions that build the internal capacity of hundreds of teachers and administrators. Tamar is an expert in Collaborative Problem Solving and is a certified trainer in the model. Prior to joining REACH in 2015, she served as the Learning Center Director at Ramaz Middle School where she facilitated academic accommodations and curricular modifications for students and supervised and mentored fellow teachers. Tamar graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in psychology and education and continued on to Bank Street College of Education where she earned her masters of education in special education.
Debbie Cardash, Consultative Director of School Based Social Work Services for REACH
Debbie Cardash, LCSW, is the consultative director of School Based Social Work Services for REACH. She provides consultation to school administrators and teachers, in-house consultation to REACH staff, and facilitates teacher and parent educational presentations. She leads the Communities of Practice for School-Based Social Workers and Counselors within the ATT school system, promoting shared learning and peer support, along with regular consultation to participants. Prior to joining the ATT in 2005 and then the REACH team in 2012, Debbie was the Prevention Coordinator for YWCA Evanston/North Shore, responsible for developing and implementing violence prevention and social skills groups for area public schools.
Debbie is a licensed clinical social worker and earned her B.S.W. and M.S.W. from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is also a certified practitioner for Collaborative Problem Solving.
Bryna Towb, Assistant Director of REACH
Bryna Towb, M.Ed., is assistant director of REACH with over 40 years of experience in the field of education and special education. Bryna provides consultation and coaching to school administrators, resource room directors, classroom teachers and academic coaches. She conducts classroom observations and provides direct support to students. Bryna is knowledgeable in a wide variety of professional development topics, including: strategies for providing support to students with learning disabilities, techniques for addressing behavioral concerns in the classroom, executive functioning skills, and deciphering psycho-educational evaluations. She is trained in Social Thinking and Orton-Gillingham (a teaching approach specifically designed to help struggling readers) and is a certified practitioner in Collaborative Problem Solving.
Bryna holds a B.S. in elementary and special education from Bradley University and a M.Ed. in supervision and leadership from National Louis University. She has also completed graduate coursework in special education from Governor’s State University.