Talmud Torah of St. Paul

Where critical thinking
and Jewish values intersect

Faculty & Staff

At The Newman School, we are blessed with an amazing faculty and staff. Our teachers are deeply committed to our school, to our mission, to their professional growth, to their subject matter, and most of all to our students. They create wonderful learning environments in which children can discover and grow. 

 

 

Heidi Tarshish, Director of Education

Heidi’s journey into Jewish education was fostered by her close relationship with her grandparents and parents who lived Jewish values and practiced Jewish ethics. A native of Minnesota, Heidi grew up in St. Louis Park, participated in Jewish life, attended Jewish camps, B’nai Emet Synagogue, and youth group. Interested in theater, education and Jewish studies, Heidi attended the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in both theater arts and Jewish Studies. Heidi taught in both the public and private sector before going back to the U of MN to receive a certificate in early childhood and kindergarten education. Heidi traveled extensively as a recipient of the Mann Teacher of the Year Award and the National Grinspoon-Steinhardt Educator Award.  Her travels took her to Lithuania, Russia, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and Israel to learn about Jewish diversity, culture, and history. Heidi’s interest and passion for social justice, inclusion, and diversity brought her to Temple Israel where she spent several years developing and implementing an education program for teens and their families. Heidi is married to Sully Tarshish and they are the proud parents of 4 adult children; Ethan (Julie), Benjie (Eugenia), Karinne (Dan), and Esther. Heidi is a very proud Baubie of wonderful twin grandsons, Oscar Sidney and Charlie Martin, as well as granddaughter, Avital Mori.  Heidi is excited and proud to be celebrating her fifth year at TTSP, including the Newman School.

Briana Lavintman, Elementary

Briana Cohen Lavintman is our kindergarten and first grade teacher. Briana is a passionate, talented and experienced teacher. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education from the University of Minnesota. As part of her education, she student taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools. She tutored Hebrew at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis and taught Hebrew and Judaica at Temple Israel. Briana is very enthusiastic. She enjoys music, art, cooking and has other many other interests which she is excited to share with her students. Briana is a Birthright Israel Fellow and has led several trips to Israel. She is very much looking forward to sharing her love of Israel with her students. Briana believes that education is a two way street and a shared process. As she teaches her students, she is also learning from them.

 

Dan Estey, Early Childhood 

Our lead Gan Katan teacher, Dan Estey, graduated from Bethel University (Arden Hills, MN) in 2000 and has been teaching within the Early Childhood field since. He has worked with all ages from toddlers to kindergarten. His background is in Montessori, Reggio, and Creative Curriculum. By combining different “styles” of teaching, he creates something original and unique.  Dan's passions include his family, friends, and teaching. He enjoys nature, camping, working on his house in South Minneapolis, and rock climbing.

Sara Lynn Newberger, Jewish Studies

Sara Lynn Newberger (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) remembers receiving her first chumash (volume of Torah) in 3rd grade – and thus was born a life-long love of studying Torah. Born in Chicago, she landed in St. Paul in 1989 where she came work at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. At TTSP has had many jobs. Her favorite is what she is doing now, exploring Jewish texts, customs, values and ideas with students. Sara Lynn is the director of TTSP’s Hineni: Adult Jewish Learning and Contemplative Practices. She believes passionately in the importance of Jewish learning and the impact it can have on people’s lives. When not working, Sara Lynn enjoys cooking, visiting with friends, singing, and being outdoors. Sara Lynn is married to Barbie Levine and is Savta to Ruby. Sara Lynn has recently begun to explore, both in her own learning and teaching, areas of Jewish mindfulness and spirituality. In addition to planning programs for Hineni, she is facilitating groups in Jewish Meditation, Torah and Mindfulness, Mussar/Middot, and Contemplative Chanting. She is teaching the Rhythms of Jewish Living course in the Melton core curriculum.

Lydia Schultz, Media Specialist

Dr. Schultz has wide-ranging experience in education.  She earned her BA from the University of Chicago and her PhD from the University of Minnesota in English and spent many years teaching traditional college students and adults.  In 2001, Dr. Schultz transitioned to TTSP to become the Librarian and has held various roles at TTSP and the Newman School--curriculum development, Media and Technology Specialist, and homeroom teacher.  This school year she will once again serve as a homeroom teacher for Kitah Gimel as well as continuing as the Media Specialist for all Newman School students. Dr. Schultz is married to Leonard Oppenheimer and has two sons, Daniel and Miles, both graduates of the TTSP Day School and Midrasha programs. She is also relishing in her new role as grandma to Eleanor, daughter of Daniel and Paige. Dr. Schultz enjoys reading, cooking, and walking, but most of all she loves being a life-long learner. She looks forward to sharing that love of learning with all of her students this year.  

Becky Carlson, Educational Assistant and After Care

Becky Carlson came to the Newman School 15 years ago as a volunteer in the Art Department. From there she was hired as a teacher in the Hugim (after school) program. Becky enjoyed teaching everything from art to basic carpentry. Several years ago, Becky became the after care coordinator as well as the Day School Educational Assistant. In 2014, she added teaching art and music for the Gan Katan class. In 2016, she also became a specialist teacher in art, music and P.E. for the Kindergarten. She is currently the art, music specialist for the Early Childhood class and the art, music and PE specialist for grades K and 3. Becky enjoys encouraging children to explore their creativity and promoting healthy free play. Becky loves to travel and she is an avid crafter and reader. She also loves kids! She has a BA from the University of Minnesota and has done graduate work in Human Development at St. Mary's University. She has completed the two year Melton program of Jewish learning and continues to participate in ongoing adult Jewish learning classes.

Margalit Rosenschein, Early Childhood Assistant Teacher

Originally from Israel, Margalit came to the United States in the second grade, along with her four siblings, when her father had a sabbatical year from the University of Jerusalem. During this time, Margalit attended the Talmud Torah of St. Paul (TTSP)! She fondly remembers her teachers and her experience. Margalit continued her education in Israel, at the Hartman Institute for Girls and Ankori High School. Margalit completed her Israeli National Service, at Na’mat Daycare, in Jerusalem and continued her work there, upon completion of her service.

Returning to the United States, Margalit attended Davidson County Community College, in an early childhood education program, in North Carolina where one of her sister’s resides with her family. After spending a few years out in the states Margalit returned to Israel where she worked in a Waldorf school, before deciding to return to the states.

As both of her parents are American, Margalit is bilingual. Margalit loves working with children and is excited to return to TTSP, bringing more Hebrew language into the classroom, as well as sharing Hebrew music and her love of Israel with the students.

 

Susan Cobin, Advisor

The foundation of Susan's education was laid in Illinois by her parents and grandparents and nurtured in the early 1960’s by her involvement in the Reform Jewish Youth Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Her formal education continued at Northwestern University where she received her BA in English and American Literature and History and a teaching certificate in secondary education. After teaching in Illinois, Boston, and the California Bay Area, she got an M.Ed. from Lesley College Graduate School in Cambridge, MA. After moving to Minnesota she taught in the public schools before coming to work at Talmud Torah in 1982. Susan has studied at Tufts University, Hamline University, University of Minnesota, and Hebrew University, and has been given extraordinary opportunities to learn with colleagues through faculty development opportunities in Jewish education.