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, graduated Beit HaMidrash at Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, attended 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, Benjie, Karinne and Esther. Ethan is married to Julie and they are the proud parents of her wonderful twin grandsons, Oscar Sidney and Charlie Martin. Karinne is married to Dan. Benjie is soon to be married to Eugenia.



Briana Lavintman, Gan (Kindergarten)

Briana Cohen Lavintman will be the Gan teacher beginning this fall. Briana is a 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 enjoys music, art, cooking and has other many other interests which she is excited to share with her students. She is a birthright fellow and has led several trips to Israel. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for Israel with her students. Briana believes that education is a two way street. As she teaches her students, she is also learning from them.




Dan Estey, Gan Katan (33 Months - Age 4) 

Dan graduated from Bethel University (Arden Hills, MN) in 2000 and has been teaching within the Early Childhood Education field since. He has worked with all ages from toddlers to Kindergarten. His background is in Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Creative Curriculum. By combining different “styles” of teaching he creates something that is original and unique for the children. Dan's passions in life are his family, friends, and teaching children. He enjoys nature, camping, going to the gym and rock climbing. (He also teaches others to climb!) Dan is excited to be a part of The Newman School family and is looking forward to getting to know the children and families.



Sara Lynn Newberger, Jewish Studies

Sara Lynn (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) moved to St. Paul in 1989 to work at the Newman School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. At Newman, Sara Lynn 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 Leraning 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.


Lydia Schultz, Media Specialist

Lydia Schultz (BA, U of Chicago; MA, John Carroll University; Ph.D., U of MN) is the Media Specialist for The Newman School. Dr. Schultz has always loved books and has enjoyed sharing them with Newman students (and their parents) since 2001. Dr. Schultz likes reading, cooking, walking, and doing yoga. She is the proud parent of two sons, both of whom graduated from the Day School and Midrasha programs here at TTSP.  





Becky Carlson, Educational Assistant and After Care

Becky came to The Newman School as a volunteer ten years ago. Her first experience at Newman was assisting Anita White with art classes. She was then hired to be a teacher in the after school program. From there she went on to assist in supervising the after school kids as well as continuing to teach after school classes in everything from Art to basic carpentry! She continues to care for kids in the after school program, assisting in classes, promoting fun and making nutritious snacks. Becky is a Minnesota native. She loves to travel and spends part of each summer in Big Sky Montana. Becky has a BA degree from the U of MN and has done graduate work at St. Mary’s University in Human Development. 


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.