Pollin accepts new role at Maimonides
By Deborah Moon
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Sharon Pollin, who has experience as a director in three Jewish education programs, has accepted the post as educational director at Maimonides Jewish Day School, a job to which she was attracted by the “perk” of being able to continue teaching part-time.
“The perk to the job is I get to stay teaching TK part time,” she said. “Being with the children every day is the joy. I also think being an administrator full time can become very theoretical and it improves my abilities as a teacher and an administrator when I’m able to turn the administrative theory into the practice of the classroom.”
Pollin will be the educational director for the elementary program at Maimonides as well as for the school’s Aleph Bet Preschool. Devora Wilhelm will remain the director of the school. As of July 1, Maimonides will be a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. The school also recently launched a drive to obtain accreditation for its elementary program.
In her new role, which begins Aug. 1, Pollin said she will work with the general studies teachers on curriculum and work with all the teachers on teaching practices and pedagogy.
Pollin began teaching transitional kindergarten at Maimonides last year. She said she realizes that due to her experience over the years she has acquired a lot of skills that are valuable to a school community. Still, she said she returned to education because, “I needed to get back in the classroom. That is the core piece of being an educator that is nourishing to me.”
“The same thing happened at PJA (Portland Jewish Academy),” she said. “I came in and wanted a little job. When I left PJA, I was the director of Jewish studies, assistant principal and director of ECLC (Early Childhood Learning Center). I had very little time with the children.”
Pollin was director of education at Congregation Shaarie Torah for eight years. She also was director of (the now defunct) Circle of Life daycare center the year it became a JFGP constituent agency.
She said that experience, in addition to her experience at PJA as they acquired accreditation from the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools, will aid Maimonides as it begins both of those journeys.
“Maimonides is beginning an accreditation process and I’m thrilled to be part of the process of self-reflection and professional growth,” she said.
Staff at the school is pleased with the addition of Pollin to the administrative staff.
“She is a tremendous addition to our staff,” said Wilhelm, who has headed the school since its creation about 20 years ago. “As we become a federation agency, she will help us move the school to the bright horizons that await us.”
“I think Sharon brings a lot of knowledge and skills in administration and in development of students’ academic, social and emotional needs,” said education consultant Sylvia DePue, who has worked at the school with literacy and education coaching for the past year. “She knows the community well and the needs of the community.”
DePue, who created a school for the deaf in Longview, Wash., and has worked for Portland Public Schools and Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, said hiring Pollin for the new post is representative of the school’s focus on bringing in expertise in different areas to enhance the education.
Though not Jewish, DePue said she believes the school serves an important place in the community in maintaining the culture, history and language of the Jewish people and keeping it alive and vital. She said she is also impressed by the sense of community at the school and the school’s emphasis on the individual child, which she said she believes Pollin will enhance.
Pollin shares DePue’s perspective on the school’s strengths in supporting the individual while creating a strong sense of community.
“Maimonides has a reputation as a loving, supportive school that provides an excellent foundation of learning and Judaism for its students,” said Pollin. “As an agency that has just acquired constituent status, it is poised to grow to the next level of excellence.”
Maimonides is accepting enrollment for the 2008-09 school year in its preschool and elementary programs. For more information, call 503-977-7850.