School Leadership


Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, Head of School

A thoughtful and inspirational leader and educator, Rabbi Jonathan Knapp has been the Principal and Head of School at Yavneh Academy since 2006. His visionary approach to Jewish education and his warm and welcoming manner enrich the Yavneh family. Rabbi Knapp previously served as assistant principal of Judaic studies at Yavneh, supervising all aspects of the Judaic studies program, working with the teachers on enhancing the curriculum and monitoring student growth. Before joining the Yavneh community, Rabbi Knapp served as the director of student activities and as director of student life at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, NJ. Rabbi Knapp graduated from Yeshiva University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and he holds a master’s degree from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. He has presented on contemporary topics in Jewish education and moderated at many conferences organized by PEJE, the Orthodox Union and Yeshiva University, among others.

[email protected] Ext. 328

Rachel Feldman, Executive Director

Mrs. Rachel Feldman joined the Yavneh Academy family as Executive Director during the summer of 2022. In addition to her enthusiasm and vision for Yavneh, Mrs. Feldman brings an extensive professional background and lifelong passion for Jewish education to her new role, having successfully and proudly served as executive director at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School from 2008-2022. Mrs Feldman’s responsibilities include partnering with the board of directors and the finance committee in developing the annual budget, overseeing the school finances, and management of our facility. She is also the contact person for tuition assistance and supervises the Yavneh Business Office. Mrs. Feldman holds a bachelor's degree in English Communications from Stern College for Women.

Rabbi Steven Penn, Associate Head of School, Lower School Principal

Rabbi Penn is responsible for supervising the Judaic studies department in grades 1-5. He oversees curriculum, develops and implements programs focusing on middot, chesed and chagim and leads the ever-popular lower grade “Erev Shabbat assemblies.” Rabbi Penn is always full of ruach, and he energizes students and teachers alike. Rabbi Penn spent his early career teaching talmud, mishnah and chumash in the Yavneh Academy middle school, and returned to Yavneh as assistant principal after serving as assistant headmaster at the Ramaz Lower School in Manhattan. Rabbi Penn also taught at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls. Rabbi Penn holds a master’s degree in Jewish education from the David J. Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yeshiva University.

[email protected] Ext. 333

Dr. Sarah Feit, Chief Academic Officer, Director of Special Services

Dr. Feit, a Yavneh alumna, has a multi-faceted role at Yavneh Academy. As head of our learning center and inclusion program, Dr. Feit manages, trains and provides guidance to the outstanding general  and  Judaic studies  learning center personnel. She has developed  and  implemented many new and exciting support and enrichment programs which serve to meet the needs of each learner in the school. In addition, Dr. Feit works with Bergen County Special Services to ensure outside services, including evaluations, speech therapy,occupational therapy and supplemental intervention. Dr. Feit utilizes  her superior skills and education and her exciting educational philosophy to enhance the Yavneh experience for students and parents alike. She holds a doctorate in education from Teacher’s College/Columbia University in the area of curriculum and teaching with a specialization in early literacy, three master’s degrees from Teacher’s College/Columbia University in the areas of special education, early childhood and reading and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

[email protected] Ext. 327

Judy Friedman, Assistant to the Principals

Ms. Judy lives and breathes Yavneh and has been a valued, warm, and receptive member of the Yavneh administrative team for many years. In her current position, Judy provides assistance and support to the head of school and assistant principals. She is also responsible for organizing and supervising field trips, arranging special assemblies, and overseeing bussing. Prior to taking on this role, Judy worked in Yavneh’s early childhood department for 14 years.

Dr. Aliza Frohlich, Director of Guidance, Middle School

Dr. Frohlich is an invaluable resource for our middle school students, parents and teachers. During adolescence, children are changing at a rapid pace, and Dr. Frohlich has developed a guidance program targeted to the specialized needs of the “tween” years. With her “open door” approach, she helps students learn to self-advocate, brainstorm solutions to their problems, and enhance their communication skills. Dr. Frohlich particularly enjoys her role in developing and supervising Yavneh’s unique advisory program—a proactive and interactive weekly social/emotional class which provides our students with life skills geared toward ensuring healthy, resilient adulthood. Dr. Frohlich has a doctorate in school and child clinical psychology from Yeshiva University's Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, a master’s degree and specialist’s certificate in school psychology from Queens College, a master’s degree in Jewish education from Yeshiva University's Azrieli Graduate Institute and a Judaic teaching certification from Michlala Jerusalem College for Women.

Roni Isaacson, Director of Guidance, Lower School

Roni Isaacson is devoted to enriching and enhancing the childhood experience for our students. Her expertise in child mental health positions her to oversee and nurture their social and emotional needs by fostering a warm, supportive and non-judgmental environment. Roni addresses the concerns of our students and families with a focus on individual strengths, self-awareness and problem-solving skills. Roni guides our students toward maximizing their potential both in and out of school. In her role, Roni works closely with the lower school team and students through ongoing consultation with our teachers, classroom observations, skill-building programs, in-class interventions and individual student support. Roni earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stern College and holds a master’s degree from New York University's Silver School of Social Work. As an alumna of Yavneh herself, Roni is thrilled to be part of the Yavneh family again.


Jason David, Director of Educational Technology and Curriculum Design

Mr. David oversees our technology department. He works with students and teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum and has implemented a digital literacy and citizenship program that focuses on safety and proficiency. Mr. David has developed our STEM Lab MakerSpace where students can explore their passions and become creative thinkers and builders. Before becoming Director of Technology and Innovation, Mr. David was the Director of Special Services in the Yavneh Middle School and has years of experience as a classroom teacher and learning specialist. Mr. David holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education and special education from Touro University. Mr David completed Prizma’s Leadership program and holds many educational technology certifications. 


Lori Ash, Early Childhood Director

Morah Lori Ash has been in Early Childhood Education for over 25 years. Lori believes that Early Childhood educators are extremely fortunate to be on the ground floor of a child’s emotional and academic future. The most powerful tool we can give our youngest learners is the power of play! Play in conjunction with developmentally appropriate academic goals helps to set children up to be critical thinkers, risk takers, scientists, mathematicians, orators, writers and good citizens of the world.  As the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote “Education means teaching a child to be curious, to wonder, to reflect, to enquire. The child who asks becomes a partner in the learning process, an active recipient. To ask is to grow.”  Lori believes in collaboration - among teachers and children and her greatest joy is spending time in the classroom with the children.  Lori began her career as an Early Childhood classroom teacher and then spent 13 years as the Early Childhood Director of the Ramaz School in Manhattan. Lori taught a Methodology of Early Childhood Education at Touro College. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.

[email protected] Ext. 316

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Ross, Assistant Principal, Middle School

Rabbi Dr. Ross oversees our middle school Judaic studies department. During his time at Yavneh Academy, he has taught classes in gemara, mishna, chumash, halacha, and tefilla, and served for five years as the coordinator of our middle school Judaic studies curriculum. Rabbi Dr. Ross has been a driving force in helping to expand our use of alternative forms of student assessment, and he works closely with faculty to integrate technology into their lessons and assignments. He is a visionary in utilizing technology within the Judaic studies department, and he engages and captivates Yavneh’s students and faculty. Rabbi Dr. Ross holds a doctorate degree from Yeshiva University's Azrieli Graduate School, a master’s degree in rabbinic literature from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Barbara Rubin, Principal, Middle School

Mrs. Rubin works closely with our general studies teachers to develop curriculum and dynamic programming for grades 3-8. She has a deep respect for children and encourages them to maximize their strengths while exploring their interests and talents. Together with a professional and astute faculty, Mrs. Rubin has introduced and implemented many new initiatives in our school including the Debate Team, E2K, and Our Living Legacy. Before coming to Yavneh Academy in 2007, Mrs. Rubin worked at Magen David Yeshivah in Brooklyn for 18 years, initially teaching middle school students and then serving as the Assistant Principal for grades 5 - 8. Mrs. Rubin holds a master's degree of education in curriculum, supervision and planning, and a bachelor's degree in language arts and education from the City College of New York.


Alison Landa, Assistant Principal, General Studies, Lower School

Mrs. Landa works with our outstanding and dedicated lower school general studies department in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and student engagement.  She enjoys planning with teachers and ensuring that students are appropriately challenged to build skills in all areas of learning. Mrs. Landa has served in many roles at Yavneh, including grade level teacher, literacy coach, curriculum coach, inclusion specialist, and technology integration specialist. Before coming to Yavneh, she was an educator in schools for students with diverse learning needs, and also worked for the CDC at the University of Pennsylvania, conducting and publishing research on children and families. Mrs. Landa brings her experience and passion for authentic, differentiated learning opportunities to every forum. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and educational studies from Haverford College, a master’s degree in early childhood education and special education from New York University, and advanced training in literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, she completed Prizmah’s leadership program, YouLead. Mrs. Landa is trained in Responsive Classroom and Yale’s Ruler Institute for structured SEL training to inform all areas of teaching and learning at Yavneh.

[email protected] Ext. 334