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Hebrew School Staff 

Susan Finks

Susan looks forward to her new role as Interim Hebrew School Director and helping smooth the transition into the future. She has been an Arizona educator since 1995 and has worked on and off at Beth El since 2001. Susan holds two master's degrees from Arizona State University, one in Secondary Education and the other in Educational Administration (Principalship) and Supervision. Additionally, she has a Certificate of Jewish Studies earned from the Florence Melton Mini School program of Hebrew University. Susan has a wide variety of experience, from teaching infants to dual-enrollment college classes, from teaching mathematics and Judaics to administration. Susan started as a math teacher at Westview High School. Susan taught at the Beth El Preschool and later became the Assistant Preschool and Camp Director, then the Acting Preschool Director. She taught at the Beth El Hebrew School and created the Computer Learning Lab, implementing the weekly Hebrew curriculum. Susan taught math at Deer Valley Crossroads Alternative School and then Pardes Jewish Day School, where she also founded and taught in the Makerspace program. Susan’s husband Alan grew up in the preschool and the Hebrew School at Beth El. They have two sons who are fourth-generation Beth El members and a product of the Education Department at Beth El. Susan was active on the Beth El Board for four years as Vice President of Education, Secretary, and Programming Chair. She loves traveling, cooking, arts and crafts, hanging out with her family, and all things Lego. 

Wendy Adair

Wendy Adair has been at Beth El as assistant to the education director since 2005.  Wendy joined Beth El with her husband in 2004, and together they raised 5 children, all of whom are now adults.  Wendy has celebrated the B’Nai Mitzvahs of 4 grandchildren here at Beth El.  They have attended Beth El Preschool, and Hebrew School, and youth group at Beth El.  A 9th  grandson was born in August and is about to begin preschool here at Beth El. The community here at Beth El feels like my family, according to Wendy.  My grandchildren have had so many exciting experiences such as attending Camp Ramah in California, which has really enhanced their Jewish pride and identity.  Wendy is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, and attended Temple Beth Israel as a child.  Prior to coming to Beth El Congregation, Wendy worked as a Caseworker and Parole and Probation Officer, retiring in Eugene, Oregon, before moving back to Phoenix.  Wendy loves working for the Talmud Torah.  She enjoys all the students and their families.  Wendy will be celebrating her two 12-year-old grandchildren their B’nai Mitzvah on April 30, 2022.

Wendy Rozov

Wendy Rozov is thrilled to continue organizing and teaching adults at Beth El. She is a 20+ year resident of Phoenix, mother of 2 girls, savtah of 3 grandkids, and along with her husband of 35 years, a successful business owner in Phoenix.  She grew up in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Gratz College, Temple University, and Lehigh University.  In addition to her Beth El activities, she teaches youth and adult education in other religious and secular settings.  Her interests include poetry, Jewish themed comic books, travel, and cooking.  She loves all things Jewish (except maybe jarred gefilte fish) and is excited about bringing her passion to her classrooms.

Elijah Costales-Chevalier

Elijah is excited to begin this year as the Hebrew School 4th and 5th teacher. His formal Jewish education career began as Beth El's Bogrim (8th/9th grade) teacher last year. As Beth El's youth engagement coordinator he will facilitate USY, Kadima and Dorot events throughout the year. Elijah was born and raised in Phoenix and received a BsEd in Secondary Education - Biology from Northern Arizona University. Additionally, Elijah is Program Director at a local violence prevention non-profit organization. He has 3 years of experience providing in-home care to children with disabilities and has 13 years of experience teaching grades K-12. In his free time, Elijah enjoys being in nature, reading, praying, listening to music and spending time with his wife and 3 cats. 

Michele Gusdorff

We are fortunate to have Michele Gusdorff teaching in our Talmud Torah for 13 years.  Michele holds both a BA and MA from Temple University where she majored in Speech and Language Pathology.  She also holds a Hebrew Teacher’s Diploma from Gratz College. In addition to many years experience as a Speech Therapist in the Philadelphia School District, Michele taught in Philadelphia area religious schools and was an active volunteer and board member at synagogues.

Gail Offenhartz

Gail Offenhartz was born and raised in Michigan. She has a Master's degree in Education with Endorsements in Reading, Early Childhood Education and Structured English Immersion. Gail moved to Phoenix with her husband of 39 years, Marc, where they were members of Beth El and sent their children to Beth El Pre-School  and Solomon Shechter Day School. The family relocated to Tucson and raised their family before coming back to Phoenix in 2021. Gail is a lifelong educator who has worked in the Arizona Public School System for 35 years. During that time, she had many teaching roles including teaching kindergarten, first grade and K-6 Title 1 Reading Specialist, Reading Coach and Teacher Trainer. Gail was thrilled at the chance to return to Beth El Hebrew School and is looking forward to another great year with her students. Gail believes that Jewish education should be warm, fun and inspirational. She has developed lessons that explore the holidays, bible stories and the customs and traditions that make practicing Judaism such a meaningful experience. When not teaching, Gail runs "Grammy" camp for her grandson Julian and can't wait for his little brother to arrive in the next few weeks. She loves yoga, gardening, traveling and spending time with her family. Gail is excited for another great year at Beth El and can't wait to meet her students. 

Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyyar 5784