Leadership and Administration


Rachel Happel

Director of K-12 Learning

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers



Rachel joined the Temple Beth Shalom team as the Director of Elementary Learning in September 2013, after having served as one of the key educational consultants in the development of the Mayim program for the three preceding years. In July of 2014, Rachel assumed the role of Director of K-12 Learning and oversees all aspects of our children's journey from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Rachel has over twenty years of experience in a variety of settings, working with children of all ages and their families to create rich, engaging, and dynamic learning experiences. Prior to joining TBS, Rachel worked for six years at Brandeis University as the Director of BIMA and Genesis, two immersive summer programs for Jewish high school students. From 2002-2007, Rachel worked at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she founded and directed their Havayah Program: a mixed-age, elective-based program for grades 8-12. Rachel received an MA in Jewish Communal Service and an MBA from Brandeis University, as well as a BA from Williams College. She lives in Natick with her husband and two daughters.


Sara Berk

Director of K-12 Inclusion and Associate Director of K-12 Learning

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers



All children can succeed when they are provided with the right tools and support, which is why I love working at Temple Beth Shalom! TBS is a place where curriculum and support are provided in a way that allows each child to be successful. 


As the Director of K-12 Inclusion and the Associate Director of K-12 Learning, I collaborate with Jewish Learning Guides (JLGs) and families to ensure that all children can successfully access the curriculum. I also work closely with the JLGs to tailor the curriculum for each group of learners. I provide training for the K-12 faculty in order to support all of the children and teens in the Mayim and Etzim learning programs and serve as the staff liaison to the Inclusion Task Force. Through this role, I provide training to TBS staff and lay leaders regarding inclusive practices for all congregants.


In addition, I represent TBS outside of the temple as a consultant and mentor for other synagogues who are learning to be more inclusive. I provide tools and resources for other temples to implement programs that meet the needs of all children. Prior to joining the team at TBS in 2013, I worked as a special educator in MA and NYC. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and have a Masters Degree in Special Education.

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Julia Zinn

Assistant Director of 8th-12th Grade and Special Programming

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


As an educator, I do my best to get to know each child and allow them to learn and grow in their own way. I believe in meeting children where they are and giving them the tools and support that they need to thrive. I am constantly impressed by the creativity and curiosity children share when presented with the proper environment and something to sparks their interest. I am incredibly passionate about Judaism, and it brings me immense joy to share that with my students and see them excited about being Jewish.

I first started working at TBS in November 2016, and am so thrilled to be able to continue my journey here. I grew up with a family of Jewish professionals in Worcester, MA and have a degree in Psychology and minors in Judaic Studies and Theater from the University of Delaware. I have spent the past 6 years working in Synagogues and Jewish Camps, focusing on Jewish Life, Education and General Programming. I currently live in Brighton and enjoy crafting, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends.

Jodi Fletcher

K-12 Logistics and Communications Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


I am very excited to be a part of the TBS Learning Program team! For several years, I have been on the other side of things - I am a TBS member and a parent of 2 current Mayim students. I am so grateful to be connected to such an amazing, inclusive learning community, and I continue to be impressed by the experiences that the TBS Learning Programs have provided our family. I grew up in Newton, and I am fortunate to have my extended family in the area... we've been able to gather for so many important milestones in my children's lives - including Consecration and name celebrations at TBS! I currently live in Needham with my husband (Jason) and our children (Lilly and Aaron). We all feel so lucky to be a part of the Needham and TBS communities!

TBS Learning Team


The Mayim leadership team also works in close partnership with our Director of Early Childhood Learning, Ellen Dietrick. This partnership ensures that TBS provides smooth transitions into and out of the K-5 experience. 



Involvement of TBS Clergy

Our clergy team is excited about the Mayim program and is involved in myriad ways in the children’s learning. Learn more about our clergy team here.