Inviting Leaders into a Culture of Inquiry with Jewish Content at the Core

By Kathy Simon Ph.D. and Miriam Raider-Roth Ed.D.

Jewish content at the core

Learning rooted in collaborative inquiry

Teachers learn and learners teach

There is moral meaning in the work we do

Leading for growth and leading for change

These are five of eight principles that guide the content of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI), now in its 23rd year.

Forty Jewish educational leaders, nine faculty members, six four-day gatherings, two years. Practicing havruta text study, investigating teaching and learning practices in small and large groups, learning skills of communication and relational learning for leaders – MTEI supports talented educational leaders to bring teacher learning to a new level at their schools.

Now serving its 8th national cohort of educational leaders from around the country, MTEI emerged out of a trio of insights: exciting, rich Jewish content belongs at the core of Jewish schools; on-going, authentic, inquiry into teaching practices helps teachers improve their practice; and Jewish educational leaders need the skills of transforming school cultures into ones that are rich in inquiry and Jewish content.

MTEI participants gather from diverse regions of the US and Canada. They are leaders from the range of Jewish denominations, working in congregational schools, day schools, community agencies, and other innovative educational programs.

The MTEI faculty brings together deep expertise from the world of Jewish studies and educational studies. Barry Holtz and Elie Holzer take lead roles in putting together a remarkable corpus of traditional Jewish texts with teaching and learning as their theme, bringing rich new resources to all MTEI participants, rabbis and text-neophytes alike. Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Seymour Kopelowitz, Jennifer Lewis, Jeff Stanzler, and Kathy Simon bring expertise from the worlds of educational leadership and teacher professional development. Participants work together to weave together deeply-rooted Jewish cultural knowledge of teaching and learning with contemporary professional development practices.

In 2017 Miriam Raider-Roth became the director of MTEI. Raider-Roth, professor of educational studies at the University of Cincinnati and founding co-director of the UC Center for Studies in Jewish Education and Culture, is delighted to be leading the program. She is the author of the recent book Professional Development in Relational Learning Communities: Teachers in Connection (2017, Teachers College Press).

We are excited to share that Gail Dorph, founding director of the program, now serves as the director of MTEI’s graduate network, a rich source of on-going learning and colleagueship among the hundreds of MTEI graduates still working in the field. In the new position of Network Weaver, Mindy Gold is helping to bring the best of online professional development resources to the MTEI graduates and current cohort members.

MTEI is pleased to announced that recruitment for Cohort 9 has begun and applications are available at http://www.mtei-learning.org. Cohort 9 will begin November 2019. If you have questions about the program, please contact a member of our recruitment team: Gail Dorph (gaildorph@gmail.com) and Sue Bojdak (smbojdak@gmail.com).

MTEI is a program generously supported by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.