Shira Brown, Lower School Enrichment Specialist, is in her 9th year at JDS. Prior to this year, she taught 4th Grade General Studies (GS), and in fact, her first class of 4th graders just graduated as members of the Class of 2019!
Her plan while attending American University was to become a rabbi. She majored in Jewish Studies, while also teaching part-time at Temple Micah in DC. She developed a passion for teaching, and changed her major to Elementary Education, with a minor in Jewish Studies.
Shira's first role out of college took her to the Montgomery County Public School system, where she taught 5th grade at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda. She gained invaluable experience in the county, though was missing the Jewish piece, which had been so tightly knit into her life between camp, youth groups, teaching Hebrew School, and her major.
She was accepted into the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University, where she obtained a Master's Degree in Jewish Leadership, and a MBA in Nonprofit Business Management. With an eye on a career in Jewish camping, she interned at Pinemere camp, which developed into a full-time position (very appropriate as she spent 14 years as a camper and staffer at URJ Eisner Camp in Massachusetts!), though felt she wanted something bigger.
Shira returned to her teaching roots, landed in the 4th Grade GS role at JDS, and hasn't looked back since. "I love the small class sizes, which give me the ability to truly get to know the students, and the community is unlike any other," she says.
Her role change from a classroom teacher to a specialist was an adjustment, but it gives her the opportunity to work with more students. "I know the entire 4th grade so well, whereas in the past, it was just my class. It is also nice to work with multiple grades and see the curriculum spiral."
Shira loves the School's philosophy on enrichment, as it is a push-in, rather than a pull-out environment. "We are doing investigations in math and asking more thought provoking questions. It is a value-add to enrich the whole classroom environment," she says.
In her free time, she watches professional tennis (EVERY tournament), is a big fan of Broadway musicals (especially Hamilton and Les Miserables), and participates in poker tournaments. During the summer, she runs the Leaders in Training program, a bridge program between camper and staff, at Capital Camps in Waynesboro, PA.