CESJDS Staff Spotlight

CESJDS has top-notch educators! Learn more about the talented and passionate faculty and staff at CESJDS.

Ryan Aqui, Director of Information Technology

Ryan Aqui, Director of Information Technology, grew up in Takoma Park, MD. Ryan attended Catholic school and became active in the church community, serving as an alter boy and participated in the church choir. After switching to public school for middle and high School, Ryan graduated and pursued accounting in college. Initially, he felt that accounting was a good fit due to his love of numbers but he found the coursework uninspiring.

After performing paralegal-related work at a law firm, Ryan would ultimately realize his current path after taking a Microsoft certification computer course at a local technology school. “I like IT because I am a problem solver,” he said. “I like to be faced with problems. Then, I like to research, investigate, and solve.”

Ryan secured a role as a contractor at the Securities & Exchange Commission where he began as a Tier 1 help desk technician. Through changing contracts, the SEC requested to retain him each time, and he would become a Tier 3 Technician prior the end of his tenure there.

Before ultimately coming to JDS, Ryan would hold one more position as an IT Technician at another small firm. He would then begin work with Dataprise in 2011, the company JDS once contracted with for our in-house IT department staff.

Ryan first came to work with JDS as the back-up help desk technician, the person who Dataprise would call if the usual technician called out or was at another site. After working very successfully at the School part-time it was requested that he become our full time help desk technician. Ryan worked at JDS by way of Dataprise for 7 years, supporting the School’s IT infrastructure, and managing help desk concerns for faculty, staff, students, and parents. Ultimately, Ryan’s position was brought in-house in 2019. Shortly after, the Director of IT position became available, Ryan who stepped up to the role, first as the Acting Director, then Director 6 months later.

Being a part of the JDS community and having strong IT staff around him is a professional highlight for Ryan. “From day one, I was welcomed with open arms,” he said. “Everyone here is supportive, collaborative, and extremely appreciative of the work my team and I do.”

In his position as the Director of IT, Ryan aims to take a new approach. “I am still a help desk technician heart, I will always like helping solve problems for people at the base level,” he said. “In my new position, I look at the big picture for the School, but I will never leave the technical side of IT. It helps me make sure I know everything that is going on with my department. ”Being resolution oriented, Ryan feels that he thrives in the complex IT environment at the School. “I like finding those resolutions; bringing joy to others brings joy to me,” he said. “What other job can you get a standing ovation from a room full of 8 year-olds for fixing their connection issues. Appreciation is the reward I get for working hard.”

Outside of school, Ryan enjoys spending time with his sons, Tyree (20), and Caleb (8), and his wife, Yvette. “I am really just a Dad,” he said. “That’s my main pastime. I want to make sure everything is running well. When work becomes chaotic, I find peace in spending time with my family at home.” Ryan is an avid sports fan, and ensures his sons stay active. He is also a former motorcycle enthusiast and hopes to rekindle that hobby soon.

Mickey Rubin, Middle School Tanakh and Z’man Kodesh Teacher

Mickey Rubin, Middle School Tanakh and Z’man Kodesh Teacher, was born in Annapolis, MD. Mickey grew up a Jewish day school student himself, attending Alef Bet Jewish Day School then Beth T’Filoh in Baltimore. He then attended Towson University where he chased his childhood dream of working in professional baseball by majoring in Sports Management.
 
During his time at Towson University Mickey was a member of the club baseball team, the Sports Management Association and also became very involved with Jewish Life on campus. A majority of his free time was spent working with Hillel, where he held several leadership positions.
 
It was not until halfway through his senior year that Mickey began thinking about a career in the non-profit Jewish sector. After having interned with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of his junior year, Mickey realized that he wanted a career where he felt more personal fulfillment. This led him to his first job as a litigation clerk at a DC law firm.
 
After a stint at the law firm, Mickey reached out to his contacts at Towson Hillel and began exploring the idea of becoming involved professionally in the non-profit Jewish sector. This prompted him to enroll in the Jewish Education Masters program at the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson. During this time he taught Hebrew, worked as a personal trainer at the local JCC, helped found the Moishe House in Baltimore where he was a resident, and took up a full time position at Towson Hillel at the Director of Engagement.
 
After graduation, Mickey took a role with the Bolton Street Synagogue in Baltimore as the Director of Education and Engagement. During his two years with the synagogue, Mickey ran the Hebrew school where he redesigned and refreshed curriculum, and worked to drive up membership and create family programming.
 
Due to the lasting connections he made at Moishe House, Mickey was next offered a full-time position as its East Senior Regional Director. Through this position, Mickey was able to travel often to visit, oversee, and connect Moishe Houses throughout the Eastern Region.
 
“I realized quickly that I missed being on the education side,” Mickey said. “My true passion is Jewish Education so I looked for an opportunity and found one at JDS.” Mickey has been with JDS since 2017, serving in many capacities in the classroom and beyond.
 
Above all, Mickey enjoys sharing and discussing the texts with students during their formative years. “Being a pluralistic institution, Tanakh and Jewish Text is going to mean something different to everybody,” Mickey said. “I feel my position is to help middle school students to begin looking at the text in a deeper way and show them that the text is important not just because it makes for great stories and life lessons, but because they form the foundation for our people.” Mickey ensures that his students don’t just think about the texts in a superficial way, but to think critically about what they say about the Jewish people, and how we can apply the values and lessons in everyday life.
 
Mickey enjoys helping his students transition from the Lower School, through a deeper dive into Jewish Text in middle school, and onto further dissection in high school.  “I have experience teaching a lot of age groups and now I can’t imagine myself teaching anyone but middle schoolers,” he said. “Middle schoolers are awesome, so full of energy, they are learning about themselves, and their humor matches mine perfectly. I love getting to see their growth, maturity, and interest in Jewish Texts become deeper.”
 
Finding and building strong Jewish communities has been a huge part of Mickey’s life thus far and he feels he truly found his home at JDS. “This is the best community where I have ever worked,” he said. “It is a climate of support, of love, it has a value of diversity in Jewish practice and viewpoints, and our families are dedicated not only to the success of their own student but the entire school.”
 
Working with his fellow teachers and staff is also a JDS highlight for Mickey. “My colleagues are second to none,” he said. “These are people who are there for you, professionally and personally. We can joke together and have great times and also feel completely supported in our roles with the students.”
 
Outside of school, Mickey’s main goal outside of school is to spend as much time with his wife, Rona, and three-year-old son, Ethan, as possible. He continues to work as a personal trainer, sometimes holding virtual sessions since the beginning of the pandemic. Another passion he has is for economics, and can often be found checking his portfolio and teaching himself more about the industry. Mickey is also a huge baseball fan (“Baltimore Orioles, of course”), an avid non-fiction reader, and now has taken up skateboarding.

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