Board of Directors
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors.
The responsibilities of the Board include strategic planning, financial oversight, and formulation of school policies, which are implemented by the staff. The board is composed of parents and community members, reflecting diverse expertise, resources, and perspectives.
Ronit Alcheck Bodner President
Valerie Porush Hoffman Vice President
Wendy Allyn Treasurer
Boris Glants Secretary
Isaac Kontorovsky Member-at-large
Anessa Farber Member-at-large
- Wendy Allyn
- Briana Balaban
- Tova Birnbaum
- Ronit Alcheck Bodner
- Yoram Cedar
- Luanne Dauber
- Craig Factor
- Anessa Farber
- Jennifer Foster
- Boris Glants
- Valerie Porush Hoffman
- Stacey Kertsman
- Isaac Kontorovsky
- Susan Packer
- Reina Mizuno Rampell
- Nicole Rubin
- Susan Saal
- Ron Sandel
- Eric Stein
- Karen Strobel
Treasurer, Executive Committee
Wendy Allyn started her public service in education when she served as the student representative to the California State Board of Education during her senior year in high school. She then attended Harvard University where she graduated with honors in Social Studies after writing a thesis on the subject of the Politicization of Bilingual Education in California. After several years working in a successful Boston start-up, she returned to California with her husband and later attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where she received an MBA. Wendy spent 15 years at Hewlett Packard in Finance, covering a multitude of management roles and businesses.
Since then, Wendy has been extremely active at Hausner, serving in numerous roles including Parent Kesher Co-Chair, Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, and Board President. She participated in multiple board committees including Development, L’Dor Vador, HOS Support and Evaluation, HOS Search, and Governance. She is currently Treasurer on Congregation Kol Emeth’s Board and served the past two years as VP of the Los Altos High School PTSA. Both of her daughters thrived at Hausner where they attended starting in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. When not volunteering, Wendy relishes time watching her daughters’ play sports, walking her two Bernese Mountain Dogs, and experimenting with new recipes.
Briana Balaban (Hausner ‘07) grew up in and currently lives in Los Gatos. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin, she has grown her career at Gap Inc. She currently oversees Digital Marketing (Personalization and Growth) for Athleta. She is excited to help grow the Jewish community in the Bay Area and ensure that the Jewish experience that she had growing up is available to others. Briana has been a wonderful contributor to the Development Committee this year, with a specific focus on increasing alumni engagement.
Tova Birnbaum is the Director of Jewish Content at the Oshman Family JCC. She was born in B'nai B'rak in an Ultra-Orthodox home and was one of the founders of the BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv. Tova is also a faculty member of the Mandel Educational Leadership Program and a Senior Jewish Education Specialist at JCC Association. She has previously served as the Central Shlicha (emissary), Director of the North America Region of the World Zionist Organization. Tova is a Judaic studies teacher, Theater Midrash workshop facilitator, and a secular Jewish life cycle ceremonies officiant. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and Jewish philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master's degree in theater from Tel Aviv University. She and her husband, Yishay, are the proud parents of Arya, a Hausner first grade student, and baby Talya.
President, Executive Committee
Before joining Hausner’s Board of Directors in 2017, Ronit served on the L’Dor VaDor Campus Expansion Committee, as well as the Risk Management Committee. Since 2005, Ronit has been involved in real estate management and development. She is a principal and the General Counsel of Alcheck Properties, a real estate investment and development company with residential, commercial and industrial properties throughout California. Before that, she was in-house legal counsel at Intel and prior to that a litigation associate at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP. Ronit earned her law degree from UCLA School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She has been involved with numerous Jewish organizations throughout the Bay Area and was an early member and board member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She also serves as a Commissioner on the Los Altos Planning & Transportation Commission.
A daughter of Israelis, Ronit was born and raised in Los Altos where she and her husband, Zack Bodner, currently live with their three children, Hausner graduates Talia and Elie, and current Hausner student, Orly.
Yoram Cedar has more than 35 years experience in managing organizations that develop advanced technologies and products that create new markets while disrupting mature markets. While at SanDisk Corporation, he held the position of Executive VP and CTO responsible for innovating and developing Flash memory technologies and products. His career has involved leading teams in the US, Israel, Japan, India, China and the UK that are innovative, adaptive, collaborative and execution-oriented, as well as skilled at thinking outside of the box, taking calculated risks and being dedicated to the mission.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Yoram was born in Haifa. He served as a combat officer in the IDF and participated in the Yom Kippur and Lebanon wars. Yoram holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion in Haifa. He also holds an Executive MBA from Stanford and was granted over 30 patents. Yoram and his wife, Zahava, live in Los Altos and are members of Congregation Bet Ha’am. They support medical and educational institutions and are members of the American Technion Society (ATS) and American Friends of Rambam (AFORAM). Yoram also joined the Z3 efforts at the OFJCC and is very excited about its potential. Yoram and Zahava have three sons, Omer, Eran and Oded, as well as five grandchildren, Eli, Sam, Abby, Naama and Itai. Eli and Sam are students at Hausner.
Luanne Dauber is a retired executive with twenty years of experience in marketing, product management and marketing, and leadership. She served as VP of Marketing at Pure Storage, CMO at Confluent and Senior Director of Product Marketing and Product Planning at Altera. She holds a BS in Business Administration from San Jose State University.
Luanne is the mother of two Hausner students, Daphne in second grade, and Drake in fourth grade. Luanne has generously shared her marketing expertise this year with Hausner through her service on the Marketing Task Force.
Member-at-large, Executive Committee
Anessa Farber is currently the Fiscal and Administrative Officer for San Mateo County Health Department's Public Health, Policy and Planning and Emergency Medical Services Divisions. She has worked in the County of San Mateo for fifteen years in multiple roles, including analyzing the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Mental Health Services, helping the County Manager start the Community Corrections Partnership to implement Public Safety Realignment and implementing multiple child welfare program and process improvements for Juvenile Probation. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia University with a BA in Latin American Studies and Political Science and returned four years later to obtain a Masters of Social Work, specializing in Program Evaluation and Program Planning. Anessa and her husband George are the proud parents of one Hausner graduate and two current students - Raya (7th), and Nathan (2)--and long standing members of the community, having both graduated from Gunn High School. All of the kids' grandparents and great-grandparents live within a five mile radius! When not working, parenting or spending time with kids and friends on Hausner campus, Anessa loves to go to theater and concerts, travel, and listen to audiobooks.
For more than two decades, Jennifer has been a teacher and tutor at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto. While almost all Eastside students are first-generation in their families to attend college, over 99% of Eastside's graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities.
Jennifer has twin boys who attend Hausner (currently in the 8th grade). Jennifer has served on the Hausner Development Committee for several years and been an active volunteer in the Hausner community since her children joined the school, from organizing the school Hanukkah party to co-chairing the Hausner Book Fair. Jennifer's family are members of Kol Emeth. They enjoy travel, hiking, and visiting family in Vermont, where Jennifer grew up.
Prior to joining Eastside, Jennifer was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, where her research focused on modern Zulu praise poetry, Izibongo. She graduated from Yale University with a double major in Literature and African Studies and taught Art to students in New Haven, CT as part of the LEAP program.
Secretary, Executive Committee
Boris is a founder of TurnKey, a service that helps investors and their companies build out their own product teams outside of the US. Prior to TurnKey, Boris was the co-founder and CTO of Tonic Health (sold to R1 NASDAQ:RCM), a patient intake management platform used by the leading health systems in the US and tens of millions of patients annually.
Prior to Tonic, Boris founded ClyTel, a tech-enabled platform to assist in planning around customer management and retention; Boris also served as the CEO of Sibyl Vision, a full service IT consulting company.
Boris holds a BA degree in Computer Science from Brandeis University and MFA degree from California College of the Arts. Boris has served on the finance and development committees in 2020-21 and has volunteered with JFCS San Francisco over the past twelve years.
Vice President, Executive Committee
From the moment her daughters entered school, Valerie became involved in the Hausner volunteer community, serving on both the Development Committee and the Purim Carnival Committee - bringing with her more than twenty years of nonprofit experience and an inherent love for Jewish community. Valerie’s passion stems from her upbringing in Upstate NY, where she and her family were entrenched as volunteers and leaders in local Jewish communal institutions, and from her deep sense of pride for her family’s history and dedication to tradition. As a teenager and young adult, Valerie lived in Israel where she fell in love with the country and the people, further solidifying her commitment to Jewish community.
Valerie built her professional life from this passion and most recently founded her own firm -redVERED Nonprofit Strategies and Solutions – providing Jewish nonprofits expertise in strategic planning, resource development, programing and events, and organizational capacity building. Among other projects, she directed a $23 million capital campaign for Chabad NP | Chai Preschool and partnered with the Oshman Family JCC to produce the content and logistics for the Zionism 3.0 (Z3) Conference. Previously, Valerie was the West Coast Vice President of the Shalom Hartman Institute and led the Pacific Northwest Region for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – as its Regional Deputy Director and Interim Regional Director. Valerie has also managed to merge her commitment to Jewish values with another passion of hers, travel and adventure, by receiving fellowships from American Jewish World Service (AJWS) with which she spent a summer in rural Zimbabwe and a year in Mumbai, India serving local NGOs. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California; graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies; and studied at Tel Aviv University and University of Haifa.
Valerie and her husband Zack are the proud parents of their four spunky and precocious daughters: Siona (First Grade), Perri (Kindergarten), Edyn (Kindergarten) and Noa (future Hausner student).
Stacey’s life-long commitment to fostering equitable and socially just learning environments crosses decades and continents. Most recently, she launched and shepherded the growth of Castilleja School’s Center for Awareness, Compassion, and Engagement, along with serving as the school’s first Dean of Equity Education and Social Impact in Palo Alto, CA.
Stacey’s years as a classroom teacher, school administrator, non-profit founder/leader, and mother inform her belief that experiential learning optimizes the development of social and emotional skills in students and supports their development in becoming social change agents. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in English and sociology, and a graduate degree in Social and Cultural Studies in Education. She began her independent school career in the K-8 environment, working as a teacher and administrator. In 2008 Stacey co-founded eduWeavers, a non-profit dedicated to partnering schools in the United States and South Africa around the concept of reciprocal learning. In 2010 she was awarded the title “Teacher of the Future” by the National Association of Independent Schools for her focus on the use of technology and emphasis on global education in the classroom to create an innovative platform for teaching 21st century skills. She currently serves as an advisory board member to the America India Foundation and Roshni Academy and has served on the Board of Directors of the Mariposa Foundation. Each of these organizations shares a commitment to creating more equitable access to educational opportunities in their respective communities.
She is the mother of two daughters and raised them as she was raised: lead with curiosity, strive for empathy, decide with compassion, avoid being a bystander, and hold true to your Jewish identity in ways that ring true to you and maintain the culture and traditions that bring a sense of stability, joy, and strength to your life and those of others around you.
Member-at-large, Executive Committee
Isaac Kontorovsky is a Principal at BKF Engineers, a leading civil engineering, land surveying, and land planning firm delivering “inspired infrastructure” projects since 1915 throughout California. As a member of the executive leadership group at BKF, Isaac has been involved in some of the most iconic and challenging private and public developments in the region including academic, hospitality, mixed-use residential, and commercial projects. Recently, he was directly involved in the firm’s strategic plan, leading one of the committees generating initiatives for growth, diversity, and expansion. As a strong advocate of sustainable and environmentally responsible design, you will often find Isaac at nearby university campuses as a speaker on the topic of Innovation and Sustainability. You might also find him at Hausner speaking and engaging the much younger generation about creative building practices.
Upon relocating from Venezuela where he obtained is B.S. in Civil Engineering, and since putting down roots in Silicon Valley, Isaac has been an active member of the community. He currently serves as chair of Hausner’s Risk Management Committee. Isaac lives in Palo Alto with his wife Miliarist and their two daughters, Miri and Meirav, current students at Hausner.
Susan Packer has spent her career in both the corporate and non-profit sector, with roots in education (former elementary/middle school teacher) and extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a marketing professional. Susan is the former North Pacific Director for the American Technion Society, supporting the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, where she was responsible for fundraising, alumni relations and major gifts. Susan earned a degree in Biology from Mills College and has a passion for all things science and volunteers in canine search and rescue. Susan and her husband Shlomi Krepner, are parents to three children, including a Hausner graduate and a current third grader.
Nicole Rubin has dedicated her career to the nonprofit and health care sectors. She currently works as a consultant to Ronald McDonald House Charities Global based in Chicago, IL.
Rubin served for six years as chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Southern California, the largest chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities nationally. Prior to joining Ronald McDonald House Charities, Rubin was Executive Director of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. She also served as Assistant Vice President of Planning, Marketing and Corporate Communications for Methodist Health Care System in Houston, Texas, and worked in the San Francisco office of The Lewin Group, a health care policy and management consulting firm. Rubin was an administrative fellow at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, upon completing graduate school.
Rubin has a Master of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 2013, the School of Public Health awarded her the John H. Romani Award for outstanding leadership in public health. She graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Rubin is completing her term on the Board of Directors of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center where she served as Chair. At the OFJCC, she also served as Treasurer, chaired the Nominating Committee and Chaired the Racial Justice Task Force. In addition, she served for six years as a trustee at Menlo School. She spent four years in the role of Vice Chair and also served as one of three co-chairs of the Menlo 100 campaign. She is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Economics Advisory Board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Rubin was born in Nashville, TN and grew up in Charleston, SC. She enjoys hiking, Pilates, reading, travel and spending time with her dog Cookie, two children, Naomi and Ben (who are now in college), and her husband, Amir Dan Rubin.
Susan Steiner Saal is a strategy consultant, change management professional and community leader who partners directly with senior stakeholders to advance their vision by aligning strategic goals, organizational competencies and stakeholder needs. Specializing in for-profit and non-profit leadership, Susan cultivates connected relationships to build and energize mission-driven opportunities. Susan founded SilverRide, LLC, a transportation and concierge service to enable seniors to have a connected, dignified and independent lifestyle after their “driving retirement”. At Deloitte Consulting, Susan managed strategy, marketing and operations projects in the Consumer Packaged Goods and Healthcare industries. Susan currently sits on the boards of directors for both the JCC Association of North America and the Jewish Community Federation of the Bay Area and is a leader on the Bay Area Wexner Alumni Leadership Council. As a former chair of the board of the Oshman Family JCC and a member of Congregation Kol Emeth, our local Jewish Community is very important to her. Susan and her husband Nate have an 8th grader (Jared) and 6th grader (Dalia) at GHJDS. Susan is deeply grateful for the experience her family has had at the school and is honored to join the board of directors.
Ron Sandel is a business executive and an active member of the Bay Area Jewish community. He is currently VP of Growth and Operations at Chegg, an education technology company focused on improving learning outcomes for High School and College students. Previously, he spent five years at Yahoo, where he led strategic operations in the Office of the CEO. Ron earned a BA in Economics from Brandeis University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is an involved father of four, three of whom currently attend Hausner.
Eric Stein is a high-tech entrepreneur who has developed an extensive career in the internet industry, specializing in building new businesses. Eric is the Executive Vice President and General Manager at Branch Metrics, a deep linking and business analytics platform in Silicon Valley. Previously, he served as the Executive Vice President of Online Solutions for Epsilon. While at Google, Eric served as Director of Local Markets and Director of Double Click. His professional background includes past experience as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Bessemer Ventures of New York. He co-founded Majestic Research, a data-driven investment research fund that was sold to ITG in 2008. He received his BA in European History and Italian from the University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA in General Management from Harvard Business School.
President of AFHU’s Pacific Northwest Region since 2007, Eric has actively helped to develop public awareness of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and to expand its network of American Friends, particularly among younger generations. Eric also supports LifeMoves, the FIDF, the JCC and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco Marin Peninsula and Sonoma Counties. Eric and his wife, Rebecca, live in Palo Alto and have three children attending Hausner – Sarah, Julianna, and Daniel. Eric coached all three of his children’s soccer teams and enjoys biking, playing tennis and deep-sea fishing when he can find the time.
Immediate Past President, Executive Committee
Karen Strobel has spent her career researching settings that promote and support adolescents' intellectual, social and emotional development. She has worked with schools, after school programs and university researchers to capture the qualities of young leaders, engaged learners and collaborative problem solvers. Currently, Karen is the Director of Institutional Research at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. Prior to her time at Castilleja, Karen was a senior researcher at the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford where she led research projects designed in partnership with teachers and community leaders.
Karen received her BA from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Child and Adolescent Development from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Karen lives in Palo Alto with her husband Jon Bernstein, and their sons, Gabriel, a Hausner seventh grader, and Daniel, a Hausner graduate.