SARASOTA, FL – The Hershorin Schiff Community Day School – a Jewish day school that serves children of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade – has named veteran educator Barbara O’Brien as its new K-4 Interim Director. With more than three decades of teaching experience, O’Brien has been a teacher at Community Day School for 20 of those years. Prior to her promotion, she taught all second grade general subjects, such as language arts, math, science, and social studies, and fourth grade math.
As part of O’Brien’s new role, she will continue to actively oversee the second-grade team, guide the K-4 division, and work closely with Early Childhood Director, Tracy Bortz, to align the kindergarten and pre-K curriculum.
The move comes as the school continues to grow; its enrollment has more than tripled since 2015. With over 300 students currently enrolled for the 2023-2024 academic year, the school is seeking to grow its middle school program substantially over the next few years. The continued nurturing and strengthening of the K-4 program will be essential in assuring a vibrant pipeline to middle school.
“With her wealth of experience and dedication to our students and educational philosophy, Barbara is the perfect choice to lead our K-4 division,” said Head of School Dan Ceaser. “Barbara’s service at our school has been remarkable and made a huge impact on many young lives; I look forward to seeing that impact only grow in her new role.”
O’Brien earned her B.A. in Education with certifications in early childhood and elementary education from Stonehill College. During her tenure working in both private and public schools, she has acquired certifications in both Montessori and Reggio Emilia teaching methods and has held a number of leadership positions, guiding her to seek her Master of Education in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) from Brandeis University as a prestigious Legacy Heritage Fellow. The Teacher Leader Fellowship prepares participants to create change in their schools by improving teaching practices and fostering a collaborative culture that leads to greater student and educator learning.
“After 20 years teaching in the classroom at CDS, I am excited to embark on this new pathway,” O’Brien said. “I want to continue to help our diverse community grow in the pursuit of academic excellence while keeping with the tradition of the small school individuality. I am thrilled that I will continue to be able to share my love and commitment for the students, teachers, and families in our community.”
Community Day School’s unique educational model combines a global vision with religious and cultural diversity, project-based learning, small class sizes, service learning and community partnerships. Through hands-on, experiential and collaborative learning opportunities that value each child’s unique abilities and interests, children are encouraged and empowered to become critical thinkers and problem-solvers. They are also immersed in an environment where kindness, inclusiveness, and community service are modeled in an effort to develop future compassionate leaders who will create a better world.
For more about Community Day School, visit communityday.org.
About Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
The mission of Community Day School, which serves students in early childhood through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit communityday.org or call 941-552-2770.