At The Newman School, we are blessed with an amazing faculty and staff. Our teachers are deeply committed to our school, to our mission, to their professional growth, to their subject matter, and most of all to our students. They create wonderful learning environments in which children can discover and grow.
Heidi Tarshish, Director of Education
Heidi’s journey into Jewish education was fostered by her close relationship with her grandparents and parents who lived Jewish values and practiced Jewish ethics. A native of Minnesota, Heidi grew up in St. Louis Park, participated in Jewish life, attended Jewish camps, B’nai Emet Synagogue, and youth group. Interested in theater, education and Jewish studies, Heidi attended the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in both theater arts and Jewish Studies. Heidi taught in both the public and private sector before going back to the U of MN to receive a certificate in early childhood and kindergarten education. Heidi traveled extensively as a recipient of the Mann Teacher of the Year Award and the National Grinspoon-Steinhardt Educator Award. Her travels took her to Lithuania, Russia, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and Israel to learn about Jewish diversity, culture, and history. Heidi’s interest and passion for social justice, inclusion, and diversity brought her to Temple Israel where she spent several years developing and implementing an education program for teens and their families. Heidi is married to Sully Tarshish and they are the proud parents of 4 adult children; Ethan (Julie), Benjie (Eugenia), Karinne (Dan), and Esther. Heidi is a very proud Baubie of wonderful twin grandsons, Oscar Sidney and Charlie Martin.
Briana Lavintman, Gan (Kindergarten) & First Grade
Briana Cohen Lavintman is our kindergarten and first grade teacher. Briana is a passionate, talented and experienced teacher. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education from the University of Minnesota. As part of her education, she student taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools. She tutored Hebrew at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis and taught Hebrew and Judaica at Temple Israel. Briana is very enthusiastic. She enjoys music, art, cooking and has other many other interests which she is excited to share with her students. Briana is a Birthright Israel Fellow and has led several trips to Israel. She is very much looking forward to sharing her love of Israel with her students. Briana believes that education is a two way street and a shared process. As she teaches her students, she is also learning from them.
Dan Estey, Gan Katan (33 Months - Age 4)
Our lead Gan Katan teacher, Dan Estey, graduated from Bethel University (Arden Hills, MN) in 2000 and has been teaching within the Early Childhood field since. He has worked with all ages from toddlers to kindergarten. His background is in Montessori, Reggio, and Creative Curriculum. By combining different “styles” of teaching, he creates something original and unique. Dan's passions include his family, friends, and teaching. He enjoys nature, camping, working on his house in South Minneapolis, and rock climbing.
Sara Lynn Newberger, Jewish Studies
Sara Lynn (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) moved to St. Paul in 1989 to work at the Newman School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. At Newman, Sara Lynn has had many jobs. Her favorite is what she is doing now, exploring Jewish texts, customs, values and ideas with students. Sara Lynn is the director of TTSP’s Hineni: Adult Jewish Leraning and Contemplative Practices. She believes passionately in the importance of Jewish learning and the impact it can have on people’s lives. When not working, Sara Lynn enjoys cooking, visiting with friends, singing, and being outdoors.
Lydia Schultz, Media Specialist
Lydia Schultz (BA, U of Chicago; MA, John Carroll University; Ph.D., U of MN) is the Media Specialist for The Newman School. Dr. Schultz has always loved books and has enjoyed sharing them with Newman students (and their parents) since 2001. Dr. Schultz likes reading, cooking, walking, and doing yoga. She is the proud parent of two sons, both of whom graduated from the Day School and Midrasha programs here at TTSP.