Year Honored: 2021
Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn
Los Angeles, CA
As General Studies Principal at Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn’s Toras Emes Academy, Chana Zauderer oversees academic life for all elementary students as well as middle school girls. She hires, schedules and supervises teachers, communicates with parents, and leads grant writing and the accreditation process. This year, Mrs. Zauderer is also teaching eighth grade English. Her favorite task is observing in the classrooms, “where I have a chance to see talented teachers working their magic,” she says. “Every classroom has its own dynamic energy. It is always with reluctance that I leave the classroom and return to my office.”
Mrs. Zauderer has spent 37 years as an educator, 17 of those at Toras Emes. She always loved learning; when she misbehaved as a child, all her mother needed to do to set her straight was threaten to keep her home from school. But at some point, she noticed that not all of her fellow students felt the same way. “I vowed that one day I would work in a school and make learning fun, exciting and meaningful,” she says. In 1985, Mrs. Zauderer earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science (CS) from Queens College in New York, but despite the fact that CS was an up-and-coming field, her heart wasn’t in it. She started teaching, went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1994, and never looked back.
Before the pandemic, Mrs. Zauderer created a new incentive program called STAR to help Toras Emes teachers instill Jewish values and reward positive behavior in the classroom. Though STAR was cut short by COVID-19, Mrs. Zauderer makes a point of encouraging students to be good ambassadors for the school and the Jewish people whenever she can. She reminds them to read, daven (pray) and help out at home. “I hope to instill in my students a lifelong love of learning and teach them that learning doesn’t end just because you leave the classroom,” she says. “There’s always more learning to be done.”
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award