As the general studies principal at Cheder Menachem, a K–8 school for boys in Los Angeles, Yehudis Blauner oversees the development and implementation of the curriculum, including customized programs for individual students and ongoing collaboration with the Hebrew department. She also heads the hiring and training for Cheder Menachem's faculty, leading monthly professional development workshops. Mrs. Blauner, who earned a teacher's certificate from New York's Beth Rivka Teachers Seminary and a bachelor's degree in education from Grant Town University, has held her current position for six years.
Mrs. Blauner credits her parents, both renowned educators, for her decision to pursue the profession. Her mother, also a general studies principal at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, created her school's first inclusion program for special needs students; her father is an award-winning environmental engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. They taught their daughter that education is a way of life, not merely an occupation, and that connecting with students can leave a lasting mark on the world.
Mrs. Blauner holds students to high standards and uses data to guide their instruction. In grade-level curriculum binders, teachers chart standards and benchmarks, visualize curriculum maps and provide assessment outlines and schedules, all tailored to the Cheder's educational goals and aligned with Common Core Standards. Students use apps like Think Through Math on iPads, work on monthly engineering modules, run experiments for an annual science fair, and delve into cooperative project-based learning in the Katz Corner. The school’s after-school activities include robotics, music and engineering.
As a Jewish educator, Mrs. Blauner has a holistic mission. "Each individual has his own unique gifts and interests, and these can be tapped and nourished to allow each student to grow and learn to his full potential,” she says. "We seek to produce proud Chassidic graduates with a high degree of self-fulfillment, able and willing to be successful contributors to the Jewish community and to society at large."
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award