Known for her creativity, vision and professionalism, Mrs. Zerykier brings two decades of experience in the field of Jewish education to YSZ HS. She was the founding principal of Shulamith High School for Girls, the founder of Think Consulting Co and a teacher at Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School. Mrs Zerykier is passionate about creating a warm student culture that truly educates students from head to heart. Always thinking outside the box, she is dedicated to creating an environment inspired by Torah, infused with kedushah, energized by intellectual curiosity, and imbued with a growth mindset.
Mrs. Zerykier’s commitment to 21st -century innovative learning and broad thinking about curriculum planning and design, inspires students and teachers alike to improve and redefine the educational experience and most importantly, themselves.
Like her students, Mrs. Zerykier is always learning. She holds a teaching certificate from Bnos Chava Seminary in Jerusalem, a bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University, a master’s degree from Brooklyn College, a certificate from the Principal’s Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School for Education and is finishing her doctorate at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Education in Educational Leadership. Mrs. Zerykier has refined her leadership skills through participation in the Educators Fellowship Program with Hebrew University, the ELAL Leadership Fellowship with Bar Ilan University and the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) with the Davidson School.
Rabbi and Mrs Zerykier live with their four sons, Moshe, Binyamin, Coby, and Yosef in North Woodmere and daven at Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz’s shul, Beis HaKnesses of North Woodmere (BKNW).
Morah Shira Balakhaneh, YSZ’s ninth and tenth grade Chumash teacher and mechanechet, was born and raised in Great Neck.
Morah Balakhaneh’s main inspiration to venture into the world of chinuch and to share her deep love for Torah learning came from her rebbeim and teachers at Baer Miriam seminary. With these ideals in mind, she completed her B.A. in psychology at Queens College, and obtained her master’s degree in Jewish education and administration from Azrieli Graduate School, specializing in student centered learning, equipping herself with the skills needed to become an expert teacher.
Morah Balakhaneh’s enthusiasm in the classroom is contagious, as her students absorb her love of learning and self-improvement and are encouraged to take ownership of their spiritual progress.
Never idle and always building on her creativity, Morah Balakhaneh is eager to try out new pursuits, as she enjoys playing the guitar, cooking, baking, and art.
Ms. Olga Binyaminov, comes to YSZ HS with many years of teaching in higher education, looks forward to bringing her passion for science and math to the students at YSZ HS. Ms. Binyaminov will be teaching Geometry and Living Environment/Biology. With her warmth and friendly disposition, Ms. Binyaminov is excited to bring her mastery of math and science to better help and enrich the knowledge of the next generation.
Ms. Binyaminov received her BA and MA in Biochemistry and is in the process of obtaining her PhD. She comes with tremendous experience having taught, coordinated, and mentored for fifteen years as a college professor. Ms. Binyaminov is a published author as well. She has published scientific research in a scientific journal, and is responsible for writing the Biochemistry Lab manual that students at Queens College have used for over a decade.
When not teaching, Ms. Binyaminov can be found reading, writing, cross-stitching, and painting. Ms. Binyaminov looks forward to connecting and learning from her students, and is excited about the upcoming year!
Ms. Nili Greenberg will be returning to the YSZ HS teaching staff this year as a Chemistry, STEM, and English teacher. Ms. Greenberg, author of a number of noted medical papers, has a background in teaching and mentoring young people and firmly believes in learning science through a Torah lens. Always committing herself wholly to any project she takes on, she is eager to share her vast knowledge and expertise with students, inviting them to explore the world around them, and encouraging them to carry out their own research to discover new ideas. Ms. Greenberg brings with her a wealth of experience. Not content with completing her B.A. in biochemistry at Stern College, she went on to expand her horizons at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she completed her master’s in biomedical sciences. Never one to back down from a challenge, Ms. Greenberg is uniquely qualified to direct our robotics club, providing some fascinating glimpses into the world of robots, and helping her students build their creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as develop real competence in engineering
Mrs. Shoshana Kent, our Jewish History, Pirkei Avot, and Tehillim teacher, arrives at YSZ HS with a wealth of experience teaching at all levels. Growing up in Michigan, she studied at Chemdas Bais Yaakov Seminary and obtained her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, on the way discovering that she had an ability to connect with young people. This is how she became a teacher of Limudei Kodesh, science, and math in a number of settings, including special needs.
Mrs. Kent brings to her lessons a determination to help her students succeed, and she forms lasting connections with them through their classroom learning. She looks beyond externals, and taps into the neshamah of every student, helping to bring out the potential of each one.
Always eager to learn, Mrs. Kent is a trained lifeguard and enjoys ice skating and hiking. And if you ask nicely, 20 she might just tell you about the time she built a twelve-foot airplane.
Shira Leventhal is thrilled to join YSZ High School as our Student Activities Coordinator and Art Teacher. Shira will be working closely with Mrs. Zerykier to coordinate the marketing and creative programming for YSZ High School. Shira will also work with the student leadership to create programs for both the student government as well as the Chessed Committee.
Shira attended Meohr Teachers Seminary for two years in Israel. After seminary, Shira completed her bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College where she majored in psychology and education. Shira went on to pursue her masters degree in social work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Shira has spent the past few years working as a social worker in both clinical and administrative roles. Shira is currently enrolled in the New York School of the Arts, where she is working to obtain a fine arts degree. In her role at YSZ High school, she will be putting all her talents, skills, and qualifications to good use. Shira brings her positive energy and infectious smile to everything she does.
Ms. Debbie Malakan brings to the school a refreshing attitude toward healthy living. Currently studying for her degree in nutrition and dietetics at Queens College, Ms. Malakan is a true role model for our girls. Her love of movement extends beyond yoga, Zumba, running, and Pilates, as she creates an upbeat and positive environment in her classes.
Students will love Ms. Malakan’s gentle yet invigorating approach to exercise, and will find themselves smiling along with her, as they taste the wholesomeness of a balanced lifestyle.
Not surprisingly, Ms. Malakan loves spending time in nature and enjoys biking, yoga, reading, and baking. And—perhaps her best-kept secret (now being revealed)—she once ran a marathon in Israel.
Mrs. Kitzia Pahlaef, assistant principal of the YSZ girls’ elementary school, is joining us as ninth-grade Parsha teacher. Born and raised in Queens, she set her heart on teaching when she was just a first grader, and embarked on a journey to follow her dreams by learning in Maalot Seminary, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and earning her master’s and certification in general and special education. Joining YSZ HS has been one of her best decisions, as she connects and grows with her talmidot over the years.
Mrs. Pahlaef helps her students uncover, analyze, and connect to the deep messages of the Nevi’im, and together they explore how their lessons are relevant to our own times.
Students in Mrs. Pahlaef’s classroom learn to grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually, as their teacher encourages them to see their own uniqueness, work on self-improvement, and develop skills that will serve them well beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Mrs. Pahlaef loves singing and telling stories, a fact that no doubt benefits her students immeasurably.
Ms. Soleymani will be joining us at YSZ High School for the upcoming semester! Ms. Soleymani will teach History, World History Regents Prep, Kumzitz Choir, and Drama.
Ms. Soleymani attended Yeshiva University High School for Girls before graduating from Queens College with honors in Psychology, Business, and Liberal Arts. Next year, Ms. Soleymani will be attending law school.
Ms. Soleymani enjoys history and performed well on her history regents and AP exams. She is also a talented artist who participated in several school plays as a member of the choir and theater club in high school. We are confident that her enthusiasm and experience will contribute to our students having an exciting and enriching learning experience.
Ms. Toby Schwartz is excited to be joining the staff at YSZ this year. Coming with over thirty years of experience in the graphic design world, Ms. Schwartz looks forward to creating beautiful and innovative designs with the YSZ students this year. Ms. Schwartz has run her own graphic design business for the last fifteen years, where she provides customers with expert and fresh ideas. Her products stand out for their style and originality, and her experience and knowledge in the graphic design world allows her business to continue succeeding and thriving. Ms. Schwartz received her undergraduate degree with honors, and enjoys hiking, gardening, and being a Nona, an Italian word for Grandmother, to her two grandchildren. Even after thirty years, Ms. Schwartz loves being a graphic designer, and looks forward to sharing her skills and expertise with the students at YSZ.
Mrs. Wasser is excited to be joining the faculty at YSZ HS this upcoming year. She will be teaching Algebra 1, Math Lab, and a Tehillim elective. Mrs Wasser loves teaching and is dedicated to her students’ success. Mrs. Wasser’s expertise and skill allows her to take difficult concepts and break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Mrs. Wasser’s parents are both educators and her passion has always been to be a teacher and educate the next generation of students.
Mrs. Wasser believes that every student has tremendous abilities and potential. Effort leads to success. By trying one’s best and davening, Mrs. Wasser believes her students will see results. Mrs. Wasser believes that everything we learn in school can help us reach our potential as Ovdei Hashem. Mrs. Wasser wants her students to understand that even math can help stretch our minds and can help us think more logically and deeply.
Mrs. Wasser attended Bnos Sarah Seminary in Israel, went to Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush and received her degree in mathematics. She is currently working towards her masters and teacher certification in math education for 7-12th grade from the Touro Graduate School of Education. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Wasser likes to take walks, bake, sing, learn, and play frisbee and play with her baby.
Exuding positivity and enthusiasm, Mrs. Yachnes looks forward to joining the faculty at YSZ HS. A previous member of the Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas teaching faculty, Mrs. Yachnes gained experience in a large range of classrooms as she taught the 5th – 8th grade girls. Mrs. Yachnes is excited to meet the students at YSZ HS, and looks forward to teaching Parshat Hashavuah to the 10th grade.
After a year of intensive study in Israel, Miss Yachnes earned a teaching certificate from the Bnos Sara Teachers Institute. Upon her return to the US, she earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from New York’s Excelsior College. She feels she can better understand her students and help them believe in themselves by enabling them to push past their limitations.
Some of Mrs. Yachnes’ hobbies outside of teaching are acting, singing, playing guitar, and hiking. Previously she scripted, directed, and produced a Middle School Musical titled “Take Me Home” that made waves in the community for weeks after. With a passion for creativity, Mrs. Yachnes was the Summer Director of Project Seed Girls. A dedicated staff member in camps Nageela Orlando and Agudah Midwest, Mrs. Yachnes loves watching her girls blossom into confident young adults. Mrs. Yachnes is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Digital Learning Design and Leadership from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mrs. Yachnes is thrilled to meet everyone!